The acronym bhp is most commonly used for brake horsepower, which is measured with a brake dyno. The dyno works with the application of, and resistance to, a brake.
According to About.com,
Brake horsepower is a calculation where the engine horsepower is measured at the point of output with no load from a chassis or any accessories and with fuel and ignition operations under ideal conditions.
Net horsepower, also called road horsepower is a calculation where horsepower is measured after the load from a chassis and accessories. Essentially, this is the power available at the drive wheel or wheels of a vehicle.
So, brake horsepower is often power at crank, not the rear wheel. Claimed horsepower is power only at the brochure.
The acronym is also less commonly used for British horsepower or brute horsepower.
One British horsepower, known in the US simply as horsepower, is about 745.7 W. One metric horsepower, known in German as Pferdestärke and in French as cheval vapeur, is about 0.9862 horsepower or 735.5 W.
The phrase brute horsepower is most often used in the US to identify a shootout of the same name.
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