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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 344 > BASE MODEL BRILLIANCE


Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles of top spec sportsbikes, so we lined up some base-model bullets to see what they had to offer.


Some people wouldn’t be seen dead without their gold chain, sovereign rings and faux-Rolex watch, and it’s definitely true that all that stuff affords even the scummiest of scumbags a real air of sophistication. But some of us, no matter how hard we try, will never be sophisticated anyway, so all the bling just wouldn’t be worth it. And the same goes for litre sports bikes. Yes carbon fibre bodywork, electronic suspension and umpteen levels of electronic engine self-castration helps in the riding department (for the most part anyway), and it makes for a great talking point down the pub or the bikers’ cafe. But do we really need it? Is it worth the extra four or five grand? The base model litre bikes we have lined up here range from £12,199 (for the Fireblade) to £19,259 (for the Panigale) and are, on average, £4,617 cheaper than the higher spec versions which we put to the test at this year’s Sportsbike of the Year (SBOTY). They come with (or should I say without) varying amounts of tech – notably, none of the six bikes on this test comes with electronic suspension, whereas it SBOTY the Honda, the Kawasaki, the Yamaha and the Ducati all did. That doesn’t mean any of them are completely deficient in the technological department though, oh no. All these bikes come with ABS, traction control, various power modes and none of them are, by any means, slow.

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About Fast Bikes

Base model blitz! Massive 6 bike budget shootout - The 2018... Aprilia RSV4 RR // Kawasaki ZX-10R // Ducati V4 Panigale // Suzuki GSX-R1000 // Honda CBR1000RR // Yamaha YZF-R1 Hypersport hoops - the best road & track rubber rated. Ultimate local blast - how to ride the IOM's quickest road. PLUS: Hicky's guide to nailing the Ulster GP. Master Silverstone: Choose the best exhaust // used MV Agusta Brutale 675 // How to buy a BMW HP4 // Do trackdays in the rain. 215 BHP with no traction control - behind the bars of Hawk Suzuki's British Superbike.