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Fastest Sport Bikes Over 1000cc

Oct 14, 2023

Designed to do one thing and that is to go as fast as possible, whether in a straight line or around a corner

Owning the fastest sports bikes comes with one of two things - just owning a sports bike and keeping it in your living room gives you the simple gratification of ownership and then there are those that want to challenge what the manufacturers say the motorcycle can do.

Every year motorcycle manufacturers will try and outdo each other to claim the title of the fastest sports bike in the world, and it has taken decades for today's sport bikes to reach the levels they’re at. The Kawasaki GPZ900R paved the way for the modern sports bike in 1984 and its engine was the biggest leap forward for its time, moving to 16-valves and water cooling. Though the technologies were not new (Yamaha's 2-stroke RD models had water cooling and the Suzuki GS range used 16-valve air-cooled engines), they had never been used together in a single motorcycle.

With engine displacements exceeding 1000cc, it has become difficult to prove which is fastest, because in the real world, top speed is dependent on rider size, weight, skill, location and weather conditions. The specifications and top speed where mentioned are claimed manufacturers’ figures and though the maximum velocities mentioned are an approximation, there may always be a little more on tap.

Related: Fastest Naked Bikes Under 1000cc

If there's one thing about a Buell motorcycle that stands out, it's their innovation. The brand's founder, Erik Buell (no longer part of Buell), has always been driven by a passion for engineering and a desire to do something different.

The Hammerhead 1190 features Buell's signature fuel-in-frame, manufactured out of aluminum, while encased within, is a 72° V-Twin, liquid cooled, 1190cc four-stroke engine that produces 185 horsepower at 10,600 rpm and 101.6 foot-pounds of torque at 8200rpm. It comes with Showa's top-of-the-line upside-down front forks and Buell's famous single sided front brake rotor that is bolted directly to the perimeter of the rim. The Buell Hammerhead 1190 may look a little dated and unrefined, but If you remember the XB12R, which was a lot of fun to ride, you have to try this one.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R was a replacement for the aging Kawasaki ZX-11 (ZZR1100) that held the title of the fastest production motorcycle in the world for six years since 1990. Not to be outdone, the Kawasaki development team then set its sights on producing a worthy successor to the outgoing ZX-11. The 1199cc, inline-four, 16-valve, liquid cooled Ninja ZX-12R truly represented a feat of engineering that included electro-plated sleeveless cylinders, winglets on the front lower-fairing and wind-tunnel built aerodynamic body work. But if there were a couple of things that stood out, it was its monocoque chassis, a first used in a production motorcycle and its outright power and speed. There were reports stating that pre-production models were able to achieve 220 brake horsepower and the 2001 version released in Europe was capable of speeds of over 200mph (312 Km/hr). However, this was never officially confirmed by Kawasaki and the ZX-12R was de-limited to 186mph (299 km/h) in accordance to the Gentlemen's Agreement.

If there's a motorcycle manufacturer that has been associated with outright power and speed, it is Kawasaki and this maybe down to them manufacturing ships, rolling stock, aircraft and rockets.

The hyper-crazy Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 (ZZR1400 in Europe) was first shown at the Paris show in 2005, a replacement for the aging ZX-12R. It had a 1352cc revamped ZX-12R engine, with a 1mm larger bore and 5.6mm longer stroke, a pair of balancer shafts, oil cooling jets for the pistons and a monocoque chassis. But in 2012, in a first, Kawasaki claimed its current 1441cc ‘R’ version motorcycle could put out a ram-air assisted 197bhp. It is worth noting the 2006 ZZR1400 hit 189.20mph, but sadly, current ZX-14Rs are electronically limited. So if you’re looking for freight train power in a straight line, though the ZX-14R handles quite decently in corners too, check out the 2023 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R at your nearest dealer.

Related: Can The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R Outrun The Suzuki Hayabusa In A Drag Race?

What better place could there be to launch a limited edition motorcycle? A store just wouldn't cut it. Claudio Domenicali chose "the Corkscrew" track (Laguna Seca) in 2017 to unveil the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition where the World Superbike Series was under way. An off-shoot of the 1299 Superleggera engine, the Ducati 1299 Panigale R FE armed with an over-square, 209 horsepower, 11000rpm revving Superquadro engine, it featured a monocoque chassis that was pivotal in keeping the weight down, a lightened crankshaft, titanium valves and connecting rods, a full suite of electronics, Marchisini forged wheels, Öhlins steering damper and suspension, and an Akrapovic dual silencer exhaust system.

The 1299 Panigale R Final Edition pays homage to the twin cylinder engine that first made history at the World Superbike Championships with Marco Lucchinelli's first victory on the 851 in 1988. If you’re lucky to find one of the authentically numbered Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Editions, you’re getting a piece of motorcycling history.

Italian sports bikes are pretty exceptional in terms of Italian performance and craftsmanship and that's what the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory embodies. The RSV4 1100 Factory has technically continued to evolve since the RSV Mille 1000. The 1078 V4 engine delivers 217 horsepower and 90 foot-pounds of torque. It's brilliantly engineered chassis, state-of-the-art electronics, exceptional Öhlins suspension, agility and power provide the tools for an unforgettable riding experience. The advanced electronics and engine management system ensure excellent throttle response and seamless power delivery. It is also equipped with multiple riding modes, traction control, and a quick-shifter. The Aprilia RSV4 1100 has a certified speed of 189.5mph (305km/hr) which makes it the 7th fastest motorcycle in the list.

Powered by a 1299cc inline-four engine, the Suzuki Hayabusa claim to fame was simple – be the fastest motorcycle in the world by hitting 200mph, and it did this by being tested extensively in a wind-tunnel. The result was an ugly, bulbous front (that would grow on you in time) and a hump-back of a tail, all in an effort to reduce drag and hit a phenomenal top speed of 190mph (306km/h).

Politicians were not impressed and the following year a voluntary agreement between the major manufacturers was reached to cap the top speed of motorcycles to 186mph (299km/hr). Fearing legal entanglements, Suzuki electronically de-limited the Hayabusa that year, but such is the respect of the Suzuki Hayabusa GSXR1300, that it continues to have a fan following all over the world.

The MV Agusta F4 R 312, an evolution of the MV Agusta F4 1000R first introduced in 2007 for model year 2008, the F4 R 312 had all the nice bits and bobs that MV Agustas had come to be known for, thanks mainly to Massimo Taburini (the designer of the iconic F4), and its engine developers. With an upgraded engine up 9cc from 174 brake horsepower (previously on the F4 1000 R), the F4 R's 183 brake horsepower, 1078cc engine featured 30mm titanium intake valves, modified camshafts and a 48 mm throttle body while the chassis, brakes, wheels and suspension were borrowed from the 2007 F4 1000R. True to its name, the "312" refers to the bike's claimed top speed capability of 194mph (312 km/h), verified by Italy's Motociclismo magazine - the F4 R 312 achieved 193.24 mph (310.99 km/h) at the Nardo Ring.

I decided to put my name to this bike as I originally dreamed of it for myself

— Claudio Castiglioni

The name says it all. The exquisite MV Agusta F4 CC sports bike utilized copious amounts of carbon fiber for its bodywork while it had a bored out 1,078 cc engine, up 3mm from 998cc, that delivered 200 brake horsepower at 12,200 rpm. The F4 R CC had the best components that money could buy, and it should be, considering it came with an astronomical price tag of $120,000. The engine was 4 kg lighter than the F4 1000 R by way of exotic metals via its internal parts and featured larger diameter intake valves. Another fact worth noting was the non-availability of high-speed tires at that time, thus restricting the MV Agusta F4 R's top speed to 195mph [314km/hr]. Though only 100 units were made, this is one motorcycle you'd want in your living room even if you don't know how to ride.

Related: MV Agusta CEO Has Interesting Answers To KTM's Controversial Comments

The Ducati 1199 Panigale R made its debut as a successor to the Ducati 1198. The Panigale R was added to Ducati's line-up in 2012 so that homologation could be completed for the 2013 WSBK model. An innovative feature was its use of a rigid monocoque chassis that incorporated the air-box and provided the necessary stiffness under heavy braking at high speeds and flexibility in and out of corners. The Ducati Panigale R would make 195 horsepower stock, and 202 horsepower when shipped with a Termignoni exhaust system. Its top speed has been estimated to have been 202mph (325km/hr), thanks to its lightened Superquadro L-twin engine via titanium connecting rods, valves, a knifed crankshaft and carbon fiber parts. While specific top speed figures may vary, the Panigale R's engineering remains a testament to Ducati's pursuit of craftsmanship and speed on both road and racetrack.

What better way is there for a motorcycle company to celebrate 30 years of racing? A lot of us wouldn't know, but Aprilia does, and they launched the RSV4 XTRENTA track only version motorcycle. With 230 horsepower and a 1099cc V4 power plant, the front of the motorcycle looks almost familiar with its hammerhead shark wing. Derived from MotoGP technology, the Noale Racing Department (to achieve the horsepower), took the base RSV4 and pumped it up by increasing compression ratio, added an SC-Project exhaust system and a Sprint air filter. It pretty much offers race world everything - bodywork, parts and components. With only a 100 units available, the word 'trenta', in Italian meaning 'thirty', Aprilia celebrates its racing heritage with the RSV4 Xtrenta in its 1992 Aprilia 125cc prototype motogp livery. Though not street legal and little information to back up what it can do, it is the fastest normal aspirated machine over 1000cc on the track.

Tarun is a gearhead that has been riding and working on motorcycles for over 25 years. A certified Kawasaki and Ducati mechanic, Tarun loves working on motorcycles and is happy to have quit the software and gaming industry when he did. He has held the position of Manager for Service / Senior Manager for Sales & Marketing at India Kawasaki Motors Pvt. Ltd. and Manager for Service at Ducati India Pvt. Ltd. Born and raised in Rugby, England, he is now based in New Delhi, India spending his time consulting on setting up workshops when he can, working on motorcycles and all stuff that is cool. He considers himself fortunate to have ridden a lot of different motorcycles, thanks to a group (G.O.D.S) that he was once associated with and currently owns a Kawasaki ZX-11 and ZX-12R. He regrets not being able to keep a stable of motorcycles.