This might probably be one of the most heard bar talks ever. Which is faster? A motorcycle or a car?
First of all, we have to specify what do we mean with faster. Does that mean on the straight line? Or probably on a race track? Let’s take the race track first.
Lap of honor
If we take the bike and the car on a round course there would be no chance for a car. I’m talking about street legal machines here. The bike is a lot lighter than a car which makes it easier to slow down and easier to accelerate. The motorcycle won all the tests I’ve seen so far. Except for one, and this was a very special test, they raced a MotoGP vs. F1. The F1 was simply mindblowing fast in every condition on the straight line and on the lap time. But an F1 as more similarities with a jet fighter than with a car.
Fast & Furious
There was a very interesting test between the fastest hybrid cars on the market and the fastest bike. The cars were a Porsche 918 and a McLaren P1, both with almost 1000 hp and with an electric motor filling the gaps of the gas one. On the other corner, we had the Ducati Panigale Superleggera with over 200 hp. And this race was incredibly more interesting and I’ll tell you why. First of all, there isn’t just one winner.
They choose a straight long enough to reach the top speed. So this made it a drag race, an acceleration race and a top speed test all in one.
Let’s get technical
At the start, the bike has to transfer the weight from the front to the rear wheel. Then through the whole first gear portion, the bike and its electronic controls are fighting to keep the front down. The car simply doesn’t have this weight distribution problem and on top of that, the aerodynamics of a car is more efficient. So the wind is pushing the car down while the bike is pushed back and up.
After this stage is over the acceleration comes into place. The bike has simply no rivals here, it builds up speed like nothing else.
But the closer we get to the 300 kph the harder it gets for the bike to keep pushing and this is because of its lack aerodynamics efficiency (more on aerodynamics here on “How Aerodynamics Work“). At this speed, at almost the same power to weight ratio, win who manages the air best, which in this case is… (warning, spoiler alert!) the McLaren P1.