200 horsepower for production motorcycles is much like 200 mph was for automobiles, always possible but few chased after it. Well, power corrupts and more power corrupts absolutely, and a 200 hp or more motorcycle is now attainable for most riders.
In an attempt to dodge the need for a flame suit from the comment section I will highlight a couple of notable bikes that are not on the list which some may think belong. Currently, Honda has no formal release of the CBR1000RR-R and/or SP. Honestly, I think they are looking for ways to add more R’s to the fairing, and though it is well rumored to be coming, there is nothing to share yet. Then we have the CBR with fewer R’s, the CBR1000RR. It is rated at 199 hp. Just one “R” shy of 200, so it does not make my list.
Then the all-new Suzuki Hayabusa. I was already fully making space on the list for it, but it specs out at 188hp. Just keep in mind it has been built for tuners to get freaky with and 200 hp is hiding in there with just a little aftermarket fun. Did I say 200? Tuned Hayabusas easily get to 300 if you have a fat wallet.
To the list! Who gives us more than 200 ponies for 2022?
Now in its third year, the 2022 Kawasaki Z-H2 is the naked streetfighter version of the utterly mental H2/H2R lineup. At a detuned 200 HP, the inline 4 engine still carries the screw-type supercharger that whacks pressurized air into the cylinders. The reason that the engine needed to be detuned from its more powerful brethren is simply because of the amount of weight removed when making it a streetfighter.
531 lbs with 200 HP and 101 lbs-ft of torque will end up going down the road pretty damned quickly, especially since the supercharger guarantees you’ll have all that power pretty much anywhere, at any altitude, in North America. Definitely, a bike to be reckoned with.
Liter bike wars are as on as they ever were, and last year Kawasaki poured multiple tweaks over the ZX-10R. With a claimed 203 HP, a wet weight of 456lb, and all the aero tech and rider aids you can possibly dream of, this machine won’t let you forget why Kawasaki won WSBK 6 times in a row.
The 2022 model carries on essentially unchanged, but they have unleashed a new stealth livery. Metallic Diablo Black, Metallic Matte Graphenesteel Gray has the ZX-10R looking absolutely menacing. Overall getting a bike with over 200hp for less than $20K is tough, good luck finding another with this level of racing pedigree.
The 2022 BMW S 1000 RR is BMW’s top-of-the-range supersport. Its 205 HP, 999cc inline 4 engine is packed with the level of technology you would expect from the German company, including variable cams and titanium valves. A very aggressive seating position high and rearwards gives the bike excellent sports handling characteristics, and as BMW themselves say, it’s meant more for the track than the road. This is evidenced by the fact that the wing mirrors come off with about a grand total of 5 minutes’ work, leaving behind a smooth track missile that’s meant to be leaned over to obscene angles in the corners.
You can also option an M Sport package, which replaces some bodywork with carbon fiber, as well as gives the bike a more aggressive suspension setup. The power, however, remains the same.
Returning for 2022 is theM1000RR, which includes all the goodies from the M Sport package, but also adds a new, far more aggressive ECU, and weight savings in the range of about 20 lbs over the already lightweight S1000RR by use of titanium components and a much lighter exhaust system. Try not to pass out when you see the price tag, remember you need to pay to play at the top level.
The 2022 Kawasaki ZX-14R carries on for another year. The basic design may be fairly dated at this point it is still a compelling ride. Powered by a 1,441 cc inline 4, the engine, which produces 208 crank HP, has the distinction of being so large for a supersport that the aluminum frame of the bike is directly bolted to the casing and uses the engine as a stress-bearing member of the entire chassis. Befitting a top of the line model, the ZX-14R has pretty much every bell and whistle you could want on a supersport, including race-derived brakes, all forms of stability control, ABS, and even selectable power modes so that in stop and go traffic, it uses less fuel and is easier to pull away from a stop. While not really a pure supersport, the ZX-14R creates its own category of “supersport touring,” doing it a quarter of a mile at a time.
The 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V4 models are unapologetic about what they are. Based on the supersport Panigale V4 models, they are stripped down, lightened, and powerful sledgehammers designed to rule the streets. The look of the front end was influenced by The Joker from DC Comics, with a grinning LED daytime running light over the pair of full headlights. The biplane wings on the sides of the radiator cover are there to provide stability at high speed but also add to the shoulders of the bike, giving it a fighting stance that promises to smack other bikes around the head with its growling exhaust and powerful looks. Ducati themselves call this the “Ego Booster” design concept, without any comedic irony at all. They mean it, and the motorcycle shows it.
The V4S is an even more stripped-down and unapologetic pugilist. Weighing 5 lbs less than the V4, it also comes with electronically adjustable suspension to handle any fight it needs to. But wait there is more! Ducati could never stop when there is more insanity available, welcome the V4SP to the 2022 lineup.
Marked with the legendary “SP” (which stands for Sport Production), and kitted out with “Winter Test” livery. The new carbon rims, 3 lb lighter than those of the Streetfighter V4 S, significantly reduce the moment of inertia and contribute to an overall weight saving of 6.6 lb. The comprehensive range of equipment is completed with Ohlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension and the Brembo Stylema R® braking system with front calipers.
The 2022 MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR is, much like the Ducati Streetfighters above, very unapologetic about being an in-your-face, snarling, nasty, loud bike that will happily tear your face off. Of course, befitting a bike from an Italian boutique manufacturer, the Brutale’s 998cc triple is made of titanium con-rods, Asso piston rings, high durability low friction cylinder wall linings, and carbon fiber throughout the body of the bike. The result is a stylish brute that is ready to fight any and all takers.
To ensure there is a Brutale for every rider, you can choose the Brutale RS. What is different about the RS you ask? The bars, yup pretty much just the bars. They sit slightly higher for added comfort, because doesn’t everyone want to be comfortable on a Brutale?
Actually no, some want even more from their Brutale and for you, MV Agusta serves up the Nurburgring version. This is simply a pure track weapon with a weight savings of 3kg over the RR. I cannot stop staring at the gorgeous carbon rims. Everything has been refined on the Nurburgring model to just be faster, and show that they are also an Italian brand that knows exactly how to buid a mental street fighting machine.
The 2022 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE received numerous upgrades to ensure it stays the ultimate cruise missile in the sport touring world. Sharing the same 998cc inline 4 with a screw-type supercharger as the rest of the H2 line, the SE gets a boost over the Z-H2 to 210 HP. Kawasaki has taken things to another level with rider aids and electronic goodies, which does make sense when you have well over 200 hp to keep in check.
In addition to the standard list of 4 letter Kawasaki acronyms for the rider aids, adaptive cruise control, blindspot detection, forward collision warning have all been added. On the luxury side of things, the seat is wider and a tad plusher, a proximity key system is standard, and the styling has been tweaked.
Personally, I will let the others delve into the minutia of details amongst this lists race bikes with license plates, I am all about this supercharged touring gem.
The 2022 Ducati V4 and V4S are the primary models of the Ducati supersport line. With the trademarked Desmosedici V4 engine, both the V4 and V4S extract 210 HP from the 1,103 cc mill. Ducati worked closely with their in-house racing team, Ducati Corse, to tune, tweak, and fiddle with the bike until it met every target they had. The result is a motorcycle that not so much carves corners as much as slices them, powers down straights with a howling exhaust note, and can stop mightily with race-derived brakes.
Much like the Streetfighter, Ducati introduced the Panigale V4 SP2 for 2022. The power output of all models is the same, where they differ is with the level of high-end kit you choose to go with on the quest to shave tenths of a second off, around the track. From V4 to V4S, the improvements involve all areas, aerodynamics, ergonomics, engine, chassis and electronics and a few kilos weight savings. From V4S to SP2, you get carbon fibre rims, Brembo Stylema R® brake calipers, MCS radial master cylinder, dry clutch, 520 chain, billet footpegs and a specific kit for track use, and again a few more kilos of weight savings.
If the V4 SP2 is your dream machine, you will need to wait for Q4 of 2022, but it will be worth it and it looks so good in “Winter Livery.”
Now we are getting into the pure supersport bikes. The 2022 Aprilia RSV4 RR is 100% racing bike, diluted slightly to be street legal. With a 217 HP V4 engine shared between the RR and the 1100 Factory as it was for the 2021 model year, you can expect to be wagging the front wheel in the air on hard acceleration, as the bike itself is a featherweight 450 lbs soaking wet holding a brick.
Add to that impressive brakes, laser-like handling, and a dual-beam aluminum chassis that doesn’t flex as much as an inch, and you have an aggressive Italian supersport motorcycle ready to devour the closest racetrack. And, joy of joys, you can ride the bike to and from the track as well
The 2022 Kawasaki H2 and H2 Carbon are, in the shortest possible definition, street-legal versions of the monstrous Kawasaki H2R. It shares the same supercharged inline 4 998cc engine, but the ECU is programmed to allow torque and HP to be manageable on regular pavement. Detuned to 228 HP and 98.5 lb-ft of torque, one will still have to squeeze tight to the aerodynamic body and tuck down behind the windshield to prevent being ripped off by the sheer force of air passing over the bike.
In place of the winglets of the H2R, the H2 has wing mirrors and includes universal signal lights front and rear. The H2 Carbon is a more extreme version of the H2 that replaces almost the entire front cowling with a carbon fiber derivative of the one that is on the H2R and provides slightly better airflow. Both the H2 and H2 Carbon are electronically governed with their max speed, unlike the unlimited H2R, due to the fact that the bike could very well lift its front slightly from the sheer amount of air that passes around and under the bike.
This is it. This is the most insane, most powerful, most amazing motorcycle on sale in 2021. The 2021 Kawasaki H2R is a track-only bike that takes absolutely everything that the Japanese manufacturer knows about bikes, and smashes it together into a cruise missile. The H2 line’s 998 cc inline 4 is cranked up to 11 here, with the supercharger whacking compressed air in at an ungodly rate to produce a nigh unbelievable 310 HP. It is not street legal as the bike uses composite components that do not allow for mirrors to be fitted, uses slick tires only, and has many race-grade components taken from Kawasaki’s World SBK and MotoGP efforts.
To give you an idea of just how ridiculously powerful the H2R is, consider the fact that it currently holds the world record for 0 to 400 KPH (249 MPH) at26 seconds from a dead stop. That’s faster than even hypercars like the Bugatti Chiron and McLaren F1 can reach the same speed. It’s so fast that the canards on the cowling where the mirrors would be are actually necessary to keep the front of the bike on the road, otherwise it would lift slightly from the sheer amount of air passing around and under the bike.
The H2R is widely regarded as the first true series production “hypersport” bike, creating an entirely new category of motorcycles above the supersport range.
The Ducati V4R is about as close as one can really get to riding the Ducati GP20 MotoGP superbike without being a factory works rider. With a MotoGP derived Desmosedici Stradale R 998cc V4 engine, 234 HP is available at a fearsome 15,500 RPM. The base build of the bike is with the Ducati Corse racing kit, which is still street legal… barely. If you opt to not have the racing exhaust and the slight detune of the “street” version of the V4R, the power drops to 221 HP, which is still nothing to sneeze at.
As is obvious, the bike has been extensively designed and worked on by Ducati’s in-house race team, Ducati Corse, to be as close as possible to the MotoGP bike. This is not a bike for long rides on the highway, nor really for commuting. This is a bike that begs, wants, needs to go fast and attack corners hard. One of the purest expressions of Ducati’s racing pedigree available to the common man, the V4R is simply one of the best motorcycles for an experienced rider to extract the maximum from any track they visit.
Although the V4R is still listed on the Ducati websites, I do not believe you can actually even order one any longer (the configurator is no longer active). With the newest V4 SP2 released, it will be interesting to see what is next for the Panigale lineup.