THE WORLD'S FASTEST | MOTORCYCLES
1955 / The Devil’s Arrow (193.72 MPH)
“The World’s Fastest Motorcycle” Triumph proudly proclaimed for 15 years. The legend began in September of 1955 on a 159 square mile expanse of salt near Wendover, Utah. Texas hot-rodders, “Stormy” Magham and tuner Jack Wilson had built a 15.7 foot-long streamliner powered by a methanol burning, 1950 Thunderbird 650 twin motor and with rider Johnny Allen aboard “The Devil’s Arrow” shot across the Bonneville Salt Flats at a record 193.72 mph. The following summer a German NSU piloted by Wilhem Herz reached 211.4mph and regained the crown that they had lost to the Yanks. The Texans returned to Bonneville a few months later with the renamed streamliner – The Texas Cee-Gar.
1956 – 1962 / The Texas Cee-Gar (214.5 MPH)
The Texans returned with the same engine as the Devil's Arrow, but Wilson milled and re-ported the head to mount twin Amal GP carburatours, he used standard Triumph Q-Type camshafts and R-radius tappets. Running on 60% nitro, the 650 produced 100hp. On the bottom-end, a 30lb. Natralloy billet crankshaft, standard Triumph roller main bearings on the sides and Cadillac V8 plain bearings on the rods. The BTH mag used in 1955 was replaced by a Lucas magneto. A close-ratio gearbox with a wide low-gear pulled the Cee-Gar across the salt fast enough to reclaim the speed-record from the Germans. The 214.5 mph record was held until 1962 when it was broken by Joe Dudek's Triumph Streamliner.
1962 – 1966 / Joe Dudek’s Triumph Streamliner (224.57 MPH)
The legend continued in 1962 when aircraft mechanic Joe Dudek brought his streamliner to the Utah salt. His design was inspired by an X-15 rocket-plane and powered by a bored T120 Bonneville engine. Rider Bill Johnson brought Dudek's machine to a (gasoline-powered) record of 205 mph before simply draining the fuel, changing the jets and refueling with nitromethane before setting a new World Motorcycle Speed Record of 224.57 mph. A record which stood (in the Streamlined, Altered Frame/Fuel class) until 1992. Unfortunately, the Dudek Streamliner was destroyed in a fire in 1974. Read more.
1966 – 1970 / Gyronaut X-1 (245.667 MPH)
Triumph’s 15 year World Speed Domination reached its peak when legendary automotive designer Alex Tremulis teamed with Detroit Triumph Dealer Bob Leppan and they unveiled their futuristic Gyronaut X-1 in 1965. Cutting-edge features included a chrome-moly frame, active landing struts, a roll-bar, anti-fire freon bottles, specially-designed Goodyear 250 mph+ tires, a racing harness for pilot Leppan and a parachute. Power was provided by two highly-modified 641cc TR6 engines creating 70hp each and redlining at 8200rpm. All enclosed by a three-section fiberglass shell. Total cost? $100,000. The Gyronaut broke the (gasoline-powered) record at 217.624 before crashing and returned to Bonneville in 1966 with better handling and slightly more horsepower to become the "World's Fastest Motorcycle" at 245.667 mph. A record Triumph held until 1970. In 2013, a restored Gyronaut returned to Bonneville to welcome contestants to Speed Week.
2006 – 2008 / Bub Seven Streamliner (350.884 MPH)
Powered by a 3-liter 500 hp turbocharged liquid-cooled V-4 that was built from the ground up specifically for taking the land speed record, the BUB Seven did just that on September, 5 2006 when it became the first two-wheeled streamliner to break 350. With a speed of 350.884 mph, the Denis Manning/Chris Carr affair captured the record, which had been set just two days prior. Fueled by methanol, the V-4 engine had a maximum displacement just under 3,000cc and was engineered to provide increased traction control on the Salt Flats. The 21-foot-long body of the Seven was based on the anatomy of a Coho Salmon, giving it very low drag. It featured a monocoque carbon fiber frame with carbon, aluminum honeycomb and Kevlar shell and used a computer-controlled, 4-speed air-shift transmission. Read more.
2010 – Present / Ack Attack (376.363 MPH)
Top 1 Oil Ack Attack reached the
blistering speed of 376.363 mph to reclaim the absolute world speed record.
Owned by Mike Akatiff and driven by Rocky Robinson, the 20-foot-long Ack Attack
was powered by 900 hp 2600cc heavily-modded Suzuki Twin Hayabusa engines.
A carbon fiber skin held in a chromoly tube frame linking the wheels, cockpit
and powertrain. Mickey Thompson ultra-high-speed tires—7” in front and 9” in
back—provided the traction. Two years earlier, the Ack Attack had broken the
16-year-old record of 322.149 mph with a 342.797 run, but only held onto that
one for two days before the BUB Seven stole the show. As the quest for 400
rages on, the Ack Attack remains king of two wheels. for now. Read more.
Sam Wheeler / EZ-Hook Streamliner
Sam Wheeler is a native southern Californian who has been passionate about setting land speed records since his high school days. For 50 years he has been building motorcycle streamliners. In August 2006 at the BUB meet on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Sam took his EZ HOOK liner to over 355 MPH and crashed when his front tire exploded. Sam has vowed to return in 2014 to chase 400 MPH. Read more.
Craig Breedlove / 50 Year Veteran of the Salt
Craig Breedlove is going back to Bonneville fifty years after being the first the break the 400 mph barrier. In 1963 his Spirit of American clocked in at 408 mph. This year he is hoping to double that record. We count more than two wheels + Craig is jet-powered, but it's still extremely cool. Read more.
James Toseland / Turbine Powered Two Wheeler
A Rolls Royce Gem Turbine Engine rated at 1,000 shaft horsepower will power the 52 Express piloted by superbike world Champion James Toseland. Read more.
The Bloodhound SSC Sets Its Sights on 1,000 MPH
Project Director Richard Noble and Driver Andy Green head up the British team that have ambitions of going supersonic in their quest to top 1000 mph with their rocket car. Read more.
Ernst Henne / 1937 BMW Gran Prix Streamliner (173 MPH)
Up until up until 1951, the world's motorcycle landspeed record was held by Ernst Henne and his BMW Gran Prix Streamliner. Ernst's BMW only had 493cc of displacement but it produced an impressive 108 bhp with the help of a Zoller supercharger. Read more.
Cal Rayborn / 1970 Harley-Davidson Sportster Streamliner (265.492 MPH)
In 1970 Cal Rayborn raced Dennis Manning's 10-foot-long Harley-Davidson powered streamliner to a record setting speed of 265.492 mph. The modified Sportster engine burned a 70% nitro-methane mixed fuel. Rayborn had to pilot the H-D Streamliner by lying on his back and could only steer by peering out of the two side windows. Read more.
2007 / FV 1000 R312 (193.24 MPH)
For production motorcycles, the arms race to build the world’s fastest bike ended in 2000 when major motorcycle manufacturers reached a “gentlemen’s agreement” to limit the speed of their machines to 186 MPH (300 KM/H). MV Agusta decided to ignore the agreement in 2007 and released the FV 1000 R 312, with the "312" in the name referring to the bike's claimed top speed of 312 km/h (194 mph). Italy's Motociclismo magazine verified MV Agusta's claim, achieving a top speed of 193.24 mph (310.99 km/h) at the Nardo Ring. The 2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R features an electronic speedometer that blanks out when the bike exceeds 186 MPH, which suggests that Ducati may also be ignoring the gentlemen’s agreement. Read More
2012 / Lawless Electric Rocket (201.37 MPH)
Larry “Spiderman” McBride is a true superhero when it comes to covering the quarter mile on two wheels. He has recorded an official speed of 245.36 MPH over the quarter mile on a Top Fuel drag bike. He also covered the quarter at 201.37 MPH in 2012 on the Lawless Electric Rocket motorcycle. McBride’s record-setting run on the Rocket also broke the record for electric vehicles overall. Read More