2011 Motorcycle of the Year | Kawasaki Ninja 1000

The Brightest Idea

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Jorge Nunez

Best Sportbike
Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE
Even Better With Traction Control

Why just take our word for it? Not only was Aprilia’s RSV4 Factory the repeat winner in Motorcyclist’s “Class of 2011” sportbike comparison, it’s also the reigning World Superbike Champion. Just like the SBK winner, this Special Edition displays Max Biaggi’s name on the tail. More importantly, it now features the same sophisticated Aprilia Performance Ride Control electronics package “Mad Max” uses to dominate his competition. APRC—the most dynamic and effective traction-control system we’ve tested—makes riding like a world champ easier than ever before. But even with the electronics disabled, the Aprilia is still the most charismatic sportbike on the market, with a scintillating V4 engine, rock-steady Öhlins suspension and the sharpest reflexes this side of an Olympic fencing riposte. We’re more confident than ever choosing the RSV4 Factory as our Sportbike of the Year. Watch for Biaggi’s endorsement at the racetrack.

Alternative Take

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Previously, if you wanted traction control you paid a premium for a European brand and accepted the inevitable compromises such a superbike entails. Kawasaki’s excellent S-KTRC traction-control system, incorporated in the all-new, $13,799 ZX-10R, delivers the same performance and safety-enhancing benefits in a more versatile, accessible and affordable package.

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