Love fast bikes? Chances are you love high torque motorcycles too, as torque is responsible for quick acceleration. Here's 12 of the torquiest motorcycles
We often focus too much on horsepower figures, forgetting that torque is where we get to feel speed and acceleration. Here are 12 motorcycles offering the most torque available for every version of speed freak.
What’s torque and how is it different from horsepower? Power, measured in horses, is a rate of work. Torque, measured in lb.-ft. is the work; it’s the force the engine produces. Clamp a one-foot-long bar to an engine’s crank and if it can push a pound with that bar, then it’s producing one pound-foot of force. Torque is quoted at the crank because gears are designed to multiply the amount of force an engine can apply to the wheel. The more torque an engine produces, the more potential it has to perform work through those gears. It’s also what you feel when you open the throttle, it’s what shoves the bike forward.
The 2014 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure makes 92 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,000 rpm, 4 lb.-ft. more than it’s predecessor. At 573 pounds (wet), the GS has a torque/weight ratio of 0.16 lb.-ft./lb. That torque helps make this one of the most capable of the large adventures bikes available to date.
The 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure makes 92 lb.-ft. of torque at 7,5000 rpm. While you have to rev a little higher to access the full reach of the torque curve, the 1190 Adventure comes in at 55 pounds lighter than it’s German competitor making it feel a little punchier. At 518 pounds (wet), the KTM has a torque/weight ratio of 0.18 lb.-ft./lb.
The all-new 2014 EBR 1190RX makes an unbelievable 102 lb.-ft. at 8,200 rpm. This blows pretty much everything else completely out of the water, except our next bike, which is over 100 pounds heavier. The 1190 RX weighs 446 pounds (wet), giving it a torque/weight ratio of 0.23 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 Kawasaki ZX-14R makes 115 lb.-ft. at 7,600 rpm. The ZX-14R, in all of its 582 pound glory, is more of a sport touring bike than a pure sport bike; but it’s no wonder you see a lot of these at the drag strip. The 14R has a torque/weight ratio of 0.20 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R makes 106 lb.-ft. (rpm figures unreleased). That’s more than pretty much every super-sport available, all without a fairing or tucked riding position. Absolutely mental. At only 446 pounds (wet), the all-new Super Duke has a torque/weight ratio of 0.24 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 Triumph Rocket III makes an obscene 150 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm. I don’t even understand how these numbers are possible, it’s just silly. At 807 pounds (wet), the Rocket III has a torque/weight ratio of 0.18 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 Star VMAX claims it makes 123 lb.-ft. (rpm figures unreleased), giving it the highest torque rating of anything in the Yamaha/Star lineup. Weighing in at 683 pounds (wet), the VMAX has a torque/weight ratio of 0.18 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2014 Indian Chieftain makes 119 lb.-ft. of torque (rpm figures unreleased). We were surprised by the engine characteristics and Indian did a great job with it. The Chieftain is no small bike and, at 848 pounds (wet), it has a torque/weight ratio of 0.14 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M109R makes 118 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm. The M109 is another bike that often goes under the radar when considering cruisers with high torque figures, though it’s a fantastic option in the segment. At 764 pounds (wet), the M109R has a torque/weight ratio of 0.15 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 Victory Judge makes 110 lb.-ft. at 2,900 rpm. This was the first bike in this segment I ever rode and it made me understand the draw immediately. The victory is actually lighter than it looks and, at 712 pounds (wet), has a torque/weight ratio of 0.15 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 Honda Goldwing F6B makes 125 lb.-ft. of torque (rpm figures unreleased). I’ve personally ridden the F6B for thousands of miles, along coasts and over mountains, and absolutely nothing phases that engine. The little wing weighs 842 pounds (wet), giving it a torque/weight ratio of 0.15 lb.-ft./lb.
The 2013 BMW K 1600 GT makes 129 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,250 rpm. If I were choosing one bike to ride across the country, this is the one I’d choose. The BMW weighs just 703 pounds (wet), giving it a torque/weight ratio of 0.18 lb.-ft./lb.
We left a few bikes off this list, but I wanted to provide some numbers to give a little context. All of the Harley-Davidson models using the Twin Cam 103 inch engine make 98.7 lb.-ft. of torque and the Ducati Diavel makes 94 lb.-ft. If you can find a used Honda VTX1800, it'll produce 120 lb.-ft. and, assuming you can get past the looks, the Suzuki B-King makes 108 lb.-ft. If you were curious about the sportbike category, the next highest is the Ducati Panigale, which makes 98 lb.-ft. of torque.
All of the figures above were reported by the manufacturer.
Anything you’re surprised to see on this list? Anything you think we missed? Tell us about it in the comments below.
The Beast: 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
The New Guy: 2014 EBR 1190RX
The Champ: 2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster