The actual rev limit is determined by piston speed. The lower the piston speed, the less chance for engine failure due to stress. Critical piston speed is dependent upon the engine build. The strength of the rods, mass of reciprocating parts, inertial loading factor, stroke and safety factor all come into play.

A general rule of thumb is that modern factory engines can handle 4000-4300 feet/minute. Modern engines are constantly pushing this limit. The Honda s2000 and Formula F1 cars are just shy of 5000 feet/minute. Top fuel race engine can handle 5500-6000 feet/minute.

Determine mean piston speed based on stroke and RPM.
Cylinder Stroke (inches)
Maximum RPM
Mean Piston Speed
4141.67 feet/minute21.04 m/s