Friday, August 04, 2006

Top Fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration


Zero to 100km/h in 0.7 seconds quick enough for you?

What are the fastest accelerating motorcycles in the world? MotoGP bikes? No! Top fuel drag bikes. The figures are mind numbing – a top fuel drag bike accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 0.7 seconds. Zero to 370km/h comes up in less than 6.5 seconds. And the quarter mile (400m) is dispatched in about 6.32 seconds, which is more than three seconds quicker than what a stock Kawasaki ZZR1400 (with ram air, a claimed 197 horsepower) will do.

But then, there’re precious little machines that accelerate as hard as these top fuel drag bikes do. The aforementioned 197bhp (closer to 170bhp in the real world) ZZR, for example, weighs in at around 330 kilos. Top fuel drag bikes come in at 400 kilos, but also pack a real 1000 horsepower. Er, yes, that's right – 1000bhp. Formula-1 cars don’t accelerate as hard as these bikes. Neither does an F14 jet fighter. The Bugatti Veyron, which packs an 8000cc, 1001bhp 16-cylinder engine, takes 10.8 seconds to do the quarter mile run, while a Ferrari Enzo, with its 6000cc, 660bhp, V12 engine does it in 11 seconds flat. The V10-powered Porsche Carrera GT takes 11.1 seconds, and the V12 Lamborghini Murcielago takes 11.72 seconds.

Top fuel drag bikes cost in excess of US$80,000 (about Rs 36 lakh!) to build. They have four-cylinder supercharged engines that run on nitromethane, which is consumed at the rate of around 40 litres per one kilometre!

Is there anything at all that can live with a top fuel drag bike. Yeah, a top fuel drag car, which consumes close to 35 litres of nitromethane per second, does the quarter mile in less than 4.5 seconds, and accelerates to speeds in the region of 500km/h in that time. A Ferrari Enzo driver can go past a top fuel drag car (that’s standing still) at 300km/h, and if the drag car leaves the line immediately after being passed, it’ll still overtake the Ferrari within a distance of 350 metres.

The next time somebody tells you how hard their new Porsche 911 goes, you know what to tell them, eh? :-)


That rear tyre is transferring close to a 1000bhp on to the track...

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