Since Ducati is about to release a Panigale that pays tribute to the legendary 916, and Yamaha is about to release its reboot of the Yamaha YZF-R1,
We thought it was only fitting to have a compile a list of the ten most iconic superbikes ever made. .
They may not all be “superbikes” as we know them today, or have won multiple world or national championships, but these are the bikes that turned the apple cart upside down and opened a new way to build and design bicycles. If it weren’t for these machines, who knows what we’d be riding now!
5.Suzuki GSX-R750 (1985)
The race rep that started it all. The ‘Slabbie’ had flat-slide carburettors, an alloy frame and four-piston front calipers, which meant all you needed was yellow headlamps and you had a Bol d’Or racing for the road.
The combination of a four-cylinder engine, full fairing and aluminum base created the pattern that modern superbikes still follow.
The first GSX-R was a 400cc four-cylinder sports engine. It was this model, exclusive to Japan, that pioneered the four-cylinder aluminum-framed design that would bring the GSX-R750 to a worldwide audience a year later.
4. Vincent Black Shadow
For a bike built in the 40s and 50s; Black Shadow was years ahead of its time. For starters, there was the almost conventional-looking (by today’s standards) swingarm, with a shock absorber similar to that found on a more modern bike. The motor was also used as a tensioned part, keeping the bike’s weight down and improving handling.
And let’s not forget that at a time when most motorcycles would struggle to hit 100 mph, a decent, stock-equipped Vincent would take the brave — and rich — to a top speed of 125 mph.
Is it iconic?
Yes, the motorcycle world has taken a long time to catch up!
3. Honda VTR1000 SP2
Built for the sole purpose of lifting two fingers at Ducati, the SP2 was an exercise in playing the Italian factory at its own game, and it worked.
At the time in WSBK, teams riding twins may have had overcapacity compared to more powerful (and, by comparison, pound-for-pound) four-cylinder engines, but the V-twin setup gave Ducati the edge when transitioning from medium to slowly . -Speed curves. Honda wanted a piece of the pie and started building the VTR1000 SP1.
The first iteration was good, but failed along the way due to a jumpy throttle, which meant most owners ended up installing a power controller to smooth things out. The second version, aptly named SP2, was a different story, with 11 WSBK wins and an army of fans and race rep paint jobs.
2.BMW S1000RR (2009)
It’s hard to believe that the factory that built the tacky touring cars and sleek off-roaders Boorman and McGregor took to the world in would release one of the craziest sports bikes of the early 2000s.
Not that the S1000RR used any super tech at the time, it was the core 190 horsepower that is still good for today’s values; then he was a leader in his class. Add to that the success the bike has had at the Isle of Man TT and there’s no denying that it’s a formidable machine for road and track riding.
1. Kawasaki Ninja H2 (and H2R)
Kawasaki has a lot going for it when it comes to building crazy motorcycles that make all the headlines and sell a ton to boot! The H2 (and its track-only cousin, the H2R) is no exception.
With over 200 horsepower from a supercharged 1000cc four-cylinder engine (over 300 horsepower from the H2R!), the machine landed at the 2014 motorcycle show. In a stroke of genius by the Kawasaki marketing team, the bike was strapped to a dynamometer and turned over. the two hours for quick rides on the rolling road. It was such a simple idea, but it worked! I was at the fair that year and I remember hearing gamblers talking about going home once they saw it because that was all they wanted to see!