The Supersport Candy Store

The best part about surviving the Great Recession is the opportunity to reward ourselves to a bit of the sweet life. For the sake of this article, let’s say you want to buy the supersport you have always wanted. Unfortunately, it’s not a cake walk when trying to decide which sport bike to choose as there are plenty of options to give you pause: color & design, speed & performance, comfort & rideability. In the end however, the final decision will not depend on the bike, but rather on you.

First off, just put aside the thought that you want the “fastest one”. As far as which model is faster within its own class, this is a matter of splitting hairs…we are not talking about seconds, try milliseconds. You would need the equipment NASA uses to measure photons to determine which manufacture has the fastest machine. Your decision should be based on something more personal, let’s explore what I mean by this.

We all remember being kids and walking into our local candy store. Our eyes would light up with all the delicious morsels of shiny wrapped chocolates and sweets that would beckon to us until we began to salivate. Well, if you would like to experience a little déjà vu, just walk into your local motorcycle dealership. Just bring a bib because all the delicious morsels wrapped in shiny-stickered ABS plastics will be beckoning to you until you salivate. Once you conclude your little flash back, you are going to have to decide which one to take home.

Now there are a number of practical guidelines one can use to narrow the field down. As with any new relationship, the first thing you are going to notice is appearance. Now, tastes are as diverse as the people who have them, so lucky for us those crafty graphic design studios considered this before introducing the 2012 models. There is something for everyone, Yamaha’s Blue, Honda’s red & pearl white, Kawi green and Suzuki yellow. The color schemes are phenomenal and the aggressive styling of these machines serves both function & form.

2012 Honda CBR 600RR

The majority of this decision will be in the details, such as where you prefer your exhaust to sit. For example, all three of the Gixxers have the stock exhaust (like you’re not going to upgrade) sitting rightside low.  In contrast, the YZF-R1 carries an under-seat exhaust and the R6 brandishes a stubby-shotgun style. Each exhaust system serves its function, creating back pressure and expelling the waste from the combustion chamber, but are designed differently with one purpose in mind; to give each model a distinct look. Headlights are another feature that is geared towards aesthetics. While three of the brands, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda all provide duel headlights on their supersports, the Gixxer alone retains a single housing.

2012 Yamaha YZF R1

Now when considering all the options, don’t panic, you have been here before. As that kid in the candy store you were eventually successful in choosing between caramel nougat or chocolate-covered orange peels. This is the same thing, just with a lot less calories. The next thing you should consider is performance. This can be broken down into two categories: the 600’s and the 1000’s (also known as the literbikes). There is one exception to this categorical separation and I’ll touch on that later. To decide which class is right for you, there are some simple questions you should ask yourself. Things like: is it on my bucket list to break the sound barrier? Or, how many Mclaren F1 owners do I want to send crying home before having to get gas? There are also insurance premiums to think about and experience should play a role in this decision as well.  If you said yes and 8 to the first two questions, then a literbike (1000 class) maybe right for you.

Literbikes are absolute hammers. These machines accelerate faster than almost anything else on the planet. They are not only fast, they are powerful. How powerful you ask? If you were to purchase a car with the same power/weight ratio as say the R1, which is an estimated 152hp/454lbs, you would have to purchase a car with 1018hp weighing 3000lbs. As a base of reference, at the mere asking price of $650,000, the Ferrari Enzo is a little more than halfway there. It produces 660 ponies and weighs a slender 3010lbs. So, in essence you would have to strip down the car and drop it out of an airplane with a cement block on the accelerator to produce the same results as the R1.

You will hear time & again that literbikes are not for novice riders, I’m not so sure about that. The R1 mentioned above is only 152hp at a certain rpm. If a novice had the self-control to respect the throttle, I don’t see a reason why he/she couldn’t grow with the bike. There are plenty of advantages to riding a literbike. This class tends to feel more stable and planted mostly due to the extra weight. The liters have exceptional power throughout the entire ban so you’ll never be without enough throttle. I personally spent 2 of my 3 years riding an R6 wishing for something w/a little more torque. That’s not to say there was anything disappointing about the 6, I was just ready for something bigger.  When I bought my 929, I knew right away that this was the class for me.

As far as the 600 class goes, these bikes are ideal for those who enjoy ridding without the urge to escape earth’s gravity. The 6’s are exceptionally agile, light and quick. All are responsive to the riders every movement and phenomenal for some curb-hugging action. The 6 class is also more economical then their big bothers. Not so much in fuel economy, as 1000RR gets the same MPG’s as the 600RR (depending on how you ride it) but rather in insurance premiums and total costs. As far as sex appeal goes, the 6 class isn’t short on looks. They are as hot & bothered as their liter counterparts…in fact, GSXR family of supersports are triplets; only a trained eye can tell them apart.

This brings me to the bastard of the bunch, the GSX-R 750. Many riders find a happy medium with this model as it combines the power of the liters w/the agility of the 6’s. Being only $600 dollars more than its 6 class understudy makes it an attractive option as well.

2012 Suzuki GSX-R 750

In the end, there are no wrong choices here. Some of us prefer Snickers while others dream black licorice (yuck!). Whatever your flavor, enjoy the sweet ride that comes with the mouth-watering recipe of a supersport.