The Six Scariest Motorcycles I've Ever Ridden

Ever ridden a motorcycle so frightening that it's reinforced your belief in a higher power? Well, I certainly have, and I've thankfully lived to tell all about my hair-raising experiences. In no particular order, here are six of the scariest motorcycles I've ever had the pleasure to ride.

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Boss Hoss V8

A Boss Hoss at sunset

Boss Hoss

That's right, a V8-powered motorcycle. Although two-wheelers need a small block Chevy V8 like a fish needs a bicycle, the folks over at Boss Hoss continue to build terrorcycles that have the accelerative force of a 747 (and the aesthetic appeal of a freight train.) The time I spent at the helm of their 1,100 lb, 5.7 liters, 355 horsepower (!) bike made me feel like Zeus hurling lightning bolts at unsuspecting weaklings (when I wasn't worried about losing my grip on the handlebars and the behemoth getting away from me.) It also made every other motorcycle seem woefully inadequate in the engine department. Thanks, Boss Hoss, for spoiling it for virtually every other bike manufacturer on the planet.

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MV Agusta F4 CC

2007 MV Agusta F4CC

Basem Wasef

When somebody hands you the keys to a bike that doesn't belong to you, you take extra care to keep it in tip-top shape. When you're handed the keys to a $120,000 carbon-clad superbike of which only 100 copies exist, your mind reels at the potential for disaster. "Will my leathers scratch it? What if I drop it? What if-- God forbid-- I wad it up?" The bungling possibilities are seemingly endless, even more so when you feel the rush of acceleration as 200 angry horses thrust you forward. Thankfully, I returned this little gem safe & sound-- but not without one of the most stressful weekends in recent memory.

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Suzuki Hayabusa

The 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa.


"I can handle this," you might think to yourself as you throw a leg over a Hayabusa; after all, these bikes are everywhere, and something so ubiquitous is surely safe enough for the masses, right? WRONG. The Suzuki Hayabusa should be just be called the 'widow maker' for honesty's sake; producing nearly 200 horsepower, this $12,000 super-duper bike seriously hauls... it may not turn as well as a Gixxer, but at least its brakes are strong-- if you can get yourself to actually scrub off all that glorious speed.

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Aprilia RXV 5.5

2008 Aprilia RXV 5.5

Basem Wasef

When I heard about Aprilia's all-new RXV 5.5, I said, "Sign me up!" But when I realized I'd need a stepladder to climb aboard (39.2-inch seat height, anyone?), a cup to protect myself from the fuel tank, and superhuman restraint to keep from lifting the front wheel skyward, I knew I was in for a scary ride. This fuel-injected, 550cc engine has one of the twitchiest throttles I've ever encountered, and its rev-happiness made it feel like a two-stroke; but perhaps it was the outrageously torquey power coupled with a 262 lb dry weight and yards of suspension travel that really spooked me... the best (and scariest) part? This beast is street legal!

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Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14

2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14


What is it about horsepower wars? In the seemingly endless battle for engine supremacy, manufacturers continue to endow their bikes with way more power than any mortal can and should use on the street, and the ZX-14 stands guilty in the court of common sense. I once conducted a long-term test of this 1,400 cc pavement gobbler and beat insurmountable odds by returning it with my driver's license intact. This is a wicked bike that demands respect, and punishes those who proceed without caution; thank you, Ninja ZX-14, for letting me walk away with my dignity intact.

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Ducati 1098S

2008 Ducati 1098S


Sexy bodywork? Check. Race-bred Öhlins suspension? Check. Brembos so powerful they'll throw you over the handlebars if you're not careful? Check. Oh, and that feral L-twin between your legs is nothing to sneeze at, either. Ducati's 1098S is so hyper-focused and overachieving that virtually everything you do at its controls feels ham-fisted. Never mind its $21,000 price tag; it's the 1098S' fierce power and laser-sharp focus that makes it a terrifically terrifying, but ultimately inspiring ride.