Just a few years ago 600 inline fours ruled the Supersport class, flying off showroom floors with the speed those championship-winning riders Miguel Duhamel and the Hayden brothers used to set track records with. Fast forward to today and the classic 600 formula is under threat from a fresh breed of larger displacement sportbikes from Europe and even one traitor from Japan. Is the tried and true Supersport format in jeopardy?
To find out we racked up odometers at Southern California’s Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, spinning two days’ worth of laps around the 2.68-mile desert circuit. To ensure equal footing we fitted Bridgestone’s ultra-grippy Battlax R10 competition tires. Testing sportbikes in 115-degree temperatures isn’t all fun and games so we assembled an experienced cast of characters highlighted by former AMA Champion and STAR Motorcycle School’s chief instructor/owner Jason Pridmore along with veteran AMA Pro and 2008 Formula Xtreme champ Jake Zemke. We also enlisted Cycle News editor Paul Carruthers and proficient riders from Motorcycle-USA. So sit back and find out which of these sportbikes come out on top this season.