EICMA 2018 Was The Year Of The 200-HP Superbike

Aprilia, BMW, and Ducati unveil literbikes with serious output

There was a time when 200-hp sportbikes didn't exist, hold for prototype MotoGP racers and purpose-built superbikes. Public access to power like this would never be granted—or that's what we thought. The 2018 EICMA Show in Milan, however, proves that times have changed. Three production literbikes unveiled this week produce figures over 200 hp, and each is available to anyone with a worthy credit line. It's a great year for sportbike enthusiasts.

All hailing from Europe, these fire-breathing, tire-scorching superbikes are deserving of serious attention.

2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory

Aprilia broke news of the all-new 2019 RSV4 1100 Factory ahead of this year’s EICMA Show, which claims to produce a righteous 217 hp at 13,200 rpm. Noale engineers enlarged the RSV4 Factory’s cylinder bore from 78 to 81mm—though stroke stays the same at 52.3mm—to increase the displacement to 1,078cc, and gave it a redesigned oil pump, new oil jets, revised valve timing, longer-ratio fifth and sixth gears, and a titanium Akrapovic exhaust. Serious changes that mean serious speed.

Taming the RSV4’s output is no small undertaking, Aprilia equipping it with an Öhlins NIX30 fork and TTX shock for damping purposes. Top-shelf Brembo Stylema brake calipers bring the 1100 Factory to a halt, and carbon-fiber ducts direct air onto them for cooling purposes.

Let’s not forget the Factory 1100’s winglets. Aprilia tapped into MotoGP technology, fitting the RSV4’s bodywork with winglets to increase downforce, thus improving stability and helping corner-exit wheelie mitigation.

All trick stuff. All available to the public.

RSV4 1100 Factory
A bump in displacement for the RSV4 1100 Factory helps increase output to 217 hp at 13,200 rpm.Courtesy of Aprilia
air ducts
Holy carbon fiber. Aprilia equipped the Factory with air ducts to help cool its braking components.Courtesy of Aprilia

2019 BMW S1000RR

The all-new 2019 BMW S1000RR gets a 6-hp bump in comparison to its predecessor, pushing claimed peak output to read 205 hp at 13,000 rpm. Couple that with a 24-pound loss from last year, and this bike means business. Fast, unruly business.

BMW knows that rideability is key on a 200-plus horsepower superbike. The Germans say they’ve tamed the midrange power on the S1000RR with the addition of ShiftCam Technology, which varies the valve timing for more linear delivery. The S1000RR’s electronic rider-aid suite helps keep it in check too. The list of aids includes traction control, wheelie control, a bi-directional quickshifter, launch control, cornering ABS, hill start control, and four preset riding modes.

Although Motorrad has yet to announce the S1000RR’s availability, the ground-up redesign will likely shake up the finishing order in the 2019 superbike shootout.

S1000RR
The ground-up redesign for the S1000RR could catapult BMW to the pointy end of the literbike class.Courtesy of BMW
S1000RR engine
BMW extracted six more horsepower out of the S1000RR engine, bumping output to 205 hp at 13,000 rpm. Motorrad also claims it achieved a more linear power delivery, thanks to the BMW ShiftCam Technology.Courtesy of BMW

Ducati Panigale V4 R

Ducati does superbike horsepower best. The Bologna-based manufacturer pulled the wraps off the 2019 Panigale V4 R, stealing the show with its claimed 221 hp at 15,250 rpm in stock trim. Adding an Akrapovic racing exhaust adds even more steam, as much as 13 hp, says Ducati. That’s sheer speed, something Chaz Davies will appreciate as he hunts the 2019 World Superbike title.

The Italians put the V4 R’s chassis under the magnifying glass too, fitting it with an Öhlins gas-charged titanium-nitride-coated 43mm NPX 25/30 fork and TTX shock and forged aluminum wheels. You know—raceworthy components. Like the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, the Panigale gets downforce-generating winglets, which provide 66 pounds of downforce at 168 mph, helping keep the front end planted on high-speed racetracks.

Panigale V4 R
Ducati’s Panigale V4 R leads the 2018 horsepower race, cranking out 221 hp at 15,250 rpm. Slap on an Akrapovic racing exhaust, that figure jumps up to 234 hp.Courtesy of Ducati
Panigale’s winglets
Aside from being seriously eye-catching, the Panigale’s winglets provide downforce to increase stability and help with wheelie mitigation.Courtesy of Ducati

Ready to cough up a downpayment? The Panigale V4 R will hit dealerships in March 2019 at $39,995.