Honda Fireblade 2020
Honda Fireblade 2020

Nowadays, we seem to get every new top of the range bike released with more and more powerful engines, some even pushing out over 200 BHP ????, and weighing under 200 KG. It’ll be like siting on a rocket and holding on as if your life depended on it, and truth be told, it probably does!

So why does it seem that manufacturers assumes we need, want or even require so much power? There’s no way you could use that sort of power on the road and highly unlikely or even on a circuit (unless you’re a track God). I’d openly admit 100BHP is more than enough for most people (even though my bikes have been more powerful).

So what possible benefits can be had with a bike that can probably break all UK speed limits in 1st gear?

Surely it’s just a case of “show-boating” from the manufacturers and maybe even the buyers for these mad machines, or is it?

Let’s look at it from another angle. These behemoths aren’t just about massively powerful engines, although this seems to be the power that grabs all the headlines and attention. To run such powerful engines the chassis has to be up to the task and a normal chassis would just twist and contort under the powerful demands placed upon it. Thus, brand new designs and innovations have to be engineered and built to cope with all that force put through it.

Then there’s the brakes, you obviously can’t have your average set up on such a powerful bike. So, specially designed brakes to cope with the task of stopping these beasts have to be engineered, tested and manufactured, all of which takes time and plenty of money.

Then there’s the need to have electrical safety devices. Could you imagine what would happen, if you had no electrical safety net like traction control, with all that power at your wrist?! One firm twist of the wrist would either send you skywards, or there would be loads of smoke and you wouldn’t have gone anywhere, sat there with a bald tyre. So state of the art electronics need to be developed to be able to reign in all that power.

Kawasaki Ninja H2R
Kawasaki Ninja H2R

We then move onto the components that are used. As these bikes are the flagship products of motorcycle manufacturers. They’re “look at us, look what we can do, aren’t we clever”, an exhibition of all the cutting edge technology they’re capable of. So all the parts are top notch, materials such carbon fibre, stainless steel, even titanium parts. Add goodies like quick shifters/auto blippers and electronic suspension able to adjust the bikes set up at a touch of a button. Often lighter wheels are used and manufacturers join up with tyre manufacturers to design tyres specifically for these bikes, to cope with the huge forces than can be put on it. The manufacturers don’t want their flagship to fall apart or fail because of poor components used.

Even the look of the bike is top notch (except the Bimota Tesi H2, have you seen that thing ????); single sided swinging arms, carbon fibre body panels, lovely deep paint finishes etc.

So what you say, yeah they just showing off aren’t they. Of the course the answer is yes, however there is a but! All of these items in one way or another, designs, electronics etc will in time filter down to more run of the mill bikes, that Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs could/would buy.

It wasn’t that long again that ABS was a novelty on a bike. Nowadays, middle of the road bikes not only have ABS (as a legal requirement) but cornering ABS as standard too. Electronic packages like traction control and rider modes are common features, which allow the rider to change engine power, traction control etc at a touch of a button, even when on the road. Even quick shifters, which once the domain of race bikes, are appearing more and more. Even tractors BMW GS’s can come with quick shifters (sorry Nigel couldn’t resist!)

All of these beneficial things have come from these next generation “super bikes”. The technology gets passed down the line and it also makes good sense for a manufacturer’s point of view. You may not be able to afford their ultimate bike, however you may be suitably impressed by that model to want to buy one of their lesser siblings.

So, as far as I’m concerned, please, carry on which your “Show Boating”!