10 Most Powerful V4 Engine Motorcycles - SUV VEHICLE

10 Most Powerful V4 Engine Motorcycles

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What’s great about motorcycles is that they come in all shapes and sizes. The same can be said for the engines that propel them down our favorite roads. There are single thumpers, parallel twins, inline fours, and V-twins. And one of the more interesting engine configurations is the V4. These engines can be fairly compact, strong, and have a balanced center of gravity.




So why aren’t there more of them? Why do they mostly come from Honda, Ducati, and Aprilia? Well, while there are plenty of benefits to a V4 engine, there are also downsides. Higher build cost due to their complexity and overheating issues that can creep up in the rear pistons tend to scare away some manufacturers. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some incredible and powerful V4 bikes in the world already. The legends on this list have been sorted by horsepower, using our proven methodologies.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Motorcyclenews.com.

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10 Honda RC30

Power: 112 HP

1988 Honda VFR750R / RC30 side right shot
www.bringatrailer.com


Don’t let the low horsepower of the Honda RC30 fool you. This bike’s reputation is nothing short of mythical. This gnarly superbike was built to be street-legal, and came in such limited numbers that it is almost impossible to find an owner that’s willing to part with one. And though the power of its V4 isn’t anything to write home about these days, it was able to crack 150 miles per hour. That’s certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, especially for a bike over 30 years old now in an ocean of other vintage sports bikes. It was a motorcycle on the bleeding edge of technology back then, and a rare piece of history now.

Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Four stroke, 90 V4, DOHC, 4 valve

Displacement

748cc

Max Power

112 HP

Max Torque

94.8 LB-FT

Top Speed

152 MPH


9 Honda RC40

Power: 125 HP

Honda NR750
Mecum

An even rarer beast is Honda’s RC40. Arguably a better-looking bike than the RC30, this absolute unit of a bike cranked out 125 horsepower and could easily hit 160 miles per hour. Not bad for the early 90s. Honda threw a ton of advanced technology at this bike, including the infamous oval pistons it had been developing to make the engines small and powerful. The RC40 (otherwise known as the NR750) is extremely hard to find these days. And if you do, be prepared to sell off all of your belongings, and live in a cardboard box; they’ll set you back a pretty penny.


Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Four stroke, V4 oval cylinder, DOHC, 8 valve

Displacement

748cc

Max Power

125 HP

Max Torque

49 LB-FT

Top Speed

160 MPH

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8 Honda VF1000R

Power: 130 HP

Honda-Vf1000r
Mecum

When Honda was developing the RC30 and RC40, it no doubt was looking back at its earlier V4 successes like the VF range of bikes. Chiefly among them was the super-limited sports bike, the VF1000R, doing most of the heavy lifting at the time. It was certainly a halo-type motorcycle for Honda, who spared no expense in building it. It had extensive use of carbon fiber, the adjustable handlebars were built from polished alloy metals, and the engine was tuned to within an inch of its life. The VF1000R was a precise and powerful street rocket that looked great on a poster, and even better in your garage.


Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Four stroke, V4, DOHC, 4 Valve

Displacement

998cc

Max Power

130 HP

Max Torque

63.7 LB-FT

Top Speed

149 MPH

7 Honda VFR1200F

Power: 160 HP

Honda VFR1200F
Cycle Trader

Fast-forward to the mid-2010s and Honda was still obsessed with V4s. Enter the VFR1200F, although its reception was less than enthusiastic. Most of the hate that it received was due to its polarizing looks. Yes, Honda is not above producing bikes that push the design envelope (we’re looking at you. DN-01). But what was lost in all the hubbub about the VRF1200F aesthetics, was just how good the bike was underneath. With typical Honda build quality, it was stable, planted, and powerful.


Engine Specifications

Engine Type

16v V4, six gears

Displacement

1237cc

Max Power

160 HP

Max Torque

95 LB-FT

Top Speed

155 MPH

6 Norton V4SV

Power: 185 HP

2023 Norton V4SV Full
Norton

It’s hard to talk about Norton’s bikes without mentioning how troubled the historic British brand is these days. Emerging from controversies of the past, and with new ownership on board, it may take some time for Norton to achieve some form of normalcy. In the meantime, there is the V4SV, which is a handsome V4, with some serious pep in its step. It may not have true superbike blood coursing through its veins, but the fact that it has 185 horsepower on tap is respectable enough for us.


Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled, 16v 72° V4

Displacement

1199cc

Max Power

185 HP

Max Torque

91 LB-FT

Top Speed

Unspecified

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5 Yamaha V-Max

Power: 197 HP

2011-yamaha-vmax-2
Yamaha


Not every V4 engine was slapped into a rocket chassis and sent on its way to the racetrack. Yamaha, as it turns out, had much more practical aspirations for it in the form of the insane cruiser, the V-Max. And the longevity of the bike just goes to show how successful that combination proved to be. It certainly looked nothing like anything else on the streets, and best of all, Harley-Davidson had no answer for it. This left the seriously whacked-out V-Max to wreck the power cruiser market, all alone, for 30-plus years.

Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve V-four

Displacement

1679cc

Max Power

197 HP

Max Torque

123 LB-FT

Top Speed

145 MPH

4 Ducati Streetfighter V4S

Power: 205 HP

Ducati Streetfighter V4
Ducati


In the past, Honda may have kept the V4 torch burning bright. These days, however, it is decidedly in Ducati’s hands. Looking every bit the menacing predator prowling the streets at night, the Ducati Streetfighter V4S is not for the faint-hearted. Inside the exposed Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine are 205 fire-breathing ponies that can propel you past 170 miles per hour without breaking a sweat. And as for Ducati, its V4s only get more powerful and faster from here.

Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Desmosedici Stradale 90° V4

Displacement

1103cc

Max Power

205 HP

Max Torque

90 LB-FT

Top Speed

175 MPH


3 Ducati Panigale V4S

Power: 213 HP

Ducati Panigale V4S
www.ducati.com

If the naked bike aesthetics of the Streetfighter aren’t up your alley, the good news is that Ducati has plenty of other V4 options up its sleeves. The Panigale V4S is not only a fully faired sports bike alternative, but it also comes loaded with more horsepower and a faster top speed than the naked. Ducati has a reputation to maintain, and if the current MotoGP results are anything to go by, they’re not doing too shabby in that department. As long as they keep producing bikes like the Panigale V4S, none of us V4 fans will have anything to complain about.


Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled, 8v, V4

Displacement

1103cc

Max Power

213 HP

Max Torque

91 LB-FT

Top Speed

186 MPH

2 Aprilia RSV4 Factory 1100

Power: 217 HP

Aprilia-RSV4-1100
Aprilia

Lest we forget, there’s more than one notable Italian bike maker out there. And Aprilia happens to be making one of the most powerful V4s out there. It’s mostly on par with the Panigale V4S on just about everything, though it edges it out by a couple of ponies. Nevertheless, if you want an antidote to the glitzy excess of Ducati, the (relatively) down-to-earth looks of the RSV4 may be the cure. Oh, who are we kidding? The Aprilia is just as gorgeous as the Panigale.


Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled, 16v, V4

Displacement

1099cc

Max Power

217 HP

Max Torque

92 LB-FT

Top Speed

186 MPH

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1 Ducati Superleggera V4

Power: 224 HP

red 2022 Ducati Superleggera V4
Ducati

The Mack Daddy of V4 power giants is (not surprisingly) a Ducati. It’s hard to argue with 234 horsepower. Ducati had never provided the top speed of this limited edition superbike, but some enterprising internet lunatics had this bike at well over 200 miles per hour. Unfortunately, only 500 units of the Superleggera V4 were ever made, and good luck to anyone trying to find one for a reasonable price.


These technological wonders are now going for $85k a pop, if not more. But what do you expect from the pinnacle of motorcycle riding? This Ducati is crawling with lightweight carbon fiber and is loaded with the very best technology the Italian brand has at its disposal. Though it may no longer be in production, it’s nice to know what the V4 engine architecture is capable of, when no expense is spared in making it. Oh, and no, we didn’t forget the bonkers Panigale V4 R. It’s just that the R needs the race kit to put out its insane near 240-HP output.

Engine Specifications

Engine Type

Liquid-cooled, 16v, V4, counter-rotating crank

Displacement

998cc

Max Power

224 HP

Max Torque

87.7 LB-FT

Top Speed

Unspecified


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