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Quarter Mile Times

Friday, July 24, 2009
Duke roasts the back tire of a stock Night Rod before blasting down the track in a best time of 11.63 seconds at 112 mph. He would later go more than 2 seconds quicker on the Destroyer before the day was done.
Racing at the drag strip is one of the most popular motorsports in America and quarter-mile times are a popular measure of a motorcycle's performance.
Quarter-mile times are a popular performance benchmark for cars and motorcycles. The popularity of quarter-mile performance numbers comes from drag racing, one of the most popular spectator motorsports in the United States.

Measuring Quarter-Mile Times

The basics of calculating a motorcycle’s quarter-mile performance are simple. The motorcycle begins from a standing start. Upon signal the clock starts and the motorcycle races in a straight line for a quarter-mile sprint (1320 feet). Crossing the finish stops the clock. Top speed is also measured during the quarter-mile run.

A number of factors contribute to the overall quarter-mile time of a motorcycle. Not the least of which are the skills of the rider, who must anticipate the start and effectively run through the gears for optimal performance.

At a drag strip, a device called a Christmas tree controls the rider’s start via a sequence of lights. Starting at the top, a series of three yellow lights illuminate sequentially, followed by the green – the rider timing their launch with the green light. If a rider jumps the green, they red-light, which results in disqualification.
I go on green right Duke roasts the back tire of a stock Night Rod before blasting down the track in a best time of 11.63 seconds at 112 mph. He would later go more than 2 seconds quicker on the Destroyer before the day was done.I go on green right
Jump too quick off the start and you'll trigger the red light (above); Getting some advice from the master, Kawasaki's Ricky Gadson (middle), Warming up the rear in preparation for another run down the quarter mile (below).

At the drag strip there are multiple times gathered in the quarter-mile. The delay in a rider’s response to the green light is dubbed the reaction time. (There always is a built-in fractionally small delay or else the rider is given a red-light.) A 60-foot time is also registered which lets riders know how good of a launch they got. The time from the motorcycle crossing start to finish is the elapsed time and is a purer measure of true performance. It also is possible to gather quarter-mile times from GPS systems.

Quarter-Mile Times for Popular Motorcycle Models

Motorcycle USA routinely gathers quarter-mile times in comparison reviews of high-performance motorcycles. Here are some of the latest quarter-mile times we have recorded for popular motorcycle models:

2009 Superbike Comparsion 
Ducati 1198 10.09 @ 139.9 mph 
Honda CBR1000RR 9.68 @ 138.8 mph 
Kawasaki ZX-10R 10.05 @ 141.5 mph 
Suzuki GSX-R1000 10.01 @ 141.9 mph 
Yamaha R1 10.53 seconds @ 137.5 mph

2009 Supersport Comparison 
Ducati 848 11.09 @ 134.37 mph 
Honda CBR600RR 11.10 @ 128.99 mph 
Kawasaki ZX-6R 11.11 @ 133.74mph 
Suzuki GSX-R600 11.11 @ 132.33 mph 
Triumph Daytona 675 11.30 @ 133.25 mph 
Yamaha R6 11.25 @ 134.11 mph 

2008 Hayabusa vs ZX-14
Suzuki Hayabusa 10.378 @ 139.36 mph 
Kawasaki ZX-14 10.398 @ 139.08 mph 

2009 V-Max vs B-King 
Suzuki B-King 10.42 @ 143.99 mph
Yamaha V-Max 10.85 @ 137.5 mph

Professional Motorcycle Drag Racing.

Ed Krawiec  Harley-Davidson
Professional NHRA racers like Ed Krawiec can lay down quarter-mile runs under seven seconds.
The format for most professional motorcycle drag racing series is a simple elimination. Riders face off in pairs (determined by qualifying runs), with the winner advancing to the next elimination round – which culminates in a dramatic winner-take-all finale.

There are numerous motorcycle drag racing associations including: AMA Dragbike, AHRMA and the most popular drag racing series – the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association). The NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycles class features modified stock motorcycles like the Inline-Four Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki ZX-14, as well as Twin-powered bikes from Harley-Davidson and Buell. The top Pro Stock racers can register quarter-mile times under 8 seconds and read top speeds approaching 200 mph.

Quarter-Mile Bracket Racing

A popular form of amateur drag racing is bracket racing, which allows vehicles of various performance capabilities to race each other through the quarter-mile with timed handicaps. Each rider chooses a dial-in time, which is a driver’s approximation of their elapsed time. By controlling the launches at the Christmas Tree, two completely different vehicles can race by adjusting the green light to give slower vehicles a head start.

Factoring in two riders dial-in claims, the duo should hit the finish line neck and neck. Therefore, good reaction times and skill at winding out as close as possible to the dial-in determines the winner – not outright performance of the machine itself. Riders can’t sandbag by claiming a high dial-in and then beating it, as crossing your dial-in results in disqualification.
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Motorcycle Drag Racing Quarter Miles
The acceleration of Destroyer out of the hole is unlike anything you can experience on any production motorcycle  part of what is a well-executed and race-ready package out of the box.
Motorcycle USA got a tutorial on the fine art of drag racing when we tested Harley-Davidson's purpose-build drag racer - the Destroyer. Not to mention the other motorcycle tests we've done that included some surprise time at the drag strip. Follow along in the motorcycle drag racing links below:

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USA1   March 2, 2014 12:37 AM
the v rod destroyer is the fastest production motorcycle of all time! its a turn key low 9 second bike!its way faster than any jap bike! the harley is made in the usa and they respectfully make the motor cycle for the track so all the hot heads with their inferior jap bikes can get smoked with proof of the time slips!the discussion is over. you ameriphobes have been humiliated so go back to your plastic covered sewing machines with your heads down . get over it the usa makes the best everything!!!! if you don't like it then live in the country you support!!!
FusionGuy   October 26, 2012 07:32 AM
I love you Harley guys that claim your bike has "real steel," as if that means anything. BTW, your "real steel" is recycled steel from China and Japan. As for the other bikes having plastic and "pot metal" you are as much an imbecile as your comment. It's for weight reduction, dumkopf.
TonyDee   May 26, 2011 12:43 PM
critter13, Stop embarassing Harley Davidson as well as yourself with the lack of motorcycle knowledge. All of these "Popular Motorcycle Model quarter-mile times we have recorded at MotoUSA", are de-tuned factory stock bikes setup for emissions and mpg. The Harley Destroyer is a factory race bike made for the track and not legal for the street. All of these stock imports, not all of which are Japanese in this article, would crush any stock Harley any day of the week both in performance and even more in quality. And as for the Destroyer, Harley can thank God that Yamaha, Ducati, BMW, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Honda, or any other import maker would manufacture a factory race bike today. As for the times Motorcycle USA has recorded, the numbers they submitted are respectfully modest for most of the stock imports listed. It's sad that some people can only handle truth, not the facts.
critter13   May 11, 2011 06:43 PM
where's the destroyer time posted in the line up 9.5 sec and can run 8's - could'nt handle the truth- my bikes are made of real steel; and not pot metal and plastic; and i don't whine over an oil drop ; real mans bike-
critter13   May 8, 2011 10:22 PM
bob taft had an 8 second harley on gasoline; dave mackie ran 10's on a stock disp shovelhead- eat that-
critter13   May 8, 2011 10:12 PM
you guys are pro rice- could tell right off-
Willie   May 7, 2011 01:12 PM
To "wr -how fast can you $$$$ go" Listen dude, the riding position on a cruiser is far more painful on the back over time then a sport bike. Yet because older men loose their chest muscles as they reach their late thirties this makes riding these race bikes much like sex...impossible.
wr -how fast can you $$$$ go  December 1, 2010 04:22 PM
This such a crazy thing to be talking about these bikes are all race track bikes that are allowed to be bought over the counter and your Japanese dealer. If I were to buy a sport bike it would only see track duty. And for cruising I would and do ride a cruiser, With out breaking my back or pulled off the side of the road stretching my back and aching pain from riding a race bike on the street. This does not make since to me. I laugh at you people that think its cool or its the thing to do ride around in a race crotch ed positioned all day and cry all night with pain. Like its the thing to do I'm cool man I'm cool!!!
$speedy$ -really speed ooo, omg!!!!!!!!!  October 3, 2010 07:22 PM
k mmm, and there is no well's about it the hayabusa is the man just take this off and put this on it's that easy k... they wont the big boy roll 2 fast @ first y mmm, u can b 2 fast w/t nos 2 stage and and a great mind w/t a great pit crew!!!!! lady's tell da boy's lol!!! tech mind's @ work....$speedy$
Mr. Suzuki -Opps! I meant lighter not heavier.  July 23, 2010 12:38 PM
Sorry...should read, "Is it because the average weight of all the other bikes is 200 lbs lighter then the v-max".
Mr. Suzuki -Why is there a cruiser in the group???  July 23, 2010 12:30 PM
Why is there a cruiser in the group? Is it because the average weight of all the other bikes is 200 lbs heavier then the v-max. If the fastest quarter mile was on the Honda, being only 1.2 seconds faster and weighing 240+ lbs less, I think I'd be asking for my money back.
Natural Born Killer -Kinda confusing  July 10, 2010 04:56 PM
I took my Triumph Rocket III to the track recently. The mags say 11.20 @ 120 mph. I weigh 220lbs and have no experience racing a bike of any kind. I ran 12.30 @ 109 mph. That didnt surprise me much. But I raced a guy on a BUSA that has been racing the same bike for two years. He had an extended swing arm, a slick, an aftermarket clutch, aftermarket exhaust, power programmeer, and a 40 shot of nitrous. He made several runs in the 9.40 range at 144 mph or so. So how do the mags come up with the times they do? Are the riders 100 poung eighth graders with a 50 mph tailwind? Someone explain...............I also raced a ZX10 that ran 11.55 @ 128 and a YZF 600 that ran 12.22 @ 112. I killed both of these bikes until 1100 feet or so and then they went right by me.
D Gibbons -Pres  April 19, 2010 09:09 AM
For Immediate Release Firebird Raceway Phoenix, AZ April 17, 2010 VALERIE THOMPSON QUALIFIED #1 IN AHDRA RUSH PRO GAS Like bringing a gun to a knife fight, Valerie Thompson on her $175,000 six-second S&S Buell, has qualified #1 at the AHDRA national in Phoenix. With only an eight bike field consisting entirely of riders with equipment all inferior, and seconds slower to Valerie’s S&S Buell, she took the #1 spot with ease. It may appear that Valerie has picked a heads up class containing no real threat, so to insure her best chance for the #1 qualifying position, and the win. Unlike NHRA PSM where all the bikes are matched equally, in both power and weight, making competition fierce, and allowing only the most talented to qualify, something Valerie has not yet been able to achieve in the NHRA. The AHDRA Rush Pro Gas class allows for anyone with superior equipment to compete head to head on an uneven playing field, allowing for an easy path to qualifying, and victory. While having difficulty keeping control of the bike, Valerie qualified #1 on her third attempt on the S&S Buell running only a 7.264 @ 176.84 mph. Much slower than the potential six-seconds that her bike is able to run. Valerie’s first qualifying attempt was thrown away at the line when it appeared that the bike just died at the launch, and she was disqualified (DQ) on her second attempt when she was unable to adequately keep the bike under control to avoid hitting a cone on the track. For Immediate Release Firebird Raceway Phoenix, AZ April 18, 2010 VALERIE THOMPSON THROWS AWAY WIN AT AHDRA RACE IN PHOENIX In a stunning loss, Valerie Thompson up against a more than four second slower qualified bike, red lights and throws away what should of been an easy victory for both herself, her team and her sponsors. Not only did Valerie run the second slowest bike in the obvious disadvantaged field, but the reaction time for her compitition was a dismal and slow .242 of a second, adding insult and discrace to the defeat.
mistertoadie -It's all relative  April 17, 2010 03:50 PM
The busa and zx14 weren't designed for 1/4 mile times, (then again neither were the zx10 or gsxr1000.) The busa and 14 were built to break the 200 mph barrier, the zx10 and gsxr were built to go fast and handle. any one of the four if set up to drag would beat the other 3 if they werent. It's not easy launching a super lightweight sportbike with 150 horse power either. It's not just a matter of horsepower and torque,but also weight transfer and traction and how well the rider can put it all to use.
gene -Honda CBR1000RR  April 15, 2010 04:06 PM
Looks like the Honda CBR1000RR is the MAN!
dwood -Dreaming of a ZX-14  March 27, 2010 02:23 PM
Let Kawasaki and Suzuki have 160ci engines in the NHRA. The Buels and VRod will VANISH.
09 zx14 -Who was riding the bikes  March 7, 2010 06:10 PM
I was pulling 9.2 and 9.3 quarter miles when my 09 zx14 was stock, and i'm 215 pounds...the 08 and 09 models are the same....so who the hell did they have riding the busa and 14 to get them low times....hell, youtube has amatuers getting mid 9's to low 10's on these bikes....they get better times than the 1000's. They are called hyper bikes for a reason.
Mcguire -sewer rat  March 2, 2010 04:45 PM
There should be seperate classes for twins and multi cylinder as no compromise on displacement is viewed as fair and Multi-cylinder are just faster than twins. This dosen't mean you cant have great racing with twins, just not at the same pace as multies. Id like to see a run what you brung class. Any modification legal and any bike is legal...can you see sidecar racers with NOS tanks jutting out of the passenger compartment...The guy with the BOSS HOSS that blocks half the track and grinds metal at 80 degrees lean angle. The nitro burning supermoto lined up next to a hayabusa.....Now thats racing..should be a water jump too.
Sam the man -busa & zx14  February 16, 2010 04:21 AM
most bikes are pretty much like that thru the ¼ mile, you would see a much bigger difference on a full mile drag, its in the upper gears (4th 5th 6th), when there are more resistance forces at work, where the bigger engines win over. Had a zx14 and experienced it a lot, guys will stick with you til you hit higher speeds then.... SEE YA!
william -randolph  January 12, 2010 10:33 AM
when where me man we see
Niko -Same question as Mike  December 15, 2009 06:01 AM
Why we make such a fuss about the stock Hayabusa and ZX14 if the ZX10 and GSXR1000 make better times for the quarter mile?
9thst2-600rr -Lve my Bike  November 26, 2009 01:00 PM
Its awsome
Mike -question  August 21, 2009 06:47 PM
why do the zx-10r and the gsx-r1000 both put up better times and trap speed than there respectable big brothers the zx-14 and the hayabusa
x2468 -N/A  July 31, 2009 04:35 PM
Sounds like the Buell in the Supersport class this year.... 1125cc twin vs. 600cc 4 cyl.
KS beerhunter -NHRA prostock motorcycle  July 31, 2009 01:06 AM
Let it be known that the v twins such as Harley and Buell can run 160 cubic inch motors while Suzuki and Kawasaki 4s can only run 100 cubic inches. And if the v twins don't still win, NHRA changes the weights around untill they do.
x2468 -times over the years  July 27, 2009 07:03 PM
I know that it's hard to compare drag times from two different days, when variables like weather, tires and such might play a part. But have you seen the stock quarter mile times go up, down or stay the same between new, stock models in the same class? I'm wondering, since we've seen a lot of the bikes getting heavier and less powerful as the years progress. The or they have a higher peak horsepower number, but anemic bottom end as a sacrifice.