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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Super Nakeds Ignore Displacement Limits … and Bust Ceiling on Street Performance


Of course, there are no displacement limits for naked bikes, but the fastest have traditionally adopted versions of superbike engines found in their respective manufacturer’s stables. Homologated superbikes are limited to 1,000 cc (four-cylinders) and 1,200 cc (twins).

We have already thoroughly tested the ridiculously quick KTM 1290 Super Duke R. We described its acceleration thusly:

What we have in the end is an engine that is both extremely usable and tractable below 8,000 rpm, plenty fast for any street use, and insanely quick from 8,000 rpm to redline. Indeed, this author really cannot recall riding a motorcycle on the street that provided the same sense of acceleration that the new Super Duke R provides, short of Kawasaki’s ZX-14 R. That is saying a lot, particularly with the number of ridiculously quick bikes these days. When someone says the new Super Duke is fast, believe it!

To give the reader a sense of the acceleration, at 75 mph, or so, in third gear, just below 8,000 rpm, turning the throttle to the stops results in thrust reminiscent of other “fast vehicles” accelerating from 5 mph (a “rolling start”) in first gear! Chew on that.

We are about to post a story from the European launch of a bike that is perhaps just as crazy fast as the Super Duke R. In an earlier article, we introduced this motorcycle as “The Naked from Hell”, i.e., the all-new Aprilia Tuono V4 1100.

While the 1,301 cc v-twin found in the Super Duke R punches through the 1,200 cc limit for superbike twins, the new Tuono likewise exceeds the 1,000 cc limit for fours by boring out the RSV4 superbike engine to yield 1,077 cc. The bore of the new Tuono is 81 mm, not coincidentally the same bore found in the Aprilia MotoGP engine (which resides in the same cases as the production superbike and Tuono … until next year), but features the longer stroke of the RSV 4 engine.

The new Tuono engine is not only larger in displacement, it includes other engine optimization tricks, including a not insubstantial reduction in crank assembly inertia by reducing the weight of the crank and rods by 850 grams (close to 2 pounds).

The lure of these big nakeds is not peak horsepower. Horsepower is present in an abundance, however, with Aprilia claiming 175 hp, and KTM 180 hp. While a true superbike may require you to break the speed limit while in first gear before reaching the meat of its powerband, these two nakeds promise ungodly thrust at much lower rpm levels … more usable on the street.

The new Tuono 1100, for instance, makes its 175 peak horsepower at just 11,000 rpm with nearly 90 pound/feet of torque at 9,000 rpm. The KTM makes even bigger numbers at lower rpm levels (180 hp at 9,200 rpm and 106 pound/feet at 8,000 rpm). The Aprilia, however, is roughly 10 pounds lighter than the KTM.

Stay tuned for MD’s first riding impression of the new Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR and Factory APRC.


  1. Mark Pearson says:

    Amazing stats but god design has gone down the crapper.

  2. Kevin M says:

    I’m biased because I own one, but I still believe that the Ducati Streetfighter 1098 is the king of all nakeds.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      That is one bad machine, and it could definitely throw blows with these newer contenders. I wonder why the Streetfighter 1098 faltered while these other super-nakeds are making a name for themselves. Marketplace timing?

  3. VLJ says:

    These articles always tout the KTM’s claimed hp and its supposed superiority over the BMW and Aprilia, but in every real-world test the BMW and Aprilia produce equal or slightly superior rear-wheel hp, equal or faster 1/4-mile times, and higher top speeds. Faster lap times, too. And that’s the last-generation Tuono, not this new, pumped-up one. The only real numerical advantage the KTM always has is the rear-wheel torque figure, and even that never translates to faster roll-on times, where often as not the other two are still quicker.

    This isn’t to say that the KTM isn’t tremendously powerful and downright scary fast. It is. The point is that in all the mad rush to crown the KTM the King of the Nakeds, the equally powerful and even more capable BMW and Aprilia often receive short shrift, as if they’re mere also-rans. They’re not. They deserve equal praise, respect, awe, fear, etc.

    • todd says:

      Where is rear wheel torque ever quoted? I’ve only ever seen crankshaft torque figures given. Dyno results we see are taken from the rear wheel but recalculated against engine RPM vs roller RPM. Actual rear wheel torque would be somewhere around 900 ft-lb or so in first gear. I don’t have any numbers or gear ratios in front of me to calculate real numbers.

      • VLJ says:

        todd, rear wheel (rw) torque as measured on a dyno is usually quoted right alongside rwhp in any true roadtest of a given bike. The KTM nearly always makes a skosh less rwhp than the BMW and Aprilia while making a decent bit more rw torque. Once the stopwatches come out, however, that measured torque advantage often seems to vanish, as the other two tend to be quicker in 40-60mph and 60-80mph roll-on times. They’re also usually faster on top and around a track, so the claimed power figures given by each manufacturer aren’t translating into any real performance advantage for the KTM over its supposedly less powerful competition.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I believe his point is that torque to the rear wheel is a function of gearing. The KTM has a rear-wheel torque advantage vs the other bikes at a given engine speed if you assume the same final drive ratio.

        • todd says:

          yes, those are engine torque numbers, taken from the rear wheel, not true torque measured at the rear wheel (thrust really).

          I just looked it up. The overall gear reduction in first gear is 11.317:1 on a S1000RR. It produces 83 lb-ft at the crankshaft therefore peak rear wheel torque is (83 x 11.317) around 939 lb-ft. With a 24″ rough rear tire diameter that means there is 939 lbf of peak thrust at the rear wheel. That is pushing around 578 lb of bike and rider, so a 1.6:1 thrust to weight ratio.

          The overall reduction in first gear on the Duke is 11.35:1. It’s claimed to produce 106 lb-ft at the crank so it has 1203 lbf of peak thrust at the rear wheel. with 592 lb of bike and rider there is a 2.0:1 thrust to weight ratio.

          There are some transmission losses which I’ve neglected but clearly, the KTM has the advantage for acceleration. However, I have not take into consideration the length of the wheelbase or the height of the CG not to mention the fact that those numbers would mean more than 1G of acceleration. That is pretty close to impossible with the CoF of a good tire less than 1 and the rider’s ability to hang a good portion of his body weight from the handle bars…

          All this to say is that it’s best to do some real world testing!

          • VLJ says:

            Real-world testing. Exactly. A dyno that measures what’s actually showing up at the rear wheel. A radar gun that measures top speed. A stopwatch that measures acceleration. In all these real-world tests, the BMW and Aprilia usually best the big Duke despite KTM’s claims of greater power. The KTM does produce more torque, but it doesn’t translate to quicker acceleration.

          • Fred M. says:

            VLJ wrote: “The KTM does produce more torque, but it doesn’t translate to quicker acceleration.”

            More torque is more horsepower. If two engines are turning 5,000 RPM and one has 20% more torque, that’s 20% more horsepower.

            Horsepower = Torque x RPM / 5252.

            The tests you refer to are the opposite of “real-world.” In the real world, some jack@ss passes you and you roll on the throttle to get back in front of him. The horsepower you have is whatever the bike is making when you twist your wrist. No one rides around at 9,000 RPM on superbikes on the street. If you’ve got to clutch in and drop two gears, then that’s lost time.

            That’s what these bikes are addressing — making more power in the RPM ranges in which people ride on the street.

    • Dave says:

      All great bikes. Pick your favorite. I went for the KTM because I like v-twin engines.

  4. Mr.Mike says:

    If only we weren’t still made of meat and bone. I’d need to upgrade to a carbon fiber skeleton and Kevlar skin to get full enjoyment out of one of these bikes.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’d need to upgrade to a carbon fiber skeleton and Kevlar skin”


  5. Sean says:

    Me need power. Me need comfy. Me need turn. Me need stop. Me need look pretty. Me need TUONO.

  6. chris says:

    All great post’s I have had the pleasure of owning a Ducati S4RS monster and a Ducati 1098 street fighter S and I still have a Harley XR1200X and an EBR 1190 SX (my personal favorite naked bike 185 horses and 102 lb. ft. of torque I know unfortunately E.B.R. filed receiver ship, hopefully it will turn around for them, but what a phenomenal performing great handling bike .

  7. tori zimbalis says:

    I laugh at all the comments on here about “I cant buy that cause I will loose my license” or “the bike will get me in trouble” Lets face it… people get it trouble even driving a low powered compact car

    Bottom line……a nice modern 600cc sport bike will exceed corner speeds that any naked bike of any power output will do…and the rider will be tucked in and feel more at home too

    you buy high power naked bikes to enjoy the thrust and thrills on the street if it had anything to do with real speed they would have clips ons and be properly faired……naked bike might be better for the real world….. it just depends on where you want to play

    • Brian Hansen says:

      If you have a Sportbike, Superbike or Unlimited-Open-Class-Monster-Naked-Thrust-Vectoring-Hooligan-Bike and you’re NOT taking it to the track…..

      You missing the boat, missing the point, missing the performance and just plain missing out on what a bike like that can do to improve your life. Look up the word “Euphoria”….you will experience it first hand, in a more significant way than you ever have.

      Get your leathers, get your gear and cowboy-up.

  8. Hot Dog says:

    “That really torques me off!” just took on another meaning.

  9. Larry Kahn says:

    If we did not have speed limits (at least for motorcycles) I’d have a Tuono right now. In the not-too-distant past I went through a Triumph Sprint ST, Speed Triple 1050, FZ-1, FJR1300, Bandit 1200, Buell 1125, etc. Kept them each just about one year, got very (too) comfortable with them and I am also immature (@ 60yo) and sold them. Was above 100-120mph too much of the time. However I would buy the next after a year or so of feeling the need for speed. Now I stick with my Ducati Sport Classic w/ lowered gearing and a Bonneville w/ raised gearing. Keeps me under 100. But I do miss the fast days. For those of you who buy the current generation of 160HP+ nakeds, enjoy it while you are up for it.

  10. Tommy D says:

    The benefit of these bikes is the torque in lower less frantic RPMs. You don’t need to shift to accelerate. It makes for a pleasant easy bike to ride when you are chugging along in a mellow gear with enough torque to accelerate you forward should you need it. Yes you multiply that big torque number X RPM and get large BHP numbers but its really that fun torque curve of these big bore standards that make them fun.

    Also rowing through the gears to get up to speed is what makes smaller lower powered bikes so interactive. You can’t wring these bikes out through the gears like that anywhere but on some big closed course tracks.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Look at what the Ninja 1000 does to superbikes at street RPM levels in the chart halfway down this page: Now imagine what this chart would look like if you added these 2 bikes and extended the comparison all the way to 10,000 rpm.

      • mickey says:

        Pretty telling story for a street rider

      • todd says:

        Those bikes don’t all have the same gearing, do they? It’s best to compare torque (at the rear wheel, considering the different gear reductions) at a given speed.

        Just thinking about my old Seca 650; I was riding along side a guy with his big 1800cc cruiser when we accelerated normally away from a signal. By the time we reached 40mph he was already in 4th gear, I was just coming out of second. If we decided at that point to drag race it would have been no match since there’s so much RPM left on the old 650 and so much gear advantage to overcome his greater engine torque advantage.

        • Fred M. says:

          He was in 4th gear because most people who buy 1800cc cruisers delight in riding at slow, relaxed, engine speeds.

          A Honda VTX 1800 (just to cite an example, since you didn’t say which 1800cc cruiser) will do 60mph in 2nd and it tops out at more than 125 mph in 5th. It’s top speed is electronically limited while the XJ650 had a measured top speed of under 110mph (source: Bike magazine) due to wind resistance, not red line. Because it’s horsepower, not torque, that overcomes wind resistance.

          Had you BOTH decided to drag race from 40mph, he probably would have smoked you

          • todd says:

            I don’t think so. I’ve been well over 110 on mine. I have a couple magazine clippings in my possession that put the 650 Seca a bit over 120 mph and a 1/4 mile time in the low 13’s-high 12’s. I don’t see any adaptation of physics that would allow a 774 lb, 101hp cruiser could out accelerate a 454 lb, 74hp sport bike. Even if that sport bike is 33 years old!

          • todd says:

            OK, forgot to factor in the weight of the rider, which is more of a factor on the little Seca than the VTX (but a typical 650 rider probably weighs 50% less than the typical VTX rider).

            Maybe you’re thinking of the later 600 Seca 2? Those weren’t nearly as powerful as the XJ650RJ Seca.

          • Dave says:

            Your physics might be right, except you’re talking about a different motorcycle. The Seca 650 makes closer to 50rwhp, not 74. Yamaha claimed 73 but inflated claims were common in the 80’s and shaft drives are draggy. They also weigh 504lb. wet.

          • todd says:

            If that’s the case then the SV650 and Ninja 650 must put out around 40 hp because I have no problem out accelerating my friends on those bikes. I also have a 50hp BMW and a 80ish hp Ducati (among other bikes) and the Seca feels closer to the Ducati, in terms of peak power, and quite a bit faster than the BMW. Maybe you’re thinking of the “Seca 2” 600 that had about 50hp.

            Yes, I quoted dry weight for both bikes otherwise I would have quoted 812 for the VTX.

          • Fred M. says:

            Todd, you’ve been over 110 mph based on what? GPS? Laser? Radar?

            From Bike Magazine, 1983:

            “We achieved a two-way average top speed of 115mph at MIRA, lying flat on the tank, with a best of 117.3mph. Sitting up speeds were 109.2mph best and 106.5mph mean so the X)’s capable of being a genuine ton up cruiser if necessary (or if your neck and wrists can take it . . .).”

            As speeds increase, aerodynamic drag quickly swamps motorcycle weight as a limitation to acceleration. That’s why a Yamaha R1 can go 0-60mph in 3.0 seconds but can’t come close to 0-180mph in 9.0 seconds.

            In the end, you’re arguing your theories against instrumented testing. That the VTX 1800 is quicker through a quarter mile is based on measured times achieved by professional riders on drag strip.

            As to your ability to out-accelerate friends on SV650s and Ninja 650s, perhaps you should give yourself more of the credit for keeping your bike in its power band and for shifting efficiently.

          • todd says:

            I have an app that records my route and speeds using GPS. The speedometer on the bike only goes to 80, supposedly to deter speeding.

            I have Cycle Guide, Oct.’80 where they recorded a 125mph top speed. Cycle magazine, Nov.’81 they recorded 127. Motorcycle Mechanics tested a 40,000 mile bike in Feb.’99 at MIRA recording 121 mph but they said they weren’t able to measure the final top speed because of some problems with the timing lights that day. Motorcyclist doesn’t bother stating top speed in ’82 but does say it had the same 1/4 mile times as many of the 750s they’ve tested.

            What I find puzzling is your strong desire to discredit the merits of a four cylinder Yamaha sport bike – or maybe just the Seca – or is it just me personally? You either have no experience with the bike or you got beat by one on your VTX (I’m sorry, was that you?) and you have a personal vendetta against them. It’s time to get a life – the both of us.

  11. Dave says:

    I have owned a KTM 1290r for almost a year and love it. All that torque down low makes it a fun bike to ride on the street, and when the revs climb it accelerates like a liter sport bike. Nuts. I am sure the new Aprilia will be just as crazy.

  12. takehikes says:

    As the decades of riding (over 4) went by it finally happened…I got a bike that had more talent than the rider. I hung on for a year with it but finally let it go. I suspect there will be a great many that get one of these and do the same assuming they survive it.

  13. dino says:

    The Aprilia actually looks comfy… looks like a good bike to add some hard bags, centerstand, maybe a bigger windscreen, and it would be perfect to do some sport touring!

    All of USA and Canada in just two weeks vacation… Perfect!

    • Yoyodyne says:

      Unfortunately the dire fuel mileage would put a major crimp in its usefulness as an ST.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Is this new one just as thirsty as the old?

        There is a guy that rides with us from time to time who had a Tuono. We used to give him a hard time because the 120 – 130 miles planned fuel stops were too far for him, and we had to cut stops to about 80 miles. He ended up selling the bike because of the terrible range.

        Still, I’ve yet to hear anything more glorious than that bike’s V4 wailing through its rpm range.

        • Blackcayman says:

          that is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard….

          I think I would’ve thrown on a tank bag with a couple of 1 litre aluminum fuel bottles just for bridging the gap…That lusty V-4 would be hard to let go.

          I know a guy with the KTM 1290SDR and its a Holy Terror…he can just disapear at almost any speed. It might as well be powered by a nuclear reactor. There is so much Orange!

          • xLaYN says:

            I need to start investing time on learn how to build carbon fiber “extended range” fuel tanks…

          • stinkywheels says:

            Those short range hotrods are like traveling with a supermodel who stays dressed and has a tiny bladder.

      • Dino says:

        Good point… So one of the hard bags has to have a fuel line.


  14. allworld says:

    I like both these bikes, but owning one would get me in trouble.

  15. Wendy says:

    Be afraid, this is a crazy fun bike. One I will never ride, for fear of jail time.

  16. ApriliaRST says:

    >>The lure of these big nakeds is not peak horsepower. ….these two nakeds promise ungodly thrust at much lower rpm levels … more usable on the street.<<

    Soon, someone on will complain that the engineers dumbed-down the engine's power. LOL

  17. mickey says:

    Read a comment by someone the other day dismissing his 88 horsepower bike and the responder said “that’s ok it only has 88 horsepower, because I only have 50 HP worth of talent.”

    Wonder how many actually have 175-180 hp worth of talent? Darn few I’d guess (although most THINK they do) and most of the ones that do, carry racing licenses and are on the track, where they can actually use it.

    • Mike says:

      Great points

      While back some of us used to be able to make up for less hp by being a somewhat better riders.

      Now with the electronics these bikes have today, I am wondering just how low on the IQ chart would a rider have to be….. to get down to the yuur 50hp worth of talent!

      I used to be able to pass Busas and average riders with ease in really tight stuff in WV on my 100 hp Adv Tour bike because they were afraid to twist it up hard coming off the apex for fear of spinning the rear tire. Now the new bikes will not allow this or much more destructive riding patterns average riders used to have

      So today maybe we end up with average riders being great due to the electronics………..and great riders being a wee bit better vs lots better.

    • stinkywheels says:

      That 50 hp worth of talent is why I sold my 1125CR. My RC51 is easier to ride. I can’t imagine another 50/60 horses, sloppy throttle hand had you finishing corners with a wheel in the air. It takes $5000 worth of computers to tame it for my talent and when it’s out of warranty it’s out of my garage ( I can’t afford a mechanic much less a technician).

  18. Provologna says:

    I don’t know how Dirck can put these bikes to the test, at least acceleration wise. Decades ago the fastest/quickest bike I rode made only about 160hp, a Kosman-tuned Mr. Turbo equipped Suzuki GS1000, first year ’77 metallic blue/gold horizontal tank stripe, frame reinforced up the wazoo, water injection, gold anodized alloy 18″ spoke rims (front WM4, rear WM6), single carb (40mm IIRC), Lockheed front calipers, ginormous stainless steel front rotors, fork brace (duh), 1/8th turn throttle, etc, etc, etc…even 2-up made my stock GS1100-4V look like it dropped anchor.

    I rode it once back and forth on the freeway, got off, and never wanted to ride it again. Almost impossible to keep idling. It’s a testimony to Mike Stuermer’s riding skill he kicked butt on this bike, even on the Marin Sunday Ride (45-50 years ago), even 2-up with a really crazy risk taker named Chris. Epic freeway burn outs punching off at 60-70mph. Occasionally he allowed an AFM guy to ride it, sometimes burning a valve. Mike rebuilt valves like a normal person does tune ups.

    The Suzy weighed an estimated 500 lbs. I suppose infinitely better ride-ability of the modern bikes makes them much easier to control, even accelerating harder.

    • Mike says:

      Great post…..I would have liked been there to see all that……heck…..I used to think my 80 CBX was too fast back in the day.

      These new bikes are amazing esp with all the electronics, but an Aprilia V4 1000 Factory I rode a few years back was way too fast for me…….and my mind to keep up with on the test ride.

  19. Alex says:

    I chuckled when I read title. Then LOL’d at “…before reaching the meat of its powerband, these two nakeds promise ungodly thrust.”
    I’m immature like that.

  20. todd says:

    Or you could just lower the gearing of a superbike and have even more acceleration than these at those speeds. There is no replacement for power.

    This is all so silly, I can easily loft the front end on an old enduro bike with 30hp. All bikes like these do is raise the “fun zone” into wildly dangerous.

    • Fred M. says:

      You wrote: “There is no replacement for power.”

      No, there is no replacement for displacement.

      What determines acceleration on a street bike is the area under the torque curve, not the peak height of the horsepower curve. That’s because street riders don’t ride around at 9,000 RPM on liter class bikes. They ride around thousands of RPM below that — where either one of these bikes makes significantly more horsepower than it’s 1000cc superbike counterpart.

      So, side-by-side, the KTM 1290 rider rolls on the throttle and you pull in the clutch to downshift on your geared-down superbike. If you like looking at other guys’ butts, you’re day just got brighter.

      • todd says:

        Fred, you’re assuming the guy on the sport bike already shifted up. If you’re running around wanting to get the most out of a motor, you’re not in top gear… on any bike.

        Power determines acceleration, not torque. (I’ve said it before) If torque determined the rate or amount of acceleration, everyone would get blown in the weeds by some hipster on his bicycle.

        • Fred M. says:

          Todd, I’m assuming that the guy on the sport bike is you. And you are in the wrong gear for top performance because you almost always are. You don’t ride around at 9,000 RPM on the street on a superbike. Period.

          The engineers at KTM and Aprilia are smarter than you are. If they could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in engineering, development, production, and certification costsand had the same or better performance by just changing sprockets, they would have.

          • Fred M. says:

            Todd, Rereading what I wrote, I wanted to apologize for the comment about the engineers being smarter than you are. I should have said that they are experts, not that they are smarter than you.

          • todd says:

            It’s ok, Fred. I have also spent a bit of my life as an engineer in the automotive/powersports industry…

      • motolocopat says:

        Yeah that (-:

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      ” All bikes like these do is raise the “fun zone” into wildly dangerous.”

      Fun = Dangerous

      Wildly Fun = Wildly Dangerous

      See what I mean? You can’t easily lift the front end of your old enduro at 80mph, now can you?

  21. xLaYN says:

    I strongly believe 30-60 hp makes a nice bike, plenty to go around, play on the canyons and do errands.
    100hp makes a bike; you can keep it somewhere on the power band just for the sake of sound (or character) and still be damn fast.
    This amount of power is ridiculous, but I guess NG (which btw I would say is on vacations) would say it’s what market wants and dealers sell.
    Rant off, I love the looks of the KTM.

    • Dave says:

      I’d be interested to know how many the dealers sell. I bet it’s a tiny number.

    • azi says:

      I’ve been searching for an Aprilia RS250 / Suzuki RGV250 for the last few months with no luck. 60HP, less than 150kg, no engine braking – I want one NOWWW

      • MGNorge says:

        To each their own/Different strokes for different folks, etc., etc.

        But something as “peaky” as a 250cc two-stroke making +/- 60bhp over only a couple thousand rpm doesn’t sound fun on the street and certainly not in traffic. As a track day bike I’m sure it would be entertaining as hell though.

        Great collector bike if you can find one. Good luck!

        • azi says:

          I used to be able to spank Ducati 900s and CBR600s at Eastern Creek on my RGV250 back in the day… and it was pure bliss on the Oxley Highway in AU. It actually wasn’t that bad in traffic. A Superduke would’ve killed me back then!

      • Mike says:

        An option you might consider for a test ride is the KTM 690 Duke. 70hp, 320lb.


        GO all out and find one of the EJC versions 79hp, 308lb specs and short video

  22. MGNorge says:

    Buy stock in rubber plantations!

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