Motorcycling isn’t for everyone, but those that ride are probably enthusiasts. Unlike driving, two-wheeled transport isn’t usually born out of a necessity, but rather choice. There may be a small percentage of riders who hop on a bike exclusively to use the HOV lane or to save on fuel, but the vast majority is addicted to the rush of straddling an engine.
In addition to the sense of freedom a bike provides, motorcycling is attractive for its low price of admission (especially compared to what performance costs on four wheels). New bikes can be had for as little as $3,000, and used models are even cheaper. While affordable bikes from big manufacturers like Honda and Kawasaki can be fun and worry-free, they’re nothing like the bikes on this list.
Limited-production bike builders can do wild things within the confines of a two-wheeled blueprint. Some creations are insanely fast, others are works of art, and all of them are pricey. These are the most expensive motorcycles on the planet — all of which are on sale right now.
Lightning LS-218 ($38,888)
Like the automotive world, electric power can be used for efficient commuting, or it can be used to make gas-powered contraptions look as if they’re standing still in a drag race. The Lightning LS-218 is the ultimate e-bike, and carries the ultimate price tag — $46,888 (20-kWh variants).
With a claim to the world’s fastest production electric motorcycle title, the LS-218 has few equals in a straight line. 244 hp and 230 pound-feet of torque surges through an automatic transmission to the rear wheel, held in check only by a stability control system. Despite the added heft of an electric motor and battery, the LS-218 only weighs 495 lbs (about 100 lbs more than elite sport bikes). If you aren’t going all-out, the LS-218 will also travel for 150 miles on a single charge.
MV Agusta F4 RC ($46,000)
If we were writing this list a few years ago, a certain MV Agusta-badged motorcycle would be far higher on this list, but these days, we’ll have to settle for the $46,000 F4 RC (Reparto Corse). Built to celebrate the manufacturer’s entry in the 2015 Supersport Series, the F4 RC is 30 pounds lighter than its F4 RR predecessor and makes 212 horsepower.
Each of the 250 production units comes with a racing crankshaft, carbon fiber fairings, a Termignoni titanium exhaust, ECU upgrades, Öhlins supsension, Brembo brakes, traction control, a new seat cowl, race-style fuel cap, and mirror block-off plates. Yes, it’s a racing bike for the street, and no one is complaining.
Kawasaki H2R ($55,000)
Keeping with the holy-crap-that’s-fast theme we have going here, meet the Kawasaki H2R. Unlike the street-legal H2, the H2R is basically a racing bike for public sale. So far, we’ve dabbled in the 200 hp range, but the H2R laughs its way to an absurd 300 hp thanks to a supercharged four-cylinder motor.
Recently, the Kawi was recorded doing 249 mph on a bridge in Turkey. Given enough road (and a crazy enough rider), it could probably go faster. Like all ultra-fast machines, it does require plenty of maintenance (in this case, every 15 hours of running above 8,000 rpm), but with carbon fiber fairings, a Bosch stability control system, Öhlins TTX shocks, and auto rev-match downshifts, the H2R is probably worth its massive price tag.
Hesketh Valiant SC ($61,033)
Now that we’ve touched on some “normal” superbikes, let’s step into the world of specialty moto. Hesketh may sound obscure, but it’s a name that’s been around for quite some time — albeit in a different vertical. Hesketh Racing helped launch James Hunt’s Formula One career between the years of 1972 and 1978. After Hesketh dropped out of F1 (with a not-so-winning record), it jumped into the motorcycle arena via the V1000.
Many years later, the Valiant SC roadster stands as Hesketh’s third production bike. Powered by a Rotrex supercharged 2.1-liter X-Wedge V-twin engine, the SC makes 210 hp. Underpinning the Valiant is a K-Tech suspension, bespoke braking system and wheels, and other British-built parts. This unique cycle is manufactured for those with a particular taste (and budget).
Energica Ego 45 ($68,000)
Products with “ego” in the name are usually a bad idea. Just look at the Lamborghini Egoista. We love Lamborghinis — a lot — but that thing was not the Italian automaker’s best work. What about an electric sport bike, though? The Energica Ego 45 isn’t nearly as quick as the LS-218, but it is rare — and expensive. Only 45 production units will be built, and each retails for an eye-watering $68 grand.
With about 136 hp and 144 lb-ft on tap, the Ego 45 certainly isn’t slow. It also knows how to negotiate a corner, thanks to an Ohlins suspension, OZ forged aluminum wheels, and carbon fiber construction materials. Alas, those who choose the Ego 45 over, well, a lot of good two-wheeled options probably have something in common with the e-bike’s name.
Arch Motorcycles KRGT-1 ($78,000)
Until the John Wick film series rocked everyone’s world, you probably wondered what happened to Keanu Reeves. In addition to enjoying the spoils of his acting career, Mr. Reeves spent much of his time riding motorcycles. Recently, his enthusiasm led to a motorcycle venture with bike builder Gard Hollinger. Thus, Arch Motorcycles was born.
Arch isn’t just a brand with Reeves’ backing — he has his hands in every project. The latest creation is called the KRGT-1. Powered by a 2,032cc twin-cam V-twin engine, the KRGT-1 pumps out 122 hp and 122 lb-ft. Along with a sweet powertrain, the Arch bike features billet aluminum components, an Ohlins suspension, and ISR brakes. If you have some spare coin lying around, be sure to give Keanu a call.
Suter MMX 500 ($118,565)
Back to our regularly scheduled race-bike programming — check out the Suter MMX 500. Eskil Suter was a top-class GP500 racer in the 1990s, but the Swiss rider has since moved on to motorcycle manufacturing. Powered by a two-stroke V4, the MMX 500 makes 195 hp at 13,000 rpm. That may not sound like much in the company of 200-plus hp superbikes, but it’s all about power-to-weight. At just 280 lbs, the MMX 500 is one of the fastest bikes in the world — especially around a track.
If you want one of the 99 production examples, you’ll need a fat stack of cash (and extensive riding experience), but those who appreciate precision engineering will happily foot the bill.
Confederate G2 P51 Combat Fighter ($125,000)
You’re really going to have to stretch your imagination for this one. The Confederate G2 P51 Combat Fighter sounds like a World War II aircraft, but it’s really just a long name for a ridiculous bike. The G2 is actually the second P51 cycle from Confederate, and like its predecessor, the new P51 could be personified as a bar room brawler.
Manufactured exclusively from 6061 billet aluminum, the P51 has the stiffest and lightest chassis with the most torque-per-weight of any production bike. A 2,161cc V-twin motor produces 145 hp and 160 lb-ft, and is paired with quadruple front disc brakes (because why not). The P51 also features carbon fiber wheels and a fully adjustable suspension. The cheapest Combat Fighter retails for $125,000, but the black model you see here will set you back $140K. Gulp.
Honda RC213V-S ($184,000)
Few motorcycles can out-class the Kawasaki H2R in terms of racing technology available for public purchase, but Honda’s RC213V-S takes top honors. Why? Because this isn’t like a racing bike — it is one. The hand-built motorcycle is essentially a replica of the RC213V that Marc Marquez rode in his last two MotoGP world championships wins. Honda says it’s, “closer to a MotoGP bike than any road-going model ever offered to the public.” Sweet.
Specifically, the RC213V-S is powered by a 999cc V4 and features titanium connecting rods, carbon fiber-reinforced fairings, an under-seat fuel tank, Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, Marchesini wheels, engine brake control, traction control, drive modes, and a ridiculous price tag. If you desperately want to spend that much money on a bike, you’d better act fast — Honda won’t make any extras beyond the 250 planned examples.
Ludovic Lazareth LM847 ($217,000)
How can you possibly exceed something like a MotoGP replica, or whatever you’d like to call the Confederate P51? For starters, picture a Maserati V8 engine on two wheels. The Ludovic Lazareth LM847 may be down two cylinders compared to Dodge’s Tomahawk, circa 2003, but it’s arguably just as nutty. 470 hp is sheathed (barely) in a carbon fiber, aluminum, and glass body. Speaking of big numbers, the LM847 handily trumps every other bike on this list with its $217,000 retail figure. So, you could either buy two Maserati Gran Turismo sports cars (which use the same 4.7-liter engine), or you could have one of these. Tough choice.
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