If you are into motorcycles, you surely noticed them. At least. So…
What is a crotch rocket?
A crotch rocket is a special type of motorcycle, very popular, especially among young men, usually for it’s power to weight ratio, speed and killer looks. Since it is easy to handle and fast, it is very popular among stunters. It’s a beautiful sport bike with an aerodynamic shape, capable of high speeds. That’s what it is!
The killer look I was speaking about comes with the “hunched-over”, aerodynamic shape, shape that is usually specific to Japanese sport bikes, but not necessarily, since there are also European companies, like Ducati for example, that worked really hard to catch up with their Japanese competitors and…you know what? They succeeded, since Ducati, at least, came up with great sport bike, like Ducati 1098 bike, for example, one of the most popular sport bikes around. We’ll speak a bit more about this later, when we’ll review it.
Why are these “street rockets” so popular?
Sport bikes are super fast, gorgeous, a real babe magnet (that’s for sure), not cheap at all (sustaining somehow the idea of excess, luxury), they’re on TV all the time, at least if you watch Moto GP or similar, they feed you with adrenaline, rush, they’re alive, they’re the 2 wheel version of luxury cars. What’s more to say? They’re great!
I tried to put up here a comprehensive guide of the best best sportbike, kind of a buying guide, trying to figure out the best crotch rocket for you, judging by a lot of criteria, such as:
- Top speed
- Engine power
- Easiness to handle
- Fuel consumption
Sport bikes are built for speed, they are built for the thrill. The top positions in the hierarchy are usually always taken by the same players, all fighting for a better position, because at this level, better positions mean money on the table. Everybody wants to be in there, everybody wants to build a rock star bike, a bike that stay in top for centuries, the way Suzuki Hayabusa did and still does, the way Kawasaki Ninja did and many others.
So, what crotch rocket fits you?
The fact is that not all sport bikes fit everybody. And I am not speaking about the fact that some people prefer choppers or others prefer dirt bikes, I mean not everybody feels comfortable on any sportbike. It’s like in life: some fits you better, some not so much and when you find the one that fits you it’s like a match made in heaven, you’ll know it immediately. So I put up the guide here, hoping to bring a bit more light on the subject and help you choose the right bike.
Short review of the top 5 superbikes
Suzuki GSX 1300R Hayabusa, the fastest production sport bike ever
The story of this beautiful bike started in 1999 and goes on thanks to the undeniable qualities of the bike and to it’s huge fan base. Suzuki built a winner here, Suzuki Hayabusa is now part of the history as the fastest production sport bike, surpassing Honda CBR 1100XXX Super Blackbird with more than 10 miles per hour, reaching a top speed of 180 to 202 miles per hour. This may just be the definitive crotch rocket, the mother of all, not by being the best, but by being a real reference. Suzuki Hayabusa has a great history behind it and I dare to say that…history is yet to come.
Production year: 1999
Top speed: 180 to 202 miles per hour before 2001, 186 mph (299 km/h) after 2001
Engine: 1299 cc
Weight: 245 – 249 kg
Power: 113–121 kW
Title: fastest production sport bike ever!
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14, from 0 to 60 mph in only 2.5 seconds
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 came after another famous Kawasaki Ninja, ZX-12R model. It came as a replacement for ZX-12R, in order to carry the flag for this famous brand. Top speed is electronically limited to 186 mph and the engine surpassed in size Suzuki Hayabusa’s engine, the largest from 1999 to 2006
Production year: 2006
Top speed: 186 mph (299 km/h)
Engine: 1352 cc
Weight: 474 lb, 215 kg (2007), 485 lb, 220 kg (2008) (dry), 555 lb, 251.7 kg (2007) (wet)
Power: 142 kW, 149,5 kW with RamAir
Price: $11699 – $11999 for 2008 model
See below a race between Suzuli Hayabusa and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14, a fun thing to watch. Relax, I won’t tell you who wins, you have to watch it for yourself until the end
Ducati DesmosediciRR, a race bike detuned for road
This bike is a beast and this, I think, says it all. Ducati DessmosediciRR is a sport bike that was adapted from Ducati MotoGP race bike, for usage on regular roads. The model was officially launched in 2006 as a limited edition, the actual production started in 2007, with the first customer to be served in January 2008. Only 1500 were produced. Ducati Dessmosedici was sold for $72500, the “package” including more than enough sponsor stickers to fill both sides of the bike. Just to make you feel you are part of the race. Seems it worked.
Production year: 2007-2008
Top speed: 190 mph (307.03 km/h)
Engine: 989 cc
Weight: 171 kg (dry)
Power: 147 kW
Suzuki GSXR 600, speed, power and looks at an affordable price
Suzuki GSXR 600 is everything you need for an affordable price! It looks astonishing, it has a long proven history behind it, has the look, the feel, the speed and power. What more can you ask from it? Started in 1992, upgraded over the years and made better and better, Suzuki GSXR 600 goes strong today, being the sport bike of choice for a huge number of bikers thanks to it’s affordable price. Below numbers are for 2006 Suzuki GSXR 600 model.
Production year: 1992 – current day
Top speed: 190 mph (307.03 km/h)
Engine: 599 cc
Weight: 161 kg (dry)
Power: 75 kW
Transmission: 6-speed constant mesh
Price: $11599 (v 2013 available in stores)
Yamaha YZF-R1, a sport bike with technology borrowed from Moto GP
Launched in 1998 and going strong today, Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, as the above title states, borrowed a lot of technology from Yamaha’s Moto GP motorcycles. Starting with this model, Yamaha redesigned the engine, significantly shortened the wheelbase (which led to easier handling and control and to an optimised center of gravity) Test shows the 1998 model reaching 60 mph in only 2.96 seconds, with a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h)
Production year: 1998 – current day
Top speed: 168 mph (270 km/h)
Engine: 998 cc
Weight: 161 kg (dry)
Power: 110-139 kW, depending on the sub-model/year
Price: $14490 (v 2013 available in stores)
Here’s the full list of superbikes we put together, in order to make it easier for you to choose.
The fact is it’s not easy to choose since every model has it’s own features that makes it unique. From power to speed, from easiness of handling to fuel consumption, considering the killer look, safety or price, any model may be a winner. The only way to choose right is to study them all, at least from a theoretical point of view, because not many of us can actually ride all of these superbikes in order to tell, hands on, what’s the best crotch rocket for them.
This is actually why this site exists, the very reason I started it, because I wanted to buy a superbike and I didn’t know what would be the best choice for me. I had the opportunity to ride a few of these babies, some borrowing from my friends for testing, some from renting them but, you can imagine I didn’t get to ride and test them all. Instead, I could read about them all, I could make a comparison chart and I could understand what would work best for me, for my needs and…for my money, of course. From learning about sport bikes, paying attention to these features and testing as many bikes as possible, I’ve got a better understanding of what worked better for me.
And now, the best thing is that, beside learning what crotch rocket works for me, I get to tell you about it, since I realised I developed kind of a hobby from learning as much as I can about sport motorcycles, about their capabilities and brand history. Now I have friends coming over to tell them about what would work for them, what to pay attention to and how to choose right. I am actually quite happy I can help them.
One last word about it here, before letting you dive in…sport bikes can be really, really dangerous
I know you know it. I know everybody told you this before at least 1000 times, I know you are perfectly aware of it but I just wanted to say it so I get it off my chest. I was told about it in my times, my friends were told about it but, being young, loving speed and races, the rush and all, I had the tendency to forget about it. And it is not something to forget about.
Think why these bikes are called crotch rockets. They are called like this for a reason:speed, a speed of 300km/h! At 300 km/h things happen fast, really fast! At 300 km/h you don’t have much time to think, no matter how experienced you are. At that speed you only have time to react. Depending on the obstacle in front of you, this may save your life, a good set of reflexes may be the difference between life and…death.
I don’t want to stress more than necessary about the danger, but I have seen young people dying in front of me because they underestimated the speed and overestimated themselves. It’s not fun to die in your 20’s or 30’s. Actually it’s not fun to die at all, no matter your age.
I am not by far an old man trying to teach you things, I am a young biker like you, I am 36 years old, but I had my share of danger, races, adrenaline (and God knows I still need it), but I had friends dying in front of my eyes, taking the wrong turn or riding a bike more powerful than they could handle, or…just getting out of luck. It happens also.
That is why I just wanted to say it one more time: be careful, guys! Ride the bike safely, don’t take unnecessary risks, don’t be cool with any price. Riding a sportbike should be fun, should make you feel like you are the king of the road, but under any circumstances should not take your life.
But enough with it, you get my point!
Now go and pick the best crotch rocket you can afford and never look back! Test before you buy, ride as many sport bikes you possibly can, be mature and choose with your head, not only with your heart (OK, I know it is a matter of heart, but still, don’t pick it just because it is red and fast), compare features and see which one fits you best.
Here, on site you will also find, beside direct bike comparison charts and reviews a short tutorial on how to choose your bike and what to consider when buying one. Read it, it may help you even if you could consider some of the things there common sense. Remember about it when you go to the store.