We take a look at ten of the fastest American sport bikes in history

The land of the free and the home of the brave is well known globally for its cruisers but what you probably didn’t know is that it occasionally has made some mighty fun and quick sportbikes as well. That’s right – just like that tenth dentist, there have been a few American motorcycle manufacturers who disagreed with the status quo and wanted to stay ahead of the curve, so to speak, so they designed and manufactured sportbikes that could put a grin on your mug when going around a corner as well.

Unsurprisingly, none of them come from a mainstream or well-known manufacturer of sportbikes, which remains the stronghold of manufacturers from Europe and Japan. Of course, the only thing this does is make them all the more amazing for existing, just like a large-capacity Japanese cruiser. The electric brigade is also well represented here, in keeping with the times. However, there are a couple of surprises, including a blast from the past.

10 Fischer MRX 650: 140 mph

Daniel Fischer was an AMA and Aprilia Cup roadracer who wanted to leave his imprint on the American sportbike scene. It was almost powered by a Rotax 90 degree L-twin engine, but that deal fell through because of pressure from Aprilia, who were also using that engine. It ended up being powered by a 647cc V-Twin that also powered the Hyosung Comet, which also donated other bits and bobs like the brakes. This engine generated 77 horsepower and 38.4 lb-ft of torque. There was an Öhlins rear monoshock and a Brembo master cylinder for the brakes, but the real jewel in the crown was the chassis. It was a combination of trellis and twin spar frame, and the trellis parts were inside the spars. It was a promising product, but the great recession of 2008 made sure that only 30 examples were ever sold.

9 Mission R: 150 mph

Mission Motorcycles’ first supersport offering was the R, a 141 horsepower, 115 lb-ft machine that is approximately the size of a 600cc supersport. It was good for a 0-60 mph time of less than 3 seconds, and a top speed in excess of 150 mph. Range from a full charge was claimed to be up to 140 miles. There was also a higher-spec race-ready RS at launch with top-shelf suspension components from Ohlins, brakes from Brembo, and Marchesini forged wheels. The Mission RS broke quite a few American electric motorcycle records, including the Laguna Seca lap record, and the NEDRA street legal ¼ mile record. The Mission RS debuted for $56,500 and the Mission R for $30,000. Not cheap, but they also offered adjustable throttle mapping, regenerative braking, and WiFi and mobile phone data connectivity for the road user.

8 Buell 1125R: 161 mph

Racing Red 2009 Buell 1125R leaning into a curve

An odd displacement figure for an odd motorcycle, the Buell 1125R is all we’ve come to expect from Eric Buell. The Rotax engine displaces that odd figure because the power target (146 horsepower, 82 lb-ft of torque) was the only criteria, no matter what displacement it took to achieve it. In this case it was 1125 cc, or 68.6 cubic inches. All the idiosyncrasies of it being a Buell come along for the ride; its frame is also a fuel tank that holds 5.6 gallons of fuel, but this time the swingarm doesn’t function as an oil tank but the engine is of the dry sump type and has a paper filter for the oil. The 375 mm rim-mounted front brake has a massive inverted eight-piston calliper to help arrest forward motion. The rear brake is mounted inside the swingarm, which means you can’t see the calliper, just the rotor. Suspension is top spec, from Showa with adjustable everything at both front and rear. Dry weight was the lightest in its class at the time, at 375 pounds. All this added up to a top speed of 161 mph and a 2.8 second 0-60 mph time.

7 Harley-Davidson VR 1000: 170 mph

Side view of a 1994 Harley-Davidson VR1000

You’d be forgiven for not recognizing the name. Only 50 VR 1000s were ever made and registered in Poland, of all places. This was Harley-Davidson’s attempt to succeed in road racing a few decades before someone came up with the idea for King Of The Baggers. The VR 1000 had a liquid-cooled 60 degree V-twin motor that displaced 996cc and generated an estimated 135 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque, good for nearly 170 mph at the right racetrack. H-D initially wanted an all-American hero so sourced components from American vendors but changed track to proven components from Öhlins and Showa. It still didn’t meet with success despite some of the best talent riding it, so Harley has sadly chosen to let us forget about it. Given Harley’s new electric push, we think it is time for a rebirth!

6 EBR 1190RX: 190 mph

LCD screen, 24 TC settings, and handling that any European would be proud of. All from a small 140 employee company that rose from the ashes of Buell. That’s right, the ‘EBR’ in the name stands for ‘Eric Buell Racing’, as in the same Eric whose last name graces the previous model on this list. However, this is the product of a new company – Buell 2.0 if you like – and with the larger displacement engine, there are a number of things that make the 1190RX quite different from the older Buell. There is the 72 degree, 1190cc (72.6 cubic inch) V-twin motor that generates 185 horsepower and 102 lb-ft of torque, the hubless wheels that help reduce unsprung mass, with a rim-mounted front brake gripped by an eight piston caliper. The frame is also an aluminum fuel tank, while the rear subframe is made of magnesium. Weight was a mere 419 pounds. All of this meant that not only was it a great handling motorcycle, it would take you on to a top whack of nearly 190mph. Not bad for a company as small as EBR was!

5 Damon Hypersport HS: 200 mph

2021 Damon Hypersport HS Yellow in the parking lot 

The Hypersport HS is an all-electric motorcycle from Damon that believes in the number 200. It has 200 horsepower, 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque, will hit a top speed of 200 mph, and has an estimated range of 200 miles. It has some extremely interesting safety features, like forward-facing long range radar and a wide angle 1080p camera that will detect objects in all weather and lighting conditions, haptic motors in the handlebars that will warn the rider of forward collision threats, and a 360 degree advanced motorcycle warning system called CoPilot. It even has two different riding positions thanks to moveable footpeg and handlebar positions – these move at the touch of a button, giving you a choice of corner-carving crouch or upright commuting posture. The Hypersport HS will definitely be an interesting motorcycle when it is launched.

4 MotoCzysz C1: 200 mph

Named after professional racer Michael Czysz, the MotoCzysz C1 never was a traditional success story. It was developed to be a race machine to compete in MotoGP, the highest level of two wheeled road racing competition. It was ahead of its time in a number of ways – a carbon fiber frame, a longitudinal engine with two half-cranks that counter rotated to balance gyroscopic forces negating the need for a counter rotating shaft, the layout was a narrow-angle V that was since used by the VW group in its cars… all of these innovations were back in 2009. Unfortunately, even though it was designed for MotoGP, the series rules changed to 800cc machines just as it was ready to render it ineligible. Ultimately 50 MotoGP replicas were made available to the public for $100,000 each.

3 Burt Munro’s 1920 Indian Scout: 205 mph

Burt Munro and his Indian streamliner motorcycle

We’re aware that this was originally an American cruiser that was rebuilt in New Zealand but it holds some land speed records that stand to this day, and it had the correct riding position for a supersport when it set the speed records, did it not? The record in question was set in 1967, and the official speed was a little over 184 mph – but Munro hit a top speed of over 205 mph. Remember, this was a motorcycle that was built in his shed, on his days off, from a motorcycle that had a top speed of 55 mph when stock. And he set the record when he was 68 years old. Phew.

2 Lightning LS-218: 216 mph

Side view of a Lightning LS-218

When launched, the Lightning LS-218 was touted as the fastest production motorcycle in the world. It made that claim because of the speed that a prototype achieved on the Bonneville Salt Flats during the 2011 Speed Week. The figure in question? 216 mph. This electric performance (forgive us the pun) is courtesy 244 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque from a liquid cooled direct drive electric motor that drives the rear wheel via a chain and a cartoonishly large rear sprocket. The 0-60 mph time is under two seconds, and has top-shelf components from Brembo and Öhlins to help keep the rubber side down. It didn’t just compete with its gas-powered machines, it frequently decimated them. It won at Pikes Peak, Le Mans, and has set multiple land speed records. It has been the world’s fastest street legal electric production motorcycle since 2014 and as if that wasn’t enough, this year Lightning has begun testing new batteries from Enervate that promise a 150-170 mile range on a full charge, and go from 0-80 per cent charge in a lightning quick 10 minutes!

1 MTT 420RR: 273 mph*

MTT 420RR in grey facing right

We end with a bang – or rather, the high-pitched whine of a turbine. Claimed to be the fastest production motorcycle in the world, the MTT 420RR feeds diesel or kerosene to a Rolls-Royce Allison Model 250-C18 gas turbine engine and puts out 420 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. That is good for a claimed top speed of 273 mph.*

Safe to say that it retains the Y2K’s record of most powerful street legal motorcycle. There is an infinite level of customization available, as long as you’re willing to pony up to the eye-watering asking price of a quarter of a million dollars, which gives it its other record – that of being the most expensive production motorcycle on sale. It isn’t too heavy either, coming in at just 25 pounds heavier than a Kawasaki H2R.

Source: topspeed.com