The world's most powerful production motorcycles: 200 hp or go home
Two hundred horsepower is a perfectly decent amount of power for a small to medium sized car. It is a lewd and indecent amount to stuff into a motorcycle that weighs next to nothing and adheres to the road with two small tire contact patches that would add up to about the size of a credit card.
And yet motorcyclists are often lewd and indecent people who enjoy scenery best when it's a shuddering blur. The feeling of wrenching open the throttle of a genuinely fast motorcycle lays waste to anything you can experience on four wheels. It's a savagely physical experience solely for the skilled, the brave and the dribblingly stupid, and I'm proud to count myself among all three of those groups on any given day.
It boggles my mind to this day that any clown can walk into a motorcycle dealership, slap down US$15,000 and walk out with a two-hundred-horsepower motorcycle. There are now many options to choose from in this hallowed stratosphere, including superbikes, electric bikes, naked bikes, supercharged bikes, turbine-powered bikes and even the odd cruiser.
We will endeavor to keep this list updated, so please help us fill in the gaps if we're missing anything. But as of now, here are the most powerful production motorcycles you can buy. Many of them cost less than a small car, giving you outright extremes of performance at 1/300th of the price of the world's most powerful cars. Bask in their glory.
The Damon Hypersport: 200 horsepower (electric)
Straight outta Canada, the Damon's 200-horse, 200-Nm (147.5 lb-ft) electric powertrain will make this thing frighteningly quick, even if it is geared for 200 mph (322 km/h) out of the box. The battery is rumored to hold a huge 21.5 kWh, which should do good things for the range, but Damon is selling this thing more as a technology platform to push its Shift variable ergonomics, which let you move the seat, handlebars and footpegs, potentially on the move – as well as its Co-Pilot traffic-sensing haptics system designed to warn you about oncoming threats before you see them. An interesting bike for sure.
More about the Damon Hypersport.
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR: 200 horsepower (combustion)
The ultimate measure of a supersports bike is the World Superbike Championship, and Kawasaki has won the last five constructors' championships and rider's championships in a row as a testament to the resurgent dominance of the famous green meanie ZX-10RR. It should be noted that this bike's 200-hp figure is before ram air kicks in, and Kawasakis have been well known for its ability to suck in extra air to make more power at speed, having popularized the concept back in the 90s. A weapon of a machine.
More about the Kawasaki ZX-10RR
The Lightning LS-218: 200 horsepower (electric)
The Lightning bike still stands out as the craziest thing I've ever ridden. Whacking the throttle open at 60 mph (96.5 km/h) on this single-speed velocity monster invited a rush of acceleration that bent and warped my sense of space and time. Now, Lightning has opened a new factory in San Carlos, and while the LS218 is still listed as a 200-hp bike, creator Richard Hatfield has told us in the past of a software update that pushed that way up to 248 hp. A wild and beautiful machine.
More about the Lightning LS-218
The Suzuki GSX-R1000: 202 horsepower (combustion)
I had such fun on this thing back in 2017. The latest iteration of a GSX-R lineage that shocked the world in 2005 is a beautifully put together package with manners so outstanding that I found myself riding the twisties in first gear, just to hear that sweet Gixxer rasp a little higher up the tacho. The GSX-R has always delivered a torquey ride, and late models handle sweet as sugar.
Learn more about the Suzuki GSX-R1000
The Vyrus Alyen: 202 horsepower (combustion)
Italian boutique builder Vyrus has always been keen on hub-steered front ends, and its 2020 Alyen semi-naked streetbike rocks a chunky front swingarm and "hydraulic wired" hub steering system to keep things interesting. Built around the 1,285cc Ducati Superquadro engine, a dirty big V-Twin, the Alyen rocks 202 horses, but its form factor is much chunkier than previous super-lightweight Vyrus designs, and ... well, like the Bimota it's a bit ugly.
More about the Vyrus Alyen
The BMW S1000RR: 205 horsepower (combustion)
It's easy to forget that Beemers had a reputation as two-wheeled Zimmer frames before the brand had its first crack at a superbike back in 2009, but the S1000RR laid waste to the field upon debut and immediately started winning every comparo test in Christendom. Inspired by Suzuki's beautifully flexible GSX-R1000, the S1000RR demonstrates extraordinary manners on the road and blistering speed on the track, and it has only gotten better with recent revisions. The latest makes 205 ponies, and you can get it an M Sport package with carbon wheels and all sorts of cool bits and bobs.
More about the BMW S1000RR
The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R: 207 horsepower (combustion)
Team Green has always been the nutter's choice, and the ZX-14R is the most powerful Kwaka you can buy that doesn't have a blower stuck on it. A 1,441cc inline four engine develops big horsepower with a dirty fat spread of torque that feels like it pulls from everywhere, and while this bike is often bought as some sort of hyper-tourer, Kawasaki itself markets it as a quarter-mile dragster. A ferocious machine.
The Ducati Streetfighter V4: 208 horsepower (combustion)
Supersport race bikes have resulted in some killer engines over the years, and the standard approach has generally been to dumb these monsters down for the naked streetbike version. Well, the 2020 Streetfighter V4 might be six horses down on the standard Panigale, but I don't think anyone's going to complain that 208 ponies is underpowered for a naked roadster. Lunacy has never been so pretty.
More about the Ducati Streetfighter V4
The MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro: 212 horsepower (combustion)
Before there was a Streetfighter V4, the Brutale 1000 Serie Oro was as nutty as production naked bikes got. It launched in 2018 with 208 hp, and has since been tickled up to 212 hp – and MV claims that if you're mad (and strong) enough to point this down a straight road and hold the throttle open long enough, it will take you past 186 mph (300 km/h). As with all MVs, it serves double duty as a piece of mechanical artwork.
More about the MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro
The Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP: 214 horsepower (combustion)
Honda has never seemed very interested in the whole horsepower war shenanigans, sitting 10 or 20 horses back from the more ambitious bikes in the supersport class throughout most of the 2010s and letting others win the bench races while it concentrated on making superbikes that behaved impeccably on the street. Lord knows, they were fast enough for the vast majority of riders, but the company is finally dropping a Fireblade worthy of that fearsome name in 2021. It's a US$28,500 special edition, though, and a very tasty looking piece of kit.
Ducati Panigale V4: 214 horsepower (combustion)
Not content with the Panigale being the most continentally beautiful of superbikes, Ducati has made the standard Panigale a horsepower beast as well. Throwing World Superbike regulations to the wind, it houses an 1103cc V4 engine tuned for 214 horses, or a full 226 hp if you fit the titanium exhaust and season to taste. If you really must keep it under 1,000cc, there's a Panigale V4R version that's essentially a WSBK homologation machine. That one makes 234 horses with the Akrapovic exhaust kit on, and looks even sexier.
More about the Ducati Panigale V4
The Curtiss Hades: 217 horsepower (electric)
Curtiss is the electric reincarnation of Confederate Motorcyles, and shares many of its brutal, metallic design ideas. The Hades thus gets an outrageous set of girder forks and chunky, industrial detailing to go with its 217-hp motor and 16.8-kWh battery pack. And none of it matters, because all people see when they look at it is a rampant, low-slung phallus. This may be the most penile motorcycle design ever made.
More about the Curtiss Hades
The Aprilia RSV4 Factory: 217 horsepower (combustion)
Back in 2007, Aprilia pulled its finger out and did what everybody had been hoping Honda would: it created a 1,000cc V4 street superbike engine. And what a beauty it was, powering the magnificent RSV4 superbike series as well as the wild Tuono V4 super-nakedbikes that have shared street supremacy with the KTM 1290 Superduke R ever since. The standard RSV4 RR is now making 201 hp at 397 lb (180 kg), and the RSV4 Factory takes things up a level at 217 hp/390 lb (177 kg). A 10-unit track-only special RSV4 X shows that this motor's good for at least 225 horses, too.
More about the Aprilia RSV4
Ducati Superleggera V4: 221 horsepower (combustion)
The Panigale V4 is already a very, very fast motorbike, but Ducati wouldn't be Ducati if it didn't put out a special edition that made things even sillier. Not only does this thing make 231 hp with its fancy racing kit fitted, it lives up to its "superlight" name with a weight of just 335 lb (152 kg), making it too damn light to race in World Superbike by a whopping 35 lb (16 kg). Everything is carbon, including the ludicrous "biplane airfoil" wings on the sides of the fairings. And everything from the suspension to the brakes and electronics is absolutely top-shelf. This is a production bike that might actually beat a WSBK lap time with slicks on. Outrageous.
More about the Ducati Superleggera V4
The Kawasaki H2: 228 horsepower (combustion, supercharged)
The H2 was and is a statement bike for Kawasaki. The first forced-induction supersport bike in forever, it wears outrageous mirror-finish paint that immediately sets it visually miles apart from anything else on the market. Its 130,000-rpm supercharger chirps a merry song of anger if you ride it hard, and in our 2016 review we described the experience of going full throttle thus: "By the time you hit 7,000 rpm, it's whipping itself into a furious lather, and up between 10,000 rpm and the 14,000 rpm redline, there's nothing to do but hang on with every muscle clenched, especially the circular ones, and listen to a full and fruity series of profanities leaving your body whether you want them to or not."
That was the old, 200-horse version. Ridiculously, the stock horsepower figure is seriously limited by the fueling, and a simple ECU flash can unlock some 30 more ponies for those brave enough to try. The track-only H2R version, with its titanium exhaust, ups the ante to 310 hp, but it's not road legal.
More about the Kawasaki H2
The Bimota Tesi H2: 228 horsepower (combustion, supercharged)
The mighty Tesi H2 shares a motor and a power figure with the Kawasaki H2; Kawasaki now owns a little under half of Bimota and has happily provided its meanest donk for the Italians to play with. As with previous Tesi bikes, this one rocks a hub-steered front end, and while it looks quite front-heavy and ungainly, it's actually more than 50 lb (24 kg) lighter than the H2 at 472 lb (214 kg), so this thing's gonna go like billy-o. As for the looks, well, the overall proportions might be odd but the details are beautiful, so at least you'll feel pretty in the rider's seat.
More about the Bimota Tesi H2
The PGM V8: 334 horsepower (combustion)
Australian petrolheads of a certain age have always enjoyed their rorty V8s, but this Aussie-built monster takes things to a fairly extreme level. Weighing 534 lb (242 kg), the PGM V8 packs a 2-liter, 90-degree V8 donk that spins to nearly 13,000 rpm and delivers 334 hp and 214 Nm (158 lb-ft) of torque. We're not certain exactly how many have been produced since dropping jaws in 2015; with a price over US$100,000 it's likely not many. But for something with that much motor, it's a pretty tidy looking machine.
More about the PGM V8
The MTT 420 RR turbine superbike: 420 horsepower (combustion, turbine)
Marine Turbine Technologies out of Louisiana has been making ludicrous turbine superbikes for 20 years now, and the 420 RR is the silliest of them all. It's not a jet bike; all that power goes through the rear tire through a two-speed transmission. Powered by the same Allison 250-C20B turboshaft engine that keeps various Bell and Sikorsky helicopters in the air, you can hear this beast of a thing coming from blocks away. Rumor has it the exhaust gases are so hot they can melt the plastic bumpers on cars that sit too close at the lights. And they will sit close, because nobody's ever seen or heard anything else quite like it. It's a huge, long, heavy beast that warrants extreme care, because absolutely everyone will be watching if you stuff up a u-turn.
The Boss Hoss Super Sport: 563 hp (combustion)
Boss Hoss has been making colossal American cruisers with absolutely gargantuan motors for some 30 years now, and if you think you can handle one of these ocean liners, they'll happily sell you a bike with a 454 cubic inch, or 7.439-liter, "small block" V8 and a two-speed semi-auto transmission with a reverse gear. For a car 563 hp is a lot of power, and it's utter shenanigans on a motorcycle. I had the pleasure of following one around a racetrack for a lap or two at one point; the gentleman on board would shower sparks as he dragged the bike through every corner, and then light it up and remain sideways right up until the next braking point. They're not fast, they're not clever, but the Boss Hoss cannot be ignored for sheer size and power.
We're sure we've missed plenty of 200-plus-horsepower machines, so please help us make this list comprehensive by hitting us up in the comments below.