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In their Feb 27th issue, a German bike mag called Motorrad just did a big test of all the liter-class sportbikes, including the R1, in comparison with other '04s of interest - Gixxer, Fireblade, ZX-10R, even a Ducati 999 and an Aprilla Mille Factory.

They tested the bikes in Spain, on roads and on track. Kawasaki came in fastest, then the R1, then the Honda, and last among the 4-cylinders was the GSXR. Not much of a difference among all four, of course: 1:39.5 to 1:41.5 total spread, but of course it's a world of difference to those who live for track days.

OK, power. R1 makes 160 rear wheel HP, CBR1000RR makes 161, Kawasaki is tops with 168. GSXR last with 158. Next, weights... all of these are with full gas tanks. R1 = 203 kg, Fireblade = 211 kg, ZX-10R = 198 kg, GSX-R = 200 kg.

They said lots of things about the bikes throughout the test, but what I took from it was like this:

Kawasaki is "brutally fast", but uncomfortable at less than race-pace. You feel absolutely every pavement ripple, and it really shows its stuff only on a racetrack. No negative comments on the transmission, as have been seen in the American press so far. They love the way that it wants to wheelie all the time, and doesn't seem to care which gear it's in to do so. Most power + least weight = rocketship of the year.

R1 is the all-arounder, the most comfortable, has the best front-end feedback. But, it tends to run wide in curves (not quite sure what they meant, but they made the comment twice). For riding on fast two-lane roads, the R1 is the most fun. Also, they said that it's a bit too easy to over-rev, so they set the shift light to 12,500. They said that to keep up with the Kawasaki, you have to really work the engine hard and keep it over 9,000 at all times.

The Honda is nice and secure, but is out of its depth on the track in comparison with the R1 and the Kawasaki. They said that if it lost some weight and could rev higher, they'd like it more. But, they also said that it would make a good track-day bike. It sounds like a contradiction to me, but there you have it.

Also, they liked the electronic steering damper on the Honda, but then they also commented that the Kawasaki handled great without one, so maybe it's a moot point.

OK, so before the flame wars and the finger-pointing begins, a few last comments... these guys place a lot of emphasis in their tests on things that American magazines never mention, and they also tend to be very functionally-oriented. That said, their bottom line is that if you want the absolutely wildest literbike for '04, buy Team Green, especially if you're a true expert who spends a lot of time on the track, but if you want the best backroad bike that you'll actually ride to the curves and back with a smile on your face, look to the R1 or the Honda instead.

The other two bikes? Cool if you're into twins, but they're 30 hp down, and on the track, although they're easier to ride and have crazy lean angle, they're no longer a factor.

Oh, I almost forgot. The Gixxer. They didn't talk much about it, only to say that they didn't expect it to be outclassed by the other three Japanese manufacturers in the same year, but now it seems much older, slower, and larger in comparison - because of the size, they said that it feels like a yacht compared to a speedboat.

They called the article "The World On Its Head" meaning something like our expression "When Hell freezes over". In other words, now that the unexpected has happened so suddenly, and the GSXR is outclassed by Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha for '04, it's like a whole new perspective on performance.

There are some comments to be seen on http://www.motorrad.de/ as well.

Enjoy, and congrats the newest R1 owners out there - you should be proud of having the best real-world bike of the year!
 

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The source of the bikes used in this test is questionable, so, the results may not be accurate.

MCN has completed a review, BUT NO_ONE HAS POSTED IT!!!
 
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