Yamaha has a long legacy of producing some of the best, most powerful, and fastest motorcycles in the industry.
Since 1955, when the YA-1 (the Red Dragonfly) was released, Yamaha has pushed the boundaries of what is possible on a motorcycle, from the rapid two-strokes of the 70s and 80s to the modern MT range that has revolutionized what is expected of street bikes.
The YZF-R1 is an icon among sportsbikes and leads the charge as the fastest Yamaha motorcycle available.
Let’s take a look at all the fast Yamaha motorcycles.
Fastest 2023-Model Yamaha Motorcycles
Total Motorcycle source for power and torque figures—European Spec Only. US power and torque information not readily available. Top speed is calculated through various hands-on reviews of the bike.
Like many manufacturers, Yamaha shares engines across various models in its lineup, and this results in similar performance specs for those models.
For example, the MT-09, XSR900, and Tracer 9 GT share the same CP3 engine and their performance specs are the same, which is why we have just included the MT-09 in our list.
An exception here is that the YZF-R1 and MT-10 share the same CP4 engine. However, the MT-10 is tuned down, so it is more appropriate for street riding with loads of low-mid range power.
The R1’s engine, on the other hand, is tuned to unleash the full power of the CP4 motor as it is a sports-focused model.
Now let’s look at the top five fastest Yamaha motorcycles in more depth.
The R1 is a staple among sports-bike enthusiasts, and for good reason. With a production run of over 20 years, it just gets better each year.
Currently, the R1 is electronically limited to a top speed of 185 mph. This is in line with an assumed but unconfirmed “gentlemen’s agreement” between the major manufacturers that set the top limit for their super-sport machines.
At the heart of the model is the MotoGP-derived CP4 crossplane crankshaft engine that catapults the R1 like a rocket to break-neck speeds.
To help contain some of this power, Yamaha has fitted the R1 with the latest technology, including a cabless ride-by-wire throttle system (YCC-T). This combines with the IMU that controls the full suite of electronic rider aids so the rider can really dial in to the bike and get things exactly their way.
These rider aids include launch control, lift control, lean-angle control, traction control, ABS, and power modes.
When all of this is contained in the compact aluminum Deltabox frame and finished with the magnesium subframe and aluminum swingarm, you are left with a track-focused, race-ready, excellent-handling super-sport machine.
To top it all off, the R1 looks incredible, with aggressive sharp lines.
There are currently three R1 models in Yamaha’s lineup: the standard YZF-R1, the R1 World GP 60th Anniversary model, and the YZF-R1M.
- Engine: 998 cc, liquid-cooled in-line 4-cylinder DOHC; 4 valves per cylinder
- Seat height: 33.7”
- Curb weight: 448 lbs
- Current MSRP: $17,999
Second in line to the fastest Yamaha motorcycle is the MT-10. This shouldn’t really be a surprise, as it shares the same CP4 engine as the R1.
The big difference here, however, is how Yamaha has tuned the motor to make it more street appropriate. The MT-10 is still loaded with power, it is just more accessible further down the rev range.
With a top speed of around 160 mph and 163 horsepower to pull from, the MT-10 is super impressive.
It is the king of Yamaha’s “Dark Side of Japan” line, and with that title, it takes everything to the extreme: super aggressive styling, muscular chassis, and bold highlights.
In contrast to the R1, you are seated upright for ultimate control and visibility. This position gives you excellent control over the machine and all-day riding comfort.
The MT also shares the same suite of electronic aids that the R1 is equipped with, so whether you are looking for cruise control to crunch the highway miles or wheelie control to manage the low-down torque, the MT has it all.
- Engine: 998 cc, liquid-cooled in-line 4-cylinder DOHC; 4 valves per cylinder
- Seat height: 32.9”
- Curb weight: 467 lbs
- Current MSRP: $14,199
First released in 2001, the FJR1300 is now over 20 years old and still going strong. It is a hard hitter in the sports touring market for good reason.
Its greatest asset is that it carefully walks the line between sports bike and touring bike with ease, pairing supreme power and speed with comfort.
With 144 horsepower, 138 Nm of torque, and a top speed of around 154 mph, the FJR boasts impressive performance figures.
This is largely down to the massive 1,298 cc in-line-four that Yamaha has fitted as the power plant. Power is spread across the range fairly equally, allowing for easy acceleration in any gear and enough grunt no matter what the revs.
The FJR is a huge beast of a bike, comfortable for a rider and passenger and fully loaded up with the luggage. It is built for the long haul, ready to rack up any mileage you want to tackle.
Rider aids, with plenty of comfort adjustment options and accessories, allow you to truly tailor your ride to suit your purposes.
- Engine: 1,298 cc liquid-cooled DOHC in-line 4-cylinder; 16 valves
- Seat height: 31.7”
- Curb weight: 642 lbs
- Current MSRP: $18,299
For the 2022 model year, Yamaha reinvented the YZF-R7, a bike that has been missing from Yamaha’s lineup for quite some time, with the R6 filling that hole as a middleweight sports bike.
The R7 has come back swinging. With an estimated top speed of around 139 mph, it slots right in above the bigger CP3 engine found in the MT-09.
It takes all of its styling cues from the MotoGP M1 sports bike, just like its bigger R1 brother, and the engine technology is also derived from Yamaha’s time competing on the track.
The chassis is ultra thin and super lightweight, which is why it can shift at such fast speeds.
Yamaha has ensured that the R7 received the basics for sporty riding, including a sports suspension, assist, and slipper clutch along with a quick shifter.
The model isn’t loaded with electronics like the bigger R1, but for many, that will be the attraction. You can focus on riding and honing your skills without relying on technology.
There is also a 60th World GP Anniversary edition R7 currently available.
- Engine: 689 cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC in-line twin-cylinder; 4-valves per cylinder
- Seat height: 32.9”
- Curb weight: 414 lbs
- Current MSRP: $9,199
Following the MT-10 is the MT-09, which utilizes the CP3, three-cylinder engine.
It has great power and torque figures along with a top speed of around 130 mph.
The MT-09 is a more toned-down version of the bigger MT-10, with all the power being usable by the everyday rider.
Some might find that although the MT-10 puts out such high power, it isn’t usable for everyday riding and is only really accessible on the track. Whereas the MT-09 can be tested and pushed by the rider on the back roads, twisties, and the highway.
You will find the torque down low and in the mid-range on the MT-09, which gives you plenty of grunt right where you need it when carving through town and navigating city streets.
The riding position is upright and natural, just like the MT-10, for a confident, commanding stance.
The CP3 engine is also used in the XSR900 and Tracer 9 GT. Both models produce the same performance stats as the MT but are three very different styles of motorcycle.
If the Hyper Naked MT range isn’t for you, you might want to look at the modern-retro XSR900 or the Adventure Touring Tracer 9 GT.
- Engine: 890 cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder; 4 valves per cylinder
- Seat height: 32.5”
- Curb weight: 417 lbs
- Current MSRP: $9,799
Other Notable Fast Yamaha Motorcycles
It isn’t just the latest Yamaha bikes that are pretty fast. Yamaha has been continually making fast motorcycles throughout its motorcycle manufacturing history.
The Yamaha V-Max was Yamaha’s first foray into building a muscle cruiser, and it was a well-thought-out, successful one.
By the time it was discontinued in 2019, it was producing 173 horsepower at the rear wheel.
Following its 1985 production, it saw several generations, changes, and engine capacity increases. Through the years the V-Max’s top speed has reportedly ranged from 135 mph to 140 mph, with some even claiming it went as fast as 150 mph.
Quite impressive for a big, heavy muscle-cruiser.
If a liter bike isn’t your thing, then the 600-cc class might be. It certainly had a lot of attention in the late 90s when 600 cc’s dominated the street and track.
One of the leaders of this period was the R6. By the time it was pulled from the line in 2020, the model was a shadow of its former self, but those early bikes from 1999–2006 are arguably some of the best 600-cc motorcycles of all time.
It wasn’t the raw power or top speed that was their shining achievement but the rapid acceleration, with all the R6 models having a 0–60 time of three seconds or under.
Throughout its time, the R6 had reported top speeds from 155 mph up to around 165 mph. For a 600-cc sports bike, these are pretty impressive figures.
Read more about the Yamaha YZF-R6
We can’t talk about fast Yamaha motorcycles without at least acknowledging the two-strokes of the 1970s and 80s.
This was a strange time for the US market as emissions laws were getting tougher on two-strokes. Many manufacturers were struggling to meet regulations. Some of Yamaha’s builds during this time are legendary and eventually made it to US soil via private imports.
One of these icons is the RD350LC—nicknamed Elsie—predominantly built for the British market. The RD range of bikes took over from the TZ two-strokes and the 350 is one of the favorites.
It was incredibly quick and unstable, a hazard to ride, and could puff all the way to 110 mph, superseding the 400-cc TZ model that ran out of steam before 100 mph.
Another example is the TZ750 from the 70s, a two-stroke that riders both admired and feared. It was banned from entering flat-track events after just one race in which it beat a Harley 750. The TZ750 had a top speed of over 170 mph—it’s no wonder this lightweight, two-stroke struck fear in riders’ hearts.
All the bikes in the RD range are considered classics today and getting very hard to come by in good condition.
The Fastest Yamaha of All Time
The fastest Yamaha of all time is the YZF-R1. The CP4 engine produces 197 horsepower resulting in a top speed in excess of 185 mph. We will never really know the top speed of the R1 because Yamaha has electronically limited the model.
It isn’t just the top speed that makes the R1 the fastest Yamaha. It also has an awesome 0–60 mph time. This varies from source to source, but a few test riders insist the YZF-R1M has a 0–60 time of 2.6 seconds, 3 seconds for the standard model.
The R1 is an institution for many reasons, but the fact that it is a rocket on wheels will continue to entice sports riders for many more years to come.
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