Despite a huge downturn in sales, manufacturers seem to have rejected reports of the death of sportsbikes as “premature” with a host of new and more powerful models coming to market.
Sportsbikes used to rule, especially in Australia. But in recent years, the proliferation of speed cameras and heftier fines have caused a downturn in sales. Riders seem to have switched to adventure bikes, cruisers or smaller capacity bikes.
But manufacturers at the Intermot motorcycle show in Cologne last month and at the EICMA show in Milan next month are revealing a new era of faster and faster motorcycles. Or at least, they are using them as a “hero” model to showcase their technological prowess.
The much-hyped supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 and H2R have stolen most of the sportsbike highlights so far, but there have also been updates from Suzuki, BMW and Yamaha sportsbikes.
At the coming ECMA show we will see the Ducati 1299 Panigale with more capacity and power and now details have been leaked of the new MV Agusta F4 SBK with a 5% power boost to 210 horsepower (156kW) and weighing in at just 175kg which is 8% less than the current F4 RR.
MV currently has the world’s fastest production bike in the F4 R 312 which stands for a verified top speed of 312km/h, despite the manufacturers some years ago adopting a 300km/h ceiling to fend off criticism from the authorities. But it is believed the new Kwaka will also break that ceiling.
Of course, the manufacturers will say they are pandering to riders who want to be able to ride their road-legal bike to the race track and then unleash its full potential there. And that’s true, as track days are becoming more and more prevalent.