What makes an iconic bike? Speed? Looks? History? Names? Or a combination of all? What we do know is iconic motorbikes are influential and have earned the right to a place in motorbike history, from café racers, to high performance sports bikes to off roaders each one has its own iconic bike. So we have put together a top 10 list of the bikes through history that have stood out to us the most.
The Super Hawk was a milestone in Honda’s rise to prominence in the Western market and is hailed as the very first Honda superbike so it’s plain to see why the CB77 gained a place on the list. It was released in 1961 and was in production until 1967 and was praised for its speed, power and reliability and set the standard for modern superbikes. At the time the 305cc engine was pretty large in comparison with other Japanese bikes and could even burn out bikes from overseas with bigger capacity. It was given a parallel twin engine capable of 9000 rpm (the biggest available in a Honda at the time) that gave the bike new found stiffness and top speed of 100 mph allowing the CB77 to propel down the track and leave near enough all other Japanese competitors in the dust. The Super Hawk is undoubtedly a pioneer of modern superbikes.
The Bonneville is a real icon for resilience in the motorbike world after bad luck hit the model three times and each time production being ceased and yet Triumph and still pumping out new modules of the old classic to this day! Legends such as Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and Evel Knievel have swung a leg over this stylish English icon again and again bringing up the bike status even further! It was first released in 1959 based heavily on the Triumph Tiger and had a 650cc parallel- twin engine and was a top high performance sports bike in its time.
Harley Davidson Sportster
The sportster is the bestselling Harley to date, when production began in 1957 America fell in love with the fast, nimble and stylish machine. The bike is all about speed, plain and simple track destroying speed, it doesn’t offer he comforts of other Harley Davidsons but was still adored by the thrill seeking American public from the minute it was released. Not much has changed about the sportster over the years; it still retains its 45-degree V-Twin delivering a responsive ride. There’s no denying that the Sportster is one of the biggest success stories in American motorbike history with sales still rocketing into the 21st century.
Honda Gold Wing
When I think of a luxury bike one of the first ones that pops into my head is the Honda Gold wing it has more gadgets than most cars do at the moment heated seats, GPS, i-phone mount, ait bags and list goes on there’s no way you can be uncomfortable on what’s basically a luxury sofa on wheels! The 1000lb bike is powered by a 1.8 litre engine but is surprisingly agile and takes corners like a nimble sports bike.
The Ducati Monster is known as the pioneer of manufactured naked motorbikes, the way Miguel Angel Galluzzi designed the Monster with the trellis frame meant it gave the bike good looks and made it more structurally efficient at the same time. It was originally made to compete with HARLEY Davidson and in the process of this Ducati stumbled upon a whole new segment of bikes and since the monster’s release in 1993 they have given us model after model of sexy naked bikes and they haven’t disappointed yet!
Always a favourite with superbike lovers the Yamaha R1 was released in 1998; it was a redesigned Genesis engine that was made more compact by raising the gearbox input shaft and putting the output shaft underneath it. This part of the R1 design was revolutionary that other manufactures quickly followed with it allowed Yamaha to create a more compact engine and alter the bike so be unbeatable on the track. As off 2009 Yamaha has created a track monster with more power and a more customisable ride that could pass any competition.
The Britten V1000 was a race bike built by a group of friends in New Zealand in 1991, this entirely custom built garage bike did the impossible and took two wins at the Battle of the Twins at Daytona and set speed records across the world! The Britten Motorcycle Company only built 10 of the V1000 and the lucky few or managed to get their hands on one have sent to museum duty. So it doesn’t like you’ll be able to see this customer speed demon hit the tracks ever again.
Kawasaki Ninja H2
For this beast of a bike Kawasaki Motor Co. teamed up with Kawasaki Heavy Industries they created one of the fastest most powerful production bikes ever made with a 998cc inline four cylinder engine and incorporated a super charger for the first time that blew away the competition. The H2 get up to 210 bhp and hit 60mph in 2.9 seconds! The historic partnership was marked by giving H2 the Rive Mark Logo that’s saved for the most important Kawasaki models.