Top 10s

Top 10 most powerful motorcycles 2017

Ten bikes, every one of them road legal, completely standard and making more than 200hp

NOT that many years ago people would speak with awe of MotoGP bikes that made more than 200hp and the godlike figures that rode them. Now you can take your pick of manufacturer, stroll into a dealer and ride off on a perfectly legal, emissions-compliant, quiet, reliable and really quite sane production bike that also breaches the psychological 200hp barrier.

It’s astounding, really. And thanks to modern electronics – traction control in particular – even us ham-fisted mortals can be trusted to take charge of these bikes.

Most of us would agree that anything that even approaches that much power probably falls into the ‘fast enough’ category, but the relentless efforts of manufacturers to out-do each other means that performance rises year by year.

Here are the 10 most powerful production road bikes currently on sale, based on manufacturers’ claims. We’re sticking to fully homologated, road-going models here. No ‘race kitted’ specials allowed (sorry, Honda RC213V-S, you don’t make the cut without an expensive tuning kit.)

Since we last did this, some power figures have also changed. Notably those of Ducati, which has de-rated several of its models including the previously ‘205hp’ 1299 Panigale – now classed as 197hp thanks to nothing more than a revised measurement method.

Here we go...

10: Kawasaki ZX-10R/ZX-10RR: 200hp @ 13,000rpm

The latest-generation ZX-10R hits the 200hp mark at a standstill but the firm is alone in also claiming a second ‘ram air assisted’ figure, suggesting that it will actually make 210hp with the supercharging effect of air being thrust into the frontal intakes at high speed.

To separate a rash of bikes that sit at the same claimed 200hp, we’re using the peak revs as a differentiator. The Kawasaki needs to scream to 13,000rpm to hit its maximum, so slots into 10th place.

Now find out what it makes at the rear wheel on the dyno...

READ OUR REVIEW OF THE KAWASAKI ZX-10R.

READ OUR 2017 SUPERBIKE SHOOT-OUT.

Yamaha’s R1 is another that sits right on the 200hp mark, but it manages it 1500rpm lower in the rev range than the Kawasaki ZX-10R, so takes 9th place in the list. No ‘ram air’ figure is quoted for the Yamaha, though.

Now find out what it makes at the rear wheel on the dyno...

READ OUR YAMAHA YZF-R1 REVIEW.

There’s no substitute for cubic inches, and Kawasaki’s 1441cc ZZR1400 has a near 50% capacity advantage over the litre bikes on this list. The size helps it hit the same 200hp at a relatively low 10,000rpm. As it’s a Kawasaki there’s also a ‘ram air assisted’ figure, which matches the ZX-10R at 210hp.

READ OUR KAWASAKI ZZR1400 REVIEW.

Just 1hp difference helps the MV leapfrog from last on the list to 7th, but it needs to scream to 13,600rpm to get there. It’s also not a Euro4-compliant bike, and as such it’s living on borrowed time. MV apparently has plans for a new four-cylinder, but we’ve no idea how long it will be before it’s ready or whether it will reach the same power peaks as the existing F4 machines.

The Aprilia is one of those bikes that everyone agrees is great - right before they rush off and buy one of its rivals. Certainly the V4’s 201hp isn’t to be sniffed at, and the engine can be tuned for much, much more – for a considerable sum Aprilia will sell you a track-only 230hp ‘FW’ version. But it’s not road legal so it doesn’t make this list.

READ OUR APRILIA RSV4RF REVIEW.

Suzuki has leapfrogged is rivals this year with the new GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R, hitting 202hp in part thanks to its innovative, all-mechanical variable valve timing system.

Now find out what it makes at the rear wheel on the dyno...

READ OUR SUZUKI GSX-R1000 REVIEW.

MV’s four-cylinder engine might be getting long in the tooth but it’s clearly still got some tricks up its sleeve, as it manages 205hp with a few tweaks to improve the ‘RC’ version over the RR model.

Yet another Kawasaki making the list, the supercharged H2 easily strolls to 205hp. It could make so much more, too – the track only H2R has a claimed 310hp and would be in the number 1 spot if we allowed non-road bikes in. As with other Kawasakis, the figure is higher still with ram air include. It pushes the H2 to a claimed 215hp, and the H2R to 326hp!

READ OUR KAWASAKI NINJA H2 REVIEW.

Ducati’s revised power claims might mean the stock 1299 Panigale has disappeared from the 200hp-plus club but the new, lengthily-named 1299 Panigale R Final Edition manages easily joins in its place. With a very specific 209.4hp from a near-Superleggera-spec engine, it’s close to being the ultimate Panigale, as its name suggests it should be.

READ OUR DUCATI 1299 PANIGALE S REVIEW.

You’d need deep pockets to get your hand on one of these, thanks to a £70k-plus price tag, but with 215hp it’s the most powerful production, road-legal bike out there. That it achieves that power in full Euro4-compliant form and without any tricks like supercharging or turbos is even more impressive. Oh, and it all drives a carbon-fibre wonder that breaks new ground in weight-saving. Buyers also get a ‘track only’ kit that will increase the performance further thanks to a race-spec exhaust. But they wouldn’t use that on the road, would they?

CLICK HERE FOR MORE VISORDOWN TOP TENS.

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