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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 329 > SPORTSBIKE OYFEATHRE 2017

SPORTSBIKE OYFEATHRE 2017

GROUP TEST

TIME TO BURN RUBBER

It’s that time of year once again, where we find out exactly what the very best sportsbike on the planet is. So, enjoy, because we bloody well did…

Cruisin…

BRITTANY FERRIES

In our experience, there’s only really one worthwhile way of travelling to France or Spain and that’s aboard one of Brittany Ferries’ finest.

Having used their services for many years now, they are our first port of call every time – pun intended! The boys who drove our truck on either leg of the journey rather enjoyed their time aboard Brittany’s boats, the longer journey to Spain seeing them sample not only a smashing cabin, but a thoroughly enjoyable dose of evening entertainment too. The return journey was on one of the shorter routes from northern France, but again was spent in plush comfort, with good food and facilities to compliment the good company. This year we didn’t ride at all, but having done so many times in the past we know it’s the very best way to swap countries, having a great time while feeling suitably refreshed upon reaching your destination. For times, crossings and any other information, head to www.brittany-ferries.co.uk

THE SBOTY HALL OF FAME

Prior to SBOTY2017, the scores were tied for most winning(ist) manufacturer in the history of this prestigious onslaught. Here’s a list of all the rides that have risen to the top over the years…

2016 S 1000 RR

2015 RSV4 RF

2014 RSV4 FACTORY

2013 RSV4 FACTORY

2012 RSV4 FACTORY

2011 RSV4 FACTORY

2010 S 1000 RR

2009 CBR1000RR

2008 CBR1000RR

2007 GSX-R1000 K7

2006 GSX-R750 K6

2005 GSX-R 1000 K5

2004 YZF-R1

2003 GSX-R1000K3

2002 GSX-R1000 K2

There’s something inherently addictive about sunshine and motorcycles, and beer for that matter. As temperatures rise, manufacturer press fleets begin to blossom and British summertime commences, this can only mean one thing: Fast Bikes’ Sportsbike of the Year. SBOTY really is the most definitive, comprehensive and informative test of current supersports weaponry around. As well as the world’s finest testers – ranging from fast road pilots to fighter pilots – we use a now (sadly) old-school method of scrutinising called ‘honesty’, but mixed with new-fangled technology such as GPS.

Other than noise and ergonomics, the truth is that most bikes feel the same when being ridden at 50 per cent of their abilities, so it’s our job to bring you a no-nonsense verdict and cut the peng from the pong. All of these bikes feel brilliant in isolation. It’s about dissecting every strand and delivering a concise conclusion.

The observant among you will have clocked just eight bikes in the 2017 line-up, rather than the de rigueur ten. Simply put, with bugger-all 600s on offer, very few middleweight options, and MV Agusta’s failure to provide bikes (namely the F4 RC and new F3 800), only eight deserve to make the cut anyway.

Thanks to Euro 4, 2017 is a new bike fest, so SBOTY has a veritable feast of fresh entrants this term. Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated players are the Honda Fireblade and Suzuki’s GSX-R1000R, both boasting all-new pedigree for this season. While the Suzuki claimed top spot in our road-only shootout last month, it has an onslaught of rivalry to contend with in Portugal – and must prove itself on the stopwatch.

Other new bikes for 2017 include Yamaha’s updated R6, which isn’t here solely to make up the numbers. The last of a dying breed of 600s, 2017’s changes are subtle to say the least, but R6s have always performed admirably at SBOTY. Talking of performers, the Aprilia RSV4 has romped to five consecutive test victories in the past, and rolls into 2017 in the heavily modified RF guise – far more than just a Euro 4 makeover. The same couldn’t be said for Yamaha’s R1M and BMW’s S 1000 RR, although that matters little for the reigning SBOTY champion from Bavaria. Mmm, beer…

Kawasaki was the first to deliver Euro 4 superbike offerings last season. For 2017, the Big K got all homologation on our arses and released the ZX-10RR. Does the Rea rep’ have enough in its armoury? Finally, unchanged for this year as the sole Euro 3 contender, Ducati’s 1299 Panigale S makes what could be a final appearance before Bologna’s superbike range gets revamped in 2018.

One again we’re back at Portimao for a fourth consecutive year. The Algarve track offers an unrivalled host of challenges and gives any bike a thorough workout – it’s the Jane Fonda of circuits. And, of course, we have a control tyre to keep things fair, with all SBOTY competitors receiving a grip upgrade courtesy of Bridgestone’s brilliant R10.

In the market for fresh metal? Read on. Just interested? Read on anyway. It doesn’t get any better than this…

Yamaha YZF-R6

GROUP TEST

Not the fastest lapper, but nearly the most fun!

GARY’S… BEST LOOKER

In matt black, the R6 was the sexiest bike on test. It looked an absolute weapon.

Ialways thought Black Beauty was a horse, or a pornstar, depending on my state of mind. It turns out that, for 2017, it’s the new R6, which was undoubtedly the busiest steed at SBOTY and hilariously fun given the power shortage. While the litre clan resembled mild euthanasia clinics on wheels, the lil’ Yammy provided easy peasy sessions for the mind, body and soul. It was a toy – in every sense of the word.

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About Fast Bikes

Welcome to the Summer 2017 issue. This month, a digital exclusive... Watch 10 videos from our massive Sportsbike of the year feature. 8 of the best but only 1 winner! Plus, Honda CBR600RR Buyer's guide, BMW HP4 race, Ponies for pennies, Wanna race the TT? Know your suspension, The two-stroke comeback, best used bike investments. Fast Bikes is home to the best sportsbike tests on the planet and is packed with new bike launches, technical insight, hardcore action, masterclasses, racing, reviews and loads more.
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