Posted On 21 Feb 2024
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This entry is part 5 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#23


Yamaha has been doing its homework. “Research shows that the super sports category is becoming more segregated and defined,” says the company (and never mind how companies can talk) with many customers opting to ride a specifically designed road bike on the road and a track bike on race circuits.”

Umm yeah, well maybe so, Mr Y. But how many of us poor schmoos can afford to shell out twice on a modern motorcycle? They are, believe it or not, cheaper than ever in terms of the hours you need to work to buy one, but that doesn’t help when the missus cracks it or the bank manager looks at you with a complete lack of understanding in his rheumy eyes.

“Tell me exactly why you need two sportsbikes?”

We suspect that the vast majority of Australian sportsbike riders will continue to make do with just one of these marvels of mechanical, electronic and just plain chutzpa engineering. So, with the release of so many new litre sportsbikes at Intermot and EICMA, are sportsbikes for the road making a comeback, or will it be the dedicated track machines that get bumped out of the shops?

Sportsbike sales have been declining steadily over the past few years and it will be interesting to see whether the flood of new, high horse-powered road going machines and track only bikes will have a significant impact on sales worldwide. It’s hard to believe that so many manufacturers would have spent the eye-watering sums they have just to bring us bikes that won’t sell (as sportsbikes haven’t in the recent past), or that will sell only as track bikes.

There just isn’t enough money in those quantities. Is there suddenly a substantial demand for track-only bikes? There is some demand, to be sure, but we would not think that it would match even the reduced demand for on-road sportsbikes. Or is there something new in these machines that will make them less likely to cause your licence to self-combust in your pocket, and therefore allow them to sell in substantial numbers?

In substantial enough numbers to provide six or seven manufacturers with an adequate number of sales, too? Unlikely, folks. But perhaps that is the reason for the keen technological battle.

If your bike is the best by a wide enough margin then you will get the sales. Quite a battle to be joining, with no guarantee of success.

These new models may, however, result in a flood of new sports tourers being introduced later in 2015 or 2016 with a lot of the “new technology” features that were first introduced on the high end sportsbikes.

It also seems that the magical “200 horsepower” figure that no one thought would be reached in a production bike just a few years ago, is now the normal figure to have on your litre Sportsbike while the track bikes are beginning to reach for 300 horses. These bikes really are wonders of technology.

Here are some of the track bikes (or near-track bikes) that we think will cause huge interest and, in some cases, satisfactory sales:


The new R1 has received huge interest worldwide, but the special edition R1M track bike is what we think will be an instant sell out for Yamaha.

The R1M will be produced in limited numbers and is aimed at professional race teams and highly experienced riders


Even though the existing GSX-R1000 only has a new paintjob for 2015, it is Suzuki’s re-entry into MotoGP with the GSX-RR that will have Suzuki fans salivating in anticipation of a new litre bike with MotoGP technology – hopefully late next year. We’re sure that Suzuki won’t want to be left behind and will hit the “magical” 200 horsepower mark with a new machine. We like the handling of the GSX-R1000, but it will need some more mumbo to be the machine of choice in the near future.


An exciting reveal at EICMA was this “real” MotoGP bike for the road from Honda. The RC213V-S looks like Honda’s MotoGP bike, but details of power and the other specification level are yet to be revealed. Get your order in now; we feel there’ll be extremely limited numbers and a high price tag – perhaps around $80k.


With all this power and torque of the new litre bikes, the saving grace for you and me is technology. They’re fine for the elite set of racers who have the know-how to ride these bikes at the limit, but we need help.

Ever more refined electronic systems allow the general public to ride safely and lower their lap times on the track while looking like a world superbike racer, if they so choose to do so. But even on the road, when you know that person in the blue shirt isn’t watching, you’ll be able to experience what just a couple of seasons ago was top level, front running machinery.

While manufacturers might be pushing it to make enough sales to make enough money out of all of these innovations, the technology that runs these kinds of machines will hopefully be seen very shortly in sports tourers, tourers and (who knows) even cruisers.

Even if you can’t afford one sportsbike for the road and another for the track, the future of motorcycles is looking very exciting!

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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