The fastest liter bike in world isn’t what you think it is

Dailies -



The first every stock liter bike to cross the 200mph barrier in land speed record racing? It’s not a 193bhp BMW S1000RR or 197bhp 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R, it’s a humble 175bhp Honda CBR1000RR, ridden by a girl.

On Monday, Leslie Porterfield reached a two-way average of 200.137mph on a Honda CBR1000RR in the FIM 1000 P-P class. That’s a stock motorcycle with a stock engine. Like all such records, it’ll be a little while before the run is ratified as an official world record.

Rules for the production class read:

A “production motorcycle class” is as “produced by a recognized
manufacturer”, and the public must be able to purchase a minimum
of 500 frames through retail dealers. Production class motorcycles
shall not be modified from Original Equipment at time of
manufacture. i.e., frame, forks, gas and oil tanks, seat, front and
rear lighting, fenders, wheels, brakes, air intake box and
(unmodified) exhaust system. They shall also contain the engine
that they where originally produced with.

All production class motorcycles shall have manufacturer
documentation specific to that entry. Production class records are
subject to review and will only be certified after comparison with
the manufacturer‟s documentation to support the production design
of the motorcycle.

The following modifications will be acceptable:
Acceptable removals are the license plate frame and bracket, air
cleaner element, and toolbox.

A chain guard is mandatory on all exposed chains.

Foot pegs must be original equipment. Remove rear foot pegs.

Handlebars are restricted to 15-inches above, 4-inches in front of
original mount or 4-inches lower. All handlebars that mount to the
original mount and meet the criteria in this section are acceptable.

Headlamps, turn signal lenses, and tail lamp lenses shall be
completely taped. If desired, remove non-integrated lamps and
signals. See Chapter 2, paragraph 2.H.

If necessary to meet tire speed recommendations, use optional
wheels. See Chapter 2, paragraphs 2.Q and 2.S.

Prior to making run, secure side and center stands in the UP
position with “Zip Ties” or Safety wire.

Motorcycles originally factory equipped with a fairing and
windshield, seat and side covers shall participate with original
equipment. The fairings and windshield shall remain in original
appearance (height, width and contour).

Rules for the production engine read:

Use the same engines (gasoline only) originally installed in the
specific motorcycle frame at the time of production and ensure it
meets the definition set in the „P‟ frame class (See Chapter 4).
Original equipment (OEM) shall include cylinders, cases
(crankcases), heads, and carburation or throttle body (stock venture
size), kick-starter or electric starter. GASOLINE ONLY. Fuel not
permitted in this class. See Chapter 2, paragraph 2.F.

P engine class shall not run in A, APS or S frame classes

Effective 2012: Displacement determines the class. OEM
displacement specifications must remain stock.

So yeah, that’s a completely stock motorcycle, as you could buy from a showroom right now. How’d Leslie and her team reach such a speed on a bike with an on-paper performance deficit? With so little modifications possible, they had to do it with tiny aerodynamic mods like taping over fairing gaps, while performance gains likely came from trial and error with sprocket sizes and tire pressures as well as taping up seams in the riders leathers (as evidenced by these photos) and minor alterations in rider position. In land speed record racing, where a hundredth of a mile per hour matters and the performance variables lay wholly with the machine’s engine performance and aerodynamics and not its rider’s ability, the fine tuning of such tiny variables as seams in leathers can make all the difference.

This news is made more relevant by the recent whoopsie with the 2012 Honda CBR1000RR. Apparently equipped with no significant performance upgrades, it has a fairly massive on-paper performance deficit to pretty much every other liter bike on the market. Will that matter for sales? Probably. Should it matter to you if you’re in the market? Well, it may be the least powerful liter bike, but it is now the fastest. The previous record was held by a BMW S1000RR. Its top speed at Bonneville last summer? A positively paltry 196.117mph.

We’ll find out more and report back.

via Land Racing

  • the_doctor

    A GIRL?!?! No way.

    Good for her, and that is damn impressive.

    • Ben Incarnate

      She’s a pretty famous girl, far as mortorcycle land speed action goes.

      • Restless Lip Syndrome

        She rocks.

    • CCarey

      If anything I’d guess it would be beneficial to be a female in land speed motorcycle racing. A girls smaller profile likely pays pretty big divedends in aerodynamic efficiency. I say the more girls we can get into racing the better,racings been more or less a sausage fest since it started with a few notable exceptions.

  • RocketSled

    Let me introduce you to power-to-weight ratio. :D (that and improved aero from a smaller rider)

    Why to you think Horse Jockies are so short?

    • Coreyvwc

      Probably light, but definitely not a small rider. I sure as hell can’t flat foot a 1000RR… I can think of more than a couple motoGP racers who are much smaller and lighter.

    • robotribe

      If it were just a matter of rider mass, than this and other speed records would have been broken by much smaller people years ago.

      This is more than just power-to-weight at play. She’s got skills and a very smart crew.

    • Sean Smith

      Nah, in LSR racing it’s much more advantageous to be tall first and skinny second. If you can get your head up by the edge of the screen and your butt way back at the end of the seat, and still have your elbows and knees tucked in, you’ll have a pretty clean aero package.

  • Wereweazle
    • Taco

      I Googled Leslie Porterfield looking for info, then I found some pics. I ended up googling myself. I think I ♥ Leslie.

  • Greg

    Love it (and her)!

  • Zaron Gibson

    Skilled AND gorgeous? I would love to meet her. Congratulations Leslie and team for great work.

  • KR Tong

    Why can’t she just be a motorcyclist? Congrats to her. And gotta love hondas. They win everything.

    All of those AMA records on there are worth looking at.
    193.983 set by a bagger.
    188.5 set by this
    Awesome stuff.

  • Derek

    Would a solo seat cowl not count as production? Seems like it would have the potential to help from an aero/weight standpoint. I’d really like to see what small things they did to the bike and what they had to work on with the rider/gear as far as aerodynamics in more detail. Going fast with stock parts is cool to me.

  • Mark D

    Duct-taped seams is this year’s hottest moto-fashion accessory! I’m looking forward to squids wrapping the elbows of their sweatshirts in masking tape. Its all about aerodynamics, yo!

    • Scott-jay

      Yes, racers will sport Red Bull graphics on Lycra aero-suits, streamlining rider from helmet-to-toe.

  • Sean Smith

    The motor in that CBR has probably had a lot of time and effort put into making it appear to be stock.

    This record is a very good example of just how much more power a blueprinted(I know, it’s a lame wikipedia article) motor puts out. It’s not cheating, but I doubt you could walk into a dealership, buy a CBR and have it spit out the same power as this one.

    • Sebastian

      True to a point, but a modern superbike is more akin to an indy or f1 car than the smallblock v8s of the era when blueprinting was commonplace – I can’t imagine a cbr motor has large design tolerances anywhere and as such I’m not convinced blueprinting a new motor would net any real noticable gains.

    • Wes Siler

      Yeah, I’m sure rules have been bent. You can’t be competitive in any form of racing unless you do bend them. The point is, nothings been done to this bike that hasn’t been done to everything else racing competitively in this class and as a consumer, you could probably get more power with a pipe and a power commander than what leslie’s racing with. Or, just add a few teeth to the rear and feel like you’ve got that power.

  • Archer

    Perhaps not, but it does show what can be done with factory original equipment. This is far more cool than bolting a bunch of crap onto a bike.

  • Gene

    The lights sure as hell don’t look “completely taped” to me… they even look like they’re still drawing power.

    Awesome to hear she cracked 200mph on that, though!

  • tropical ice cube

    Aw man, HFL sure has its own definition of ‘bikes & babes’, indeed.
    Thanks for that – for spreading out the idea that the supposedly least competitive thing out there is actually the fastest – which in a lot if simplest of minds, is all that matters :) -they should be perplexed by now!
    On aero-stuff, UK residents should check out last instalment of ‘BIKE’ mag, where they took 3 15 y.o. 650 Yam Divvies and had one modded with nitrous, one with ‘classic’ tuning, and one with nothing but a full fairing. Guess which one was the fastest?

  • Nick

    So was removing the mirrors an “acceptable removal”, seems obvious, but it doesn’t appear to be mentioned in the rules?

  • Tim

    “it’s a humble 175bhp Honda CBR1000RR, ridden by a girl.”

    you mean woman?

    if this was a dude, i’m sure you guys wouldn’t be calling him a “boy”.

    • Jesse

      Subtly coaxing people to read and submit an emotional or logical response is a finely honed skill. Word choice makes all the difference, and most won’t respond to a vanilla opener.

      • Tim

        Chicks love a subtly coaxed man.


        • Jesse

          Well played, sir.

    • the (unfortunate) roomate

      girl is commonly used for the female counterpart of both boy and guy whereas woman is more commonly only used as the counterpart for man. using “girl” here is completely acceptable unless you would prefer “chick” or something.

      • Dean

        I believe the acceptable term here is “undeniable badass”.

        • KR Tong


  • stempere

    Am i imagining things or is that cameraman getting a nice shot of her ass?

    I really love the look of that bike, and bending rules or not, 200mph on a “stock” bike is still very impressive.

  • Jesse

    Huge props to the rider and team for eking out 200MPH on a “stock” bike.

    I will now claim the duct tape on my fairings as a performance upgrade.

  • muckluck

    What helmet is she wearing?

    • the (unfortunate) roomate

      looks like a shoei x-12

  • mugget


    Enough to get my attention… not to mention it’s the fastest woman in the world (or did she lose that record? Nah, I’ll just remain ignorant.)

    That’s pretty hardcore. I’d never have thought of taking leather seams and boots etc.

  • squirrelgonzo

    +1 She is amazing!