Top 10 most powerful bikes of 2015 (so far)

With a surprise at number one

GETTING a like-for-like list of power figures for today’s bikes is a virtually impossible job. Short of sticking each and every one onto the same dyno on the same day, variations always slip in and manufacturers’ claimed figures can be significantly different depending on whether they’re measured at-the-wheel, at-the-crank or in-the-marketing-man’s-head.

But fortunately, the US Environmental Protection Agency has done much of the leg work for us, publishing a list of 2015 bikes that are homologated for sale in America along with their official ‘rated’ power; a number that test bikes used for emission purposes must reach (and sustain) during heavily regulated testing procedures and under tightly controlled conditions.

While every dyno is different, the EPA lays down extensive specifications for the calibration of dynos, right down to the ambient air pressure during tests, to make sure its figures are comparable. Of course, the EPA is concerned about pollution, not performance, but to complete the emissions tests the bikes must hit a ‘rated’ peak power figure on the dyno, and that number is included along with all the other details right down to the VIN of the bike used for the test procedure.

The list of 2015 bikes published by the EPA so far is missing a few key machines that, when added, will change this top 10 a bit. The new Yamaha R1, for instance, hasn’t been put on the list yet, and nor has either the revamped BMW S1000RR or the Ducati 1299 Panigale. All have claimed figures that would get them into the top 10 (197.3bhp, 195.8bhp and 202.2bhp respectively).

But the new superbike to attract most attention this autumn, Kawasaki's supercharged Ninja H2, is in.

Here then, of those 2015 models to so far have official EPA ‘rated’ power figures, are the top 10.

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10: Motus MST-R, 179.7bhp

Usually manufacturers’ power claims are likely to be on the optimistic side, but it seems that Motus’ is a stickler for accuracy. The spec sheet says that the MST-R makes 180bhp, just 0.3bhp more than the ‘rated’ figure found here.

8=: Aprilia RSV4R, 181.0bhp

At the moment, the highest-spec 2015 RSV4 RR (claimed to make 201bhp) hasn’t been EPA tested, but the carry-over version from the previous year already has enough power to make the top 10. The rated figure is again very close to the claimed 184bhp that Aprilia quotes.

8=: Ducati 1199 Panigale/Panigale R, 181.0bhp

It’s slightly surprising to even see the 1199 Panigale homologated as a 2015 model, since it’s effectively being replaced by the new 1299 version. However, even the old bike is still strong enough to make the top 10.

7: Suzuki GSX-R1000, 182.4bhp

It might not be the newest of the 1000cc superbikes but the GSX-R has never been limp-wristed.

6: BMW HP4, 190.4bhp

Another ‘old’ bike to remain on the homologation books as a 2015 model, the HP4 almost hits its claimed 193bhp with an EPA-rated 190.4bhp. The closeness suggests BMW’s new-for-2015 S1000RR will make near to its claimed 198bhp, too.

5: Suzuki GSX1300R, 194.4bhp

Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without a Hayabusa. With all of 15 years of production behind it - and a fair chance it will still make the top 10 in a year's time.

3=: MV Agusta F4RR, 197.1bhp

Scarily, MV Agusta has an even more powerful F4 waiting in the wings, just in case the existing bike’s true 197.1bhp isn’t enough for you.

3=: Kawasaki Ninja H2, 197.1bhp

Kawasaki claims 197bhp for the new, supercharged H2. And hits it precisely. Weirdly, it also claimes 197bhp for the ZX-10R, which the EPA reckons makes ‘only’ 177bhp.

2: Yamaha V-Max, 197.4bhp

Another bike to meet its claimed power figure, the V-Max might be largely ignored these days but it’s still an animal, with nearly 200bhp.

1: Kawasaki ZZR1400, 207.9bhp

And way, way out in the lead, we get the ZZR1400. Weirdly, this is the third Kawasaki that, according to the firm, makes 197bhp (along with the H2 and ZX-10R). The EPA’s ‘rated power’ figures have it beating that claim by nearly 11bhp. Think of the difference as a Honda CBF125.


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