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With the announcement by MV Agusta that the limited edition Rush will be available for June delivery, and now TVS-owned Norton seeking staff to build its V4, one more hotly contested and debated question in motorcycling – ‘What is the fastest production motorcycle in the world?’ – has been raised.

It’s also the most sensitive and difficult to conclude politically (after all, very few manufacturers claim top speed figures and even fewer independent media outlets do so).

Even though ever-faster bikes like the Ducati V4 Superleggera or Honda’s all-new Fireblade are still being launched, our 2017 ‘fastest’ list is no longer relevant. Is it true? We set out to find out.

What’s the fastest bike on the planet?

First, a few caveats: First, the Japanese ‘Big Four’ have, starting with the launch of the Suzuki Hayabusa in 1999, adhered to an unwritten ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ that limits their electronic road bikes to 300kph (186 mph). Others, such as MV Agusta, claim top speeds figures are misleading and, most importantly, irrelevant.

Instead, our “fastest 10” is based on the top 10 production road bikes with high power-to-weight ratios. This, in simple terms, gives us the best indicators of acceleration and the ultimate speed.

We know it’s not perfect and doesn’t prove everything. We cannot independently test the power figures of manufacturers, so we must rely on their claims. We have used manufacturers’ claimed dry weight figures as well (as there are no uniform wet weight figures), which is somewhat academic as bikes can’t function without fuel, oil, and water. Another problem is the use of race kits, track pipes, etc.

We still think it’s fascinating to read. It indicates the current “hierarchy” of speed and surprises a few times.

The Top 10 Fastest Motorcycles in the World (2020)

Norton V4 RR

  • Claimed peak force: 200 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 179kg
  • Power/weight: 1.117 bhp/kg

The Norton V4, launched in 2017, is not without controversy. However, this week’s news that TVS is looking for production staff and the fact that the Norton V4 is still available for order and its promise of performance demand that it be included here. It produces 200 horsepower from its Aprilia-inspire 1200cc, 72 degree V4, and a dry weight of 179kg due to its aluminium tube frame and parts such as Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes.

2020 MV Agusta Rush

  • Claimed peak force: 208bhp
  • Dry weight estimation: 186kg
  • Power/weight: 1.118 bhp/kg

Another delayed bike due to all the Covid-19 stuff, but it promises it will be worth the wait. MV announced that the 300-edition, carbon-bedecked Rush concept bike-styled roadster based upon the Brutale 1000 would be delivered in June. It’s so bizarre and powerful it has to be here. MV claims 205 bhp from the 998cc four (208 without race pipe), a dry mass of 186kg and a top speed ‘over300kph’ to go along with its bizarre looks, twin pipes, and PS29,680 cost.

2020 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro

  • Claimed peak force: 212 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 184kg
  • Power/weight: 1.152 bhp/kg

Yes, another MV bike, one that we should take more seriously. The Brutale 1000 RR from the Italian company has undergone extensive rework for 2020. This limited edition ‘Serie Oro version’ features four more horsepower (thanks to a new exhaust/ECU) as well as a reduced weight (due to its carbon fibre wheels). MV claims it is ‘The fastest naked bicycle in the world’. The price tag is a staggering PS38,000.

Suzuki GSX-R1000R

  • Claimed peak force: 199.2 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 171.1kg
  • Power/weight: 1.164 bhp/kg

Strangely, the Suzuki sports flagship with variable valve timing is the only one that survived our previous Top 10 Fastest rankings. Although this is mostly because it has not changed much, we wanted to include another Japanese superbike to compare the new Fireblade. It’s hard to know the dry weights of the ZX-10R or R1M, so it’s impossible to make any conclusions. The Suzuki sports flagship with variable valve timing has moved slightly up the rankings, but this is more due to our narrowing of bikes available and excluding previous oddballs such as the PGM V8 or MTT Y2K turbo bike.

BMW S1000RR M Sport

  • Claimed peak force: 207bhp
  • Dry weight estimation: 173.3kg
  • Power/weight: 1.194 bhp/kg

This bike is a testament to how a few years can make a big difference. Although the ‘old’ S1000RR was already a beast performer, known for its 199bhp, it placed 10th on our old list of ‘fastest’ bikes but wouldn’t be featured here. The all-new S1000RR is not only faster, more powerful, and more refined, but it’s also more rideable. The M Sport trim, which includes loud pipe and carbon wheels, has 207bhp & 173.3kg, respectively. However, this also means that the starting price is PS19,995.

2020 Honda Fireblade SP

  • Claimed peak force: 215 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 180kg
  • Power/weight: 1.194 bhp/kg

It’s difficult to know the exact weight as there are no official figures. So we have to guess. The dry SP will not exceed 180kg based on the claimed kerb weight at 201.3kg and a 16litre-tank fuel of around 12kg. This, combined with the 215bhp power, places it in S1000RR MSport territory. It’s probably not too surprising considering that this Fireblade is the most extreme, track-oriented, and powerful ever built. It could be even better.

Aprilia RSV4 1100 factory

  • Claimed peak force: 217 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 177kg
  • Power/weight: 1.226 bhp/kg

It has been quite some time since Aprilia’s original RSV4 1000, a revolutionary, powerful, compact, and electronics-laden superbike, was competitive at the world level. (It did first come out in 2010). This is why they upgraded it to 1100cc in 2019 using the larger engine from the 1100 Tuono. The result is amazing, even though it’s not WSB compliant. It is powerful and grunty, with its small chassis and sophisticated electronics match the best. These dimensions mean that it isn’t suitable for larger riders. However, if it fits, there are a few better road Sportster.

Ducati Panigale V4 R

  • Claimed peak force: 221 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 172kg
  • Power/weight: 1.285 bhp/kg

Ducati’s all-new, superbike V4 was a WSB-homologation-special (but road legal) version. It arrived last year and quickly blitzed everyone, winning BSB with Scott Redding. It should have won the WSB race, but that’s another story. It has everything: Monster power (up from the MotoGP’s 214), an ultra-lightweight monocoque frame, world-leading ‘aero’ aids, the best bike parts, and many exotic Italian styling.

Ducati Superleggera V4

  • Claimed peak force: 234 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 152.2kg
  • Power/weight: 1.537 bhp/kg

The Panigale R, the most powerful and exotic Ducati ever made, was just what you needed to believe when the Bolognese company unveiled their most potent and exotic machine for 2020. Superleggera is the Ducati’s limited-edition,’ superlight’ versions of its flagship superbike. It boasts a total of 234bhp (with race exhaust) and a mere 152.2kg due to its lashings carbon fibre. This bike is their most powerful and lightest yet. It’s also the most expensive, at EUR100,000. (PS84,000). They should race it in WSB. They won’t. They can’t.

Kawasaki Ninja H2/R

  • Claimed peak force: 322 BHP
  • Dry weight estimation: 193kg
  • Power/weight: 1.585 bhp/kg

The king is gone… Long live the king. The PS49,000 supercharged H2/R won the last round. Although the competition is getting closer, it still stands at the top today. Kawasaki set out to create the world’s strongest production machine. It succeeded. Kawasaki claims to produce 306 bhp in full bore track-only ‘R’ trim and 322 bhp when using the ram air effect. This, coupled with a lightweight, tubular, steel trellis chassis, is what keeps it at the top. The legal road-legal H2 carbon (PS28.500) produces 240bhp, and a heavier 215kg estimated dry mass, but that would still leave it outside the top 10.


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