Top 10 scariest motorcycles ever

some bike have It from birth, others evolve into being it - however they do it, these are our top ten scariest motorcycles ever

THE definition of a scary bike is a tricky thing to nail down. After all, a bike is an inanimate object and even some of the shittest customs aren't scary to look at. 

Most bikes only become scary when you include a bag of blood, bones, and self-awareness into the equation. Usually, a bag of blood, bones, and self-awareness that assumes they have more skill than they actually do!

10. MV Agusta F4 LH 44

MV Agusta. The name is synonymous with beautiful, fragile and super-exclusive motorcycles. And that’s before you even get to the speed of the things! This MV F4 special edition, designed by social media king and five-time Formula One World champion, Lewis Hamilton, is certainly fast. At 175kg dry and with 212hp on tap, the red missile from Varese can top a claim 187mph and propel those brave enough to 60mph in less than three seconds. But then again so do most top-flight superbikes, so why’s it on the list?

Simply put it’s the value and the exclusivity. Any bike that’s built-in such small numbers, just 44 will be produced, and sold at such a price, £54k, instantly adds another layer of fear to the already daunting act of riding the thing!

9. Suzuki TL1000S

Few bikes gained such a reputation, and cult following, in the nineties than the TL1000S. It’s buckaroo style handling and penchant for a tank-slapper made it the bad-boy of the superbike block. Road-testers queued up to try and tame the beast and the front covers of magazines were adorned with crazy shots of the TL’ cutting some serious shapes. The problem stemmed from an F1 inspired rotary rear suspension damper that was located too close to the exhaust. When ridden hard the oil in the damper would become thin and the rear would be under-damped.

After a spate of bad accidents, a worldwide recall was issued, and bikes were retro-fitted with a steering damper to try and keep the bike pointing the right way.

It could have been a PR disaster for Suzuki, but it built the bike up to be this mythical machine that demanded respect. And in the real world, if ridden the right way and given the relevant allowances, it was actually rather good.

8. Suzuki GSX-R1100 (WP)

In an age where the FireBlade had just landed and eclipsed everything in the superbike class. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Suzuki would chase the Honda by going lighter and more focussed, with sharper handling. What they actually did was use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut! And it nearly worked.

The GSX-R1100 was sharper than its spec sheet would have you believe. Its 156bhp made it one of the more powerful of the early nineties superbikes although it’s double-cradle frame, which had been around since the original GSX-R slab-sided bikes, meant it couldn’t scythe through an apex like the ‘Blade did. Add to that four-pot brakes (on the early bikes) and a wet-weight nudging 260kg - more than a 2018 Multistrada - and the handling should have been dire, but it wasn’t. Near perfect weight distribution and a short wheelbase made the 1100 the weapon of choice for the hooligans! It could turn fast and loved to wheelie.

The big ‘Gixxer’ also had something the other bikes in the class didn’t have: Attitude. And it had it in spades.

7. Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III

‘Two-Smokes’ always seem to get bikers of a certain age going all dewy-eyed and weak at the knees. And none more so than the H1 Mach III.

In an age where the Bonneville had just begun to fade and Honda’s CB750 was the new standard in reliability, speed and handling. Along came the Kawasaki H1 Mach III. Powered by a small and light two-stroke triple, the spindly looking roadster had a claimed 60hp on tap and could propel the 188kg machine to 125mph. The Mach III also had notorious handling, rearward weight bias, and typical two-stroke power delivery made cornering a clench your cheeks and pray kind-off affair.

But, like every other bike on this list, the legend makes the bike. You’d be hard pushed to get a decent H1 for less than £5k on today’s market.

6. Maico Enduro 685

Few bikes scream ‘I’m a badass’ like a two-stroke, 684cc motocross bike. And the Enduro 685 is the baddest of the lot! The liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine produces a whopping 82hp which makes the 101kg, featherweight machine one of the fastest and scariest ways to travel on dirt. Short gears, long-travel suspension, and a narrow power-band make the Maico a bike for the advanced/brave off-road riders

Early big capacity two stokes were notoriously hard to kick over, high compression, big CC’s and only one cylinder are not a recipe for easy starting. It was so bad that some manufacturers made the mixture richer on bikes to try and help the situation. Even so it’s been known for people to be hospitalised after attempting to start them without riding boots on. Buyer beware.

7. Boss Hoss V8

Okay, maybe a V8 powered custom with 450hp and 445 ft-lbs of torque screams bad-ass a bit more than the Maico, but the power and torque are only two of the things that makes the Boss Hoss a scary bike. Let’s take a look at the stats: 2.6m long, 300 section rear tyre, 500kg wet weight, 6200cc…

I had a chat with the owner of one at a bike rally last year. He said the day he picked it up he was riding down the M4 to get home, his mate was following behind him. He kept opening the throttle to ‘see what she could do’ but it wouldn’t accelerate at all and just made a screeching noise. Pulling into a café he said, ‘I think the clutch is knackered’. ‘No, that’s the back tyre, it’s down to the canvas!’ his mate replied. Too many rolling burnouts at 80mph will do that to a tyre!

6. Anything with NOz…

Especially if it’s been fitted by the previous owner. In their shed. Look, speed on a bike is great, it’s the thing that gets those synapses in our brains firing in a way that other forms of transport just don’t. But I’ve never got on a bike, and I’ve ridden some of the quickest, and thought; ‘do you know, another 80hp would be nice…’

Above all this, adding dd to the sphincter-clenching is the worry that the person who fitted the system did so with nothing more than a Halfords' toolset, a four-pack of beer and some videos from YouTube!

5. Yamaha V-Max

Launched in 1984, the original V-MAX was the epitome of excess. Big capacity, big horsepower and a chassis that could never really handle it all. Early bikes were fast in a straight line but wayward in the corners and woefully lacking in the braking department. The V-MAX was not a bike for the meek and still isn’t. Advances in tyre technology have helped make a slightly more rideable bike but the V-MAX isn’t meant for B-roads. It was made for racing between traffic lights and running a quarter-mile in 10 seconds, doing anything else with one is kinda missing the point.

4. Ducati Streetfighter 1098 S

The 1098 was Ducati’s answer to the naked bike question. Like a Triumph Speed Triple, only better handing and more exclusive. The engine was lifted directly from the flagship 1098 superbike and detuned by just 5hp. The frame too is almost identical to the 1098 and the similarities continue. Top-spec Brembo calipers and discs, Öhlins forks and shock, five-spoke alloy wheels and a single-sided swingarm. If you get a 1098S, remove the fairings and stick on some Renthal bars you basically there.

To ride the Streetfighter was a Jekyll and Hyde character, if you weren’t careful it could bite you, badly. We should know - our road-tester crashed one on the press-launch back in 2010!

3. BMW HP4 Race

BMW's HP4 Race was launched in May this year to much fanfare and excitement in the motorcycle community. The numbers are insane, 215hp, 120Nm, 146kg and £68,000. This is a bike that offers mere mortals the chance to feel what a World Superbike is like at full chat on a track.

And the reason it’s so scary… It’s basically made from carbon fibre with an engine bolted to it. And carbon fibre isn’t cheap! The thought of waiting for the repair bill after you’ve cartwheeled it through the gravel trap at Mallory Park would give me night-sweats. Does this go in the same category as the MV at the top of the page then – it’s scary because if you break it, you’re going to hate yourself for a long time. Your family wouldn’t be happy about you selling the house to pay for the repair either.

2. Kawasaki Ninja H2R

When the H2R landed the motorcycle world stopped. You could almost hear the sound of jaws hitting the deck the world over. As if all the hype and months of teaser videos weren’t enough. Some clever sod in marketing decided the best way to hit the fever pitch would be to stick the thing on a dyno at the NEC. The crowds gathered, the children looked on - then screamed and ran off - and flames shot three feet out of the open pipes. The windows reverberated, and you could feel the building vibrate as the 300hp, supercharged, thousand kissed the rev-limiter. And it worked, the bike had reached ‘legend’ status before the show had even ended. I spoke to some people on day one who had come to see that one bike and as soon as they had, they turned and walked out.

As scary as riding the H2R would be, I’m pretty sure in years to come we’ll talk about it in the same way we do the Vincent Black Shadow or the CB750.

1. Aprilia RS Cube

The Cube was Aprilia’s attempt to take down the established teams in MotoGP. The heart of the bike was a 990cc, inline, three-cylinder engine. Developed in conjunction with the then F1 engine builder Cosworth, the Cube was one of the first MotoGP bikes to gain pneumatic valves, ride-by-wire throttle, and traction control. The frame was an evolution of the firm's 250cc GP bike, with re-designed geometry and beefier cycle parts.

On paper, it sounded amazing, the reality. It was a monster. The fuelling and ride-by-wire throttle made it notoriously fickle on corner exit, never really reacting in the same way twice.

Colin Edwards described it as ‘Born bad’ and once described riding it ‘like cutting the balls off a bull, waving them under his nose and then jumping on its back for a ride’!

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Comfysofa's picture

GSXR 7-11: GSXR750R with an 1100 motor bolted in (a small fitting kit was all that was needed) quite literally to this day (30 years later) the, scariest thing ive ever big sweepers it became a 140mph rocking horse..

This would be a great time to read such great article.

It is always very risky to take a chance for your lives. You can't easily be a rider. It needs a lot of passion within us. It is very much thrilling but you have to be careful at the same time. The scariest motorcycles list was very thrilling to go through it.

Canklefish's picture

The Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III is the one

gauri's picture

great content very good ideas and thought

After all, a bike is an inanimate object and even some of the shittest customs aren't scary to look at. Most bikes only become scary when you include a bag of blood, bones, and self-awareness into the equation. Usually, a bag of blood, bones, and self-awareness that assumes they have more skill than they actually do!

This would be a great time to read such great article.

great content very good ideas and thought

I am so excited to see this post. Here, the author discusses the top 10 scariest motorcycles in the world. I like your post, and it gave me more information about these motorcycles. Can you please share some more information. I am eagerly waiting for more updates like this. Thank you.

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