The Demon’s rear tires smoke, the front tires lift – and in under ten seconds (after having spent $85,000) you’ve covered a quarter mile. In short, we fully get the attention shown Dodge’s SRT Demonstrator. With disruption the operative word of the times, it’s good to see a representative of the movement coming from Detroit. The SRT Demon delivers disruption in spades.
There is, however, a viable alternative – and it doesn’t require getting on the list at your Dodge dealer. If you want to do 0-60 in under three seconds or the quarter mile in around 10, the folks at Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha – with any of their one-liter superbikes – have you covered.
The gestation of what we now know as the superbike came roughly a decade after the debut of the muscle car. It was in the early ’70s, as emission and safety regulations – along with rising insurancepremiums – decimated the ranks of Detroit’s fastest that motorcycle makers found their magical, almost mystical momentum. Honda’s CB750 four was arguably the first, followed soon by Kawasaki’s Mach III and Z-1. After that, it was Katie-bar-the-door, with more horsepower offered by Japanese OEMs until, invariably, insurance premiums went higher and, during the last recession, 20-somethings couldn’t get affordable loans or insurance.
Today, Japan’s Big Four are once again engaged in a horsepower war, fueled by the rising interest in MotoGP, along with the rising profits available when selling a $20,000 motorcycle. And if that $20,000 – $10K per wheel – seems high, simple math tells you it’s less than half of what you’ll spend per corner if buying Dodge’s Demon.
The specs tell the tale. The Demon, fattened by both its flared fenders and a platform dating from the George Bush administration, supports its 4,200+ pounds on a wheelbase of 116 inches. That’s in contrast to Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 – redesigned for 2017 – which puts its 443 pounds atop a wheelbase of just 56 inches. To maximize its Hemi-supplied 800+ horsepower, Dodge diverts the air conditioning from the Demon’s interior to the engine, which makes racing on a summer evening (you guessed it) devilishly hot. On Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 – or similarly-equipped superbikes – almost all of the air at 100+ miles per hour is directed at you.
To further underscore the differences, know that the GSX-R1000 and its like-minded competition can turn a quick corner, while the Demon is hard-pressed to execute a U-turn at the end of a quarter-mile straightaway. But if the focus is only on going straight, those 1,320 feet are achieved in just over ten seconds by all four of the Japanese superbikes, at trap speeds over 140 miles per hour. Admittedly, the Dodge can do it in under 10, and if that fraction of a second bothers you… well, you could always buy the bike and leave a fraction of a second sooner.
Obviously (but we’ll say it anyway), few will cross-shop a Demon with a Suzuki, but for those with an addiction to all-out performance, the superbike provides a compelling argument to SRT’s newly minted news. With the Dodge’s $85K window sticker, plus whatever your friendly Dodge dealer is inclined to bump it, you could buy one each from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. And have enough left over for bail.