Hang onto your hats; we’re going for a ride. The Superbike sector which was created during the seventies, would allow mere mortals such as you and I to ride something akin to the machines that our heroes use on the track. Of course we all ride sensibly, but to have that spare capacity in hand is something wonderful. Nobody’s had this much power between their legs since Marilyn Monroe died. I can hear you all screaming ‘Hayabusa’, but here are a few others that turn heads (quickly). To avoid favouritism, I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. You can make up your own mind.
The V-twin power unit is going to generate 143 HP and push you up to 175mph if you’re that way inclined. Experience in top class racing has allowed designers to come up with a frame that weighs in at less than 10,000 grams. Introduced in 1998 this bike is not only quick, but has the looks to go with it.
If I said ‘Zero to Sixty mph in 2.8 seconds’ you’ll know where I’m coming from, and after that it just keeps on accelerating. With a top speed of 167mph, you ain’t going to be late very often. I’ve never had the pleasure of riding this shaft driven beauty myself, but they say that the comfort and handling are second to none.
160 horsepower and 169mph apart, this is one sexy bike. The high tail section gives the impression of speed, even when the bike is standing still. The whole bike only weighs 173kg, giving the highest torque to weight ratio of any production sport bike ever.
Honda CBR 1100XX Super Blackbird
Production of this superb machine began 1997. The Blackbird gave high performance and touring comfort. At 178mph this bike won the title of ‘The World’s Fastest Production Bike’, stealing the glory from Kawasaki. Some wag once said that the Blackbird cut through the air like a surgeon’s scalpel and I can see where that analogy came from. To my eyes, this bike is just beautiful.
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14
Known as the ZZR1400 in Europe and Japan, this is Kawasaki’s flagship model in the Sport bike sector. It takes just 2.5 seconds for this bike to reach 60mph and has a top speed of 186mph. It can cover a quarter mile from a standing start in less than ten seconds.
MTT Turbine Superbike Y2K
Created by Ted McIntyre of Marine Turbine Technologies Inc, this bike is only the world’s second wheel driven motorcycle powered by a turbine engine, and doesn’t it move; 227mph to be precise. It has a Rolls Royce Allison 250 series engine and is recognised by Guinness World Records as the ‘Most Powerful Production Motorcycle’. If you want one, you’ll have to find around $150,000.
MV Agusta F4 1000R
Released in 2006, this bike which could whizz you up to 185mph in rapid time set a world record at Bonneville Salt Flats and won the title of the ‘Fastest Production Class 1000cc’. Massimo Tamburini, the designer had this to say about his creation ‘The dream of every design engineer is to come up with the most beautiful sports motorcycle in the world, then turn it into the fastest, most exclusive sought after and powerful on the market. This was my dream too. I wanted to feel the reactions of a racing bike that could put every available ounce of power through to the ground beneath me’. You know, I think he may have cracked it.
Ah yes, the famous Hayabusa. Introduced in 1999, this bike is capable of reaching a speed of 190mph. ‘Hayabusa’ is Japanese for Peregrine Falcon, a bird known for its speed. The bird is also a predator of the blackbird, which also happens to be the name of the previously fastest production motorcycle. Makes you think doesn’t it?
Yamaha YZF R1
Introduced in 1998, this machine brought the sector nearer to a true racing motorbike. Its 1000cc engine powers the bike up to 176mph. In June of 1997, Nick Sanders of the United Kingdom completed a circumnavigation of the globe riding a YZF R1. His time of 31 days, 20 hours set a record for the fastest motorcycle circumnavigation. He covered 19,930 miles in breaking the record.