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2008 Hyperbike Shootout: Hayabusa vs ZX-14

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Take a moment, or even a few seconds, and it's easy to see that Americans like things bigger, better, and faster. We drive big muscle cars as well robust luxury sedans, and have done so for decades. Need I say anything of the ubiquity of SUVs? Or how about how fat Americans have become thanks to huge meal portions.

The motorcycle world in America, for better or worse, follows suit. Large, extravagantly designed V-Twin-powered custom cruisers have dominated bike culture in the U.S. for several years now, essentially becoming the mainstream of motorcycling. Not only are the rear tires fatter than ever, the bikes have equally big torque figures, massive quantities of chrome, thundering exhausts and rider egos to match. If that example isn't clear enough, then just consider any Boss Hoss. Or how 'bout the modern Honda Gold Wing? That ultra-tourer is, as far as I'm concerned, a motorcycle designed specifically for the robust interstate highway system of the States.

It stands to reason in my mind, then, that the truly super #or hyper# superbikes should be as plentiful as rice cakes at a vegan house-warming party. Yet, until just two years ago there was only one: Suzuki's GSX1300R Hayabusa. Previous to the 'Busa's birth there was Honda's CBR1100XX, affectionately known as the Blackbird. Honda shot it down after six years of flight ('97-'02). And for a time Kawasaki tried valiantly to battle the Suzuki's big bird with the ZX-12R, but it didn't have the torque numbers to compete; legions of Hayabusa fans were unwilling to jump ship. So, in 2006 Kawi decided that Suzuki's dictatorship of this class, if you can call a single player a class, should end and unveiled the biggest and baddest Ninja to date, the ZX-14.

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