ELECTRIC motors may be the future but they’ll always struggle to capture the soul-stirring effect of a screaming piston engine.
Who knows what makes a high-speed series of explosions so captivating. Maybe it’s the barely-contained fury, the large numbers of highly-stressed components moving at unimaginable speed, the clattering valves, trumpeting exhausts and growling intakes, all sequenced together into a finely-tuned orchestra of mechanical perfection. Yes, it's that.
Petrol engines may in fact have past their peak in terms of that noise and fury. Emission laws make the very highest-revving creations of the past – things like those 20,000rpm 250cc fours of the late 1980s – an impossible dream today. And as the limits get tighter, petrol engines are likely to become progressively lower-revving from here on in. They may adopt turbos or superchargers, and they’re certain to keep getting more powerful and efficient, but if you hanker for revs, enjoy the present.
So which current bikes rev hardest? We’ve scoured the current offerings to see which achieve their peak power at the highest revs – a better indicator than red line alone as to an engine’s propensity to rev. We’re only including current models that meet the Euro4 emissions limits – so stuff like the track-only, 14,000rpm Kawasaki H2R doesn’t make the cut.
Here's out countdown from 10, starting with..
10: MV Agusta Dragster 800: peak power at 12,500rpm
You might have thought there would be nothing but out-and-out sportsbikes on the list. But to be honest we were surprised that 12,500rpm was enough to make it into the top 10 at all. It’s largely the fact that most of the 600-class four-cylinder sportsbikes don’t meet Euro4 emissions rules, and as a result don’t meet our criteria. However, there’s little doubt that the MV’s triple sounds glorious at its 12,500rpm peak.