You probably won’t have reached 300kmh (186mph), unless you’ve been to a track with a long straight, or ridden on the autobahn or the unrestricted part of the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory.
Anthony Hopkins (playing Burt Munro) says in the 2005 film The World’s Fastest Indian: “You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime.”
Let me tell you, it is scintillating, dangerous, life-affirming and stupid.
Even on high-powered bikes such as the BMW S 1000 RR and Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird which I did it on, the speed comes up slowly.
These bikes will reach 200kmh fairly swiftly, but it seems to take forever to reach the “magic” 300kmh and there will be many times when you chicken out before you get there.
At these speeds you also need to be looking a lot further into the distance so you are prepared for any changes in the situation ahead as these loom up quickly.
One of the problems of knowing when you have hit 300km/h is seeing your speedo. There is so much vibration from the bike and the helmet buffeting – even when tucked tight behind the fairing – that you can’t clearly see the numbers on the speedo.
I checked where the 300km/h mark was on the Blackbird speedo (300km/h is NOT the top speed indicated!) so I just had to wait for the needle to reach that point.
The BMW has a digital speedo, but even it was difficult to see because of the blurring.
Be aware that the blurring will also affect your vision of the road ahead.
The noise is deafening, even with earplugs in.
It’s not the engine screaming or the exhaust. In fact, you can no longer hear them above the roar of the wind.
It sounds like you’re standing too close to a fighter jet.
You should try Alpine MotoSafe Race earplugs that have maximum hearing protection.
I mentioned vibration before, but it’s worth noting again.
Unless your helmet is super-tight, any movement will be amplified and it will buzz on your head, adding to the blurring of your vision and trying to strangle you with the chin strap.
I wished I’d also worn tighter leathers because the flapping of loose clothing becomes so vicious it stings.
At very slow speeds, you steer in the direction you want to go, but then counter steering takes over where you counter-steer.
At higher speeds, counter-steering becomes heavier and there is a theory that it is negated at very high speeds.
However, I didn’t feel anything of the sort. Steering input at that speed is so slight as to be imperceptible and I certainly wasn’t turning any corners!
When I finally reached 300km/h I had an overwhelming desire to sit up and punch the air with victory.
However, the wind pressure at that speed nearly blew me off the bike as soon as I lifted my head from behind the screen.
I literally pulled my head in and kept a firm grip of the bars, pegs and the tank with my thighs.
The first time I reached 300km/h, I immediately tried to slow the bike down with the brakes.
However, even moving my right foot from the footpeg to the brake pedal was difficult because of the wind pressure.
I eased the brakes on gently because the tyres only have light contact with the road at that speed as every ripple on the surface lifts them slightly off the ground.
Touch the brakes too hard and you may get instant lock-up! I also made sure to match engine speed when gearing down to avoid a rear-wheel lock-up.
Having reached 300kmh on the speedo does not mean I actually reached 300kmh.
Most speedos are inaccurate by a few percent on the conservative side of the actual speed.
Even if it’s just 3%, that means I only reached 291km/h!
Unless you have done some modifications to your bike you certainly won’t go over 300km/h because all motorcycle companies have had a “gentlemen’s agreement” to restrict their bikes to 300km/h since the early 2000s.
Yes, it’s exciting, but it’s all over in seconds and the potential for tragedy is enormous.
A bird strike (even a big insect such as a grasshopper), a tyre blowout, or a road surface irregularity (let alone a pothole), could spell instant disaster.
If you do feel the need for ultra-high speeds, go to a race track or drag strip, learn some skills and satiate your speed addiction there, not on public roads.