World Records show us the marvel of human creation and the outskirts of the imagination. The Guinness Book of World Records has been recording the extremes of humanity for over 50 years and keeping track of the most amazing things that the world has to offer.
Motorcycle records take up a large section of this book. As long as we’ve had two wheels we’ve been pushing the abilities of the machine and ourselves the limit. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most iconic records to be set so you can marvel at the machines we’ve made through the years.
World's Smallest Motorcycle
The world’s smallest motorcycle is just a little over 2.55 inches high, and yes, it is rideable. Well, rideable may not be the right word. This tiny machine is ‘ridden’ by inserting two pegs onto the side so the rider can crouch over like a gargoyle and move forward at a lightning speed of 1.24 miles per hour. Which with how small the bike is, moving anything human sized is an amazing feat.
Tom Wiberg of Sweden created the SmallToe (best name ever) in 2003, and he rode it for 32.8 feet to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. They also created a video of the mini machine that is a joy to watch.
World's Largest Motorcycle
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the world’s largest motorcycle which was built in 2012 by Fabio Reggiani in Italy. This giant red bike measures in at a whopping 16 ft 8.78 inches tall from the ground up to its massive handlebars. To drive, it requires controls mounted directly onto the seat because the handlebars are unreachable and it has “training wheels” to make sure it doesn’t fall over. It was ridden on a closed 100-meter course to win the award.
World's Fastest Motorcycle
The fastest motorcycle speed record was broken in 2010 by Rocky Robinson at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The bike resembled more of a rocket than a motorcycle to streamline it, cutting down on wind resistance.
The bike flew at an amazing 376.363 miles per hour, easily becoming the new world record holder of actual speed recorded on a bike.
But what about theoretical speed? When you search for ‘world’s fastest motorcycle’ you will probably see the Dodge Tomahawk at the top of most lists, this is because it has been boasted to reach 420 mph according to the math of how the motorcycle SHOULD run, but the speed has never been truly put to the test. If it were, the Tomahawk should demolish any other motorcycle speed record out there.
Most Expensive Motorcycle Ever Sold
The most expensive motorcycle that has ever been sold is the Captain America Harley Davidson Panhead that was ridden by Peter Fonda in the 1969 film Easy Rider. It was sold for 1.35 million dollars at a Hollywood memorabilia auction in 2014. The motorcycle features the iconic stars-and-stripes and is a custom build by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy with design input from Fonda himself. There were multiple made for the film, but the auctioned one is believed to be the last remaining.
This just goes to show that nothing sells quite like nostalgic memorabilia.
World's Longest Motorcycle Trip
The desire to travel the world is a near-universal desire, but most would rather take a comfortable plane ride those long distances. Emilio Scotto of Buenos Aires, Argentina decided to take his love of traveling to the extreme and hop on his 1980 Honda Goldwing for a ten-year trek that would span 457,000 miles and 214 countries. He began the journey in 1985 and returned to Argentina in 1995.
Emilio wrote a book about his experience called The Longest Ride: My Ten-Year 500,000-Mile Motorcycle Journey
that includes stories and photography from his trek. He went through 13 passport books, 12,500 gallons of gas, 86 tires, nine new motorcycle seats, and one replacement engine.
Record for Most People on One Motorcycle
Most motorcycle rides are a solo or duo experience, but some want to bring the whole extended family along. The world record for most people on a singular motorcycle was broken in India with 58 people on a single bike. It was broken in 2017 and was done by the ASC Tornadoes Motorcycle Team.
The trick was done by getting up to a higher speed and then adding riders by running and jumping onto the specially created platforms on the side of the bike.
World's Longest Motorcycle Ramp Jump
Robbie Maddison, a world-renowned stunt motorcyclist, is always looking to outdo himself. In 2008 in Melbourne, Australia during the Crusty Demons Night of World Records
show Maddison decided to try to break his own world record for longest motorcycle jump. He jumped three times that night, each jump going farther than the last until his final jump where he went 350.98 feet and finished with a perfect landing.
Record for Highest Air on a Motorcycle
Some motorcycle records truly reach for the stars, and the highest air on a motorcycle takes the cake. This world record is held by BMX rider Ronnie Renner. In 2008 in front of a crowd of fans he cleared a total of 35 ft and 4 inches
. Red Bull, the sponsor of the jump, boasted that he cleared a height of over 63 feet but because the record discounts the height of the ramp and the height of the rider the actual clearance was cut by about half for the official record.
World's Fastest Motorcycle Wheelie
Some people want to take speed to a new level by adding tricks into the mix. The fastest motorcycle wheelie was done on a Honda Super Blackbird 1100 cc Turbo in England by Patrick Fürstenhoff
, also known as Ghost Rider.
It was broken in a head-to-head competition between Fürstenhoff and the previous wheelie record of 178 mph held by Gary Rothwell. Fürstenhoff believed it wasn’t considered a ‘full wheelie’ and decided to try and beat the record himself with what he considered a proper wheelie. Fürstenhoff then absolutely demolished that record with a speed of 191.3 mph in 1999 and has been held ever since.
World's Fastest Survived Motorcycle Crash
Not all world records are fun or done on purpose. Some are literally death-defying in a way the rider wasn’t intending. The fastest motorcycle crash was in 2018 with a specially designed motorcycle ridden by Valerie Thompson in Australia. Thompson currently holds the world record for “Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer” and crashed during her attempt to beat the overall land speed record. She was going an astonishing 343-mph when her bike fell over on its side and skidded for a mile before finally stopping. Thompson walked away with no injuries because of the protective exterior of the motorcycle but unfortunately, the motorcycle was highly damaged and was pronounced dead on the scene.