Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati has written a long, rich
chapter in sport bike history, but, until the '93 release of the
aptly named Monster, maintained a low profile stateside. With its
916cc, twin-cylinder power source, five-spoke wheels, carbon fiber
body panels, sensuous exhaust tone, and flickable 423-pound dry
weight, the Monster S4 builds on the eight-year history of the
model, while remaining true to the original badass,
do-it-all-and-do-it-in-style personality. True, it's not exactly
cheap, but the S4 combines performance, style, personality,
history, and soul like no other motorcycle on the planet.
To many enthusiasts, Honda's middleweight, street fightin'
CBR600F4i is the perfect physical incarnation of the term "sport
bike." The bike certainly has history on its side; after all, Honda
redefined the class way back in '87, with the CBR's predecessor,
the original 600 Hurricane, and the competition has been forced to
follow in its smoking tire track ever since. This year, the CBR
ditches its bank of carburetors in favor of fuel injection
(resulting in a 5 percent increase in power at the engine's
screaming 12,500 rpm peak), gets sleeker bodywork, and adds a no-BS
go-ahead-punk-make-my-day black-on-silver paint option. Note to the
competition: Stock up on smoke masks.