The current crop of superbikes is, on the whole, extremely fast off the line and has a heck of an impressive top speed. Two of the fastest drag race in this fun video which may exemplify that old truism, “it ain’t the bike, it’s the rider.”
Both bikes look like current-year models, so let’s take a look at their numbers for comparison. The 2019 Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1100 has a 1078cc, 65 degree V4 engine in it that puts out 217hp and 122nm (about 90ft-lbs) of torque. It has launch control, traction control and wheelie control. It weighs 199kg wet (not quite 439lbs).
The 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 has a 998cc inline-four engine that puts out 200hp and 112nm (82.6 ft-lbs) of torque. It comes with Yamaha’s proprietary “Inertial Measurement Unit” which houses a gyro and accelerometer, and all of that feeds information to the “Yamaha Ride Control” in the form of traction control, slide control, launch control and lift control; it also has a quick-shift system that rev-matches for the rider. It weighs 441lbs wet.
All of those fancy electronics on the Yamaha seem to trump the bit of extra horsepower and torque the Aprilia deliver. Even though the R1 obviously launches its front wheel on takeoff and the Aprilia ends the second race a few miles an hour faster, perhaps the electronics on the Yamaha are just a little bit better and allow the rider to really whack the throttle open without worrying too much about spinning the rear tire or cartwheeling the bike.
This is the kind of case in which I’d love to see the riders swap bikes and try again. These very close drag races are more often decided by the reaction of the rider on takeoff, and not the bikes themselves.
Knowing that the performance of these two is so close, though, if you are in the market you might be swayed by their respective retail prices. The Aprilia retails for about $24,500 US, and the R1 for $16,700 USD. Would you pay that much more for the Italian?