As the PAL region name suggests, the bike resembles Bowser; the coloring even mirrors Bowser himself. No other vehicles in the game bear physical resemblances to the other playable characters besides the Magikoopa. The Kart counterpart for this bike is the Flame Flyer.
The Flame Runner is a bike that calls to the more advanced players of the game, having great speed, sharp drifting, a good weight value, and large mini-turbos. In terms of speed on straightaways, only the Spear can best it. The Flame Runner is also one of two heavyweight bikes to have inside drifting, allowing the bike to efficiently drift through sharp turns, albeit not as well as the Mach Bike or Bullet Bike, although it does much better outside of drifting compared to its sharper-steering rivals.
In contrast, the Flame Runner is very poor for beginners. Its acceleration is so pitiful that idly charging up a mini-turbo is better than letting the bike accelerate, its handling is very poor, as well as its offroad capabilities. Players that can't maintain top speed are best advised to ignore the Flame Runner.
Funky Kong and the Flame Runner is currently the most popular character-vehicle combination among Time Trials world records; holding 14 of the 32 world records, due to the powerful combination of speed, wheelies, and efficient drifting.
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- The Flame Runner is one of the six vehicles in Mario Kart Wii to go through a design-change other than a palette-swap; the others being the Booster Seat, Wario Bike, Shooting Star, Spear, and Phantom. In this case, Bowser's and Dry Bowser's Flame Runner have their exhuast pipes positioned lower than the other bikes. Also, Rosalina's Flame Runner features shorter handles than the other bikes.