A Quartet of Electronically Enhanced Superbikes | MC Comparison

Class of 2011: Divine Intervention

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Kevin Wing, Matt Samples, Joe Neric

2011 Ducati 1198SP  | Price: $21,995

Nothing beats a big-bore twin for bottom-end grunt. The Testastretta EVO makes more torque at 3750 rpm than the fours make anywhere on the tach. A low-rpm torque peak makes short-shifting necessary to keep the front end grounded.

Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c 90-deg. V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v desmodromic
Displacement: 1198cc
Bore x stroke: 106.0 x 67.9mm
Compression: 12.7:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Dry, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Measured horsepower: 152.9 bhp @ 9900 rpm
Measured torque: 87.9 lb.-ft. @ 8300 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: na
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: na
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 43/29/35 mpg
Frame: Tubular-steel trellis with single-sided aluminum swingarm
Front suspension: 43mm Öhlins fork with adjustable spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Öhlins shock with adjustable spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Four-piston Brembo radial Monobloc calipers, 330mm discs
Rear brake: Two-piston Brembo caliper, 245mm disc
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rake/trail: 24.5°/3.8 in.
Seat height: 32.2 in.
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.1 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 430/405 lbs.
Colors: Red, black
Availability: Now
Warranty: 48 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact: Ducati North America, Inc.
10443 Bandley Dr.
Cupertino, CA 95014

You could blindfold Mike Hailwood’s ghost and he’d still recognize the 1198’s riding position. Like every Ducati superbike, a high, flat seat and low, narrow clip-ons demand an uncompromising racer crouch. The roomy ergos fit taller riders best.

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R | Price: $13,799

The new Ninja disappointed at the dyno, lagging 18.3 bhp behind the similar-spec BMW. Kawasaki claims the ZX-10R was engineered for optimum midrange, but even there it’s outperformed by the S1000RR, which makes more torque at lower rpm.

Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 998cc
Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression: 13.0:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Measured horsepower: 159.5 bhp @ 11,600 rpm
Measured torque: 74.1 lb.-ft. @ 10,800 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 10.37 sec. @ 142.92 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 2.76 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 44/29/36 mpg
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: Showa Big Piston Fork with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Showa shock with adjustable spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Tokico four-piston radial calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Tokico single-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT016
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT016
Rake/trail: 25.0°/4.2 in.
Seat height: 32.1 in.
Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 440/413 lbs.
Colors: Green, black
Available: Now
Warranty: 12 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact: Kawasaki Motors Corp. USA
9950 Jeronimo Rd.
Irvine, CA 92618

Cynics might accuse Kawasaki of copying BMW. Seat-to-peg and seat-to-bar distances are almost identical, while the Ninja’s clip-ons are positioned barely a quarter-inch higher. Two-position-adjustable footpegs make it a tad more accommodating.

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