From the URL currently showing in your browser, I think it’s a safe bet that you understand and appreciate the wondrous benefits of traveling on two wheels. Cars are merely dynamically inferior conveyances.

Moto-heads can acknowledge that four-wheeled vehicles offer some advantages over motorbikes, even beyond the utility of transporting a motorcycle. For instance, any January ride would be significantly warmer in a car, and, depending where you live, a winter ride might be impossible on a bike. Eating french fries is easier in a car. And I can verify that automobiles are vastly superior to a motorcycle in accommodating make-out sessions, whether mild or wild.

However, the creature comforts offered by automobiles comes with steep prices. First, of course, is the actual price, now averaging more than $30k. A car’s other stiff price, especially in performance terms, is mass – a term used by scientists and engineers to describe weight. A report in Slate says the average new vehicle in 1987 weighed 3,221 lbs. But by 2010, that number had ballooned to a leviathan-like 4,009 lbs!

One of the most heavily publicized performance cars of recent months is the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, boasting a jaw-dropping 707 horsepower from its supercharged Hemi. That’s a monumental number, and I’m sure I’d be thrilled to drive it. But consider Hellcat’s curb weight, somewhere north of 4,400 lbs. So, despite the colossal corral of ponies, it’ll gallop down the quarter-mile at a pace slower than, say, a 1987 Honda Hurricane 600. Now, a 12.5-second quarter in a street car on stock tires is no mean feat, but it pales next to a modern performance motorcycle.

We ran a 9.69-second ET on a bone-stock Kawasaki ZX-14R during a 100-degree day at the strip. Corrected for weather conditions, it translated to a 9.35-second run.

We ran a 9.69-second ET on a bone-stock Kawasaki ZX-14R during a 100-degree day at the strip. Corrected for weather conditions, it translated to a 9.35-second run.

But now comes a batch of hyper/super/uber cars from exotic manufacturers like McLaren and Porsche. From the former comes the stupendous P1, featuring a turbo-ICE/electric powertrain that combines for a ridiculous 903 hp. Porsche’s supercar hybrid, the 918, has a combined 887 hp able to be routed to all four wheels. Would I like to drive either? Hellz yeah! Will they be able to out-accelerate a top-tier sportbike? Well, no. And yes.

Porsche’s 918 has logged a startlingly quick 9.8-second quarter-mile (weather-corrected) when tested by Car and Driver magazine. While the $848,000 Porsche’s ET is mind blowing for a car, its mass, relative to a motorcycle, holds it back. Containing an extra motor and its batteries – not to mention air conditioning, a heater and a (removable) roof – the 918 scales in around 3,800 lbs. The Porsche is actually a few ticks slower than the stock Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki ZX-14R we tested in 2012.

2012 Kawasaki ZX-14R Vs. 2012 Suzuki Hayabusa LE – Video

But perhaps the wicked, $1.1M McLaren P1 would be able to out-sprint a motorcycle. To find out, Autocar magazine recently put the 3,300-lb P1 and 918 to an epic acceleration test. Instead of a ZX-14R, the car magazine chose Ducati’s ultra-exotic 1199 Panigale Superleggera.

Ducati’s Superleggera is packing 200 horses in a sexy 390-lb package.

Ducati’s Superleggera is packing 200 horses in a sexy 390-lb package.

There is a fascinating battle of acceleration you can see in the video below. It’s the all-wheel-drive Porsche that sprints to the early lead, getting to 60 mph in 2.95 seconds, versus the Ducati’s 3.14 and the rear-drive McLaren’s 3.24 secs. The Superleggera is quickest to 100 mph, but by less than a tenth of a second to the Porsche and by 0.17 second compared to the P1.

The Superleggera compares most favorably in the 0-150-mph sprint, clocking in a lead of more than one second over the cars. But then the inferior aerodynamics of motorcycles starts to deal its frustrating hand, followed shortly by gearing that bumps the Duc’s rev limiter at 192 mph. At the one-mile mark, the Superleggera was traveling at 191.5 mph, while the 918 was churning out 194.6 mph. Meanwhile, the P1 had vaulted ahead, speeding to 204.7 mph at the same distance. Note the Ducati’s top speed, higher than that allowed by by the 186-mph gentlemen’s agreement abided by Japanese OEMs.

So, the Superleggera accelerates to 150 mph quicker than even the superest supercar, but it can’t top the magical 200-mph mark. It’s both a win and a loss for motorcycle enthusiasts. Unless you believe comparing motorcycles to cars that cost $1 million an unfair fight, even against a $70k Ducati. Consider, too, that a ZX-14R can be had for less than $15k, and it would surely achieve 186 mph more hastily than any Ducati.

Anyway, no matter the acceleration times, automobiles are simply unable to deliver the joy of bending a motorcycle into corners – they lean the wrong way. It’s a feeling that only requires an investment of a few thousand dollars, and a feeling that can’t be matched by any car. Another drawback of cars: they’re very reluctant to wheelie!

And what, you might be wondering, about the 950-hp, $1.4M LaFerrari? I’d like to straddle Kawi’s H2R to determine the result of that duel! Hey, Ferrari North America, you wanna give it shot?

  • SRMark

    I’d not eat french fries in either of those cars, nor would I take either out on a snowy day. And a french fry would have a better chance of getting out of either of those cars than would I. So, am I better than a car owner or not? But I own a car. So who is better now. I’m confused…

  • Backroad Bob

    McLaren cleaned house and re-designed because the old cars weren’t selling. They’re on sale now at “bargain” prices. You can’t get $100k off at a Ford dealership.

  • Chandra Kant

    things are changing and for the worse for bikes. once there was a time when bikes wud blow past multi million dollar super/hypercars and the car could do nothing about it. then i came across a video from tx2k11 where a 1700 bhp twin turbo gallardo whups the ass of a lightened up 300 bhp busa like it was standing still. that was the first time i was worried. sad i was but then i discovered the 500 bhp busa charioted by “ghostrider”. t felt nice but i cudn’t find the performance figures for that bike. just today i read about a super hotted up supra doing the 1/4 mile at sub 6 secs tme. and all was lost for me. now there are companies like trion, koenigsegg, keating etc that are going to make hypercars available for road use that produce 2000-2500 bhp whereas all bikers have is a kawasaki h2r producing 296 bhp which isin’t even road legal. soon bikes will lose the performance battle to cars and we will be able to do nothing much about it.

    • Andrew

      Bike are falling behind to some of the hypercars, but these cars cost anywhere between $100,000 and $1 million before you even add in insurance, 3 miles to the gallon fuel economy, and yearly taxes (which probably cost more than a super bike by itself.) And probably because I’ve never owned a supersport, but I’m not sure where the hate that a bike like the H2 is not street legal. If any rider wants to do a sub 6 second 1/4 on a public road(not that the H2 can), I wish them nothing less than becoming a mud flap for a tractor trailer. Seriously, keep that crap at the track.

    • Stuki

      Buy a cheap ticket from a discount airline, and you’ll whup the ass of all of them once the going gets fast………… And have about the same amount of fun doing it as you will mindlessly pressing the gas pedal in a slushbox equipped car once the novelty wears off.

      200mph on a bike is bloody exciting! It grows hair on your chest. It gets your heart pumping. it makes you feel alive (I’m extrapolating from 180….). Something sitting in a cage pressing a pedal, or in a bigger cage huffing thin air and drinking cheap wine, never will.

  • Vrooom

    I find these contests more interesting on a track. Comparing a bike to a million dollar car on a dragstrip seems a bit off base, not that MO came up with this. As you said, a ZX-14 that was modified to lose the 186 mph limit and with a few performance mods would probably lay these cars to waste, or at least match them all the way to the top, while spending perhaps $25K on the bike if you go with ohlins front and rear, and find a bunch of other stuff to do to it as well. The Ducati is better suited for a track test.

  • John B.

    Ever since Jesse Owens raced a horse (and lost) in Bismark, apples verses oranges races have been an accepted entertainment format. Top Gear raced a Porsche against a VW Bug dropped from a plane, and a fighter plane against a Bugatti among other things. The desire to race must be programmed into our DNA, and we find it highly entertaining. Motorcycle technology has seemingly progressed to the point where the limiting component for most bikes is the rider’s skills. It’s a great time to be a motorcycle enthusiast; so many great bikes!

  • Old MOron

    Q: Hey Baby, want to go for a drive in my Porsche?
    A: Oh, sure! (giggle) I’ve never been in a Porsche before.

    Q: Hi, want to go for a ride on my motorcycle?
    A: No, thanks. I want to be available in case that guy with the Porsche comes back.

    Okay, okay, that was a little unfair. Perhaps the moto answer would be more like:

    No, thanks. It’s not worth it to put on all this stinky gear you want me to wear.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Speaking of stinky; it’s really hard to carry your goalie gear to the rink on a motorbike.

    • Sean Alexander

      As the owner of both a Porsche and a bike, plus a wife! It’s irrelevant to me which one is most attractive to the opposite sex. Both of them float MY boat :-)

      • Old MOron

        Good point, Sean. I admit I was being facetious.
        Uh, pardon me for continuing in that vein:

        Hmm, let’s see: motorcycle, Porsche, (probably a trophy) wife…
        moto journos are paupers, but I guess you executive types do okay!

        • Sean Alexander

          Correct on all counts, but that trophy wife and I started dating back when I was a starving club racer, so though she’s gorgeous, she is in it for the right reasons. In fact she even makes about the same salary as I. I’m lucky to have her… thankfully I wrestle way outside my weight class :-)

  • Michael Howard

    “… automobiles are simply unable to deliver the joy of bending a motorcycle
    into corners – they lean the wrong way. It’s a feeling that only
    requires an investment of a few thousand dollars, and a feeling that
    can’t be matched by any car.”

    That is the essence of motorcycling. No matter what supplies the power, what kind of transmission, a manual or auto clutch, or even how many wheels, if you have to countersteer to balance and have to lean it to turn, it’s a motorcycle — and it’s one of the most awesome things a human being can experience.

  • john phyyt

    It is just brilliant that this sort of excellence is available to many : 190 hp bike or 650 hp car ; either give performance which was available only to grand prix drivers just two decades ago: Not only that but you can turn around at the end of the strip or track and simply head for a beer. No down side : I am old ; I know this ; But make time to smell the roses.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Bikes provide high performance for the every man. A used liter class sport bike can be had for a few grand, and such bikes will compete in the raw acceleration derby with just about any car, and of course they bring the joy that is unique to riding a high performance motorcycle.

    Ya just gotta love bikes :)

  • Christian Rasmus

    Hybrid superbike: 750, All wheel drive with electric engine at the front and one on the combustion engine, to help with the decreasing of the turbolag. Combustion engine: w12 engine, 1.2 liter turbocharged, and revs up to about 25.000 rpm! The bike will also take advantage of aerodynamic-downforce, to help the bike STAY ON THE GROUND! The bike will take use of liteweight materiales like; carbonfiber, graphite…….

    P.S. Just thinking out loud! ;-D