Fastest Bikes in the World: 600-Kmph Streamliners

Updated on January 16, 2019
Savio Dawson profile image

Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India. Cars, bikes, and everything fast are his passion, and he writes about them on many sites.

Fastest Non-Conventional Bikes: An Introduction

If you are looking for the Hayabusa, the BMWS1000RR, or the Ducati, then here's a surprise waiting for you—we are going to discuss bikes faster than all of them. This article is about non-conventional bikes built for the sole purpose of testing the speed limits. The bikes on this list in this article can do twice the top speed of the Hayabusa, up to 600 kmph.

Interested in knowing about them? Well, read on.

The passion for speed inspires humans to scale greater heights, and that will continue to remain an unfinished project. On water, air or land, the drive to be faster than the fastest has pushed us to go beyond the ordinary, and in some unfortunate cases even taken lives. What is great, though, is that the passion lives on and inspires more people to keep testing the limit.

One such "testing the limit" story is about Glenn Curtiss and his unusual bike, which looked like a cycle fitted with a V8. Glenn was the first person to set a bike speed record, in 1903, of 64 mph (103 kmph). Later, in 1907, he achieved a breathtaking record of 136.27 mph (219.4 kmph) which stayed put for the longest in history. And remember this was a time when cars were still attempting speed runs but had not reached anywhere close to Glenn's record.

It was not until 1911 that Blitzen-Benz, a car, broke the record set by Glenn. Later, in 1949, with the introduction of Jaguar XK120, production model cars achieved 200 kmph regularly. The bike world, though, would not eclipse Glen Curtiss's record for another 23 years, until a French rider, Joseph Wright, came along. See how ahead of his time Curtiss was? Take a look at the video below:

Well, let’s get back to the future. The speed record for bikes now stands at 376 mph, and most on this list are pushing to breach the 400 mph ceiling. We may see that happen as well, but for now, let’s get to know the current record holders.

1. Ack-Attack Streamliner (Rocky Robinson)

Source

Ack-Attack holds the current speed record. Rocky Robinson, the pilot of the Ack-Attack, held the record on two previous occasions and had it broken by Chris Carr. So intense was the competition between Chris and Rocky that between 2006 and 2010 the top spot changed hands five times.

The Ack-Attack, of course, looks like anything but a bike. For a high-speed run, bikes have to be streamlined, and in some cases three-wheeled for stability. That's why they cease to look like bikes; not to mention the rider lying down rather than sitting up like in regular bikes.

Rocky was the first man to go above 600 kmph on a motorcycle.

Record Created: September 2010

  • Record Speed in two-way run: 376.363 mph (605.9 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 394.084 mph (634.217 kmph)
  • Engine: Two turbocharged 1,299 cc inline-four Suzuki Hayabusa engines (2,600 cc in total)
  • HP: Over 1000 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2010 to date
  • Broken by: None. Rocky Robinson is the current record holder

Earlier Record Created: September 2008

  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 360.913 mph (581.1 kmph)
  • Top Speed: Not Available
  • Engine: Two turbocharged 1,299 cc inline-four Suzuki Hayabusa engines [2,600 cc in total]
  • HP: Over 1000 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2008 to 2009
  • Broken by: BUB Seven Streamliner | Chris Carr

Earlier Record Created: September 2006

  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 342.797 mph (551.9 kmph)
  • Top Speed: Not Available
  • Engine: Two turbocharged 1,299 cc inline-four Suzuki Hayabusa engines (2,600 cc in total)
  • HP: Over 1000 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2 days | Broken in 2006
  • Broken by: BUB Seven Streamliner | Chris Carr

Did You Know?

If you put a fourth wheel on any of these streamliners, it becomes a car, according to the classification norms.

See It Zoom Past at 2:14

Here’s some interesting history of the 2006 run by Rocky Robinson. Rocky ended up beating a 16-year-old record (second only to Glenn Curtiss’ 20-year-old record) set by Dave Campos in 1990. Not only that, his record was broken within two days by Chris Carr, setting the stage for a long-drawn battle which would rage till 2010.

The speed record created in 2010 was recognized by both Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and Guinness Book of World Records in their 2012 edition.

All the records were set on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the U.S., where August and September are the ideal time for speed runs. Hence, we might see record-breaking speed runs happening in September.

Also, Rocky is aiming to go faster than 400 mph, and I am just waiting for that to happen!

2. BUB 7 Streamliner (Chris Carr)

Source

Here is the challenger who upstaged Rocky Robinson’s Ack-Attack within two days of setting the first speed record. The BUB 7 Streamliner was the first to breach the 350 mph speed limit. Had the run been scheduled just three days earlier, Chris would have also had the distinction of eclipsing the 16-year-old record. That, though, now belongs to the Ack-Attack.

Record Created: September 2009

  • Record Speed in two-way run: 367.382 mph (591.5 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 372.53 mph (599.8 kmph)
  • Engine: 16-valve turbocharged V-4 purpose built Sierra engine (2,997 cc)
  • HP: Over 500 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2009 - 2010
  • Broken by: Top 1 Ack-Attack (Rocky Robinson)

Earlier Record Created: September 2006

  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 350.884 mph (564.8 kmph)
  • Top Speed: Not Available
  • Engine: 16-valve turbocharged V-4 purpose built Sierra engine (2,997 cc)
  • HP: Over 500 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2006 – 2008 (Longest time between 2006 and 2010)
  • Broken by: Top 1 Ack-Attack (Rocky Robinson)

Between 2006 and 2010 the speed records increased in smaller increments, from 342 to 350 to 360 to 367 and finally holding still at 376 mph between Rocky and Chris. Apparently, the bikes weren’t modified much. The speed seems to be stagnating around the current average of 355 mph.

For the jump over 400 mph, a lot would have to be done. Non-conventional cars have already done it, so we can expect the bikes to do it too; of course, the lack of one or two tires as compared to cars can also make a lot of difference.

3. BUB 7 Streamliner (Valerie Thompson)

Source

I had mentioned that the 400 mph barrier is a coveted one, and there are many competing to be the first. We know about Rocky Robinson attempting it; then there’s Guy Martin on the Triumph Infor streamliner; and hold your breath, Valerie Thompson on the BUB streamliner. When did we last hear of a lady going for the record? Well, here we have one.

Valerie Thompson became the fastest lady rider on the “7” Racing streamliner, hitting a top speed of 304 mph in 2016. In the process, she upstaged Eva Hackansson as the fastest female rider. Valerie has raced on the Bonneville flats before, with the quite well-known achievement of a top speed of 208 mph on a BMW S1000RR.

Valerie, in fact, had a run in the BUB 7 streamliner too. She could not reach the Ack-Attacks' record of 376 mph because of a near-fatal crash at 343 mph in Australia. That said, it’s only a matter of time before the next run.

In the process of the run, Valerie bettered her own time of 304 mph and ended up with a time of 328 mph. That is the fastest lady rider as of 2018.

Record Created: August-September 2018

  • Bike [streamliner]: BUB 7
  • Record Speed in two-way run: 328.467 mph (528.83 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 343 mph (552.23 kmph)
  • Engine: DOHC, 40valve, turbocharged V-4 )3,000 cc)
  • HP: 500 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2018
  • Broken by: None as of 2018 (held as the fastest female bike racer and third fastest overall)

The Near-Fatal Crash

Earlier Record Created: September 2016

  • Bike (streamliner): “7” Racing Streamliner
  • Record Speed in two-way run: 304.263 mph (489.9 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 313 mph (503.93 kmph)
  • Engine: Manning Designed
  • HP: 600 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2016 - 2018
  • Broken by: BUB 7, Valerie Thompson (Own Record)

Fastest Female Bike Rider

4. Easyriders Streamliner (Dave Campos)

Source

Dave Campos in the Easyriders streamliner set the new record speed in 1990. The record was twelve years after Don Vesco's run in the Lightning Bolt streamliner (coming next on the list). Dave’s record stayed put for 16 years, the second longest after Glenn Curtiss’s.

Record Created: September 1990

  • Record Speed in two-way run: 322.150 mph (518.7 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 322.87 mph (519.82 kmph)
  • Engine: Twin Harley Davidson Engines (3,000 cc)
  • HP: About 500 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 1990 – 2006 (16 years. Longest since Glenn Curtiss)
  • Broken by: Top 1 Ack-Attack (Rocky Robinson)

5. Lightning Bolt Streamliner (Don Vesco)

Silver Bird
Silver Bird | Source

Don Vesco has two records to his name. He was the first to break the 300-mph barrier for bikes in 1975 and also the first to break the 500 kmph barrier in 1978. Now, in our list of the fastest conventional bikes, we said the late Bill Warner was the first to break the 500 kmph and 300 mph record in 2011. So which is correct?

Going just by timelines, it is Don Vesco for a non-conventional bike, but for a regular bike being piloted in a seated position, it is Bill Warner.

Bill also has another distinction: he broke the 300 mph and 500 kmph barrier in the same run, which Don Vesco did in two different shots. Interesting, isn’t it?

Record created: September 1978 (500 kmph barrier broken)

  • Bike [streamliner]: Lightning Bolt Streamliner
  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 318.598 mph (512.94 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 333.117 mph (536.32 kmph)
  • Engine: Kawasaki KZ1000 twin turbocharged inline 4 engines (2,032 cc in total)
  • HP: ~ 400 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 1978—1990
  • Broken by: Easyriders Streamliner (Dave Campos)

Earlier Record created: September 1975 [300 mph barrier broken]

  • Bike (streamliner): Yamaha Silver Bird Streamliner
  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 302.92 mph (487.7 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 307 mph (494.3 kmph)
  • Engine: Two inline-4 two-stroke Yamaha engines (1,389 cc in total)
  • HP: 240 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 1975 - 1978
  • Broken by: Lightning Bolt Streamliner, Don Vesco (Own Record)

Big Red
Big Red | Source

Earlier Record created: September 1970 (250 mph barrier broken)

  • Bike (streamliner): Yamaha Big Red Streamliner
  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 251.66 mph (405.17 kmph)
  • Top Speed: Not available
  • Engine: Two 350-cc two-stroke two-cylinder Yamaha engines (700 cc in total)
  • HP: ~200 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 1970 (held only for two months)
  • Broken by: Harley Davidson (Cal Rayborn)

Jump to 8:47 for the Run

Don Vesco has another distinction when it comes to records. His Yamaha Silver Bird Streamliner has the highest jump in speed record over the previous record holder. This jump is second only to the achievement of Glenn Curtiss’s speed record jump over the previous record holder. Here are the details:

Glenn Curtiss’s Speed Jump

  • Glenn Curtiss’s Speed Record: 219 kmph
  • Henri Cissac’s Speed Record (Record Holder before Glenn): 140 kmph
  • Speed Record Jump (in absolute terms): 79 kmph
  • Percentage Jump: 56.43%

Don Vesco’s Speed Jump

  • Don Vesco’s Speed Record (1975): 487 kmph
  • Cal Rayborn’s Speed Record (Record Holder before Don): 410 kmph
  • Speed Record Jump (in absolute terms): 77 kmph
  • Percentage Jump: 18.78%

So, quite a lot of distinctions for Don Vesco. What are they? First to break 250 mph and 400 kmph, first to break 300 mph, first to break 500 kmph and the second highest jump in record speed over the previous record holder. Phew!

6. KillaJoule (Eva Hackansson)

Source

Now the list won’t be quite complete without at least one electric streamliner. We are talking about the KillaJoule, the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, and its pilot Eva Hackansson, the fastest electric bike rider in the world. What’s more exciting to know is that Eva is not only the rider but also the builder and owner of the KillaJoule. How’s that for some cool achievement!

  • Bike (Streamliner): KillaJoule
  • Record Speed thru two-way run: 248.7 mph (400.41 kmph)
  • Top Speed: 270 mph (434 kmph)
  • Engine: EVO Electric AFM-240 motor
  • HP: 400 hp
  • Speed Record Held: 2014 - 2016
  • Broken by: “7” Racing Streamliner (Valerie Thompson). However, fastest electric bike and fastest electric bike rider records remain.

Eva’s goal is to show the world that electric can also be fast and sexy. It need not be a compromise over the gas-based vehicles. In my opinion, this is eco-activism in the quickest manner!

Back to the Drawing Board

I hope readers noticed that Glenn Curtiss holds a lot of firsts. He is the first to have a big jump on the speed record over the previous holder, first to have his record stand for the longest (20 years), first to do a speed run of 200 kmph (for any vehicle), and the first to be awarded a pilot license. The last record has not been discussed here but it is mentioned to give a perspective to the person we are talking about. At the moment, seeing the marginal jumps in speed records, it appears that we need another Glenn soon.

I hope we get to witness a Glenn Curtiss moment in the bike world again! Till such time, adios!

Which bike did you like?

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Savio Koman

    Comments

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      • Savio Dawson profile imageAUTHOR

        Savio Koman 

        2 months ago from Mumbai, India

        Hello Linda,

        I see a lot of Valerie fans here :) She indeed is a queen of speed. I guess she will the first lady to break the over-all speed record. But keep an eye out for Eva.

        By the way, are you related to Valerie in any way? Both your last names match. :)

        Thanks for stopping by, though!

      • profile image

        Linda Thompson 

        2 months ago

        Valerie Thompson gives it her all and yes she does rock.

      • Savio Dawson profile imageAUTHOR

        Savio Koman 

        2 months ago from Mumbai, India

        True that, Mary. Not many can challenge her exploits on the track. Let's see if she can break the all-time record of 376 mph for streamliners.

      • profile image

        Mary Plunket 

        2 months ago

        Valerie Thompson is the Queen of Speed & she rocks it!!!!!

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