Top 10s

Top 10 most powerful production motorcycles of 2018

With a new horsepower king

AS 2018’s bikes start appearing in showrooms there’s a new order when it comes to the ‘most powerful’ contest.

In an effort to skirt any questions over differing forms of measurement or manufacturer’s tendencies to switch between imperial and metric horsepower, we’ve opted to use the figures from each bike’s official Euro4 homologation documents.

That means anything that doesn’t meet Euro4 – and there are still a few out there – won’t be included. The only one still on sale that would be likely to be on the list is MV Agusta’s F4, which came in 4th at 205hp in last year’s power top 10.

So, with no further ado, here are your top 10 power monsters for 2018 (so far…)

10: BMW S1000RR. 146kW (195.8 imperial horsepower, 198.5 metric horsepower)

Last year the BMW was nudged out of the top 10, but the changing order this year means that even though it’s no more powerful than before it creeps in to the list. Let’s face it, with near enough 200hp on tap, the S1000RR has got the performance to rip your face off. The fact that it’s only in 10th place is a reflection of just how spoilt we are for insanely powerful bikes these days. With a new S1000RR expected in 2019, it will probably be in a higher position next year.

Click here to read our review of the BMW S1000RR.

Yamaha might have tweaked the R1, but its power hasn’t changed. At 200hp, it’s not exactly crying out for more. While the R1M is officially a separate model, we’re classing both versions as one for the purposes of this list.

Click here to read our review of the Yamaha R1 and R1M

Kawasaki’s ZX-10R is the first 200hp bike on our list – provided we use metric horsepower rather than the more traditional British ones. Just as we put the R1 and R1M together, all versions of the ZX-10R are covered here. There’s a bewildering array of them including the base model, the ‘Performance’, the ‘KRT’, the new ‘SE’ and the homologation-special ‘RR’ but all make the same amount of power.

Click here to read our review of the Kawasaki ZX-10R.

And here’s a newcomer to the list. The new H2 SX might be a fraction less powerful than the full-fat H2, but it’s also vastly cheaper and, thanks to its sports-touring slant, a more practical choice. But while it’s one of three Kawasakis with identical peak power, it needs only 11,000rpm to achieve it.

The third Kawasaki on the list, the ZZR1400 is the oldest rocker in town when it comes to this whole line up. It’s also the biggest, with a 1441cc motor, and that’s reflected in its relatively low-revving 10,000rpm power peak. And it makes a whole 0.1kW more than the H2 SX or ZX-10R!

The RSV4 might not be the newest of the superbike crop but in power terms it hasn’t got much to be shy about. It gets within a gnat’s whisker of hitting the all-important 200 mark in good, old-fashioned imperial horsepower. But doesn’t quite manage it. We need to climb higher in our countdown to hit that mark.

Click here to read our review of the Aprilia RSV4 RF.

Suzuki’s latest GSX-R1000 has rocketed the firm’s standard bearer back towards the top of the class, and its clever variable-valve-timing engine is a big step forward from previous generations. Still only fourth on the list, though. So what’s even more powerful?

Click here to read our review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Now we’re finally past the 200hp mark even when we’re counting in the most pessimistic, imperial version of the standard. And in more modern kilowatts the H2 is first past the 150 mark, too. Of course, the track-only H2R claims far more power, but since it’s not homologated for road use, it can’t be counted on this list.

Click here to read our review of the Kawasaki Ninja H2 and H2R.

It might be the swansong for the big-capacity V-twin Ducati superbike line, but the Final Edition of the Panigale is also the most powerful. The sold-out Superleggera version, which topped our 2017 list with a claimed 215hp, is actually homologated at the same 209.4 metric horses as the much cheaper, still-available Final Edition. Of course, the V-twin Panigale is last season’s fashion now. Cold soup. In its place comes…

The new Panigale V4 doesn’t just edge its way to the top of this list, it easily stomps on everything else in terms of peak power. It’s nearly 5hp clear of its nearest rival, its own predecessor, and has approaching a 10hp advantage over the first non-Ducati on the list! As with other examples of machines with multiple option levels, we’re including both the base and the ‘S’ models of the Ducati as one, along with the even posher ‘Speciale’, since they have the same peak power. Of course, the Speciale can be boosted to a claimed 166.3kW (223 imperial horsepower, 226.1 metric horsepower), but it takes a not-road-legal race kit to achieve that performance.

Click here to read our brand-new review of the Ducati Panigale V4.

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