The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Speed of the Fastest Motorcycle

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
"Motorcycle." Encyclopedia Americana. Volume 19, 1999: 563. "The most powerful have almost 150 horsepower and top speeds in excess of 185 miles per hour. 82.7 m/s
Guinness Book of World Records. New York: Bantam: 226. "On July 14, 1990, Dave Campos (USA) set American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM) absolute speed records on the 23-ft-long streamliner Easyriders, powered by two 1,491-cc Ruxton Harley-Davidson engines. Campos' overall speed was 322.16 mph …." 144.02 m/s
"… and he completed the faster run at an average speed of 322.870 mph." 144.336 m/s
Don Vesco. Team Vesco, 1997. "Don currently holds 18 motorcycle and 5 automotive records and held the Motorcycle LSR record for 19 years at 318.598 mph. Don has turned the fastest time in history in a motorcycle at 333.117 and the fastest time in a wheel-driven vehicle at 438.897." 148.917 m/s
"1974 -- On Oct. 1, Don set a new AMA record with an average speed of 281.702 mph at Bonneville, with a motorcycle streamliner powered by twin Yamaha TZ750 road racing engines." 125.932 m/s
World Fastest Motorcycle. Swain Technology Coatings. "The Feuling Advanced Technologies special construction motorcycle streamliner streaked across the famous Bonneville Salt Flats November 5, 1997, establishing a history making official top-speed of 332.103 miles-per-hour. Rider, Jim Feuling, achieving the fastest speed ever recorded for a motorcycle on his way to capturing two AMA (American Motorcycle Association) and two LSA (Land Speed Authority) world speed records in his single-engine streamliner. On the record-breaking return run the Streamliner recorded an unofficial top speed of 370 miles-per-hour." 148.463 m/s
(official)
165 m/s
(unofficial)

The type of motorcycle that is capable of breaking the world record is different from the type people ride on streets. It's because the type of motorcycle that people used to make new records year after year is called a streamliner, which has the capability to offer the least possible amount of resistance to the current of air, causing the motorcycle to travel even faster.

The famous motorcycling team Team Vesco first used the streamliner and they immediately experienced good result by setting a world record speed of 142.43 m/s. Twelve years later, according to the Guinness Book of World Record, a record speed of 144.01 m/s was achieved by a model called the Easyriders. Though the machine was about 7 m long, it weighs only 1,134 kg and was powered by two 1,500 cc Ruxton Harley-Davidson engines. The online source from the Swain Technology website has an even higher record. It states that it was the type of motorcycle streamliner, constructed by the Fueling Advanced Technologies who made a history-making top-speed of 148.46 m/s in 1997. However, the top speed stated in the encyclopedia is only 82.70 m/s. This difference can be explained by the fact that the motorcycle was partially streamlined and it used the engines of only 111.9 kW.

Jerry Chan -- 2001