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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 318 September 2016 > EURO WINNERS


Continental manufacturers have made the very best naked bikes for years, and with the addition of Ducati’s new Monster 1200 R this is the best European crop yet…

While it took a few years for the Europeans to truly trump the Japanese when it comes to pure sportsbikes, in the naked class our continental cousins have led the way for some time. Japanese output in this arena was always a compromise too far for our liking. Only very recently have they taken the ‘sports’ side of naked life seriously, and even then some can’t help but rein themselves in.

This is one Euro campaign worth following over Summer...

But the Europeans? Nah, their product has always had a sporting slant included in the deal. And the leader of the pack has been Aprilia by doing what we really want when it comes to a sporty naked – simply ripping the fairings off a pukka sportsbike. This means that when it comes to what we favour, it’s always taken something extra special to knock the Tuono (of whatever vintage) off the pedestal. KTM managed it with its first SuperDuke, but since the arrival of the V4 Tuono rivals have been close, ish, but never once enjoyed the pleasure of lighting the victory cigar.

The scene at the Police compound after the test...

You’ll have seen in our previous issue how Yamaha’s barmy MT-10 has influenced matters amongst its countrymen and against Triumph’s updated Speed Triple R. When it comes to the continent, however, the Tuono 1100 and others gathered here have a new and improved Ducati Monster 1200 R to get past before going up against Japan’s latest and greatest. The Ducati comes packed to the gills with exceptional kit and a weapons-grade version of the Monster’s engine. So how will it fare against the Tuono, KTM’s rampant 1290 Super Duke R and BMW’s ballistic S 1000 R? We took to the roads and rode them in the only way they (and we) know how – hard. Read on...


Where are you taking me?


For part of this test we went to Ireland, and the very best way of getting there with your machine is via Stena Line’s superb service. We sailed from Fishguard to Rosslare on the Stena Europe, a crossing which took less than four hours, but was done in complete comfort. For the trip over we chose an early morning crossing, boarding at 1am.

No, I got the last one...

We decided to splurge on one of their four-berth cabins to grab a few hours kip, and woke up refreshed and ready to roll by the time we docked. On the return journey, we made use of the excellent services onboard, enjoying some smashing grub in the Metropolitan grill, romantically watched the sun go down on the deck before a night-cap or three in the Metropolitan Bar, then retiring to a cabin for forty-winks before landing back in Wales. Make sure you look them up if you’re ever travelling over there, for biking or any other pursuits. Check out their website for routes and prices at

Boaty McBoatface

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Special Edition

It’s funny how time, even a relatively short span of the stuff, can be unkind to a bike. The 1290 Super Duke R is a bike that has suffered over its three years of existence. It’s also a bike that both wows and winds me up in equal measure; a real Jekyll and Hyde character and, thus, one which needs two stabs at testing. More of that in a mo.

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About Fast Bikes

Fast Bikes vs World Superbikes - What happened when we took on a former WSB champion using a Yamaha YZF-R1MS on an £18,749 trackday! Used Test: Ducati 848, The Goldilocks Superbike Sopshisticated Strippers - MotoGP RGV250 - and loads more!