The performance of modern literbikes may be intoxicatingly fabulous, but we were becoming a little bored in recent shootouts by having to resort to splitting hairs among the Big Four’s similarly spec’d 1000cc sportbikes. Yamaha gave us a taste of something different last year with the crossplane-crankshaft version of the R1, but it has a small power number and a large weight number, so it wasn’t the game-changer we hoped would shake up the literbike pecking order. We began to feel a yawn coming on.
And that’s why we’re glad 2010 has rolled around, as it sees the introduction of two totally new four-cylinder superbike contenders. Aprilia comes to the party with the first liter-sized V-Four sportbike, while the tech-heavy Germans at BMW present the most powerful production literbike ever, the S1000RR.
At the end of 2009 we started the ball rolling early for our 2010 literbike showdown, pitting a trio of Euro superbikes – all of which are powered by some variant of the Vee engine configuration – against one another. The Aprilia RSV4 Factory came out as our fave over the Italian Stallion Ducati 1198S and KTM’s formidable and refreshingly different RC8R.
At the end of the Euro literbike mêlée we stated our intent to take the V-4 Aprilia, winner of Phase 1 of the Literbike Shootout, and pair it up to the champ of the inline-Four combatants (Phase 2) for what would have ultimately been a three-part, best of the best-type series.
More: 2010 Literbike Shootout: RSV4 R vs S1000RR vs CBR1000RR vs ZX-10R