Friday was good. Like, really good.
I somehow ended up with a group of extremely talented riders doing the "Superbike Smackdown" for Motorcycle-USA. Our task was to take an entire fleet of 2012 liter bikes out to some of the most beautiful roads in Socal and see what we thought of them.
The morning started off a bit damp and grey, but seeing all those bikes lined up and knowing by the end of the day I would have rode them all brought out a theoretical sun that just couldn't be dimmed. I started the morning on the CBR as we headed towards Palomar Mountain. Somewhere over the first crest the sun came out and the California landscape settled into its normal perfection.
It was amazing to have the opportunity to jump on all these brilliant bikes back to back. It really gave me a sense of comparison and a unique chance to see how I personally jived with each bike. The BMW predictably outshined the competition, form the second I swung my leg over the beamer I felt comfortable and in control - exactly the opposite feeling that I had my first minutes on the Panigale.
80% of my time on the Panigale was spent thinking "OMG what the hell is going on!?!?!" and the other 20% was spent thinking, "Oh, that's what everyone is making a fuss about." I kept thinking the bike was like Ricky Bobby - made to go fast and not much else! Most of their bikes had some amazing features that made them stick out, a few of the bikes were standard vanilla (but with 1000cc's even vanilla is awesome).
Be sure to check out the complete reviews of all the bikes at motorcycle-usa.com.