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Review by: Jonathan Houghton
Published: November 16, 2000
The world of motorcycle racing is a fast paced life, fraught with danger yet rich with chances for glory. Though it doesn’t have the fame or widespread recognition that automotive racing groups like NASCAR possess throughout the world, the SBK Superbike Championship is a series of races designed to test the mettle of even the most hardened drivers — taking place on a wide variety of international tracks. Continuing its tradition from last year, EA Sports has delivered unto PC’s everywhere the next title in its line of motorcycle racing simulations: Superbike 2001.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Superbike 2001 takes players into the perilous world of crotch-rocket championships. This particular style of motorbikes are known for their ludicrously powerful engines and ability to accelerate fast enough to practically tear the riders from their seats. Being a motorcycle owner myself, I have heard many horror stories come out of the superbike camp, where leaning too far one way, or not far enough to another can end your career. Seeing a multi-bike crash for the first time in Superbike 2001 will hammer that whole, ‘How could anyone possibly survive something like that,’ feeling home. Along with the sense of peril comes the thrill of accomplishment when cutting a particularly tight corner and passing two or three of your opponents to take the lead, which is possibly one of the aspects that makes motorcycle racing so appealing.
Your mission, should you be brave — or insane — enough to accept it, will be to train yourself in the fine art of superbike racing. The first order of business is the selection of a cycle brand and ultimately a racer. Along with the official support of the SBK league, EA Sports also obtained licensing from each one of the seven top manufacturers, including Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and more. Each one of the bikes by these companies ranges in power from 150 to 165 horsepower and are capable of attaining speeds in excess of 185 miles per hour. To give a sense of how these finely tuned machines compare to the average street cycles, the price for a Honda RC-51, the fastest production model superbike, is slightly over $10,000 and the pro-racing models are far more expensive than that. Each one of the available seven bikes is a powerful racing machine in every sense of the word, able to accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in under four seconds. After you choose the model you will race, you can select a rider from different manufacturer teams, many of them from countries like Italy, Australia and England. The riders all come with their pro scores from the 2000 season built in, so you can gauge the performance of each and decide whom you want accordingly. If the real names of the riders don’t suit your fancy, you also have the option of renaming them.
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