The quest for our inaugural Super Streetbike Top Speed Shootout was a simple one-to find the fastest streetbikes in America, as measured in top speed achieved on a standing-start, one-mile racecourse. As the only magazine on the newsstand that gives coverage to extreme high-performance sportbikes, we hear plenty of outrageous claims on this subject. Hang around our online message board (or e-mail in-box) for any length of time, and you'll swear that every liter bike rider hits 200 mph on the way to work each morning and the nitrous or turbo guys regularly blitz their local expressways at a velocity roughly equal to the cruising speed of a Learjet.
Having built and ridden more than our fair share of big-speed sportbikes, we knew that hitting 200 mph in the real world was much more difficult than just bolting on some parts and producing a big number on the dyno. We wanted to challenge all these big-talkers to put their money where their mouths were and invite them to show us just how fast their rides were in something resembling real-world riding conditions. Working in conjunction with our friends at the exceptionally hospitable East Coast Timing Association (www.ecta-lsr.com), who offered up the use of its historic "Maxton Monster Mile" racecourse in North Carolina as a venue, we invited our readers to show up in September for the ultimate "run-watcha-brung" speed contest to determine, once and for all, who had the fastest streetbikes in America, as certified by the ECTA's speed clocks on its standing-start, mile-long top speed racecourse.
In order to ensure the highest possible speeds and encourage the anything-goes hot rodding spirit that this magazine celebrates, contest rules were kept to a minimum. We created six racing classes to accommodate virtually any modern sportbike: three displacement-based categories (600cc, 1000cc and unlimited displacement), plus a power-adder version of each of those classes to make allowance for tuners utilizing turbos, superchargers, nitrous oxide or other special fuels. Ours were "street" rules, meaning that there was no cc-limit-if the bike began life as a 1000cc bike, it didn't matter what the final displacement was; it still qualified to run in the 1000cc class. Aside from some basic ECTA technical rules to ensure that the bikes were safe to compete (basic safety wiring, mandatory steering damper and tether kill switches), that was it for contest rules.
In addition to the rules governing equipment, we created two other key regulations to ensure a fair and competitive event. All competing machines would have to be street-legal and currently registered-this was a search for "America's Fastest Streetbikes," after all, not "America's Fastest Racing Machines." In addition, each bike would have to be ridden by the registered owner-no jockeys allowed. Aerodynamics is of paramount importance at upward of 200 mph, putting a premium on small-sized riders, and quick reflexes are key on such a "short" standing-start mile course. We made a rule requiring that each bike be ridden by its owner to avoid a situation where the best tuners hired the fastest, smallest pro drag racers to sweep the classes.