What is with us and size? We are obsessed with things either monstrously big or impossibly small, and everything in between is nothing but monotonous mediocrity. Let’s get talking motorcycles and engines. There have been Chevy big block engines made for big cars crammed into motorcycles. Why, because it could be done, and so it was.
There are people who will tell us not to go for a Liter bike at all, motorcycles work best when they lesser than a full 1000 cc. The thing about these all-powerful and stupid fast motorcycles is that they do not accelerate, they rocket! And if a thing on two wheels rockets off, we may be left clinging for dear life. And they may not kill you. Maybe… They are also prone to be thieved off because they are also stupid expensive. And riding them is like walking a razor’s edge, one slip and the rider is a goner. Or at least road mush. Also remember, where in the world would be racing these bikes at 200mph? All the way to heaven. There is a reason big displacement bikes are known as widowmakers. But they are still being made and bought. Would we dare to ride one?
Here go the 20 biggest bikes, when it comes to engine displacement. Remember, speed can be hazardous to health!
The Dodge Tomahawk was Chrysler's way of showing strength and dominance in the automobile industry. Some critics dubbed it as a rideable engine stand and disqualified it for being a four-wheeler that looked like a Dodge car squeezed on both sides. But what is impressive is its powerplant that boasts of an 8.3-liter 20-valve 10-cylinder engine tied to a two-speed automatic transmission.
Its massive engine is capable of thrashing out a whopping 500 horsepower and equally immense 525 ft-lb worth of torque.
Plus, it does a 0-60 sprint in between 1.75 to 2.5 seconds and achieves a theoretical top speed of 420 mph. Only nine units of the Tomahawk were sold between 2003 and 2006.
The Millyard Viper V10 was designed and built by a British engineer of the same name, Allen Millyard. His primary target was to reach a top speed mark of 250 mph with his new-fangled creation. Once done and ready, the Viper V10 eventually did achieve its best mark of 207 mph at the Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground. The interesting thing is it carries an 8.0-liter mill power for its heart that was ripped off the Dodge Viper RT/10. This heavy engine, more than 700 lbs, is wealthy enough to jet out a gigantic 500 horsepower and 465 ft-lb worth of torque.
The Leonhardt Gunbus 410 is touted as the world’s biggest motorcycle. The credit for creating this massive manufacture goes to Leonhardt, a motorcycle builder based out of Eppingen, a small town in Germany. He describes his creation as a picture-perfect amalgamation of performance potential and a well-balanced design.
The Gunbus 410 weighs almost 1433 lbs and is huge in size.
It measures 11 ft in length with a 30-in seat height. The 410 refers to the displacement of the engine in cubic inches that is equivalent to 6.7-liters. It’s a V2 mill that can pump out 350 horsepower and 510 ft-lb of torque. Most importantly, unlike the Tomahawk, it is street-legal.
The Ecosse FE Ti XX carries a jaw-dropping price tag of $300,000 and is one of the most expensive motorcycles we have today in the market. That’s why only 13 units of the FE Ti XX were ever made. It carries a 2.4-liter billet-aluminum engine for its heart that is capable of generating 225 horsepower. It uses carbon fiber extensively; idea is to keep the weight of the vehicle as light as possible. Plus, the reason for a steep price tag is justified when you see its grade-9 titanium exhaust pipes and an elegant all-titanium chassis. Most of the FE Ti XX is handcrafted, including its snobbish Italian leather saddle finished by Berluti.
The Triumph Rocket III carries one of the most powerful engines we have today. It transports a liquid-cooled 2.3-liter DOHC inline-triple workhorse to power its 797 lb build. This massive engine can crank out an enormous 148 horsepower and a torque of 163 ft-lb.
With its astounding success in the domestic market, it has softly shaken its rivals, especially Honda as they are the leading engine manufacturers in this domain.
Plus, being a three-cylinder motorbike, Triumph is the second player to have more than two cylinders. The Rocket III’s inline layout runs longitudinally in the motorcycle and it will credibly keep the name of a “biggest motorbike engine” in coming days.
Confederate Motorcycles is honoured for their crackerjack engineering and avant-garde projects. The company has recently floored its new creation – the X132 Hellcat Speedster which is designed by Pierre Terblanche. It, in fact, is a homage to the legendary F6F Hellcat fighter planes that were used in WWII. Similar to other Confederate crops it is hand-built and uses a solid 2.2-liter 56° fuel-injected V-Twin engine with 4.4” Bore x 4.4” Stroke. And above, the motorbike uses a billet aluminum case made of aircraft-grade metal. Even the nuts and bolts were top-grade stainless steel. This potent engine can thrash out a peak of 132 horsepower and a peak torque of 150 ft-lb.
The Kawasaki VN2000 or Vulcan 2000 carried a 2.0-liter bedrock that could churn out a healthy 116 horsepower and 141 ft-lb of torque. It had a distinguishing “bug-eye” chrome nacelle projection headlamp.
Kawasaki launched it in 2004 with a vision of making it one of the biggest production motorcycles on the earth in future.
But it failed to do so owing to the raving response its rival, the Triumph Rocket III received since the Rocket III debuted the same year as the VN 2000. Nevertheless, VN 2000’s massive engine is still the biggest twin we had till the company took it off the market in 2010.
The XV1900 is the largest Yamaha motorcycle in production even today. A massive 1.9-liter mill sits at the core of this Yamaha cruiser. It’s a four-stroke air-cooled V-Twin engine tied to a five-speed gearbox. It is capable of coughing up 82 horsepower and 104 ft-lb of torque. This Yamaha was designed to get the best out of the big displacement end of the large cruiser market. The XV1900 weigh 725 lb which is heavy but when compared with other cruisers it is a featherweight. It has an aluminum double cradle frame for further strength. It does a zero to 60 mph acceleration time in flat 4 seconds and achieves a top speed of 125 mph.
The CVO motorcycles were created by Harley to tap the factory custom market. That’s why the name CVO – it means Custom Vehicle Operations. These machines are the leviathans and Goliaths of the motorcycle bazaar today. One of the biggest and most-expensive, these Harleys rule the custom motorcycle scene globally. They are armed with a 1.9-liter Milwaukee Eight twin-cooled engine and best-in-class styling and underpinnings. This Grand American Touring specialist may not have the biggest engine in terms of its displacement but it certainly is one of the biggest motorcycles on this planet. Undoubtedly, the CVO is an ultimate long-distance machine.
Honda Goldwing was the biggest production bike ever in its debut year. The fifth-generation GL1800 model used a large 1.8-liter water-cooled SOHC flat-six engine with programmed fuel injection skill.
This hefty motor was capable of producing 117 horsepower and a torque worth 123 ft-lb.
Apart from a mammoth engine it also came with lucrative options like an airbag, in-dash GPS termed as Internavi with audio through headsets and speakers, and ABS. Plus, a comfort package for the rider that comprises saddle heating and heated grips. Unfortunately, this iconic mean machine left domestic shores in 2010 to relive its legacy in Japan.
The Indian Chief Classic is undoubtedly one of the most iconic motorcycles ever made. Popular as one of the finest cruisers in the market today, this Indian is a perfect amalgamation of contemporary and classic. The Classic is propelled by a new Thunder Stroke 1.8-liter engine paired with a six-speed transmission. It gets draped fenders and its front fender has a lamp known as “war bonnet” both common in the inter-war era models. It is loaded with features like cruise control, antilock braking system, keyless start, and electronic fuel injection. Plus, it has a single-shock swing arm that can be manually attuned.
The Suzuki M1800 aka the Intruder offers a massive street presence and uses chrome extensively on it lustrous construction. The M1800 is powered by 1.8-liter liquid-cooled V-Twin engine tied to a five-speed gearbox that transfers power to the rear wheel through a shaft drive. Its powerful mill can crank out 127 horsepower and a maximum torque of 118 ft-lb. These figures may not look large but they are better than what a whole bunch of cars has in store in terms of engine displacements. It sits comfortably as one of the bestselling cruisers, better than a lot of its strong opponents.
The Honda VTX1800 is no more in production but it carried a lot of punch in its heydays. It was the trendsetter in the arena of cruisers and tourers and as fast as fast could be. It is the brainchild held responsible for the ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ mêlée that rules the roost even today when it comes to motorcycles.
At the time of its launch, the Honda VTX engine was the largest displacement production V-twin in the world.
Unfortunately for Honda and fortunately for Kawasaki, the latter launched the 2-liter Kawasaki Vulcan 2000 and snatched the title away! But the VTX1800 still had better speed and performance.
The Triumph Thunderbird Storm uses a 1.7-liter DOHC four-stroke parallel-twin engine mated to a six-speed belt drive. Its potent engine can roll out a healthy 97 horsepower and 115 ft-lb of torque. It is one of the biggest parallel-twin motorcycles that are still alive. The Storm is the more blacked out version of its elder brother Thunderbird and is more than a cruiser as a motorcycle. The Storm features an all-black appearance except for a contrasting chrome exhaust that is like icing on the cake. Triumph has rightly expressed it that the Storm is still laidback but it is reinforced by serious power and handling.
Victory motorcycles came to life when the parent company Polaris decided to launch a Harley Davidson contemporary. In 1997 they launched the V92C motorcycle and at 1510cc, it was the second largest displacement engine of that time. The race for the bigger and better engine was on. In 2002, they made their Freedom V-Twin engine and increased the displacement to 1600cc. Finally, in 2009, they introduced the amped Victory ‘Freedom’ V-twin, at 1731cc, enough for these bikes to be noticed and noticed well. With 97 horsepower and 113 ft-lb of torque, you can get this on the Vegas Jackpot, Ness Jackpot, Hammer and Hammer S motorcycles.
If you want a BMW large displacement engine to the tune of 1649 cc, then there are three motorcycles you could choose from. The BMWK1600GT sportbike, the BMWK1600GTL which is a tourer and finally, the BMWK1600GTB, a bagger. The three motorcycles use the BMW’s new 1,649 cc (1.65-liter) straight-six engine.
Like many other BMW bikes, the engine is mounted transversely across the chassis to save space, with the cylinders angled forward by 55 degrees.
According to BMW, this is the narrowest straight-six configuration on an engine till date. While many bike magazines have named these at the best bikes of the year, there are some who still prefer the Honda Gold Wing over it.
Frankly, this one looks more beast than a bike and at 1441 cc, it is a powerful beast indeed. The ZZR1400 is capable of accelerating from 0–60 mph in 2.5 seconds and initially, the top speed was electronically limited to 186 mph. This rad motorcycle can hit 200mph with ease though as some aficionados have reported. Its 200 horsepower engine is the only four-cylinder one capable of such road destruction, and it can produce a combined torque of 107 ft-lb. With its side and front panels, it looks and sounds like a monster on the road and its performance is at par with the other six-cylinder motorcycles on this list as well.
Moto Guzzi is perhaps best known for its California cruiser, which has been in production almost continuously since 1971. It was a cop bike used by both LA and California cops and now comes in a powerful 1400 cc configuration. In 2014, Moto Guzzi launched the MGX21 ‘Flying Fortress’ motorcycle based on the California 1380 cc configuration. The engine remains untouched, it’s a 90-degree transverse V-Twin with 95 horsepower and 89 ft-lb torque. But the frame has been tweaked here and there to let in a larger front wheel and extra payload since this is a "Bagger: bike. Basically, the wheelbase is a little longer and the motorcycle boasts of better load-bearing capacity.
For the 2018 line-up, the KTM 1301 cc motorcycle is emerging as one of the biggest displacement engines for the year. Which means while trucks have been steading adding more liters to their engines, motorcycles have been downsizing.
The simplest reason for this is that we do not need to keep adding size to the engine for better performance.
Improved technology means that even smaller engines can churn out powerful bikes, as is the case with the KTM superstars. Meet the 1301-cc powered 1290 Super Duke R, 1290 Super Duke GT, and 1290 Super Adventure. All great bikes, the same awesome engine.
This one is a concept motorcycle by Suzuki and sports an 1100 cc transverse inline-six engine, narrow bore and boasts 24 valves. It can churn out some 180 horsepower and according to Suzuki, thrashed out more than 100 ft-b of torque all the way till it redlined. Another noteworthy point about this motorcycle is that it was three-quarters of an inch narrower than the Hayabusa four-cylinder engine because of its narrow bore. The difference may not sound like much but if you are an automotive engineer, you’d know how much of a performance change even three-quarters of an inch can make.
Sources: Motorcycledaily.com, MCN, Zombiedrive.com