IS bigger really better? Is there truly no substitute for cubic inches? The saying tells us so but how many bike manufacturers take note?
We’ve done a rundown of the biggest production bikes ever made before but that was back in 2013 and things have changed since then. Not least, we’ve seen the introduction of new emission rules that have killed-off some of the biggest.
For this list we’re looking purely at bikes that will be on sale in 2018, and which meet the Euro4 emissions rules. That means that our previous winner, Triumph’s 2294cc Rocket III, is currently ineligible; it’s still on sale, but doesn’t meet Euro4. so unless Triumph releases a re-worked, cleaner version, its days are numbered. Any other bike that’s currently still in dealers but lacks Euro4 certification has been left out as well.
Other big bikes from our previous list have also either been killed entirely – like Kawasaki’s VN2000, Victory’s 1731cc V-twins and Honda’s VTX1800 – or dropped in Europe, like Yamaha’s XV1900.
But plenty more have come in their place, including the new Milwaukee-Eight powered Harley-Davidsons.
Overall, though, the list shows that there’s a downsizing trend in bike engines – the entry threshold to make the top 10 in terms of capacity has dropped significantly. Having said that, the average power made by the bikes in the 2018 list is higher than last time, so there’s a good sign of progress.
We’ve also stuck to a strict definition of 'production motorcycle' here; they’ve got to be type-approved, road-going bikes with no more than two wheels. No trikes allowed, or we’d have to include the Can-Am Spyder, Rewaco and Boom Trikes models, and even the Morgan 3-Wheeler. All are legally considered motorcycles, but don’t really fall into our remit.
Of course, we don’t have a complete list of 2018’s bikes just yet, but here's our top 10 coutdown of the biggest we know about so far, starting with...
10. KTM ‘1290’ models: 1301cc
Last time we did a list like this, the 10th place spot went to a 1699cc machine – which we won’t name yet as it’s making an appearance again in the 2018 line-up. The fact that a 1301cc bike is the 10th-biggest-engined model on offer next year shows how much bikes have been downsized over the last few years. The 1290 Super Duke R, 1290 Super Duke GT and 1290 Super Adventure all use the firm’s biggest, 1301cc V-twin to jointly make the last spot on the big engines list for 2018.
Want more top tens? Check out...