Three of the main players in the hard-edged sports bike arena: Suzuki GSX-R750, Kawasaki ZX-9R Ninja and Honda CBR900RR FireBlade. Kawasaki is the only one running six-piston front brakes on 310mm discs compared to 320mm for Suzuki and 330mm for Honda. Instrumentation is analogue tacho and digital everything else for the Honda and Suzuki, with analogue dials for the Kawasaki. Digital instruments have gained in popularity in recent times, mostly because they represent a weight saving. The Suzuki is physically the smallest of the trio and shorter riders will love it. The Honda is in the middle ground, sharing the Suzuki's relatively extreme riding position. Meanwhile the Kawasaki is the tall person's bike, and has a somewhat less head-down bum-up ride position.
The Honda is the thirstiest of the trio, running dry at 251.6 km exactly with mixed riding. The Kawasaki wins the fuel range prize on that basis, holding a litre more than the other two at 19.
However it's the least sharp of the three in the steering department - a contest which the Suzuki wins fairly comfortably. Not surprisingly, the Honda and Kawasaki easily win in the stomp department, with lots of power everywhere. Honda has the nicest fuel injection out there at the moment, and it helps to make the 'Blade an exceptionally flexible tool.
Okay, now here comes the clanger, which is price at $15,300 for Suzuki, $16,290 for Kawasaki and $17,125 for Honda - all plus on-road-costs. With little apparent brand loyalty in this market sector, we suspect the dealers are in for an interesting time.