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What is the fastest motorcycle in the world?

Freelance motorcycle journalist, former editor of Bike & What Bike?, ex-Road Test Editor MCN, author of six books and now in need of a holiday.

Posted:

03.04.2024

Top 10 Ten Fastest Bikes_00

 

Time doesn’t stand still and, when it comes to speed, it goes, well, fast. In short, since we last updated this list at the end of 2022 the world has moved on yet again. There’s a new, updated version of BMW’s phenomenal, homologation-spec version of its S1000RR, the M1000RR. The same can be said about the evolution of the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP with its new twin throttle bodies getting us very excited when we tested it, and then there’s also the radical, fire-breathing rotary Crighton CR700W. All of which means that one of the most often asked, hotly contested and debated motorcycling questions of all – ‘What’s the fastest production bike in the world?’ rises its head yet again. 

But, as before, it’s also the one that’s most politically sensitive and difficult to be conclusive about (after all, few manufacturers now claim top speed figures and fewer independent media outlets measure them).

 

So, what’s the fastest production bike in the world?

Again, we must preface this with a proviso: Since 1999’s launch of the Suzuki Hayabusa, the Japanese ‘Big Four’ have adhered to an unwritten ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ to restrict their road bikes electronically to 300kph (186mph) while others, particularly MV Agusta, don’t. As a result, claimed top speed figures would be misleading and, for the most part, irrelevant.

Instead, we’re basing our ‘fastest Top 10’ on production road bikes with the highest power-to-weight ratios, which, in simple terms, is the best indicator available to acceleration and, all other things being equal, ultimate speed.

As before, it’s not perfect or completely conclusive, we know. Without comprehensive, independently tested power figures available we have to go with the manufacturers’ claimed figures, which should be taken with a pinch of salt. In addition, as before, we’ve also gone with manufacturers claimed dry weight figures (as uniform wet weight figures don’t exist), which, by their very nature, is somewhat academic, as bikes don’t run without fuel, oil and water. A further complication is the use of race kits, track pipes etc…

However, with all that said, and with a new crop of ‘hyperbikes’ no among us, we still reckon it makes fascinating reading, gives a reasonably true indication of the current ‘hierarchy of speed’ and throws up a few surprises, too…

 

Top 10 Ten Fastest Bikes_01

 

Energica Ego+ RS

Last time round we felt the time was right to include the growing new breed of electric bikes – if only because, as anyone who has ridden one will attest – they simply accelerate like nothing else. The pick of the bunch remains undoubtedly the top spec version of Italian specialists’ Energica’s Ego superbike and, having ridden it, can vouch that for 0-80 there’s an astonishing, single speed warp drive like nothing else. Energica claims a 0-60mph time of just 2.6 seconds. Trouble is, that’s not the end of the story. On the basis of its power and weight figures, it’s actually nothing special (it’s its peak torque of 159lb-ft which is mostly responsible for the party), it’s ridiculously heavy, its top speed is restricted to just 150mph and it costs nearly £30K. So maybe electric bikes aren’t quite there yet after all…

  • Claimed peak power: 171 bhp

  • Estimated weight: 260 kg

  • Power/weight: 0.656 bhp/kg

 

 

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa

Suzuki finally introduced an all-new version of its hyperbike ‘king of speed’, the monstrous GSX1300R Hayabusa, in 2021 – and it was more than worth the wait. Now Euro5 compliant, boasting a slick, comprehensive suite of rider electronics, fancy new TFT dash and a big dollop of extra build quality, the new ‘Busa was a worthy successor to the 1999 original which was so fast, it forced the end of the speed race. In truth, the new version is no faster, and, being relatively heavy, can’t quite match the latest superbikes. But the way it gathers speed and the rush you experience is just as impressive as ever. Read our Suzuki Hayabusa review here

  • Claimed peak power: 187.4 bhp

  • Claimed dry weight: 221 kg

  • Power/weight: 0.874 bhp/kg

 

New Suzuki Hayabusa first road ride + speed test times!

Come for a long-awaited first ride with Bennetts BikeSocial on the new Gen3 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa, on the road and speed tested on a (fairly short) runway for 0-60mph and standing quarter mile times.

 

Norton V4 SV

The ‘old’, controversial, ‘Donington regime’ Norton V4 RR is no more, replaced by the all-new, Solihull-based, TVS-owned, Norton’s fully re-engineered V4 SV. In truth, the new bike’s basic figures aren’t as good – boasting now a mere 185bhp and a dry weight of 193kg against the old bike’s 200/179. But then the new bike also doesn’t have the widely reported 30+ faults of the original, it now goes, stops etc like a proper superbike should (although it’s a way behind the very best from Europe and Japan) and almost certainly is, as Norton claim of its £44,000 range-topper ‘the most luxurious British superbike ever created’. But it’s not the fastest overall. Read our Norton V4SV review here

  • Claimed peak power: 185 bhp

  • Claimed dry weight: 193 kg

  • Power/weight: 0.958 bhp/kg

 

Norton V4SV (2022) Track Review

Defined by the ‘new’ version of Norton as a road-going sportsbike, the V4SV has been ridden around Mallory Park by Michael Mann from BikeSocial who also spoke to one of Norton’s chief engineers, James Ward.

 

MV Agusta Rush

Italian exotica experts MV Agusta still have available its 300 limited edition, carbon-bedecked Rush, the concept bike-styled roadster based on the Brutale 1000, and it’s so wacky and potent it had to again be included here. MV now claim 208bhp from its 998cc four (rising to 212 with race kit), a dry weight of 186kg, a top speed ‘over 300kph’ (if you can hang on) to go with its oddball looks, twin pipes and more. Read our MV Agusta Rush review here

  • Claimed peak power: 212 bhp

  • Claimed dry weight: 186 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.140 bhp/kg

 

 

Honda Fireblade SP

Honda’s flagship superbike has had a further update for 2024 designed to improve track performance with new winglets, revamped engine, revised frame, new suspension, and brakes to create a bike that’s a substantial step forward compared to old model. That said, peak power and weight are essentially unchanged so its ranking here is unchanged. As before, it’s tricky to be sure about this one, as no official dry weight figures have been released so we’ve had to use a guesstimate. Based on a claimed kerb weight of 201kg and a 16 litre-tank of fuel weighing around 12kg, the dry SP will be at most 180kg. That, coupled with its 214.6bhp output, puts it in M1000RR territory, which is probably about right seeing as this is the most powerful, extreme and track orientated Fireblade ever and one that’s now been further improved specifically to win WSB and BSB, probably even the TT. Read our Honda Fireblade SP review here

  • Claimed peak power: 214.6 bhp

  • Estimated dry weight: 180 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.192 bhp/kg

 

2024 Honda Fireblade vs CBR600RR Review | Is one worth twice as much?

2024 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP vs CBR600RR - both have been significantly update for 2024 and both are heavily track-oriented but with the Fireblade costing more than twice as much as the 600, and making almost 100bhp more, does that make it twice as good?

 

BMW M1000RR

BMW introduced the famous ‘M’ performance moniker into its Motorrad division in 2021, bestowing it on this special, tuned, lightened, aero-equipped, limited edition, homologation-special (for BSB and WSB etc) version of its already stupendous S1000RR superbike. While for 2023 it became wilder still by virtue of more extreme aerodynamics via a new, wider fairing. In truth, certainly for mere mortals, as a ’base’ race bike from which a true superbike machine can be built, apart from the aero, it’s not really any faster or better than the already phenomenal S1000RR – but it is the best that the Bavarian marque currently has to offer – with the £30K+ price to match. Read our BMW M1000RR (2021) review here

  • Claimed peak power: 212 bhp

  • Estimated dry weight: 175 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.211 bhp/kg

 

BMW M1000RR (2023) REVIEW | Road & Track ft. a £70k version

The BMW M1000RR has been in Mann's hands while he rides on the UK roads as well as Donington Park's Grand Prix circuit on a Bennetts Track Day but can it cope with roads despite being an out-and-out track fiend?

 

Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory

Another bike carried over from our previous run-down. It’s been a while since Aprilia’s original, revolutionary, power-packed, compact and electronics-laden first RSV4 1000 was competitive at world superbikes level (it did originally come out in 2010 after all) which is why, in 2019, they uprated it into 1100cc form using the enlarged engine from the 1100 Tuono. It was also updated again in 2021 with new semi-active electronic suspension, although its outright performance was unchanged. The result, although not WSB-compliant, is phenomenal. The engine is powerful and grunty; its tiny chassis sweet-handling and its sophisticated electronics and classy cycle parts up with the very best. Those proportions mean it won’t suit larger riders, but if it fits, there are few finer road sportsters. Read our Aprilia RSV4 Factory review here

  • Claimed peak power: 217 bhp

  • Estimated dry weight: 177 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.226 bhp/kg

 

Aprilia RSV4 Factory (2021): Road Review with BikeSocial Members

Aprilia-owning BikeSocial Members, Andy Bushnell and Mark Robins, joined our own Michael Mann to ride and review the 2021 RSV4

 

Ducati Panigale V4 R

The WSB-homologation special (but road legal) version of Ducati’s astonishing V4 superbike arrived in 2019 year and has been continually updated since, enough to win the world superbike championship in the hands of Alvaro Bautista in 2022 and repeat last year. In short, it has it all: monster power (up from the S’s 214 and, in race trim, now a full 237bhp) from the MotoGP-inspired V4, an ultra-lightweight monocoque chassis, the very best of cycle parts, world pioneering ‘aero’ aids, lashings of exotic Italian styling and poster appeal and now the £38K+ price to match. Read our Ducati Panigale V4R review here

  • Claimed peak power: 237 bhp

  • Estimated dry weight: 172 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.378 bhp/kg

 

 

Kawasaki Ninja H2/R

The king is dead… long live the king. Last time out the astonishing, now £50,000 supercharged H2/R came out top. This time round it’s been pipped by the ultra-light Crighton – but it runs it pretty close. Kawasaki set out to produce the world’s most powerful production machine and that’s still true today. In full bore, track only ‘R’ trim, the Kawasaki is claimed to produce a whopping 306bhp, rising to 322bhp with ram air effect. That, combined with a lightweight, tubular steel trellis chassis (although that 193kg dry figure is a guesstimate based on its published 216kg wet figure) is what keeps it neat the top. If you’re going to quibble about its legality, you have a point: the road legal H2 Carbon version which produced 240bhp is no longer available (although the 200bhp Ninja H2 SX SE and Z H2 super naked is), but it IS, still, one of the fastest production motorcycles in the world… Read our Kawasaki H2 and H2R review here

  • Claimed peak power: 322 bhp

  • Estimated dry weight: 193 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.585 bhp/kg

 

Kawasaki Ninja H2R dyno run!

Raw footage of Kawasaki's Ninja H2R on the dyno at Motorcycle Live.

 

Crighton CR700W

OK, you can argue about the astonishing Crighton’s legality in appearing here. After all, it’s not road legal and, with just a limited run of 25 planned to be built, it’s hardly a mass-production machine either. But seeing as you can buy one, it is in production and we did include the track only H2 R, we didn’t see any reason not to. What you CAN’T argue about is its phenomenal performance. The rotary-powered track bike, as developed by rotary guru Brian Crighton (he who was chiefly behind the all-conquering 1990s Norton and Roton racers) has performance and speed oozing out of every pore. The 690cc twin rotor motor produces an impressive 220bhp which, carried in an ultra-light race chassis, adds up the highest power-to-weight ratio of any production bike, hence its top placing here. On the downside, it’s extremely demanding to ride, has a 12-month delivery period (they’re built by hand, to order) and it costs a whopping 95 grand but if you want the fastest, most extreme, it always costs! Read our Crighton CR700W review here

  • Claimed peak power: 220 bhp

  • Claimed dry weight: 129.5 kg

  • Power/weight: 1.698 bhp/kg

 

Crighton CR700W | £95k 'ultimate racing machine' review!

Welcome to the wonderfully curious world of the ultra-exclusive £95,000, rotary-engined track bike with a power-to-weight ratio that would shame MotoGP machinery. It’s the Crighton CR700W and we’re tested it! At this stage it's 'just' a prototype and there's plenty of development work still to come.

 

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