Top 10 Fastest Road-Legal Motorcycles You Can Buy Today
We list down the 10 Best Motorcycles that you can buy today and are built for speed.by Tijo Tenson, on LISTEN 12:45
We have always been fascinated by speed. The adrenaline rush that it provides has pushed us to build some of the fastest machines on this planet. And we started clocking it way back in 1920 when Gene Walker rode an Indian at 104.12 MPH on Daytona Beach. But way before that in 1903, Glenn Curtiss set an unofficial motorcycle speed record using an aircraft engine and topped out at 64 mph.
The fire for speed is still burning strong and manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of engineering, to add numbers on the speedometer. Icons like the Honda Blackbird and Suzuki Hayabusa still remain the ones to look up to. But there are newbies coming in, and there are coming in hot! We list down the best of these fast junkies.
Speed Wars And The Gentleman’s Agreement
Suzuki Hayabusa, when launched in 1999, stirred up a storm of fear among manufacturers. This was because of its insane top speed of 194 MPH which made it the fastest motorcycle of the time. Speed wars were at their peak during this time. It took the crown away from the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird that had a top speed of 180 MPH. That was a notable 14 MPH jump.
Soon after, there were rumors of Kawasaki bringing out the 2000 Ninja ZX-12R with a top speed of over 200 MPH. The bureaucrats and regulators in Europe smelled something sinisterly ’fast’ cooking and wanted a curb on these insanely fast machines. And so the famous Gentleman’s Agreement was made among the various motorcycle manufacturers around the world.
This agreement highlighted a top speed barrier of 200 mph for all superbikes thereafter. Funnily this was an informal agreement that had very vague paperwork. But anyway, we still have road-legal motorcycles with capped top speeds, or do we?!
Here Are The Top 10 Fastest Road-Legal Motorcycles
Yamaha YZF-R1M (185.7 MPH) - The Crossplane Monster
R1 is an icon, on and off the tracks. Yamaha has always been praised for its insanely precise race machines, and the R1 nameplate is their road-legal testimony to the same. But the Yamaha R1M is a more mental iteration of the standard model, that packs more power and lesser weight.
This Carbon-fiber technology haven is powered by a sophisticated 998cc. Liquid-cooled cross-plane inline-4 motor that pumps out over 200 hp and 89.2 lb-ft. Couple this bad-boy to a slick 6-Speed manual and the Yamaha R1M is capable of doing 0-60 mph in just 2.3 seconds and has a top speed of 185.7 MPH. The 2021 Yamaha YZF-R1M is priced at $26,099.
KTM 1290 Super Duke R (186+ MPH) - Hooliganism Prevails
Orange is the color of hooliganism and there is no automaker who understands it better than KTM. The KTM 1290 SuperDuke R is a grumpy naked hypersport packed with downright madness. It is powered by a unique 1301 cc. 75-degree V-twin motor that pumps out 180 hp and 103 lb-ft.
With a curb weight of just 462 lbs., the Super Duke R is a torque monster. 0-60 MPH comes up in a swift 2.6 seconds and the 1290 Super Duke R has a restricted top speed of 186 MPH. The 2021 KTM 1290 Super Duke R is priced at $18,699.
Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP (186+ MPH) - Japanese Precision
Honda is another Japanese automaker that focuses completely on precision engineering and purpose. All of their machines are hard-wired to be wickedly fast without compromising on reliability, something that the Italians are still striving for.
The Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is powered by a 99cc liquid-cooled inline-4 motor that churns out 215 hp and 83 lb-ft of unadulterated performance. Couple this sweet-revving motor to a 6-Seed manual with a bi-directional quickshifter, this Honda does 0-60 MPH in just 2.9 seconds. The 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP has a restricted top speed of 186 MPH and is priced at $28,500.
Suzuki Hayabusa (186+ MPH) - The Iconic Peregrine Falcon Returns In A New Avatar
Suzuki Hayabusa, a name that is known even to the least of motorcycle enthusiasts. When the first generation of Hayabusa came out in 1999, it left people dumbstruck. People were baffled as to how a motorcycle was able to achieve speeds in excess of 190 MPH. And it was also the reason for the Gentleman’s Agreement. Basically, the Peregrine Falcon is in the spotlight, at the Motorcycles Hall Of Fame!
The good news is that the Hayabusa is finally revised in an all-new 3rd Generation model, that has garnered the attention of all bikers around the world. The legacy continues and so does the same 1340cc inline-4 motor. It produced 188 hp and 110 lb-ft and does 0-60 MPH in 3.2 seconds. The 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa continues to have a restricted top speed of 186 MPH and is priced at $22,600 (est.).
BMW S1000RR (192 MPH) - Doesn’t Get More German Than This
BMW S1000RR was the pinnacle of engineering when it was launched in 2009. It packed loads of electronics and assist features that were alien to other superbikes of the time. It quickly garnered a name for its insane riding dynamics, blistering acceleration, and weirdly asymmetrical design language. The asymmetry is gone for 2021, but all other aspects are better than ever.
The 2021 BMW S1000RR is powered by a water/oil-cooled inline-4 motor that pumps out a whopping 205 hp and 83 lb-ft. Use the Race Pro Mode and this supersport does 0-60 MPH in 3.1 seconds. The 2021 BMW S1000RR has a top speed of 192 MPH and is expected to come at a pricey $30,000.
Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory (198.8 MPH) - Exquisite Italian Engineering
Aprilia is a humble automaker that started off right after World War 2 as a manufacturer of bicycles. Currently, they are the makers of some of the fastest and sophisticated motorcycles out of Italy, thanks to their active participation in motorcycle sports.
The Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory can be touted as the absolute best of what this Italian has to offer. It packs a 1099cc. V4 engine that now gets Euro 5 clearance and churns out a chunky 217 hp and 90 lb-ft. With a dry weight of 390 lbs. the RSV4 1100 Factory has an impressive power-to-weight ratio and does 0-60 MPH in 2.9 seconds. It has a top speed of 198.8 MPH and is priced at $25,999.
Ducati Pagani V4R (198.8 MPH) - Red, Hot, And Wickedly Fast
Ducati is a name that reciprocates with sensuality and drop-dead gorgeous. The feel is mutual if you have seen one in the iconic Ducati Red shade. They have been making motorcycles for a long time now. And the RED just keeps getting faster and faster. A recent addition to its exotic collection is the Pagani V4R. It is a racebike for the roads and gets carbon-fiber goodies, including winds!
The Panigale V4R is equipped with the soulful Desmosedici Stradale R 998 cc. Inline-4 churns out a 221hp in stock configuration and 234 hp with the Akrapovic full-racing exhaust. Torque is at 92 lb-ft and it does 0-60 MPH in 3.21 seconds and has a top speed of 198.9 MPH. The 2021 Ducati Panigale V4R is priced at $22,295.
Kawasaki ZH2 (200+ MPH) - Supercharged Entry To The 200 MPH Club
Welcome to the supercharged era. Kawasaki is the first one to couple a supercharger to its motorcycles, with the H2 duos. The ZH2 is the latest avatar that embodies this evolutionary engine and is made for the long haul. It is also the first motorcycle on this list to cross the 200 MPH barrier.
The Kawaski ZH2 is powered by a 998cc. supercharged Inline-4 motor that churns out 200 hp and 101 lb-ft. This ’whining’ performance machine does 0-60 MPH in under 3 seconds and has a top speed of over 200 MPH. The 2021 Kawasaki ZH2 is priced at $17,500.
Kawasaki Ninja H2 (209+ MPH) - The Norm Breaker
Kawasaki brought the next big thing to the world, with the Ninja H2 back in 2015. It packed a supercharged Inline-4 motor that pushed the envelope of performance among motorcycles. For 2021, it continues to be powered by the same 998cc. supercharged unit that churns out 228 hp and 104.9 lb. ft.
It does 0-60 MPH in just 2.6 seconds and has a top speed of well over 209 MPH. It has a much mental brother - the Kawasaki Ninja H2R with a top speed of 248.5 MPH, but alas, it’s track-only. The H2R is also the record holder as it reached an insane 250 MPH in just 26 seconds. The 2021 Kawasaki Ninja H2 is priced at $29,500.
Lightning LS-218 (219.63 MPH) - Electrified Performance Leads The Pack
Electric is clearly the future, even in motorsports. The instantaneous torque that an electric motor offers is what has us all sold, in this silent tech. And so with the advent of electric motorcycles, Lighting LS-218 was quick to jump all the way, to the top of this list.
The LS-218 is powered by a 380V electric motor coupled to battery packs of 12, 15, or 20 kWh, depending on power and range. In its highest configuration, it churns out 200 hp and 168 lb-ft. With a top speed of 218 MPH and an insane 0-60 MPH acceleration in just 2.2 seconds, it shows that electric power is not to be underestimated. The 2021 Lightning LS-218 starts at $38,888.