When speaking of excess power as it relates to motorcycles, the Y2K produced by Marine Turbine Technologies has to be the king. The Y2K is the fastest motorcycle ever to enter production. The reason for the blistering speed and raw power was a gas turbine engine usually used in Bell Jet Ranger helicopters powered the Y2K.
The Y2K was the first jet-powered vehicle legally able to operate on public roads. The price of the Y2K was north of $150,000 and though it didn’t enter mass production there was enough demand to justify limited production.
The Y2k had to be designed in a way that would take advantage of jet engine operating characteristics while minimizing the disadvantages. For instance, jet engines idle at about 45% of max rpm and work best when allowed to run at a constant speed. For this powerplant that speed was north of 50,000 rpm. The powerplant was able to run on everything from cheap tequila to regular gas at the pump but it preferred diesel. The chassis isn’t that much different from a regular motorcycle but it had to be built larger and stronger to accommodate the extra weight and bulk of the turbine motor.
The bike did not have mirrors. Instead it had a rear mounted camera and a small display screen in the cockpit. In order to start it you pressed the starter button and the rest of the process continued automatically. The turbine gained speed until about 20000 rpm at which point fuel and ignition were introduced and the turbine became self-sustaining spinning up to its idle rpm while emitting a shriek like a banshee.
The bike used a two speed automatic gearbox and because of this its low speed power delivery was not what you would expect from a jet powered motorcycle but from 50 mph up to its claimed top speed of 250 mph you had better be holding on.
The bike was too long to be particularly adept when the road got twisty. In fact it required significant input from the rider when negotiating curves but it was a demon on straights s and fast sweeping curves. The incredible amount of power produced by the engine required that the bike had brakes capable of stopping it. The Y2K used twin disc brakes in the front and the rear for stopping power.
Obviously riding or driving a jet powered anything on city streets is bound to elicit a range of emotions for the rider and reactions from other motorists and pedestrians. Almost all motorcyclists want to ride it, if for nothing other than its shear power and novelty. Others people didn’t like the amount of noise the machine made and some couldn’t understand while a motorcycle was making noises usually associated with an airplane.
The Y2k was and is a truly extreme motorcycle.