MC Comparison: Honda CBR600RR, Kawasaki ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Yamaha YZF-R1, And Ducati 1098

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Brian J. Nelson

Tech Spec
Price: $9499
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 599cc
Bore x stroke: 67.0mm x 42.5mm
Compression: 12.2:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: 41mm Showa inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension: Single Showa shock, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Front brake: Dual Tokico four-piston radial calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Single Tokico two-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17 Dunlop Qualifier
Rear tire: 180/55 ZR17 Dunlop Qualifier
Rake/trail: 23.7o/3.8 in.
Seat height: 32.3 in.
Wheelbase: 53.8 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Weight (wet/dry): 412/383 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 105.2 bhp @ 13,750 rpm
Measured torque: 44.1 lb.-ft. @ 11,250 rpm
Corrected 1/4 mile: 10.94 sec. @ 126.49 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 3.97 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 48/35/41 mpg
Colors: Black, red/black, white/silver, ultra blue metallic/silver
Warranty: 1 year, unlimited mi.
Contact: www.honda.com

Dyno
The CBR's power delivery is model-citizen mellow, with nearly peak- and valley-free horsepower and torque traces throughout its rev range. It makes only a pony or two more than the ZX-6R at lower revs, but a whopping 4.4 more at peak. That's a lot for a 600.

Ergos
Honda CBR600RRs haven't always been kind to the editorial bum, but this one-with more seat stroke and 10mm higher clip-ons than before-is a revelation, offering the most comfortable highway manners of this quintet. More wind protection would be nice.

Tech Spec
Price: $8999
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 599cc
Bore x stroke: 67.0mm x 42.5mm
Compression: 13.9:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: 41mm Showa inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension: Single Showa shock, adjustable for spring preload, rebound, high/low-speed compression damping
Front brake: Dual Nissin four-piston radial calipers, 300mm discs
Rear brake: Single Nissin one-piston caliper, 210mm disc
Front tire: 120/65 ZR17 Bridgestone Battlax BT002
Rear tire: 180/55 ZR17 Bridgestone Battlax BT002
Rake/trail: 25o/4.3 in.
Seat height: 32.3 in.
Wheelbase: 55.3 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Weight (wet/dry): 445/418 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 100.8 bhp @ 12,750 rpm
Measured torque: 43.0 lb.-ft. @ 11,750 rpm
Corrected 1/4 mile: 11.13 sec. @ 123.21 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 4.04 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 45/35/39 mpg
Colors: Lime green, atomic silver, ebony, passion red
Warranty: 1 year, unlimited mi.
Contact: www.kawasaki.com

Dyno
The big difference in perceived midrange between the CBR600RR and ZX-6R isn't down to power, as the 6R's output is close in the middle revs. The difference has more to do with the ZX-6R's weight-a whopping 33 pounds more than the suddenly lithe CBR!

Ergos
The ZX-6R is roomier seat-to-peg (0.4 in.) and tighter seat-to-bar (0.5 in.) than the CBR. So why was it rated so far behind the Honda in terms of overall comfort? Simple: Its clip-ons are mounted nearly 2 inches lower.

Tech Spec
Price: $11,399
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 999cc
Bore x stroke: 73.4mm x 59.0mm
Compression: 12.5:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: 43mm Kayaba inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, rebound, high/low-speed compression
Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock, adjustable for spring preload, rebound, high/low-speed compression damping
Front brake: Dual Tokico four-piston radial calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Single Tokico one-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17 Bridgestone Battlax BT015
Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17 Bridgestone Battlax BT015
Rake/trail: 25.5o/3.9 in.
Seat height: 31.9 in.
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Weight (wet/dry): 471/442 lb.
Measured horsepower: 158.2 bhp @ 12,250 rpm
Measured torque: 75.0 lb.-ft. @ 10,250 rpm
Corrected 1/4 mile: 10.00 sec. @ 146.93 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 2.74 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 42/36/39 mpg
Colors: Blue/white, black/orange, yellow/silver
Warranty: 1 year, unlimited mi.
Contact: www.suzuki.com

Dyno
Making the most horsepower and torque of this "fivesome," and doing so seamlessly and controllably, the GSX-R1000 packs an absolutely thrilling engine. Orange and light-blue traces reflect output with the three-position mapping switch set in the C (full-wet) mode.

Ergos
The only hit the GSX-R took from our test crew during street testing was limited seat-to-peg room, which at just 17.2 inches is the shortest of the bunch. Of course, that was with the three-position-adjustable pegs in their highest position; they can be lowered by 14mm.

Tech Spec
Price: $11,599-$11,699
Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 998cc
Bore x stroke: 77.0mm x 53.6mm
Compression: 12.7:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension: 43mm Kayaba inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock, adjustable for spring preload, rebound, high/low-speed compression damping
Front brake: Dual Sumitomo six-piston radial calipers, 310mm discs
Rear brake: Single Sumitomo one-piston caliper, 220mm disc
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Corsa
Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Corsa
Rake/trail: 24.0o/4.0 in.
Seat height: 32.9 in.
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.8 gal.
Weight (wet/dry): 461/432 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 154.9 bhp @ 12,250 rpm
Measured torque: 73.2 lb.-ft. @ 9,750 rpm
Corrected 1/4 mile: 10.18 sec. @ 145.01 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 2.85 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 38/29/32 mpg
Colors: Team Yamaha blue, charcoal silver, candy red
Warranty: 1 year, unlimited mi.
Contact: www.yamaha-motor.com

Dyno
To nearly everyone, the new YZF-R1 felt comparatively weak in the midrange, just like the old 20-valve motor did. And it shows on the dyno, the 16-valve mill making roughly 10 fewer ponies than the GSX-R at 7500 rpm. Peak power was also down.

Ergos
With a longer reach (0.5 in.) to clip-ons mounted 1.1 inches lower than the GSX-R1000's, the R1 didn't generate rave reviews in terms of comfort. Bothersome midrange vibes and plenty of heat emanating from the engine's flanks didn't help.

Tech Spec
Price: $14,995
Engine type: l-c 90-degree V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, desmo 8v
Displacement: 1099cc
Bore x stroke: 104.0mm x 64.7mm
Compression: 12.5:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Dry, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Steel trellis with single-sided aluminum swingarm
Front suspension: 43mm Showa inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension: Single Showa shock, adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping, ride height
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston radial calipers, 330mm discs
Rear brake: Single Brembo two-piston caliper, 245mm disc
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Corsa
Rear tire: 190/55 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Corsa
Rake/trail: 24.5o/3.8 in.
Seat height: 32.2 in.
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.1 gal.
Weight (wet/dry): 443/418 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 137.9 bhp @ 9850 rpm
Measured torque: 77.5 lb.-ft. @ 8100 rpm
Corrected 1/4 mile: 10.27 sec. @ 138.62 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 3.05 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 42/32/37 mpg
Colors: Red, yellow
Warranty: 2 years, unlimited mi.
Contact: www.ducati.com

Dyno
We're not sure why our 1098 cranked out fewer ponies than the S-model we tested last month, but with the same engine it should have been closer. Still, nearly 140 horses at the rear wheel puts it on par with the legendary 999R, which is a flat-out brilliant powerplant.

Ergos
With the longest reach (by a whopping 0.5 in.) to its bars and the next-to-lowest clip-ons (the ZX-6R's are 0.5 in. lower), the Ducati loses the comfort contest by a decent margin. Still, the desmo V-twin's lumpy, high-amplitude vibes weren't bothersome in the least.

Stick And Go
Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa Tires

It was one of those perfect, crystalline instances of group cognition. Our crack panel of track testers was performing one last brain dump when I suddenly remembered the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa race tires that Josh and Garrett from TigerShark Racing (www.tiger sharkracing.com) had mounted on all five bikes earlier in the day.

"Before I forget, what did we think about those new Pirellis?" I asked. We all stared at each other wide-eyed, and someone voiced what each of us was individually thinking: "Tires? I didn't think about them once."

Though it sounds dismissive, that's perhaps the highest compliment you can pay a race tire. The Pirellis performed flawlessly, lap after lap, and required absolutely no attention from the riders, leaving us free to focus on riding.

Like the Dragon Supercorsa Pros that preceded them, the new Diablo Supercorsas were developed specifically for the World Supersport Championship. Both front and rear feature a flatter shoulder to increase the contact patch at intermediate lean angles for higher entrance speeds and improved grip during trail-braking. A more elastic carcass with optimized ply density allows the tire to react and respond to mid-corner line corrections more easily and elongates the contact patch at high lean angles for higher corner speeds. Lastly, new compounds formulated to maximize ultimate grip and a revised tread pattern with an increased slick area on the edges increase grip for faster corner exits.

What this all added up to for us was utterly transparent performance all day long. The Diablo Supercorsas ($279.95 front, $343.95 to $367.95 rear) were essentially ready to rock and roll right off the tire warmers, maintaining exceptional grip even in demanding, off-camber Turns 2 and 3 and providing long life even on the darkie-dispensing R1 and GSX-R1000. They're great skins for going fast.

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