Trizzle started it two weeks ago with the Ten Cheapest Motorcycles, so in honor of Donald Trump and MO’s whole more-is-more philosophy, I hereby offer the 15 Most Expensive New Bikes of 2017.
Determining the most expensive motorcycles is slightly more complicated than you might imagine. Many of the priciest machines simply aren’t available at your local dealership for a clearly determined MSRP. And then there’s the completely custom motorcycles you can have built for yourself by boutique shops like NCR and a few other high-end builders, which don’t truly qualify for production-bike status.
While not a boutique shop, OEMs like Aprilia and BMW are also getting in on the high-end sportbike game. BMW, for example, teased us with the all carbon fiber HP4 RACE at EICMA 2016. It’s still in the prototype phase, however, and pricing hasn’t been set.
Meanwhile, Aprilia has gone and introduced the Factory Works program to purchase racebikes based on the RSV4 direct from the factory that conform to rules for various national and international racing organizations worldwide. Packages start with the basic Superstock build at €24,600 (roughly $26,000 USD at current exchange rates) all the way to €160,000 (nearly $170,000) for the RSV4 FW-GP, which boasts more than 250 hp at the crank, pneumatic valves, dry clutch, and a highly sophisticated electronics and data acquisition package. And while the RSV4 is a production bike, the bikes and components used for the Factory Works program are built strictly for racing. Road-legal componentry, along with registration paperwork, are not included or even offered.
To prevent this list from being filled with models from just a couple of manufacturers, we’ve decided to limit it to just the most expensive model from the various OEMs represented here. We’ll start with the cheapest expensive bike.
A tick over $30k for a big touring rig isn’t all that exorbitant, especially when you consider the flagship Six-banging Beemer comes with just about everything you’d want to add to it: $30,395 includes cornering ABS, heated seats (and backrest!), electronic suspension, traction control, hill-start control, LED auxiliary lights, adaptive xenon headlight… the list goes on. Standard engine guards are nice too, because you know eventually she’s going to tump over in whichever parking lot has the most witnesses.
We’re still waiting to “test” the reborn Commando, or maybe we’re not, since that thing is old hat now that the new V4 RR is here. This one’s not your Peter Egan’s Norton, though. This one’s got a 1200cc 72-degree V-Four with ti valves and eight fuel injectors, said to produce 200-plus horsepower at 12,500 rpm. It’s got all the cool guy parts and electronic jamming devices including a seven-inch TFT display and auto-shifter blipper, and it’s all in a shiny-polished handmade frame rolling on the finest Ohlins suspension. It was developed at the Isle of Man, fittingly, where it finished sixth in last year’s Superbike TT under one David Johnson, with an average speed of 131 mph.
Lucky for you, the dollar has rebounded a bit: £28,000 is only $34,268!
Any Ducati sportbike ending in “R” is something special, and the Panigale R, as we say, is no exception. Titanium connecting rods and a ti Akrapovic exhaust are just a couple of items designed to get this 205-hp, 1199cc V-Twin as quickly around a closed course as possible. Along with its Monoscocca chassis, Ohlins suspension, top-line Brembo brakes and the rest of it – all from just $34,995.
The ultimate Panigale would be the carbon-fiber monocoque’d 1299 Superleggera, but they were only making 500 of them for 2017 and if you weren’t on the Ducati VIP invite list to buy one, Paco, well… keep an eye on Craigslist. Its list price was reportedly around $80,000, so you should be able to lowball one at about $3,000 in a couple years. C’mon, that’s a joke. Lighten up.
You have to admire the audacity of Lee Conn and Brian Case for wanting to develop their own American-made sport-tourer. The biggest hurdle to developing any new motorbike is coming up with an engine to power it. While boutique brands such as Bimota and Arch use off-the-shelf powerplants, Motus chose to go their own way by using half a small-block Chevy V-8 in the form of a Pratt & Miller-developed V-4 motor displacing 1650cc. In the Motus MST, it’s claimed to produce 165 hp at its crankshaft and 123 lb-ft of torque. The higher-end MST-R ups the horsepower to a purported 180.
With its 5.5-gallon tank full of fuel and Givi saddlebags fitted, Motus says the Alabama-built MST-R scales in at 585 pounds. The base MST retails for $30,975, while the MST-R adds an Öhlins shock, carbon bodywork, high-end Brembos, BST carbon wheels and an extra 20 hp for an additional $6,000. Sure, $36,975 ain’t cheap, but where else are you going to find a sport-touring motorcycle powered by a V-8 motor chopped in half?
The ultimate sacrifice any American can make in defense of freedom for 2017 is $40,999 for this gleaming Custom Vehicle Operations Limited. Powered by the new Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, covered in the finest chrome and paint H-D can muster, riding on new and improved suspension components and absolutely loaded to the gunwales with modern infotainment and even a tire-pressure monitoring system… for many riders, there’s no need to spend a penny more for any other motorcycle anywhere else. Who could argue with them?
They used to build a Claudio Castiglioni version that was closer to $100K, but now it looks like the most you can spend for an F4 is $46,000 for the RC, which looks just like Leon Camier’s Reparto Corse WSB racer and almost acts like it, with 212 hp and many special bits and pieces. Each of the 250 built will come with a race kit tucked away in a tasty wooden box that costs more than most people’s bikes.
For all that, the base model F4 is surprisingly affordable at only $19,798, fully equipped with a radial-valve 998cc Four that spins all the way to 14,000 rpm and 195 horsies. The RR is nice too: For just $26,798, MV throws in titanium connecting rods and Öhlins electronic suspension.
The most expensive electric bike you can’t quite buy is the Lightning LS-218, which also claims to be the world’s fastest production motorcycle thanks to its 218-mph run at Bonneville a few years ago. It also won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 2013, beating all the ICE bikes, as well as a bunch of other e-bike race wins.
Pricing starts at $38,888 and rises to $46,888 for the upcoming version with a 20-kWh battery purported to yield a range of 160-plus miles. Even the cheaper model claims a usable freeway speed range of more than 100 miles and a combined city and highway EPA range of over 150 miles, and the gas savings alone would probably pay for the bike within, ahh… eventually.
The only downside is that Lightning doesn’t seem to have delivered any of them yet. However, its Business Development Manager, Dave Swock, tells us that they are constructing 50 LS-218s this very month, and that future buyers will receive their new bikes within about 120 days of ordering.
No list of expensive exotics would be complete without a Bimota, would it? The latest from Rimini is the fastest ever, and only Bimota’s third collaboration with BMW. The BB3 rates its S1000RR Four-cylinder at 200 hp, adds all the high-end components and craftsmanship Bimota is known for, and says the whole compact package weighs in at 395 pounds, dry. As we warm up through this listicle like a frog in a gradually heating pot, $54,000 doesn’t seem like all that much anymore… hand me that loofah, will you?
You can’t leave your estate on this one as it’s not street-legal, you need to make sure your valet has the tires on warmers prior to every ride, and the engine needs servicing every 15 hours of running above 8,000 rpm. Those quibbles aside, its supercharged four-cylinder makes the H2R probably the fastest two-wheeled conveyance in the world, and its carbon fiber fairing, Mirror Coated Matt paint, and all the rest of its winged victory styling make it a keeper. The 2017 model, updated with a six-axis Bosch IMU, Ohlins TTX shock and auto-blipping downshifter, retails for $55,000.
Stand back Confederate and Keanu Reeves: While the Arch KRGT-1 and Confederate bikes might cost a bit more, Hesketh Motorcycles, neé Lord Hesketh, is building its own S&S X-Wedge-powered motorcycle, but this one displaces 2100cc, and every one of those 128 cubic inches is force-fed by a Rotrex supercharger – resulting in a horsepower claim of 210 at 5500 rpm. Trying to keep things as British as possible, the beast uses K-Tech suspension, Hesketh’s own brakes and wheels and other locally grown components. Quite a bargain at just £50,000 – a mere $61,033.75 as I ogle it today.
It’s a pretty specific type who gets on board with the Energica Ego 45. Someone who likes sportbikes, but wants an electric version, and is an early adopter to new technology. Oh, and you need to be wealthy and have a penchant for exotic materials. If that’s you, then the Ego 45 is calling. As far as the numeral goes, the 45 describes the first 45 Egos to roll off the production line, each signified with a plaque mounted on the upper triple clamp. Those bikes are outfitted with electronic upgrades including GPS integration, Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone app. Mechanically, the 45 gets Ohlins suspension, OZ forged aluminum wheels, a 20-kW fast charger, carbon fiber bodywork, and a host of 3D-printed components. The price for all this electric bling? A cool $68,000.
That guy on the orange motorcycle? That’s Keanu Reeves. Yeah, that Keanu Reeves. The motorcycle he’s riding? It’s an Arch KRGT-1, and it’s a motorcycle you can buy for $78,000, thanks to a venture between KR himself and business partner/motorcycle builder Gard Hollinger. True, a few celebrities have lent their names and support to motorcycles before, but Reeves is a true enthusiast of the sport, and the KRGT-1 is an attempt to blend classic Americana with modern components. A 2,032cc S&S T124 V-Twin pumps out a claimed 121 horses and foot-pounds, and is surrounded by aluminum billet componentry, adding a touch of flair and class to the KRGT-1 without much weight. Top-shelf suspension and brakes make the KRGT-1 plenty sporty for a cruiser. If you’re the rich type who would like some of the luster of a celeb’s motorcycle brand rubbing off on you, give Arch a look.
Swiss madman Eskil Suter was right there in the thick of the 500cc GP wars in the `90s, even if he spent most of his time on a Honda RS250. All the fumes affected him enough that he decided the world needed to revisit that era, in the form of the MMX 500, cheating only slightly by using a 576cc V-Four two-stroke with counter-rotating crankshafts, capable of 195 horses and 13,000 rpm. That’s a significant amount of horsepower, but the really significant number with this track-only device is the claimed dry weight: 280 pounds. The last impressive number, $118,565 (120k Swiss francs), is really only significant if you don’t have it. Oh well, they’re only building 99 of these anyway.
I can’t introduce the second generation Confederate P51 Combat Fighter any better than the folks at Confederate themselves, so here we go:
Brutal, minimal, and built to last, reveal, and transform. Fresh superabundant energy, force and power is breathed into the world’s rebel motoring culture, as envisioned and created, one machine at a time, by the fiercely independent hot rod giants upon whose shoulders we so proudly stand. As a salute to those gentlemen we so greatly revere, we are honored to offer the most primal example of raw American Power it is possible to create.
Nothing announces to the world that you’re a badass quite like a Confederate motorcycle, and if you’re a badass with $140,000 burning a hole in your wallet, then the second-gen P51 Combat Fighter is the bike for you. For that price you’ll get in return a motorcycle inspired by the famous warplane, constructed entirely of 6061 billet aluminum, right down to the engine block and heads. Confederate says its proprietary monocoque is the “stiffest, most fatigue-resistant and lightest chassis capable of housing the greatest amount of torque as a percentage of weight ever achieved in all of motordom.” With a statement like that, how could you not want one?
As far as specs go, the P51 is powered by a 2,163cc V-Twin pumping out a claimed 145 hp and 160 lb-ft. Suspension is the double wishbone variety with a single shock keeping the front end down. Another fully adjustable shock sits in the back. The eyes are drawn to the distinctive styling and attention to detail of any Confederate, and the P51 will garner plenty of attention. From its carbon fiber wheels, to its quadruple front discs, the P51 is bold and makes a statement wherever you go. Of course, you should also be prepared for shouts of “mid-life crisis” as well. Alternatively, you can drown out those cries with the rumble of your exhaust.
If $140,000 for the black version above is too steep, the P51 is also available in its natural aluminum color for $125,000. A steal!
And the prize for the world’s Most Expensive Production Motorcycle by Quite a Large Margin goes to the Honda RC213V-S MotoGP replica, ridden by our own Tom Roderick here in late 2015. Honda said they’d only build 250 of these. The good news is you can still get one. The bad news is you’ll need $184,000.
Yes, that’s a lot of money, but this “production bike” is built by hand, supposedly by some of the same people’s hands who put together the RCs Marquez and Pedrosa and those guys ride in MotoGP, using some of the same parts and materials. Those who have sampled it state unequivocally that it’s the best sportbike they’ve ever ridden.