For me, the bikes featured on this 1988 cover were purely aspirational. At that time, I was a year away from purchasing my first sportbike, and, pricewise, none of these models would have been in the cards. In the meantime, I drooled over Yamaha’s FZR1000, Kawasaki’s ZX-10 Ninja and Suzuki’s GSX-R1100 on dealership floors before eventually purchasing a Honda CBR600F Hurricane.
I love poring over performance-data charts and comparing the most potent motorcycles of the past with today’s technological marvels. One example: Kawasaki’s ZX-10 Ninja. In this issue, we called it the “fastest [167 mph], quickest [10.46 @ 134.32 quarter-mile], best-stopping streetbike we’ve ever tested.” Today’s ZX-14R, by comparison, crushes its ancestor by a full second (9.47 @ 152.83) in the quarter and slams into its electronic limiter at 185 mph while still begging for more. Progress that is provided by an extra 60-horsepower and 40-foot-pounds of torque.
Leading off the Roundup section was a story by Executive Editor Steve Anderson called “Counter-intuitive,” outlining the basic principles of countersteering. I’m sure that back then, like today, many still doubt that this is how a motorcycle turns, to which Anderson said, “whether or not you’re consciously aware of countersteering makes no difference: It’s not an option. It’s a must, for you can’t ride a motorcycle without it.” Good to know when riding that new Kawasaki ZX-14 with 192 hp!