Top 10 fastest production bikes 2018

What’ll she do, mister?

Aprilia RSV4 RF

LET'S BE honest here, top speeds are about the most irrelevant of all specifications – particularly when we’re talking about superbikes that nudge towards 200mph.

But at the same time, they’re fascinating. The one question that you can guarantee that your non-riding friends will ask about your bike is “How fast will it go?”

In the real world, actually reaching a modern superbike’s top speed isn’t easy. Tiny differences in wind speeds, atmospheric conditions and even air temperature will change the result, and that’s before we consider larger variables like the size of the rider. As a result, a lot of companies don’t even make claims about their bikes’ top speeds.

But fortunately for us, manufacturers are legally required to state a top speed for their bikes when they go through the type approval process, even if they don’t go on to include that figure on their official spec sheets.

We’ve dug into those figures to see which bikes, according to their own makers, are the fastest standard, road-legal machines on the market right now.

10: Suzuki GSX-R1000 – 183mph (295km/h)

With 202hp on tap, the type-approved top speed of the GSX-R1000 seems a little on the low side. Perhaps Suzuki is being conservative with its numbers. However, it’s easy to underestimate how hard it is to reach spectacularly high speeds, particularly once you’re above 180mph or so.

9: Suzuki Hayabusa – 183mph (295km/h)

It might be getting long in the tooth these days – and a replacement is believed to be imminent – but the Hayabusa was the bike that started the top speed wars some 20 years ago and remains a crazy-fast bike even now. 

7=: Kawasaki ZZR1400 – 185mph (298km/h)

Another old speed freak, the ZZR1400 was Kawasaki’s retort to the Hayabusa and remains its most direct rival to this day. With a top speed just one mph higher, it can’t be said to have a decisive advantage on that front. 

7=: Kawasaki ZX-10R – 185mph (298km/h)

Back when the Honda Blackbird, Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki ZX-12R vied for supremacy in the turn-of-the-millennium top speed battle, it was unimaginable that a mere 1000cc superbike, tuned for handling rather than sculpted for aerodynamic perfection, could match them. But things are very different today, and litre bikes now rule the top speed stakes. The ZX-10R is by no means the quickest, though.

3=: BMW S1000RR – 186mph (299km/h)

What? We’ve suddenly jumped from 7thplace to 3rd? That’s because there are four machines tying for the same 186mph top speed. If that seems a bit sus, remember the fabled “gentlemen’s agreement” that bike manufacturers unofficially signed up to back in around 2000. The idea was to end the battle for ever-faster bikes by agreeing never to make a machine that would exceed 300km/h. Weirdly, since then, we’ve actually seen an astounding rate of superbike development, all getting to the same (limited) top speed, but just doing it much faster than their predecessors. The BMW S1000RR is a perfect example.

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