When it comes to high-performance European and Japanese sports bikes, four manufacturers continuously win the race: Ducati, BMW, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. These motorcycles offer just about every bell and whistle a motorcyclist could want, but how do they stack up against one another? For those in the market for a high performance sports bike, here’s a comparison of four of the top bikes on the road: the Ducati 1199 Panigle, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, the BMW S1000RR, and the Suzuki Hayabusa.
The Ducati and the Kawasaki have similar features, which translates to equally competitive performance standards. With an L-twin engine that achieves 195 horsepower at 10,750 rpm, the Ducati tops out at 177 mph whereas the Kawasaki’s 175 horsepower, 10,000 rpm inline four-cylinder engine hits the 180 mph mark.
The BMW answers back with an inline four-cylinder engine that easily achieves 193 horsepower at 13,000 rpm with an astonishing top speed of 190 mph. Equally as impressive, the Suzuki’s liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine hits top speeds of 186 mph by taking advantage of all 172 horses at 10,100 rpm.
Price and Fuel Economy
Cost is always a major factor for motorcyclists shopping for a new sports bike. The Ducati has an MSRP of $18,995 whereas the Kawasaki has a much lower MSRP of $15,995. The Suzuki comes in at the mid-price range with an MSRP of $17,500 and the BMW tops the price charts with a price tag of $20,750.
Price goes a long way, but fuel economy is an even bigger price point. The Ducati gets 30 miles per gallon even though it only has a wet weight of 420 pounds. The Kawasaki comes in at 443 pounds, but achieves 37 miles per gallon. The BMW has a wet weight of 458 pounds, but still gets an astounding 38.5 MPG and the Suzuki doesn’t disappoint with a wet weight of 592 pounds and 33 MPG.
When it comes to high-performance sports bikes, the proof is in the engine. The Ducati has an 1199cc liquid-cooled Superquadro L-Twin four-cylinder engine and the Kawasaki comes up short with a 998cc liquid-cooled four-stroke, four-cylinder engine that’s still more than capable.
The BMW is head-to-head with the Kawasaki with a 999cc inline four-cylinder engine complete with titanium valves and overhead camshafts. But, the Suzuki takes the powerhouse cake with a whopping 1340cc liquid-cooled, 16-valve DOHC engine that shreds the road with 102 lb-ft of torque.
Sports bikes are notorious for being dangerous, but all four motorcycle manufacturers are doing everything they can to put motorcycle safety first by optimizing their braking systems. The Ducati has semi-floating disc brakes in the front and two-piston caliper ABS brakes in the rear, and the Kawasaki uses front and rear Kawasaki Intelligent anti-lock brakes.
The BMW has four-piston, fixed caliper brakes in the front and single-piston floating caliper anti-lock brakes in the rear whereas the Suzuki uses radial mount disc brakes in the front and hydraulic disc brakes in the rear.
From price to performance, it’s plain to see that the European Ducati and BMW and the Japanese Kawasaki and Suzuki have their own distinct advantages when it comes to the comparison race. When deciding which brand is best, you need to test drive them and decide for yourself.