​That EPO Study You’re Reading About May Not Tell The Full Story

After two decades of being told that the banned blood booster EPO has had a devastating effect on endurance sports, the world got some surprising news this week from a newly-published study, which contends that EPO does not actually improve real-world cycling performance. (To get proven results, legally, check out Maximum Overload for Cyclists)

The study, published Thursday in the journal Lancet Haematology, claims that athletes on EPO did not actually ride faster than those given a placebo treatment. It was widely covered in mainstream media, with the Associated Press and Agence France Presse running stories under headlines like “Study Shows Doping Drug EPO Gives No Edge to Serious Cyclists” (AP, via ESPN) and “Blood Doping Doesn’t Work – For Amateurs, Anyway” (AFP).

Tired of doping news? Watch this mini horse pick Grand Tour Winners:

But already on Thursday and Friday, pushback came from sports scientists and coaches, who were surprised by the somewhat stark terms presented by the study authors, and who questioned whether the study really shows what the authors contend it does.

Dr. Mark Burnley, a physiology professor at the University of Kent and noted expert in endurance physiology, took to Twitter to criticize the study as “quite frankly, awful,” noting several flaws. (Gregoire Millet, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Lausanne, tweeted “100 percent agree!” and Ross Tucker, the physiologist and writer known for the Science in Sport blog, also said he agreed with Dr. Burnley’s verdict.)

Several of the issues noted:

-the EPO group did actually improve compared to the placebo group; their hemoglobin concentration, maximal power output and VO2Max, among other measures, all tested higher than the placebo group. Net improvements for V02Max and Maximal power, for instance, were about five percent improved relative to the control group, which the authors note is “in line with” effects from previous studies. In fact, in every laboratory measure of maximal exercise capacity in this study, improvements in the EPO group outstripped the control group (and in several cases, the EPO group started from lower absolute baseline values, for which the estimated difference values at study end do not account).

RELATED: The 5 Weirdest Ways to Cheat on a Bike

-The authors also measured, but did not control, the training programs of the study subjects, which were assessed only in terms of hours (average 5-6/week), distance (average 185-200km/week) and overall average power output during rides. No attempt was made to control for differences in training quality.

Mont Ventoux, site of the field test, is often featured in the Tour de France. It also has some of the windiest weather in western Europe, which might have affected results. The day of the test, the authors noted that winds at the summit were 85 kph, or 52mph, and two riders from each group were unable to complete the ride due to exhaustion.

-The authors’ results focused on the effect on sub-maximal (below threshold) performance.

That last one’s key. Much was made of the fact that the EPO group was, on average, a few seconds slower than the control group in the uphill time trial on Ventoux. But that was a sub-threshold effort, not a test of maximal performance . (And it’s a little puzzling that four supposedly trained amateur athletes got so fatigued they were unable to complete a sub-two hour ride at sub-maximal intensity.) This is important because EPO’s impact on maximal efforts is why it’s likely so effective.

RELATED: Lactic Threshold 101

One of the ways that EPO is thought to work is by improving an athlete’s ability to do repeated above-threshold efforts and still recover in the race, partly by increasing lactate buffering capacity. The data from the new study, as with previous ones, supports these maximal intensity improvements. In terms of sub-maximal work, one of the primary benefits showed by EPO use in previous studies was increased time to exhaustion, which the new study did not measure.

Basically: the effect of EPO may depend on what you’re measuring, and the authors of this study focused on a different measure than previous studies: one that likely doesn’t have as much to do with performance in actual races. As with this study, most previous work on EPO’s effect on performance tested both sub-maximal and maximal efforts. The results aren’t uniform, but they do have broad similarities, including that the effect of EPO seems most visible at maximal exercise intensity.

“The limiting factor to performance in recreationally fit subjects is likely to be different to Tour de France riders, who train and race for 4 to 5 hours a day,” says Dr. Rob Child of the Elite Sports Group, which counts several pro cyclists among its clients, including two-time Tour stage winner Steve Cummings. For Tour pros, Child says, “oxygen-carrying capacity could be more of a performance determinant than in recreational athletes, who might be more limited by cardiac output, respiratory muscle fatigue, or lack of fuel availability.” And that’s particularly important when we consider that so much concern about doping relates to pro cyclists and other highly trained athletes.

RELATED: 14 Questions You’ve Always Had about the Tour de France

Most coaches—and riders—would argue that what separates very good cyclists from great ones is what happens in those key max-effort moments: the ability to put down an above-threshold attack on a climb and then recover at or slightly below threshold. Even the data from the new study suggest that these factors are affected by EPO use.

This study got noted because it pushes back in the face of existing scientific research and also the anecdotal evidence from endurance sports like cycling. But it’s worth noting that those results are focused on one element of physical performance—sub-maximal efforts—that may not be directly relevant to how EPO actually improves performance, especially in elite or highly trained athletes. Ultimately, faced with the other scientific research and with 20 years of direct evidence of the effect of oxygen-vector doping on endurance sports, we’d have to say: it’s not magic, but EPO almost certainly does work.

​101753 Source: http://ift.tt/eRBKpx

​First Look: Liv Langma Advanced SL 0

As some brands move away from female-specific geometry, Liv has jumped in head-first with a new women’s lightweight road bike designed specifically for climbing in road races. (Ready to take your training to the next level and climb like a pro? Check out our Maximum Overload for Cyclists training program!)

Liv has had the race-ready Envie for some time now and our editors love the aero frame and deep carbon wheels— but it isn’t necessarily designed to tackle big climbs— it excels more in stiffness than weight savings. That’s where the Langma comes in. Named after the Tibetan word for Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, the Langma is designed to for the climbing-focused road racer to help them ‘fly to the summit’.

RELATED: 8 Awesome Women’s Road Bikes for 2017

This isn’t just a version of the men’s TCR with female-specific touch points; the engineers at Liv started from the beginning to create this model, using global anatomical data to create models of the ideal climbing position for a female. The engineers also relied heavily on input from Team Sunweb riders like Coryn Rivera and Lucinda Brand.

Be sure to avoid these five mistakes before your next ride: 

The top of the Langma line is the SL 0 which comes in at a claimed 6.05 kg for a size Small. The weight is achieved through narrow tubing with a few oversized sections at the bottom bracket and at the junction of the seat tube, top tube, and integrated seat post of advanced grade composite frame material, something Liv calls ‘tuned stiffness’. To keep the weight down, the bike comes stock with slim profile Giant SLR 0 Composite wheels and tubeless tires. All said, this is the lightest bike that Liv or Giant has ever produced.

Liv Langma headset
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

Liv used Giant’s Contact SLR Flux stem to increase the aerodynamics of the bike— the brand claims this reduces drag by 1.75 percent.

The Langma will be offered at a variety of levels, with the SL 0 being priced at $9,800 and the entry-level Langma Advanced 3 being offered at $1,700. The SL 0 is not offered with disc brakes, but two other models in the line are equipped with disc brakes and thru axles. The line can accommodate a large range of sizes running through XXS to L.

Ride Impressions

The SL 0 that I tested in Follina, Italy comes standard with Sram eTap and a Quarq power meter, which I felt was a great touch to complete race-ready bike. We took the bikes up two substantial climbs; the second was a 10-mile climb that clocked in at almost 3,500 feet!

Liv Langma on road
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

RELATED: Ride All Day with the Liv Avail Advanced 1

I am happiest powering through sprints, but I could definitely feel the benefit of the Langma on the ups. When the steep pitches of the climb leveled out to a steady grade towards the end, I took advantage of the light, stiff frame and made a real effort to accelerate. The bike seemed to fly up to the top of the climb (and I snagged 3rd on that Strava segment!).

The roads up the climb were not always the smoothest, but the bike floated over broken pavement, gravel, and road debris.

Best of all, the Langma doesn’t necessarily sacrifice speed for climbing ability; I was concerned that it would have a more upright feel because of its climbing focus— but it felt great pretty much out of the box. I removed all of the headset spacers but one and was able to get into a low, fast and comfortable position for trucking along on flat sections of road.

Liv Langma
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

I even had the opportunity to open up a sprint or two on the winding roads into town, and the bike had a very snappy response. The Langma shares the oversized Powercore bottom bracket with the more sprint-focused Envie, and I credit a lot of the stiffness and snap to that. Liv admits that it is not the stiffest bike in the world, but says their goal was to find optimal stiffness for climbers, 

The Langma descended well, but did not have the aggressive handling as some other race bikes. I would be interested to get this bike into a bunch race and see how it maneuvers through a group. Bicycling will be doing a more in depth review of the Langma in the future.

Liv Langma​100728 Source: http://ift.tt/eRBKpx

​First Look: Liv Langma Advanced SL 0

As some brands move away from female-specific geometry, Liv has jumped in head-first with a new women’s lightweight road bike designed specifically for climbing in road races. (Ready to take your training to the next level and climb like a pro? Check out our Maximum Overload for Cyclists training program!)

Liv has had the race-ready Envie for some time now and our editors love the aero frame and deep carbon wheels— but it isn’t necessarily designed to tackle big climbs— it excels more in stiffness than weight savings. That’s where the Langma comes in. Named after the Tibetan word for Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, the Langma is designed to for the climbing-focused road racer to help them ‘fly to the summit’.

RELATED: 8 Awesome Women’s Road Bikes for 2017

This isn’t just a version of the men’s TCR with female-specific touch points; the engineers at Liv started from the beginning to create this model, using global anatomical data to create models of the ideal climbing position for a female. The engineers also relied heavily on input from Team Sunweb riders like Coryn Rivera and Lucinda Brand.

Be sure to avoid these five mistakes before your next ride: 

The top of the Langma line is the SL 0 which comes in at a claimed 6.05 kg for a size Small. The weight is achieved through narrow tubing with a few oversized sections at the bottom bracket and at the junction of the seat tube, top tube, and integrated seat post of advanced grade composite frame material, something Liv calls ‘tuned stiffness’. To keep the weight down, the bike comes stock with slim profile Giant SLR 0 Composite wheels and tubeless tires. All said, this is the lightest bike that Liv or Giant has ever produced.

Liv Langma headset
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

Liv used Giant’s Contact SLR Flux stem to increase the aerodynamics of the bike— the brand claims this reduces drag by 1.75 percent.

The Langma will be offered at a variety of levels, with the SL 0 being priced at $9,800 and the entry-level Langma Advanced 3 being offered at $1,700. The SL 0 is not offered with disc brakes, but two other models in the line are equipped with disc brakes and thru axles. The line can accommodate a large range of sizes running through XXS to L.

Ride Impressions

The SL 0 that I tested in Follina, Italy comes standard with Sram eTap and a Quarq power meter, which I felt was a great touch to complete race-ready bike. We took the bikes up two substantial climbs; the second was a 10-mile climb that clocked in at almost 3,500 feet!

Liv Langma on road
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

RELATED: Ride All Day with the Liv Avail Advanced 1

I am happiest powering through sprints, but I could definitely feel the benefit of the Langma on the ups. When the steep pitches of the climb leveled out to a steady grade towards the end, I took advantage of the light, stiff frame and made a real effort to accelerate. The bike seemed to fly up to the top of the climb (and I snagged 3rd on that Strava segment!).

The roads up the climb were not always the smoothest, but the bike floated over broken pavement, gravel, and road debris.

Best of all, the Langma doesn’t necessarily sacrifice speed for climbing ability; I was concerned that it would have a more upright feel because of its climbing focus— but it felt great pretty much out of the box. I removed all of the headset spacers but one and was able to get into a low, fast and comfortable position for trucking along on flat sections of road.

Liv Langma
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

I even had the opportunity to open up a sprint or two on the winding roads into town, and the bike had a very snappy response. The Langma shares the oversized Powercore bottom bracket with the more sprint-focused Envie, and I credit a lot of the stiffness and snap to that. Liv admits that it is not the stiffest bike in the world, but says their goal was to find optimal stiffness for climbers, 

The Langma descended well, but did not have the aggressive handling as some other race bikes. I would be interested to get this bike into a bunch race and see how it maneuvers through a group. Bicycling will be doing a more in depth review of the Langma in the future.

Liv Langma​100728 Source: http://ift.tt/eRBKpx

​First Look: Liv Langma Advanced SL 0

As some brands move away from female-specific geometry, Liv has jumped in head-first with a new women’s lightweight road bike designed specifically for climbing in road races. (Ready to take your training to the next level and climb like a pro? Check out our Maximum Overload for Cyclists training program!)

Liv has had the race-ready Envie for some time now and our editors love the aero frame and deep carbon wheels— but it isn’t necessarily designed to tackle big climbs— it excels more in stiffness than weight savings. That’s where the Langma comes in. Named after the Tibetan word for Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, the Langma is designed to for the climbing-focused road racer to help them ‘fly to the summit’.

RELATED: 8 Awesome Women’s Road Bikes for 2017

This isn’t just a version of the men’s TCR with female-specific touch points; the engineers at Liv started from the beginning to create this model, using global anatomical data to create models of the ideal climbing position for a female. The engineers also relied heavily on input from Team Sunweb riders like Coryn Rivera and Lucinda Brand.

Be sure to avoid these five mistakes before your next ride: 

The top of the Langma line is the SL 0 which comes in at a claimed 6.05 kg for a size Small. The weight is achieved through narrow tubing with a few oversized sections at the bottom bracket and at the junction of the seat tube, top tube, and integrated seat post of advanced grade composite frame material, something Liv calls ‘tuned stiffness’. To keep the weight down, the bike comes stock with slim profile Giant SLR 0 Composite wheels and tubeless tires. All said, this is the lightest bike that Liv or Giant has ever produced.

Liv Langma headset
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

Liv used Giant’s Contact SLR Flux stem to increase the aerodynamics of the bike— the brand claims this reduces drag by 1.75 percent.

The Langma will be offered at a variety of levels, with the SL 0 being priced at $9,800 and the entry-level Langma Advanced 3 being offered at $1,700. The SL 0 is not offered with disc brakes, but two other models in the line are equipped with disc brakes and thru axles. The line can accommodate a large range of sizes running through XXS to L.

Ride Impressions

The SL 0 that I tested in Follina, Italy comes standard with Sram eTap and a Quarq power meter, which I felt was a great touch to complete race-ready bike. We took the bikes up two substantial climbs; the second was a 10-mile climb that clocked in at almost 3,500 feet!

Liv Langma on road
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

RELATED: Ride All Day with the Liv Avail Advanced 1

I am happiest powering through sprints, but I could definitely feel the benefit of the Langma on the ups. When the steep pitches of the climb leveled out to a steady grade towards the end, I took advantage of the light, stiff frame and made a real effort to accelerate. The bike seemed to fly up to the top of the climb (and I snagged 3rd on that Strava segment!).

The roads up the climb were not always the smoothest, but the bike floated over broken pavement, gravel, and road debris.

Best of all, the Langma doesn’t necessarily sacrifice speed for climbing ability; I was concerned that it would have a more upright feel because of its climbing focus— but it felt great pretty much out of the box. I removed all of the headset spacers but one and was able to get into a low, fast and comfortable position for trucking along on flat sections of road.

Liv Langma
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

I even had the opportunity to open up a sprint or two on the winding roads into town, and the bike had a very snappy response. The Langma shares the oversized Powercore bottom bracket with the more sprint-focused Envie, and I credit a lot of the stiffness and snap to that. Liv admits that it is not the stiffest bike in the world, but says their goal was to find optimal stiffness for climbers, 

The Langma descended well, but did not have the aggressive handling as some other race bikes. I would be interested to get this bike into a bunch race and see how it maneuvers through a group. Bicycling will be doing a more in depth review of the Langma in the future.

Liv Langma​100728 Source: http://ift.tt/eRBKpx

​First Look: Liv Langma Advanced SL 0

As some brands move away from female-specific geometry, Liv has jumped in head-first with a new women’s lightweight road bike designed specifically for climbing in road races. (Ready to take your training to the next level and climb like a pro? Check out our Maximum Overload for Cyclists training program!)

Liv has had the race-ready Envie for some time now and our editors love the aero frame and deep carbon wheels— but it isn’t necessarily designed to tackle big climbs— it excels more in stiffness than weight savings. That’s where the Langma comes in. Named after the Tibetan word for Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, the Langma is designed to for the climbing-focused road racer to help them ‘fly to the summit’.

RELATED: 8 Awesome Women’s Road Bikes for 2017

This isn’t just a version of the men’s TCR with female-specific touch points; the engineers at Liv started from the beginning to create this model, using global anatomical data to create models of the ideal climbing position for a female. The engineers also relied heavily on input from Team Sunweb riders like Coryn Rivera and Lucinda Brand.

Be sure to avoid these five mistakes before your next ride: 

The top of the Langma line is the SL 0 which comes in at a claimed 6.05 kg for a size Small. The weight is achieved through narrow tubing with a few oversized sections at the bottom bracket and at the junction of the seat tube, top tube, and integrated seat post of advanced grade composite frame material, something Liv calls ‘tuned stiffness’. To keep the weight down, the bike comes stock with slim profile Giant SLR 0 Composite wheels and tubeless tires. All said, this is the lightest bike that Liv or Giant has ever produced.

Liv Langma headset
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

Liv used Giant’s Contact SLR Flux stem to increase the aerodynamics of the bike— the brand claims this reduces drag by 1.75 percent.

The Langma will be offered at a variety of levels, with the SL 0 being priced at $9,800 and the entry-level Langma Advanced 3 being offered at $1,700. The SL 0 is not offered with disc brakes, but two other models in the line are equipped with disc brakes and thru axles. The line can accommodate a large range of sizes running through XXS to L.

Ride Impressions

The SL 0 that I tested in Follina, Italy comes standard with Sram eTap and a Quarq power meter, which I felt was a great touch to complete race-ready bike. We took the bikes up two substantial climbs; the second was a 10-mile climb that clocked in at almost 3,500 feet!

Liv Langma on road
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

RELATED: Ride All Day with the Liv Avail Advanced 1

I am happiest powering through sprints, but I could definitely feel the benefit of the Langma on the ups. When the steep pitches of the climb leveled out to a steady grade towards the end, I took advantage of the light, stiff frame and made a real effort to accelerate. The bike seemed to fly up to the top of the climb (and I snagged 3rd on that Strava segment!).

The roads up the climb were not always the smoothest, but the bike floated over broken pavement, gravel, and road debris.

Best of all, the Langma doesn’t necessarily sacrifice speed for climbing ability; I was concerned that it would have a more upright feel because of its climbing focus— but it felt great pretty much out of the box. I removed all of the headset spacers but one and was able to get into a low, fast and comfortable position for trucking along on flat sections of road.

Liv Langma
Image courtesy of Liv Cycling

I even had the opportunity to open up a sprint or two on the winding roads into town, and the bike had a very snappy response. The Langma shares the oversized Powercore bottom bracket with the more sprint-focused Envie, and I credit a lot of the stiffness and snap to that. Liv admits that it is not the stiffest bike in the world, but says their goal was to find optimal stiffness for climbers, 

The Langma descended well, but did not have the aggressive handling as some other race bikes. I would be interested to get this bike into a bunch race and see how it maneuvers through a group. Bicycling will be doing a more in depth review of the Langma in the future.

Liv Langma​100728 Source: http://ift.tt/eRBKpx

2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher

For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…

An interesting breakdown of how we came to our conclusion.

With seven bikes demanding seven riders (eight considering there was a separate guest tester for the street test vs. the track test) over the course of multiple days on public roads and multiple trackdays, scales, dyno runs, tire changes, suspension settings, electronics variables, photos, videos – it’s an exhausting undertaking. A labor of love, but also of critical evaluation, analysis, and, yes, math.

Objective Scores
EBR 1190RX 97.48%
Suzuki GSX-R1000 94.08%
Yamaha YZF-R1 91.16%
Honda CBR1000RR 91.13%
Kawasaki ZX-10R 90.50%
Aprilia RSV4 RR 89.03%
BMW S1000RR 87.81%

The MO Scorecard is divided into Objective and Subjective scoring sections. The Objective section has four fact-based categories (Price, Weight, Pounds per HP, Pounds per lb-ft of torque), worth a grand total of 210 points (total points determined by the amount of bikes in the test). Looking at only the Objective scores reveals an outcome of another nature, and spotlights why it’s important to ride and subjectively score the bikes, because numbers on paper do not determine a superbike shootout winner.

With an MSRP of $13,995 the EBR 1190RX handily won the Price category, and by virtue of its relatively light weight and largest displacement engine took all the points in the Pounds per lb-ft of torque category. The EBR was the only bike to win two Objective categories. The two most powerful bikes, Aprilia and BMW, found themselves at the bottom of the Objective category largely because of price and weight, even though the two shared top honors in the Pounds per HP category.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

If the EBR was so dominant in the Objective category, why didn’t it place better overall? Because Objective scoring in a shootout consisting of seven bikes carries a total of 210 points, whereas Subjective scoring among seven testers totals 840 points, imposing a more significant judgement. This is where a bike’s nuances really come into play, but even then the separation between machines is oftentimes microscopically minimal. A perfect example is the 0.03% difference between the Kawasaki and Yamaha in the final combined scores. Hypothetically, a small price change between the Kawasaki and Yamaha could rearrange the two bikes’ finishing positions.

“The top two bikes for me (Aprilia and Honda) were pretty clear and took few thought units,” says guest tester Thai Long Ly. “The third step of the podium is where things get crowded. “Here, something as trivial as cruise control (on a sportbike, that is) could put one bike ahead of another – they’re all that evenly matched.”

Subjective Scores
Street Track Combined
1 Aprilia RSV4 RR 94.97% Aprilia RSV4 RR 95.03% Aprilia RSV4 RR 95.00%
2 BMW S1000RR 93.13% BMW S1000RR 92.86% BMW S1000RR 92.99%
3 Honda CBR1000RR 92.02% Honda CBR1000RR 92.14% Honda CBR1000RR 92.14%
4 Kawasaki ZX-10R 88.90% Yamaha YZF-R1 90.21% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.21%
5 Suzuki GSX-R1000 88.87% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.52% Suzuki GSX-R1000 89.08%
6 Yamaha YZF-R1 87.83 Suzuki GSX-R1000 89.29% Yamaha YZF-R1 89.02%
7 EBR 1190RX 83.48% EBR 1190RX 81.76% EBR 1190RX 82.62%

Unlike Subjective scores, Objective scores remain the same regardless of venue; street or track. For the testers involved in both the street and track shootouts, it was painfully obvious the Yamaha was a much better track bike than it is street bike – mainly because of ergonomics – and the Subjective scores reflect that sentiment with the Yamaha moving from sixth place in the street Scorecard to fourth place in the track Scorecard.

“Ergos are fine on the racetrack, where you are too terrified to feel pain,” Burnsie poignantly states.

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

Interestingly, when we published our track shootout we reported the Honda CBR1000RR as placing second, ahead of the mighty BMW S1000RR. A correct statement when looking at the combined overall scores which accounts for both Objective and Subjective scores (see chart below). What went unmentioned is that according to Subjective scores, testers still preferred the BMW over the Honda. It was the extra price of the BMW’s Prestige Package ($3,150) that cost the S1000RR second place in the track shootout. However, the BMW’s street and track scores were marginally higher than the Honda’s, awarding the BMW the overall second-place trophy. But not by much, with only 0.06% separating the two.

Overall Scores
Street Track Combined
1 Aprilia RSV4 RR 93.78% Aprilia RSV4 RR 93.83% Aprilia RSV4 RR 93.80%
2 BMW S1000RR 92.06% Honda CBR1000RR 91.94% BMW S1000RR 91.95%
3 Honda CBR1000RR 91.84% BMW S1000RR 91.85% Honda CBR1000RR 91.89%
4 Suzuki GSX-R1000 89.91% Yamaha YZF-R1 90.40% Suzuki GSX-R1000 90.08%
5 Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.22% Suzuki GSX-R1000 90.25% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.47%
6 Yamaha YZF-R1 88.49% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.72% Yamaha YZF-R1 89.44%
7 EBR 1190RX 86.28% EBR 1190RX 84.90% EBR 1190RX 85.59%

Leaving us with the Aprilia RSV4 RR, which unequivocally won each category of the scorecard, defeating the second-place BMW in the street shootout by 1.72%, defeating the second place Honda in the track shootout by 1.89%, and winning the overall by 1.85% over the BMW. The Aprilia’s win is a veritable landslide victory considering the slim margins between other bikes in the shootout.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

So, our 2016 Sportbike of the Year can now add 2017 Superbike Shootout Champion to its mantle of MO awards. Here’s E-i-C Kevin Duke to explain why the Aprilia is so damn good.

“It’s phenomenal that you can get a magical piece of Italian exotica like this for less than the price Honda charges for its CBR with the optional auto-blipping quickshifter,” he says. “Not only is the ’Priller far more exotic, it also boasts Cornering ABS, independent wheelie control and on-the-fly-adjustable traction control by dedicated finger/thumb toggles. Oh, and let’s not forget that mellifluous V-4 soundtrack that Honda probably wishes it could match like it could back in the glorious RC30/45 days.”

And from MO’s Editorial Director, Sean Alexander comes these wise words of wisdom. “At these prices, my opinion is that you’d be crazy not to buy the Aprilia or EBR, why be normal?” he says. “Seriously, you can get another inline-four, even one with a ton of bells and whistles, but it’ll just be a fast tool like all the rest. At least with the Aprilia and Buell, you’re getting something a bit less common.”

For those who may have missed them the first time around, below are the videos from our Street and our Track episodes.

Street:

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Track:

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2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Source: http://ift.tt/Xzx9iy

2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher

For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…

An interesting breakdown of how we came to our conclusion.

With seven bikes demanding seven riders (eight considering there was a separate guest tester for the street test vs. the track test) over the course of multiple days on public roads and multiple trackdays, scales, dyno runs, tire changes, suspension settings, electronics variables, photos, videos – it’s an exhausting undertaking. A labor of love, but also of critical evaluation, analysis, and, yes, math.

Objective Scores
EBR 1190RX 97.48%
Suzuki GSX-R1000 94.08%
Yamaha YZF-R1 91.16%
Honda CBR1000RR 91.13%
Kawasaki ZX-10R 90.50%
Aprilia RSV4 RR 89.03%
BMW S1000RR 87.81%

The MO Scorecard is divided into Objective and Subjective scoring sections. The Objective section has four fact-based categories (Price, Weight, Pounds per HP, Pounds per lb-ft of torque), worth a grand total of 210 points (total points determined by the amount of bikes in the test). Looking at only the Objective scores reveals an outcome of another nature, and spotlights why it’s important to ride and subjectively score the bikes, because numbers on paper do not determine a superbike shootout winner.

With an MSRP of $13,995 the EBR 1190RX handily won the Price category, and by virtue of its relatively light weight and largest displacement engine took all the points in the Pounds per lb-ft of torque category. The EBR was the only bike to win two Objective categories. The two most powerful bikes, Aprilia and BMW, found themselves at the bottom of the Objective category largely because of price and weight, even though the two shared top honors in the Pounds per HP category.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

If the EBR was so dominant in the Objective category, why didn’t it place better overall? Because Objective scoring in a shootout consisting of seven bikes carries a total of 210 points, whereas Subjective scoring among seven testers totals 840 points, imposing a more significant judgement. This is where a bike’s nuances really come into play, but even then the separation between machines is oftentimes microscopically minimal. A perfect example is the 0.03% difference between the Kawasaki and Yamaha in the final combined scores. Hypothetically, a small price change between the Kawasaki and Yamaha could rearrange the two bikes’ finishing positions.

“The top two bikes for me (Aprilia and Honda) were pretty clear and took few thought units,” says guest tester Thai Long Ly. “The third step of the podium is where things get crowded. “Here, something as trivial as cruise control (on a sportbike, that is) could put one bike ahead of another – they’re all that evenly matched.”

Subjective Scores
Street Track Combined
1 Aprilia RSV4 RR 94.97% Aprilia RSV4 RR 95.03% Aprilia RSV4 RR 95.00%
2 BMW S1000RR 93.13% BMW S1000RR 92.86% BMW S1000RR 92.99%
3 Honda CBR1000RR 92.02% Honda CBR1000RR 92.14% Honda CBR1000RR 92.14%
4 Kawasaki ZX-10R 88.90% Yamaha YZF-R1 90.21% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.21%
5 Suzuki GSX-R1000 88.87% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.52% Suzuki GSX-R1000 89.08%
6 Yamaha YZF-R1 87.83 Suzuki GSX-R1000 89.29% Yamaha YZF-R1 89.02%
7 EBR 1190RX 83.48% EBR 1190RX 81.76% EBR 1190RX 82.62%

Unlike Subjective scores, Objective scores remain the same regardless of venue; street or track. For the testers involved in both the street and track shootouts, it was painfully obvious the Yamaha was a much better track bike than it is street bike – mainly because of ergonomics – and the Subjective scores reflect that sentiment with the Yamaha moving from sixth place in the street Scorecard to fourth place in the track Scorecard.

“Ergos are fine on the racetrack, where you are too terrified to feel pain,” Burnsie poignantly states.

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

Interestingly, when we published our track shootout we reported the Honda CBR1000RR as placing second, ahead of the mighty BMW S1000RR. A correct statement when looking at the combined overall scores which accounts for both Objective and Subjective scores (see chart below). What went unmentioned is that according to Subjective scores, testers still preferred the BMW over the Honda. It was the extra price of the BMW’s Prestige Package ($3,150) that cost the S1000RR second place in the track shootout. However, the BMW’s street and track scores were marginally higher than the Honda’s, awarding the BMW the overall second-place trophy. But not by much, with only 0.06% separating the two.

Overall Scores
Street Track Combined
1 Aprilia RSV4 RR 93.78% Aprilia RSV4 RR 93.83% Aprilia RSV4 RR 93.80%
2 BMW S1000RR 92.06% Honda CBR1000RR 91.94% BMW S1000RR 91.95%
3 Honda CBR1000RR 91.84% BMW S1000RR 91.85% Honda CBR1000RR 91.89%
4 Suzuki GSX-R1000 89.91% Yamaha YZF-R1 90.40% Suzuki GSX-R1000 90.08%
5 Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.22% Suzuki GSX-R1000 90.25% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.47%
6 Yamaha YZF-R1 88.49% Kawasaki ZX-10R 89.72% Yamaha YZF-R1 89.44%
7 EBR 1190RX 86.28% EBR 1190RX 84.90% EBR 1190RX 85.59%

Leaving us with the Aprilia RSV4 RR, which unequivocally won each category of the scorecard, defeating the second-place BMW in the street shootout by 1.72%, defeating the second place Honda in the track shootout by 1.89%, and winning the overall by 1.85% over the BMW. The Aprilia’s win is a veritable landslide victory considering the slim margins between other bikes in the shootout.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

So, our 2016 Sportbike of the Year can now add 2017 Superbike Shootout Champion to its mantle of MO awards. Here’s E-i-C Kevin Duke to explain why the Aprilia is so damn good.

“It’s phenomenal that you can get a magical piece of Italian exotica like this for less than the price Honda charges for its CBR with the optional auto-blipping quickshifter,” he says. “Not only is the ’Priller far more exotic, it also boasts Cornering ABS, independent wheelie control and on-the-fly-adjustable traction control by dedicated finger/thumb toggles. Oh, and let’s not forget that mellifluous V-4 soundtrack that Honda probably wishes it could match like it could back in the glorious RC30/45 days.”

And from MO’s Editorial Director, Sean Alexander comes these wise words of wisdom. “At these prices, my opinion is that you’d be crazy not to buy the Aprilia or EBR, why be normal?” he says. “Seriously, you can get another inline-four, even one with a ton of bells and whistles, but it’ll just be a fast tool like all the rest. At least with the Aprilia and Buell, you’re getting something a bit less common.”

For those who may have missed them the first time around, below are the videos from our Street and our Track episodes.

Street:

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Track:

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2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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Does A Dented Exhaust Pipe Restrict Power?

So how does slamming a suicidal rock, thus spewing hot juicy oil all over your rear tire, sound to you as you’re flying down your favorite mountain road? Sorta frightening, right? Because it is. Ask me how I know. Then ask me which of my favorite four-letter words I chose to spit out of my helmet were once I realized that this could have been really bad. Reeeeeealllly reeeeeaaalllly bad. I was thrilled to be climbing off my bike by choice as opposed to a sudden unplanned eviction over the side of a mountain. Guardian angel, this round’s on me.

But, seeing as this is Motorcycle.com, I found two positive things came of this unexpected “oily bike upright” skills test.

  1. I got to exercise my ever-expanding friendship with Troy Siahaan. (“Hey buddy, I know you’re home and I’m waaaaay over here stuck on a mountain, but can you haul that sparkly truck of yours through rush-hour traffic and pick me up? Bring towels, as I’ll be spewing dirty oil all over the back of the bed.”)
  2. I got an idea for a new business venture!
Oil is equally effective at lubricating the ground as it is your engine.

Oil is equally effective at lubricating the ground as it is your engine.

Let me explain. Rounding a blind turn at speed while avoiding a large gathering of rocks was what I thought I was doing as I suavely flicked my Aprilia Tuono 1100RR side to side. Think Lindsey Vonn dancing vivaciously through moguls on her way to Gold (I know she was a downhiller, but stay with me). Wrong. I was actually denting the snot out of the underhung exhaust collector and severing an oil line as I clumsily plowed through the most invisible rocks on display. Think Gilbert Gottfried ramming face first into bowling pins. Never bueno.

Once back to my garage, I replaced the oil line and scrubbed the oil off the rear of the bike and tire. I then went about searching for a new collector pipe (the collector pipe is where all four of the V-4’s header pipes converge into a single outlet). Surely a giant air impeding dent can’t be good for power, right?

In speaking to as many experts (and so-called smart people) as I could, I was not able to come to any conclusion as to whether or not this rocky “love tap” would affect power in any way. Some said, “absolutely replace it” while others quipped “don’t sweat it.” The delusional millionaire in me said “immediately buy a new one,” while the realistic musician biker bum sighed “leave it be.” What to do? I know. To the dyno!

Custom fabbed collector courtesy of Mountain Rock Motorsports. Look closely and you’ll see the top of the pipe has been pinched as well.

Custom fabbed collector courtesy of Mountain Rock Motorsports. Look closely and you’ll see the top of the pipe has been pinched as well.

A call to Jarred Fixler over at Motorsport Exotica (Los Angeles, CA) would put an end to this first-world dilemma once and for all. I had my bike (with about 6000 miles on it) dynoed on his freshly minted DynoJet, and the pulls were still on file. A couple of pulls with the dented exhaust (and about 10k miles on my bike) and we’d know if and how the power was affected.

So, who here thinks restricting roughly 45% of your exhaust’s flow would be detrimental to power? Care to wager? And the answer is….

Unmolested pipe (around 6k miles): 151.6 hp, 79.2 lb.-ft.
Molested pipe (around 10k miles): 151.5 hp, 79.4 lb.-ft.

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And there she am. I lost an entire 0.1 horsepower and gained a juicy 0.2 morsel of torque! An infinitesimal 1/5th lb-ft… more like a hoof than an entire horse, but as in much of life, some mo’ is mo’ bettah. However, there is a slight loss of power and torque around the 5500-6500-rpm range before gaining a hair of pull around 9200 rpm. But before you all go running to the tool box for a mallet, keep in mind this motor might have loosened up over time, accounting for the slight increase in power. Not to mention any number of operator variances inherent in even back-to-back dyno pulls. Also, I can think of far more effective and attractive ways to modify a bike. Perhaps that’ll be another article.

So until then, based on these findings, I can’t dissuade you from plowing through as many rock gardens as you can stomach.

Hell, maybe I’ll start a service that specializes in “alternative organic tuning.” For $159.95 I’ll show up unannounced at your favorite riding spot with a bag of rocks! Towing not included (contact Troy Siahaan).

Dyno runs courtesy of Motorsport Exotica, Los Angeles.

Dyno runs courtesy of Motorsport Exotica, Los Angeles.

I’ve heard of guys running “slicks” on the street, but this is ridiculous.

I’ve heard of guys running “slicks” on the street, but this is ridiculous.

I’ve heard of guys running “slicks” on the street, but this is ridiculous.
063017-dented-exhaust-2016-aprilia-tuono-v4-1100rr-1
Dyno runs courtesy of Motorsport Exotica, Los Angeles.
Oil is equally effective at lubricating the ground as it is your engine.
Custom fabbed collector courtesy of Mountain Rock Motorsports. Look closely and you’ll see the top of the pipe has been pinched as well.
063017-dented-exhaust-2016-aprilia-tuono-v4-1100rr-dyno

Does A Dented Exhaust Pipe Restrict Power? appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

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