Thanks to a healthy dose of Italian design flair, Ducati has earned a reputation for creating the world’s most beautiful motorcycles, and the new for 2009 1198 shows that the company is definitely back on top form. Based on a 1198cc (duh) twin cylinder engine, the bike puts out 170bhp and like all big twin cylinder motors it produces a massive amount of torque. With a dry weight of 171Kg, this stunning machine offers twice the power to weight ratio of a Ferrari Enzo at a fraction of the cost. Although, to be fair, you’d probably pick up a lot more chicks with an Enzo.
Another stunning piece of machinery from Italy, the brand new RSV4 is one of the most agressive looking superbikes ever designed - it looks like it wants to punch you in the nuts and then take your girlfriend for a good hard ride. This bike uses an exotic 999cc V4 engine to deliver 182bhp, whilst keeping the weight down to a respectable 179kg, giving it a very slight power to weight advantage over the Ducati.
BMW HP2 Sport
The Germans might have a well deserved reputation for producing superbly engineered high performance cars, but their motorcycles are as boring as Belgium. With the HP2 Sport, they’re at least making an effort to be a little more exciting, although with the 1170cc Boxer twin motor pumping out just 130bhp, this bike isn’t exactly going to rock your crotch as hard as some of the others here. Still, if you’re a fan of sturdy German engineering, or you just want to buy a superbike that your grandmother can enjoy, this could be what you’re looking for.
Like the Germans, the Americans aren’t really known for producing mental sports bikes. Buell traditionally turns out bad-ass muscle-bikes based on Harley-Davidson V-twin engines, which look pretty awesome but not so much with the cornering. The Buell 1125R represents the company’s first serious attempt to produce a balls-out sportsbike to compete with the Japanese screamers. Cranking out 146bhp and weighing in at 170kg, it’s certainly got some grunt, and with the right colour scheme the styling looks pretty good too.
Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
Sixteen years after Honda tore up the rulebook and redefined sportsbikes, the Fireblade continues to moisten panties around the world. The 2009 model styling might not be to everybody’s taste (we think the front end looks a little wierd) but you can’t question the pedigree - this is the bike that changed everything, and for that we salute it. The engine is a howling 1000cc inline four-cyclinder lump that pumps out 175bhp - more than enough to hurl 199kg of bike down the road at a frightening pace.
Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja
1000cc and 185bhp of bright green awesomeness.
“What bike do you ride?”
“Please bone my wife and daughters. And then me.”
Austrian manufacturer KTM is best known for its off-road bikes, and the RC8 is the company’s first entry into the superbike market, designed to compete directly with other European manufacturers like Ducati and Aprillia. With unique, razor-sharp styling and a gutsy 1148cc V-twin motor producing 151bhp, the RC8 is bound to win a lot of fans.
MV Augusta F4 1078 RR 312
Some people think this is one of the most desirable bikes in the world, while others argue that the front end looks like a bucket of soapy frogs. But whatever you think of the styling you can’t argue with the 190bhp produced by this monster’s 1078cc inline four-cylinder engine which was designed with help from Ferrari Formula One engineers.
Widely regarded amongst superbike riders as the ultimate toy for lunatics, the GSX-R1000 is guaranteed to put an insane grin on your face (and to send you to an early grave if you don’t treat it with total respect). The 2009 model in the picture has only just been unvieled and Suzuki hasn’t released official bhp figures yet, but you can rest assured that it will be somewhere in the region of shit-loads.
Triumph Daytona 675
By far the smallest capacity bike here, Triumph’s Daytona 675 is also a lot lighter than the others at just 162Kg, making it ideal for flicking around those narrow, twisty English country lanes. Its engine uses the three cylinder configuration favoured by the British manufacturer and produces 126bhp, giving it a power to weight ratio far higher than most super-cars. Easily the best thing made in Britain since the Spitfire.
Yamaha YZF R1
When it was originally launched in 1998, Yamaha’s R1 moistened a record number of gussets with its groundbreaking power to weight ratio and game-changing handling, and since then it’s just got better and better. The 2009 model looks sharper than ever and features an all new 998cc inline four cylinder engine capable of producing 180bhp.