MTT's Y2K: One of the most exclusive motorcycles ever, turbine powered with 320hp, 576Nm or torque and a top speed of over 400km/h... Review by BikeReview.com.au, Mick Withers, Knackers BDP
MTT offer a 402km/h performance guarantee on the Y2K or your money back, and guess what? Not one owner has asked for a refund to date. Not for lack of trying either with plenty of evidence of approaching these kinds of speeds being achieved on YouTube.
Let’s talk about the word exclusive for a second, if you’re reading this there’s a very strong chance that you own or desire an exclusive motorcycle. We buy a bike and we personalise it to make it both exclusive and unique. That’s human nature. If you wanted to be another face in the herd, you’d be reading something else…
There are exclusive production motorcycles. Many of them are limited number racebikes from the last 120 years while others are road-going bikes built for the sheer joy of building something that the builders believe is the pinnacle of the craft of motorcycle building.
Like you, we’ve all seen one-off bikes being passed off as production bikes. We’ve also seen builders of various American V-twin-powered bikes claim exclusivity. Realistically, what we have here is an example of a production motorcycle that you could ride all day – hell, even all year – with very little chance of seeing another just like it.
The entire production of Y2K Turbine Superbike runs out at 12 or 14 tops, depending on whom you ask. In 11 years of production, MTT have produced just a double handful in their factory in Franklin, deep in the bayou country of southern Louisiana.
That part of the world is home to people of Acadian or Cajun descent as well as Tabasco Sauce, which is produced less than ten miles away at Avery Island. The influences and desire for a bit of spice in their life shows through.
Conceived and designed by Ted McIntyre of MTT (Marine Turbine Technologies), the first Y2K Turbine Superbike was completed and revealed publicly in 2000. The owner of Y2K#1 approached MTT with an open cheque along with an order for a gas turbine-powered motorcycle.
MTT as a company specialise in the manufacture of special purpose machinery powered by gas turbine engines. They completed the order and the rest is history. Jay Leno, American TV talk-show host and confirmed revhead, is the owner of Y2K#2.
What we have here is Y2K#5, owned by John from Antique Motorcycles in Melbourne. He first saw a Y2K in a magazine and his desire for ‘the most exotic motorcycle in the world’ built from there. YouTube and various magazine articles got to him and he had to have one. As John explained it, the search took quite a while to find the right Y2K, “I could have bought a brand new one but I knew what I was looking for.”
This orange bike is already famous as it was the very bike that raced and beat a Russian L34 jet fighter from a standing start. The jet fighter had a three-second headstart but was convincingly hammered by this bike. When you stop and consider that it will accelerate from a standing start to 217mph [350km/h] in 14 seconds, that’s hardly surprising…
Riding this bike is unlike anything else that John has experienced. In his own words, it is “Awesome. Mind blowing.” He also mentioned that from 200 to 400km/h, it leaves black lines on the road, “One good run will destroy a tyre.”
MTT offer a 250mph performance guarantee on the Y2K or your money back; not one owner has asked for a refund… Speaking of money, with a price tag of $US185,000 the Y2K was officially recognised in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘most expensive motorcycle in production’.
MTT Y2K – THE NUTS AND BOLTS
At the heart of this bike is a Rolls Royce Allison 250 gas turbine engine that originally powered a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter that weighed in at 2300kg and could carry up to five normal-sized blokes.
Weighing just 62.5kg, this engine produces 350hp [239kW] and 425ft/lb [576Nm] of torque. Driving through an MTT-made two-speed transmission, 286hp reaches the rear wheel of a bike that weighs in at just over 200kg dry.
Even with 34 litres of diesel, kerosene or Jet A in the fuel tank, that’s still a reasonably light bike with a bloody impressive power to weight ratio. Helping keep the weight in check is an aluminium alloy frame and carbon-fibre bodywork that are both made in-house by MTT.
The engines used in the Y2K motorcycles are second-hand units that have reached the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) running time limit after which they have to be rebuilt, regardless of condition. MTT can purchase these engines for a much lower price than new engines and use them on surface vehicles without requiring FAA approval.
John revealed that apart from the Brembo calipers and Ceriani front fork, the Y2K is completely American-made.
Rather than relying solely on rear-view mirrors, there’s a rear-mounted camera with an LCD colour monitor mounted on the dash. Also useful is the forward and rear-seeking radar detector with laser scrambler. Not sure what you’d want that for on a bike with this sort of performance potential…
WHAT IS A GAS TURBINE?
By definition, a turbine is an engine turned by the force of expanding gas on fan blades, or turbine wheels. The concept is simple: Fuel is atomised in a combustion chamber located in front of the turbine wheels which are spooled up by an electric starter.
Upon ignition, gas emitted from the combustion process expands, causing the fan blades to spin and producing incredible power in the form of either thrust or (in this case) shaft horsepower.
Turbine engines have extraordinarily long life expectancies compared to other internal combustion engines. Because all moving parts spin centrifugally around one shaft, turbines are well suited to run at high horsepower and continuous rpm for extended periods without self-destructing like piston engines.
Originally designed for commercial aviation, turbines also have incredible service requirements due to the serious ramifications of engine failure during flight. The highest quality parts and materials are used to build these engines, resulting in a lower likelihood for failure than in reciprocating engines. Dry-sumped internal lubrication is never exposed to the combustion chambers, greatly reducing contamination and extending preventive maintenance intervals.
ONE OWNER’S TALE – JAY LENO
In an interview, Jay Leno revealed that he was sitting at the lights on his Y2K when a car stopped behind him and started to creep forward. Leno moved as far forward as he could without parking in the passing traffic. The car kept creeping forward, closer and closer to the 1300-degrees exhaust… Leno explained that he watched helplessly as the bumper of the car started melting.
MTT Y2K Turbine Motorcycle Specifications
Max claimed power: 320hp[238.6kW]@52000rpm
Max claimed torque: 576.5Nm[425ft-lbs]@2000rpm
Top speed: 402km/h [250mph] Dry weight: 208.7kg
Fuel Capacity: 34L
Engine: Rolls Royce Allison 250 series gas turbine
Transmission: Two-speed, automatic
Suspension: 55mm inverted forks, Ohlins oleopneumatic monoshock
Brakes: Dual 320mm front rotors, four-piston calipers, single 320mm rear disc, four-piston caliper