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Motorcycle Land Speed Records And 5 Speedy Cruisers

Motorcycle Land Speed Records And 5 Speedy Cruisers

Posted by West End Motorsports on Mar 21, 2019

A silver Yamaha motorcycle

Motorcycle enthusiasts love their speed, and nowhere is that more evident than with the motorcycle land speed record. At it’s simplest, a motorcycle is an engine on two wheels and a rider, making it one of the fastest vehicles per pound. They’re fast, nimble, and riders love to try to eke every bit of performance out of their road machines. Let's take a look at some real speed.

The FIM Motorcycle Speed Record

The first holder of the motorcycle land speed record was Glenn Curtiss using a pair of aircraft engines of his own design, his 64mph top-speed in his V-2 motorcycle predates official recognition. It wasn’t until 1930 when Joseph Wright won the first official Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme title when his OEC Temple JAP bike exceeded Curtiss’s higher unofficial run with a more powerful V-8 motorcycle with an official speed of 137.23mph. The current record holder, Rocky Robinson, used a custom-built, twin-engined motorcycle to achieve a speed of 376.363mph in 2010.

Motorcycle land speed record titles are not won with production bikes. Many of these machines don’t resemble motorcycles so much as oversized bullets, and they’ve been powered by every combination of multiple engines, including jets. The record is measured on a set track, the Bonneville Salt Flats Racetrack in Utah. The testing vehicle makes two runs of a set distance, going in two directions, and the speed between the two is averaged.

Fast Production Bikes

Motorcycle land speed record holders are doing more than just adding a fancy trophy to their mantle, though. The work they do creating ever-faster motorcycles creates data that’s used by companies to create faster production bikes. Whether they’re working to get another half-a-horse from a particular component or redesigning the aerodynamics of the entire bike, time trials offer valuable insight into how a bike and rider can work together to push forward to greater and greater speeds.

What Goes Into The Fastest Cruisers

Before we take a look at some rides, you need to understand what creates those fast speeds. The machine brings the power, the rider brings their skill, and between the two of them, they create the weight the engine works against. That means different riders will get different speeds from the same machine as their different weights and skill-levels play out. When you look at the motorcycle land speed record, it has been a blend of these three that has consistently carried title-holders to the improvements (sometimes only incremental in nature) that let them take or re-take the title.

Bikes of various styles and designs parked at a meet

5 of The Fastest Cruisers On The Market

These bikes may not be setting a motorcycle land speed record anytime soon, but you can get them at a dealer near you, new or used, and drive them down the street legally. Feast your eyes on these road machines (in no particular order) and see how your bike stacks up.

  • The Harley Davidson V-Rod - You knew Harley was going to be on this list, so let’s get it out of the way first. The V-Rod isn’t so much a single bike as a range of bikes built from 2001 to 2017, making the secondary market viable for those who want to get their hands on one. These Harleys were built with racing in mind and initially powered by a 1131cc engine developed jointly with Porsche. As the line evolved and expanded, more powerful engines, offset slightly by heavier weights, drove the horsepower higher and higher. With the ability to run 0-60mph in under four seconds, this Harley holds its own.
  • The Triumph Rocket III Roadster - If you are in the bigger-is-better engine camp, then you’ll love this 2294cc monstrosity. The three-cylinder powerplant on the Roadster is the largest production engine in the world. In production since 2004, this beast brings almost 150hp to you, but that large engine also brings a lot of weight. Even so, an experienced rider can get from 0-60 in 3.3 seconds, making quick trips to your local grocery store more fun than ever.
  • The Honda Goldwing - While always sporting a healthy engine, recent iterations of the popular cruising staple have turned in some very impressive times fro 0-60mph. The 2018 GL1800 Tour with its 1832cc engine gives you a sub-four-second time straight off the showroom floor, while the one-off 2014 Valkyrie edition mustered a time in the 3.4-second range. The early holders of the motorcycle land speed record couldn’t have imagined a bike that fast available “off the shelf.”
  • The Indian Scout - The big bruisers above may bring the raw power, but the Indian scout gives you a lighter, more nimble ride to generate its speed. The 1133cc motor produces a modest 100hp, but will still get you from 0-60mph in an impressive 3.81 seconds.
  • The Yamaha VMAX - You knew it was coming. Anyone who’s checked out power cruisers had to guess we’d end the list here. The VMAX is built to shred asphalt. Powered by a 1679cc, this bike puts you in charge of 179 angry horses that can get you to 60mph in 2.5 seconds. It stands, currently, as one of the pound-for-pound power kings of the road and won’t be losing its position any time soon.

Help Your Bike Perform To Its Potential

If you don’t have one of these veritable road rockets, that doesn’t mean you can’t get some good power from your current machine. Premium aftermarket parts and accessories may not help you set a motorcycle land speed record, but they can help you improve your bike’s handling, power, and overall performance. Call us today at (570) 992 1113 if you need help sourcing parts or want to add a little roar to your ride. West End Motorsports is ready to help your bike be the best it can be.