While no specific formula for the conversion of engine power (HP) to top speed (mph) exists, you can expect the following mph/HP ballpark figures in these vehicle categories:
- Riding movers: 0.2-0.3 mph/HP
- F1 cars: 0.2 mph/HP
- Jet skis: 0.3-0.8 mph/HP
- Large outboards: 0.4-0.6 mph/HP
- Snowmobiles: 0.6-0.8 mph/HP
- Small outboards: 0.8-1.3 mph/HP
- Average cars: 0.6-1.1 mph/HP
- Large motorcycles: 0.8-1.6 mph/HP
- UTVs: 1-1.2 mph/HP
- ATVs: 1.5-5 mph/HP
- Small motorcycles: 3-10 mph/HP
If you wonder where these numbers came from and how you can convert engine HP to top speed mph, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
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How to Convert HP to MPH
Converting engine power (HP) into top speed (mph) – does this make any sense?
Many say it’s impossible since no two vehicles out there are the same.
For example, you can expect different top speed figures on a vessel than on a wheeled vehicle, even if the same type of engine powers them.
Because of this, there’s no specific formula for the conversion of engine HP to mph.
However, when you compare vehicles with different engines within a given category, you can see a noticeable relationship between engine power and speed.
To show some examples, we’ve paired the HP and top speed figures of some powersport vehicles:
- (125cc) 6-8 HP = 25-40 mph (4-5 mph/HP)
- (250cc) 15-35 HP = 35-45 mph (1.3-2.3 mph/HP)
- (500cc) 30-40 HP = 50-60 mph (1.5-1.7 mph/HP)
- (600cc) 40-45 HP = 60-65 mph (1.4-1.5 mph/HP)
- (700cc) 40-50 HP = 70-75 mph (1.5-1.8 mph/HP)
- (50cc) 3-9 HP = 35-50 mph (5-10 mph/HP)
- (125cc) 10-15 HP = 65-70 mph (5-6 mph/HP)
- (200cc) 15-25 HP = 65-90 mph (3.6-4.3 mph/HP)
- (350cc) 35-45 HP = 100-120 mph (2.7-3 mph/HP)
- (500cc) 45-60 HP = 100-130 mph (2-2.2 mph/HP)
- (600cc) 55-130 HP = 100-165 mph (1.3-1.6 mph/HP)
- (1000cc) 80-220 HP = 100-170 mph (0.8-1.3 mph/HP)
As one may expect, the larger HP ratings ensure higher top speed figures within a certain category. (But interestingly, smaller engines provide much better mph/HP ratios.)
Are you wondering if this holds true within each vehicle category? And how do different vehicle categories relate to one another?
Let’s drill into the details and discuss these questions in detail!
How Fast is 1 Horsepower in MPH?
“How fast is one HP in MPH?”
This question seems absurd at first glance since the features of different types of vehicles and vessels vary widely.
But we at PowerSportsGuide have conducted comprehensive research and compiled the mph/HP ratios of many different vehicles under one roof.
Based on our research, 1 HP translates to about 0.2-2 mph if we are discussing average vehicles and vessels.
More precisely, 1 HP equals 0.3-1.3 mph for vessels like smaller boats and jet skis, 0.6-1.2 mph for average cars and UTVs, 0.8-1.6 mph for most heavy and middleweight motorcycles, and 3-10 mph for lightweight motorcycles.
For your convenience we’ve listed some the “HP to mph conversion rates” for some common vehicle and vessel categories:
- Riding movers: 17-24 HP = 4-6 mph (0.2-0.3 mph/HP)
- F1 cars: 900-1100 HP = 220-250 mph (0.2 mph/HP)
- Jet skis: 60-300 HP = 40-70 mph (0.3-0.8 mph/HP)
- Large outboards: 50-150 HP = 35-55 mph (0.4-0.6 mph/HP)
- Snowmobiles: 120-210 HP = 90-120 mph (0.6-0.8 mph/HP)
- Small outboards: 20-25 HP = 15-30 mph (0.8-1.3 mph/HP)
- Average cars: 65-300 HP = 70-170 mph (0.6-1.1 mph/HP)
- Large motorcycles: 55-220 HP = 90-170 mph (0.8-1.6 mph/HP)
- UTVs: 50-170 HP = 50-85 mph (1-1.2 mph/HP)
- ATVs: 6-50 HP = 25-75 HP (1.5-5 mph/HP)
- Small motorcycles: 3-45 HP = 30-120 mph (3-10 mph/HP)
It’s no surprise that the slowest vehicles are utility machines like riding lawnmowers.
The engines of these machines generate 17-24 HP, which ensures a top speed of 4-6 mph. Dividing these numbers will result in an mph/HP ratio of 0.2-0.3; in other words, a riding lawnmower produces about 0.2-0.3 mph for one horsepower.
Surprisingly, you can find the mph/HP ratings of extremely fast F1 cars in the same ballpark.
How is this possible?
Although these high-performance cars can hit a top speed of 220-250 mph, they are powered by 900-1100 HP engines. We can see that 1 HP can only produce 0.2 mph in an F1 car if we do the math.
Regarding vessels, smaller (20-25 HP) outboards can propel boats up to 15-30 mph resulting in a mph/HP ratio of 0.8-1.3. In contrast, larger outboards typically only provide 0.4-0.6 mph for 1 HP. Sure, it strongly depends on the boat’s type, weight, and features.
Jet skis are known for their amazing performance; most of them are powered by 60-300 HP engines. But due to the water’s high resistance, they top out at 40-70 mph. Finally, a jet ski engine can provide 0.3-0.8 mph for one horsepower.
You can expect to get 0.6-0.8 mph from one horsepower on 600-1000cc snowmobiles since the top speed of these 120-210 HP machines ranges from 90 mph up to 120 mph.
There’s no question that one of the most exciting categories is motorcycles.
Thanks to their high-performance engines, middleweight, and heavy motorcycles have 55-200 HP, translating to a top speed of 90-170 mph (0.8-1.6 mph/HP).
On the other end of the spectrum, you can find lightweight motorcycles. These 300cc-350cc machines give you about 3 mph for every horsepower, while the 125-200cc category vehicle produces 3.5-5 mph per 1 HP.
The best mph/HP ratios are claimed by the tiny 50cc motorcycles. These bikes generate 3-9 HP and can go as fast as 30-50 mph, which results in an outstanding mph/HP ratio of 5-10!
HP to MPH Conversion Chart
Let’s compare some vehicle categories by their mph/HP ratios in one chart!
Disclaimer: Please consider this list a collection of some hard numbers, posted only for information purposes. You will likely find some machines with better or poorer mph/HP figures if you do your research. But it’s safe to say that most stock vehicles fall into these ranges.
Conclusion – How Much Speed Do Different Engines Produce?
How Fast is 1 HP in MPH?
As a rule of thumb, 1 HP equals 0.2-2 mph for average cars, most powersport vehicles, and small vessels. You can only expect higher numbers from certain vehicle categories, including ATVs (1.5-5 mph/HP) and lightweight motorcycles (3-10 mph/HP).
How Fast is 3 HP in MPH?
A 3 HP wheeled vehicle can typically reach 20-30 mph, depending on its type, features, and rider weight.
- 3 HP (50cc) motorcycles: 25-30 mph
- 3 HP (80cc) go-karts: 20-25 mph
How Fast is 5 HP in MPH?
You can expect to reach about 25-30 mph from a 5 HP engine in a go-kart or a motorcycle, while a 5 HP outboard can produce 5-20 mph depending on the boat’s features.
- 5 HP motorcycles: 25-30 mph
- 5 HP go-karts: 25-30 mph
- 5 HP outboards: 5-20 mph
How Fast is 7 HP in MPH?
A 7 HP engine can propel a vehicle at 25-35 mph. You can find these tiny engines in go-karts and the smallest motorcycles.
- 7 HP motorcycles: 30-35 ph
- 7 HP go-kart: 25-30 mph
How Fast is 10 HP in MPH?
A 10 HP engine typically offers a top speed of 30-60 mph in wheeled vehicles and 5-25 mph on the water.
- 10 HP motorcycles: 40-60 mph
- 10 HP go-karts: 30-40 mph
- 10 HP outboards: 5-25 mph
How Fast is 13 HP in MPH?
You can expect to reach a top speed of 40-60 mph on a 13 HP powersport vehicle.
- 13 HP motorcycles: 45-60 mph
- 13 HP go-karts: 40-60 mph
How Fast is 16 HP in MPH?
A 16 HP engine can propel a stock powersport vehicle up to 40-70 mph.
- 16 HP motorcycles: 50-70 mph
- 16 HP go-karts: 40-60 mph
How Fast is 18 HP in MPH?
An average vehicle can hit a top speed of 50-75 mph with an 18 HP engine.
- 18 HP motorcycles: 60-75 mph
- 18 HP go-karts: 50-65 mph
How Fast is 20 HP in MPH?
You can find 20 HP engines in many different utility and recreational vehicles, the fastest ones can reach top speeds of up to 80 mph.
While 20 HP riding lawnmowers top out at only 4-6 mph, lively motorcycles with the same engine power can reach a remarkable top speed of 65-80 mph.
As far as vessels, small boats with a 20 HP outboard motor can hit 15-25 mph with ease.
- 20 HP riding lawnmowers: 4-6 mph
- 20 HP motorcycles: 65-80 mph
- 20 HP ATVs: 30-40 mph
- 20 HP outboards: 15-25 mph
How Fast is 25 HP in MPH?
You can expect to get about 35-50 mph from a 25 HP engine on an ATV and 70-90 mph on a motorcycle.
- 25 HP ATVs: 35-50 mph
- 25 HP motorcycles: 70-90 mph
- 25 HP outboards: 20-30 mph
How Fast is 30 HP in MPH?
Powersport vehicles with a 30 HP engine can go as fast as 40-100 mph, while an average small boat with a 30 HP outboard can hit 20-30 mph.
- 30 HP ATVs: 40-55 mph
- 30 HP motorcycles: 80-100 mph
- 30 HP outboards: 20-30 mph
How Fast is 36 HP in MPH?
You can find 36 HP engines in lightweight motorcycles, which typically can hit a top speed of 90-105 mph.
How Fast is 50 HP in MPH?
A 50 HP vehicle can typically reach 50-120 mph, depending on its type and features. In contrast, an average boat with a 50 HP motor can usually hit 30-35 mph.
- 50 HP motorcycles: 100-120 mph
- 50 HP ATVs: 60-75 mph
- 50 HP UTVs: 50-60 mph
- 50 HP outboard: 30-35 mph
How Fast is 60 HP in MPH?
The top speed of 60 HP vehicles varies widely but typically ranges from 40 mph to 130 mph. In contrast, vessels like jet skis and small boats with 60 HP engines can barely exceed a top speed of 40-45 mph.
- 60 HP motorcycles: 110-130 mph
- 60 HP UTVs: 60-65 mph
- 60 HP jet skis: 40-45 mph
- 60 HP outboards: 30-40 mph
How Fast is 70 HP in MPH?
A car with a 70 HP engine can reach a top speed of 70-90 mph, and 70 HP motorcycles top out at 110-150 mph.
- 70 HP UTVs: 60-70 mph
- 70 HP cars: 70-90 mph
- 70 HP motorcycles: 110-150 mph
How Fast is 75 HP in MPH?
75 HP engines typically offer a top speed of 65-150 mph in a wheeled vehicle. On the water, a 75 HP engine can propel a boat to 40-50 mph.
- 75 HP motorcycles: 110-150 mph
- 75 HP UTV: 65-75 mph
- 75 HP outboard: 40-50 mph
How Fast is 90 HP in MPH?
While a 90 HP engine gives you 115-150 mph on a motorcycle, an engine with the same power can only hit 40-55 mph on the water.
- 90 HP motorcycles: 115-150 mph
- 90 HP jet skis: 50-55 mph
- 90 HP outboards: 40-45 mph
How Fast is 100 horsepower?
You can expect to get about 90-150 mph from a 100 HP engine on the road and about 40-55 mph on the water.
- 100 HP cars: 90-120 mph
- 100 HP motorcycles: 120-150 mph
- 100 HP jet skis: 50-55 mph
- 100 HP outboards: 40-50 mph
How Fast is 150 Horsepower?
A vehicle can hit a top speed of 90-170 mph with a 150 HP engine. In contrast, a 150 HP engine can propel small recreational vessels to 40-65 mph.
- 150 HP cars: 90-130 mph
- 150 HP motorcycles: 120-170 mph
- 150 HP jet skis: 55-65 mph
- 150 HP outboards: 40-60 mph
How Fast is 200 Horsepower?
When it comes to the 200 HP engine category, an average car can reach a top speed of 130-150 mph, while 200 HP motorcycles top out at 140-170 mph.
You can expect a more moderate, 45-80 mph from a 200 HP engine on the water.
- 200 HP cars: 130-150 mph
- 200 HP motorcycles: 140-170 mph
- 200 HP jet skis: 60-70 mph
- 200 HP outboards: 45-80 mph
How Fast is 300 HP in MPH?
The top speed of 300 HP vehicles ranges from 130 mph to a whopping 240 mph.
- 300 HP cars: 130-160 mph
- 300 HP motorcycles: 180-240 mph
- 300 HP jet skis: 65-70 mph
- 300 HP outboards: 50-100+ mph
How Fast can 400 HP Go?
You can expect to reach a top speed of 150-200 mph in a 400 HP car and 55-120 mph in a 400 HP boat.
- 400 HP cars: 150-200 mph
- 400 HP outboards: 55-120 mph
How Fast is 500 Horsepower?
A car can hit a top speed of 160-210 mph with a 500 HP engine, while 500 HP boats usually only reach 55-120 mph.
- 500 HP cars: 160-210 mph
- 500 HP outboards: 55-120 mph
How Fast is 600 Horsepower?
A 600 HP car can typically reach 160-210 mph, depending on its type and features.
- 600 HP cars: 160-210 mph
- 600 HP outboards: 70-120 mph
How Fast is 800 Horsepower?
Hypercars with 800 HP engines can easily reach a top speed of 180-220 mph.
How Fast is 1000 HP in MPH?
A 1000 HP car can reach top speeds of 200-250 mph as a rule of thumb. You can find 1000 HP engines in F1 cars and many high-end hypercars.
How Fast is 1500 HP in MPH?
Like their 1000 HP brothers, 1500 HP vehicles top out at 200-250 mph under ideal conditions.
How Fast is a 2000 HP?
The most powerful street vehicles with 2000 HP engines can go as fast as 220-270 mph.
There’s no magic formula for converting engine HP to mph, as the top speed of different vehicles depends on countless factors like their type, design, and engine features.
For example, a 3 HP motorcycle can go as fast as 30 mph, which means you get 10 mph out of every horsepower. In contrast, a 1000cc, 80-220 HP motorcycle tops out at 100-170 mph, providing only 0.8-1.3 per HP.
Another example of interest is comparing GP motorcycles to small outboards. A boat with a 25 HP (500cc) outboard can only reach 20-30 mph, while the same displacement racing engine can produce 200-240 HP and propel a GP motorcycle to 220-250 mph.
Surprisingly, both machines can produce about 1 mph per 1 HP!
But even if there’s no strict correlation between HP and mph figures, we can calculate a “conversion number” for the various vehicle categories.
Based on our research, 1 HP equals 0.2-2 mph for most cars and many powersport vehicles. ATVs and lightweight motorcycles stand out from the crowd with their HP/cc ratios of 1.5-10.
(Please consider these figures as hard numbers that can be applied to many stock vehicles and vessels.)