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.
2014 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
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.
2014 KTM 1190 Adventure
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.
2014 EBR 1190 RX
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.
2013 Kawasaki ZX-14R
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.
2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
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.
2013 Triumph Rocket III
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.