Riding a motorcycle means something different to anyone that rides. Some ride to relax. Some ride because of the freedom it makes them feel. Some ride as a primary means of commuting.
However, there is that subset of riders that ride for the adrenaline. The riders that want to redline at 16,500 RPM, that want to have to buy replacement knee pucks for their one-piece leathers because it’s been worn down so much on the track. The ones that want to go super fast.
In this list, we’ve put together what we believe to be the top 10 supersport bikes of 2022.
10: 2022 Honda CBR600RR
This is nothing against the superb Honda CBR600RR, it’s just that out of all the amazing new and continuing supersport motorcycles in 2022, someone had to come 10th.
The CBR600RR is a great introduction to the reason that more displacement isn’t always better. With a ridiculously gutsy 600cc inline-4, the little bike from Honda has become the standard-bearer for what true sports riding is about. It leaps off the line, it controls beautifully through corners, and it has a really positive, confidence-inspiring brake feel from both the front and back.
Add to that the many years that Honda raced in both World SBK and MotoGP when they had 600cc classes, and all that racing technology and knowledge is laser-focused into a street-legal bike that can ride as hard as you want, and keep begging for more. Last year, the 2021 model received the addition of the same winglets that are found on its bigger brother, the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade.
9: 2022 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
The Suzuki GSX-R1000R is quite possibly the best iteration of the legendary “Gixxer.” After years of refinement and testing, the bike is now a combination of excellent engineering, amazing styling, and some pretty unbelievable numbers.
Powered by a 999cc inline-four, the GSX-R1000R makes near-as-makes-no-difference 200 BHP. It is low, mean, with aggressive gearing and a riding position that could generously be called a sporty tuck.
What places it at only #9 on this list, however, is that this isn’t the easiest supersport to just swing a leg over and ride. In fact, the bike is downright beastly and it has gained a bit of a reputation for spitting a rider off that tries to push just that one percent more than it wants to go. It doesn’t have the second R for no reason. This is a race bike with indicators and a number plate. Respect it, and it will thrill you. Abuse it, and it will launch you into the nearest tree or gravel trap.
8: 2022 Ducati Panigale V2
Ducati brought out their flagship Panigale V4 bikes in 2020, but they also remembered to honor what came before. Before 2020, the Panigale was called just that, the Panigale. Now, with the V4 out, the original Panigale has undergone a bit of a makeover.
The “junior” bike is known as the Panigale V2. With a 955cc superquadro V-twin engine, it produces a track-friendly 155 BHP. Compared with its bigger V4 brother, it is slimmer, with a redesigned silhouette that emphasizes a forward tuck position, and is lighter by a few pounds.
What the Panigale V2 is, in essence, is Ducati focusing on what made the original Panigale such a roaring success. It’s also a bit more friendly than the firebreathing V4 line, which also makes it a perfect bike for someone looking to get a track bike that brings that Italian feel at an “affordable” price.
7: 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7
What’s this? A parallel-twin on a supersports listing?!? Yes, and let us tell you why in one concise paragraph.
It may only have 106 HP from the 749cc CP2 crossplane parallel-twin, but the YZF-R7 is a full-spec racing homologation model. MotoAmerica racing noticed that there was a significant lack of top-tier twins racing around the world, and created the SuperTwins category to rectify that. After years of producing the YZF-R6, Yamaha decided that it would be a lot more fun to put out a twin-powered supersport to fulfill the homologation requirements to race in the new category. This allowed them to make the bike lighter, slimmer, more aerodynamic, and as a result, even more flickable and agile than the R6 it replaced.
If you don’t believe us, we encourage you to take a trip to your local Yamaha dealership and take one out for a test ride. After the first corner, you’ll see exactly what we mean, the way that the bike grips as you lean, and eagerly scrambles out with the CP2 engine barking out its note as you roll on the throttle and kick up a gear.
6: 2022 Aprilia RS660
No, we are not having a laugh. Yes, there are two parallel-twin bikes on this year’s supersports listing. While the YZF-R7 was built and designed to be a homologation bike for a new class of racing, the 2022 Aprilia RS660 has been designed and built as a track-capable supersport that is also relatively friendly to novice track day riders.
660cc’s and 100 HP may not sound like much compared to other “pure” 600cc or 636cc supersports, but also keep in mind that the bike, wet, weighs less than 400 lbs and is made by a company that races in two top tier motorsports categories. The RS660 was a calculated risk from Aprilia, and it’s one of the few from any motorcycle manufacturer to actually live up to the hype. This is a bike that came to the market to reward experienced riders with a sharp, adjustable, and rewarding road rocket, and bring novices and intermediate riders to the supersport category with more than enough safety systems to allow them to gradually build skills and confidence.
It also doesn’t hurt that it’s among the lowest priced supersports out there, and there is even a low-power 47 HP version that meets Euro and UK regulations for the graduated class systems over there, allowing riders on their A2 or EU2 licences to experience what an Aprilia can do without launching them into the nearest hedge at speed.
5: 2022 Ducati V4S
Ducati themselves say that our top spot bike from 2021 was not the final version, the fully evolved version of the V4S that they wanted to have out there on the market. That is why the 2022 V4S, in their own words, “represents the last step in the characteristic path of the Borgo Panigale sports bikes.”
So what makes this the ultimate version? Newly reprofiled aero winglets for one, but the most significant update has been in the transmission and suspension. The first, second, and sixth gears in the “New SBK” gearbox have been lengthened over the 2021 version, to give faster acceleration as well as more top gear power and speed. In the suspension department, a completely new Ohlins NPX 25/30 electronically controlled pressurized cartridge system in the front fork brings motorsports-grade equipment to the streets.
What results is a Ducati that will absolutely devour most canyons you want to toss it through, but it tumbles down our rankings in that it simply evolves the wheel instead of reinventing it. It’s still an absolute weapon on the track, however.
4: 2022 Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1100
Shockingly, the highest placed Italian bike on this year’s supersports list is not clothed in red. Instead, it gets a black and gentle yellow colorway covering a lightweight aluminum dual beam chassis that cradles a 1,099cc V4 that howls out 217 HP at 13,000 RPM. The 2022 Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1100 was the only bike that was missing in 2021 to give Aprilia a nearly perfect lineup, and now that it’s available in North America, it’s definitely up there with the big guys.
Like most bikes that have been derived from their MotoGP or World SBK versions, the RSV4 has winglets, but unlike a couple of others on this list, they followed Kawasaki’s example and hid them within the front and side fairings, with only a couple of strakes identifying them in front of where your knees squeeze against the tank. The Factory version also gets forged aluminum rims for lightness, a full Ohlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension, and most importantly, a fully Brembo Stylema motorsports-grade braking system including ABS.
Like the next bike on our list, this bike is priced and placed for the rider that plans to take the mirrors off, tape up the headlights, and take this absolute beast out to the track. Make no mistake, this supersport is serious, and it’s hungry for some smooth tarmac and ready to clip some apexes while your knee slider scrapes across the white and red curbing.
3: 2022 BMW M1000RR
Introduced in late 2021 as a 2022 model, the BMW M1000RR is one of those examples of the Germans taking something that was already superb, the S1000RR, and then making it damned near perfect. While S1000RR is based on the BMW race bikes in the World SBK championship, the M1000RR is an almost 1-to-1 replica of the race bike, with only a few considerations for street legality added in.
BMW fully expects buyers of the M1000RR to be track day enthusiasts and has catered specifically to them. You get the first BMW motorcycle to bear the M-Division designation, with fairings made from carbon fiber, carbon fiber aerodynamic winglets, M carbon wheels, a milled, lightweight monoblock aluminum swingarm, M carbon brakes, 100% pure titanium exhaust made in concert with Akrapovic, an M-Division ECU and IMU with multiple ride modes, and so much more that it’d take a novel to list them.
However, to give you an idea as to how much $33,000+ bike is meant for the track is that on the throttle side thumb-box, there is a pit lane speed limiter button, which activates in Race and Race Pro 1 to 3 ride modes. You will never need that on the street, but when you take the mirrors off and tape up the headlights, well, prepare for the purest supersport racer this side of a HP4 limited edition.
2: 2022 Yamaha YZF-R1 60th Anniversary
A perennial favorite, it was really really really close this year to decide which bike went to the top spot. We also had to decide which version of the R1 would make it onto the list: The base, standard R1, the new for 2022 only R1 60th Anniversary, or the bonkers carbon fiber R1M. As you can probably guess, the 2022 only 60th Anniversary edition won out.
As with every other year, Yamaha Motorcycles continues to evolve and perfect the supersport formula, with lessons learned from the track in both MotoGP and MotoAmerica Supersport 1000cc racing. 2022’s evolution includes a mildly reworked clutch with even better slip and assist for launches, as well as 0.1 inches more travel in the front KYB inverted forks, up from 4.6 to 4.7 inches to make the front not quite as snappy over bumps and rougher roads.
Of course, there is also the retro 1980s livery wrapping one of the best supersports on the market in a lovely classic white, red, and yellow. Before blue became the default Yamaha color, it was this colorway that you would see screaming around in the World Grand Prix Championship (which preceded MotoGP) in the lead, especially with riders such as Wayne Rainey.
1: 2022 Kawasaki ZX-10R
What a difference a year makes! In 2021, this bike came in a respectable 3rd place, but in 2022, it shoots all the way to the top because of the boatload of updates done by Kawasaki. Learning from the research and development that went into the ZX-10RR special edition model in 2021, which itself was based on the 2020 World SBK ZX-10RR championship bike, the 2022 ZX-10R definitely got the better end of the deal.
The same 6-axis IMU and Kawasaki Intelligent ABS are present, as are the quickshifter (up and down) and constantly adjusting electronic throttle valves. This year, however, a revamped cornering management system makes the bike even more razor-sharp in the canyons and corners, and a fully enabled launch control system is standard instead of optional. This system uses the same anti-squat, anti-wheelie, and sport traction control system that the ZX-10RR came with, so you can be assured that with it enabled, you’ll rocket off the line and not loop the thing immediately.
The new standard color is Metallic Matte Graphene Steel over Metallic Diablo Black, but if you really need to get your green on, for an extra $1,000 over the $18,199 asking price, you can get the Kawasaki Racing Team edition.