2008 Buell 1125R | Price: $11,995
A 72-degree cylinder angle provides the straightest possible flow path for the intake charge. Innovative combination chain-and-gear cam drive and finger follower-actuated valves make the motor more compact and lighter in weight.
Buell claims the Intuitive Response Chassis is the stiffest frame it has ever built, and 10 pounds lighter than the old XB-series frame. Like the XB, this frame doubles as a fuel reservoir, holding 5.3 gallons of dinosaur juice.
The fully adjustable Showa fork is an oversized 47mm inverted unit for maximum rigidity. The Showa shock mounts directly between the frame and swingarm without a linkage, and uses a progressively-wound spring.
Buell's exclusive Zero Torsional Load front brake mounts the rotor directly to the rim to isolate torsional forces and reduce unsprung weight. A single eight-piston caliper holds four pads that maximize surface area and heat dissipation.
With a short seat-to-bar distance and generous handlebar rise, the 1125R is very upright for a sportbike. Seat-to-peg distance is nearly identical to the RSV, but the 1125R's more open included seating angle folds your legs less.
High compression, big valves, high-lift cams and massive 61mm throttle bodies make for impressive output. Power barely falls off past the 9750-rpm peak; coupled with substantial midrange torque, shifting the 1125R is largely optional.
2008 Aprilia RSV1000R | Price: $13,999
The RSV's riding position reflects its racing roots, with a long reach from seat to bars and minimal handlebar rise. It's tall, too: The seat-height measurement is with the rear ride-height adjuster set in the lowest position.
A lackluster 113.5 peak horsepower won't win Aprilia's liter-twin any bragging rights, but a fat and flat torque curve (the motor is within 90 percent of max torque at 4500 rpm) means plenty of accelerative force at any revs.
Aprilia continues to refine the RSV's decade-old 60-degree V-twin, this year with longer, larger-diameter exhaust headers to increase low-end torque, along with improved ignition and fuel-injection mapping to achieve Euro III emissions compliance.
A combination of cast- and pressed-aluminum components, the RSV's frame has been raked slightly for '08 (steering head angle increased from 24.5 to 25 degrees) to improve stability. Stylish double-arch swingarm, made from extruded and cast pieces, anchors the rear wheel.
Upmarket Ti-nitride-coated f-hlins fork brings the bling up front, and provides a full range of adjustment. Lower-cost Sachs shock isn't on the same level in terms of compliance, but does incorporate a ride-height adjuster.
Brembo radial-mount front brakes are less-spendy cast versions (not Monoblocs), but still provide stellar stopping, aided by an easy-to-modulate radial master cylinder. Braided-steel brake lines are standard at both ends.