Skip to main content

The auto world is filled with slang terms that get flung around with such frequency we all use it, but some may not know exactly what it means. This also applies to the motorcycle world, and one of the terms we often use without a definitive definition is “crotch rocket.” So what is it, exactly, and how did the term originate?

What is crotch rocket slang for?

So what is a crotch rocket, exactly? Typically it is slang for any high-performance sport bike.

Urban Dictionary delves a little deeper saying, “A specific type of motorcycle, typically distinguished by its aerodynamic ‘hunched-over’ seating position and high power-to-weight ratio. Often favored by stunters, who choose the bikes because they are light and easy to perform tricks (such as wheelies and stoppies) on.”

They’re designed to be aerodynamic and achieve this by the rider crouching low to the frame, which means less drag. Crotch rockets are more for short races, and aren’t exactly known for comfort. Many can go from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds, and can even reach speeds in excess of 200 mph. 

While you obviously can’t hit a highway in the U.S. and reach these types of speeds without getting a ticket, you can push your bike to the limit on racetracks. This is very dangerous, however, and not recommended unless you are in a race and trained to handle a bike at that type of speed. Even then, going over 200 mph could lead to an accident, and is not advised.

A surprisingly interesting history

Braaap Junkie reports it all began back in 1984 with the Kawasaki GPZ900R. It took six years of tweaking, modifying, and going back to the drawing board to get it just right, but Kawasaki persevered and eventually released the inspiration for all future crotch rockets.

At the time of release, the GPZ900R was the fastest bike in the world and could hit speeds of  121.65 mph in 11.8 seconds. While that sounds slow now, it was earth-shattering back in 1984.

Kawasaki would use the GPZ900R to go on and create the Ninja line. While Kawasaki may be responsible for the basic design of the crotch rocket, it’s far from the only automaker that produces them now. 

After seeing the success of the Kawasaki GPZ900R, and perhaps taking it as a challenge that Kawasaki now had the fastest bike in the world, other automakers began to release their own line of performance street bikes.

Suzuki and Honda are just two manufacturers who jumped on the bandwagon. Ducati has also gone above and beyond to make luxury motorcycles that are a work of art, and well known in the racing world. 

There are several crotch rockets on the market now that are very affordable, and depending on your situation could make more sense than buying a car. Some of these include the Yamaha YZF-R3, KTM RC 390, Kawasaki Ninja 400, Honda CBR500R, Kawasaki Ninja 650, Yamaha R7, Honda CBR 650R, and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. 

If you’re interested in speed above all else, you’d have a hard time doing better than a crotch rocket. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something to go on long rides in the mountains or cross-country, then you’ll want something built more with comfort in mind.


Tom Cruise Actually Rode a Motorcycle off a Cliff for a Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Stunt