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To those who have ridden a lot of bikes over the years - if you took the best sport motorcycles from yesteryear and put them up against the current bikes of the same size but less sporty, fitted them with the same tires (where possible) and sent them around a race track, which would win? I'm asking because people have told me for quite some time that modern bikes, even budget bikes, are so much better than the stuff just a decade old. In my experience, my FZ07 has suspension no better than what many bikes could offer in the 80s, so I do not buy this. However, I could very well be wrong. 

So what if you teamed up something like these pairs, do you reckon the latest would beat the oldest every time? Or would it be the older sport bikes taking the honour?

1992 CBR900RR vs 2017 CB1000R

1993 GSX-R750 vs 2017 GSX750S

1994 ZX-9R vs 2018 Z900

1994 FZR600 vs 2017 FZ6R

1994 916 vs 2017 Multistrada 950

 

 

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Thanks, but not really. If you compare an old superbike to a new model, the older will be slower. It may be better at some details, but overall the modern bike will reign supreme.

That's why I wonder how and old superbike would stack up against a current standard or sports tourer. Is the suspension better or worse on a 1992 CBR900RR than what you find on the CB1100RS of today, for instance? Or the new Z900. What about brakes? Handling? I'm curious because I personally believe 25 year old superbikes, as they were new, can still beat many current "normal" bikes when it comes to suspension and handling, and match them when it comes to the brakes. But I cannot be sure.

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Thank you for the link, it does tell about performance development in a straight line for the past two decades. It also show how big tolerances there still are - just compare particularly roll on times for for instance the GSX-R600 from one test to the other.

What unfortunately cannot be read from these numbers is how fast they will go around a given circuit.

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I know such an article exists. In fact the article started by a reader asking a similar question to yours and the response started with an appraisal of the data collected over the years on so many different bikes. They did an analysis with an attempt to remove different riders from the equation to see if bikes really have improved objectively.

Clearly the newer bikes fared better but they didn't take the most important factor into consideration in their "scientific" analysis: Rider Improvement.

I wish I could find this for you as I think it's what you're after. I don't even recall the source but I'm certain I read it online and since I don't have a paid subscription to anything so it should be publicly available.

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Perhaps I should suggest such a test be made by the German magazine MOTORRAD; they often compare new and old, but usually "like to like", as an old Gixxer to a new etc. But to me, it would be interesting to learn how a 1987 or 1992 Ninja 600 stacks up against a 2017 Z650, for instance.

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This is the article to which I was referring. LET ME KNOW if this answers the mail

http://www.motorcycle.com/ask-mo-anything/how-much-faster-are-new-motorcycles-than-older-ones.html

 

 

Edit: Probably not, but getting closer.  Here's one about 30 years of tire development:

http://www.motorcycle.com/ask-mo-anything/how-much-better-are-tires-compared-to-30-years-ago.html

 

Sorry, this is the best of what I've got to help in your search.

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Thank you very much for your effort on helping out, much appreciated. It sure does help to explain what have happened during a quarter century of development, but I feel pretty sure the tyres have a lot to do with the improved lap times, perhaps as much as half the time gained. Also, what I am still really curious to learn is when sportbikes become too old to keep up with the current standards, if both are fitted with the same tyres. 

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I think you’re getting into a question of chassis development. Engines can be evaluated objectively as we have the ability to measure power output. It’s the engine/chassis design that makes drive ability.

i suppose chassis designers might have an objective measure of performance but I intuit that it’s subjective. Take out the man needing specific characteristics and you’re back in the old days of the do-it-all bikes with frames that are simply structures that hold all the parts together.

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Thanks for asking, but not really. There are some tests between older and newer sportbikes, but what I really would want to know is whether an old sportbike from the 1990s is still quicker around a race track than a current standard style bike of similar capacity and power. Or if even a Plain Jane bike of today is stopping, turning and cornering better than a race rep dating back 25 years. I know, for instance, that Cycle World found the ZZR1100/ZX-11 to be about 4 seconds slower around a track than the FZR1000 back in the early 90s. But I do not know how that ZZR would stack up against a 2018 Triumph Sprint GT, for instance, provided same tyres for both.

Here is one interesting comparison, but still sport vs sport - sorry if the video is a repetition from earlier.

 

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