Over the years all the major manufacturers have had their time in the sun, all have produced some sensational motorcycles. Some of these bikes just stayed in production, Suzuki for example hit the dirt with the Gixxer series and just kept updating and improving the model until today.
Other manufacturers have done similar things with other platforms, but there are bikes that burst onto the scene, did their thing, and then just faded away or were dropped in favor of the new shiny thing. We want some of them to return, even if their current replacements are technically better.
ten Honda CB750
To be fair, Honda held on to the CB for many years, and once it left the building it was pretty long in the tooth.
We can’t help but think they missed something, the retro market is huge and instead of bringing back the original CB they launched the “neo-café” CB650. The 650 is very good, but most would have preferred a fully retro machine.
9 Ducati 748
Although Ducati might stick the Supersport name on its new V-twin, it’s definitely not a supersport-class bike.
The last true supersport bikes from the Italian brand were the 749, and obviously the Supersport, or SS range, but with their polarizing design we had to choose the 748 which came with the same glorious design as the timeless 916.
8 Husqvarna XC500
Most dirt bikes just keep getting better, and we’d be remiss to say that modern Huskies aren’t better than ever, but they just aren’t really Huskies. The company has changed hands several times and is now owned by KTM, so for better or worse, these are basically facelifted KTMs.
The last time the company did things on its own terms was when it was owned by Electrolux in the 80s, who obviously didn’t know much about making motorcycles. The XC500 is arguably the pinnacle of mass-produced big-bore 2-stroke dirt bikes.
7 Bimota SB8R
We could pick out several different Bimota bikes that we’d like to see back in production, but the fact that they’re now owned by Kawasaki means we’ll almost certainly see a handful of exotic inline-4s.
It’s the frame that Suzuki’s glorious TL1000 V-twin deserved, an absolute peach of an engine in a bespoke frame is exactly what made Bimota famous and the SB8R epitomizes it.
6 Yamaha YZF600 Thundercat
Before the R6 raised the bar for sportbikes, the Thundercat was their very different supersport offering. Unlike the track-oriented R6, the Thundercat was more at home on the road.
Which isn’t to say the bike was slow, or even touring oriented, but it’s still one of the most comfortable sport bikes out there, and we wish there was something like it still on the market.
5 Norton F1 Sport
With F1, the experience of the Wankel motorcycle ended. It’s also the bike that sent Norton into administration, once again proving the fact that the rotary motor kills just about every model that uses it.
Somehow we still hope to see a rotary powered motorcycle in the future, only it would have to be an alternative fuel source as conventional rotarys burn almost as much oil as 2 strokes .
4 Kawasaki ZX-7R
By the mid 90’s the competition had moved the goal posts and even when the ZX-7R came out it was already out of date as it was not a brand new machine.
It was still very powerful and very affordable, you could say there are a few spiritual successors, but these bikes are not team green.
When it comes to accessible homologation specials, nothing can touch the VTR SP1 and SP2 bikes that Honda literally made just to prove a point.
They just happened to find a way to mass-produce what was essentially a racing machine, and that just doesn’t exist today.
2 Yamaha RZ350
If you were looking for a high performance motorcycle in the 80s, it really had to be a 2-stroke. Oil burners received the bulk of the development budget, and the RZ topped the list for a time.
It had slipped back into the 90s when other smaller homologation bikes were being made, but in terms of value for money, the RZ was an absolute legend.
1 Aprilia RSV Mille
Aprilia’s first superbike is actually an underrated gem of a motorcycle, powered by a Rotax V-twin, it produced a boatload of torque and came without riding aids.
Today, Aprilia has invested heavily in the most advanced motorcycle technology, as well as in its own engines. A little different and much more expensive to boot.
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