The Transcendent Superbike
On paper, BMW's HP4 resembles any other liter-class superbike: the same 999cc, 16-valve inline-four, the same twin-spar aluminum frame, an industry-standard USD fork and rear monoshock, and four-piston, radial-mount brakes. An utterly conventional, by-the-numbers sportbike, built by a company that's usually anything but.
Then you pull the trigger. With a dyno-verified 177.5 bhp (and launch control) delivering consistent, 9.8-second quarter-mile passes at more than 150 mph, the HP4 outsprints even a 1,400cc Kawasaki ZX-14R. Supernaturally composed Dynamic Damping Control—with electromagnetic suspension valves that self-adjust up to 100 times per second—makes the HP4 feels more stable than any sportbike we've ridden before. And those brakes… The strongest stoppers on any production bike, assisted by infallible Race ABS, are the most predictable, too.
Sure, it's $24,995, and unless it's already in your garage, there's no way you're getting one. But the HP4 is one very special sportbike, with performance that utterly transcends its spec sheet. If you are ever lucky enough to ride one, you'll understand why it won our Class of 2013 sportbike comparison—as well as our sportbike of the year.
Triumph Daytona 675
With three cylinders, odd displacement, and chassis dimensions more akin to a 250GP racer than a middleweight sportbike, the Daytona 675 creates its own category. The crazy-charismatic D675 has been a staff favorite since it was named MOTY in 2006, and this year’s totally revised version, with more power, better chassis balance, and less weight, is the best yet.