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greatest motorcycles of all time

10 Greatest Motorcycles Ever Built

Several riders have varied criteria for what constitutes the ideal motorcycle. Some riders want the top speeds that only superbikes with horsepower can deliver. Some choose chic cruisers for weekend road trips in India, while city dwellers prefer compact bicycles.

As a result, selecting the most iconic motorcycles from the many produced over the years may be extremely difficult and divisive. There is no doubt, however, that a few truly innovative designs have helped push some motorcycles to the head of the pack. Ten motorcycles that will go down in history as the finest of all time are listed below.

10 Greatest Motorcycles Ever Built

1. BMW R32

A century ago, BMW sought a sustainable solution to stop producing airplane engines. Franz Josef Popp, the director of BMW at the time, recognized a market opportunity in the motorcycle industry. As a result, the classic R32, BMW’s first motorcycle, was created.

The motorcycle had a brand-new 494cc M2B33 engine with 8.5 horsepower and a top speed of 60 mph. The R32 pioneered the boxer-twin, shaft-drive powerplant design that BMW still employs today.

2. Harley Davidson XR750

The Harley-Davidson XR750 is one of the few bikes with a racing heritage that can compete with it. For Harley-Davidson to compete in the AMA Grand National Championship, where it faced off against the greatest motorcycles from Britain and Japan, the company released the bike in 1969.

The XR750, driven by legends like Joe Kopp, Jared Mees, Brad Baker, Scott Parker, and Jay Springsteen, won more races than any other motorcycle in AMA history. The XG750R replaced the XR750 when it was discontinued from competition in 2016.

3. Velocetter Viper

One of the most sought-after vintage motorcycles from the 1950s was the Velocette Viper. Everyone who collects wants to have this device. The Viper’s distinctive design, which included glass fiber-enclosed panels unheard of in the 1950s, is one of its most intriguing features. Moreover, it possessed a 349cc engine with a bi-metal cylinder and high-compression pistons.

To allow the bike to run at high speeds for extended periods, Velocette also produced certain special edition Vipers with extra-large gas tanks. This enabled the Viper to set a record by maintaining a speed of 100 mph for a continuous 24 hours.

4. Ducati 750SS

The legendary Ducati 750 Super Sport from 1974 is regarded as the pinnacle of the brand and the vehicle that propelled Italy’s automaker to the top of its sector. Paul Smart had used the 750-cc racer on which Company built the bike to win the 1972 Imola 200.

5. Yamaha Virago

Yamaha’s first-ever V-twin cruiser bike, the Virago, is a mean-looking motorcycle with that distinction. The 1981 introduction of the Virago made it one of the first motorcycles to employ mono-shock rear suspension, which advanced the field. Due to the bike’s popularity, Yamaha released 500cc and 900cc versions.

Yamaha switched from a mono-shock to a dual-shock suspension at the rear in 1984. The freshly updated Virago was such a success in North America that Harley-Davidson asked US lawmakers to impose taxes on imported bikes out of concern about the significant loss of customers.

6. Indian Chief

One of the coolest-looking bikes ever manufactured and one of the brand’s most iconic models, the Indian Chief was first introduced in 1947. The 1,200-cc engine that powered the Chief allowed it to reach 85 mph in just third gear, which was astounding at the time. It had a hand-operated shifter close to its gas tank and a left-foot clutch that looked odd but worked well.

In contrast to the vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles it was up against, the Chief’s rear suspension significantly enhanced ride quality. Even though it’s not for everyone, the Chief remains a popular option among collectors and bike fans, especially the 1950 Indian Chief Black Hawk model.

7. Britten V1000

Despite being the rarest bike on this list, most motorcycle fans have at least heard of the Britten V1000. The V1000 is the creation of John Britten, a visionary who tragically passed away in 1995 at 45.

In a garage on the South Island of New Zealand, John Britten handcrafted the V1000 with assistance from his friends. Neither did he know that in races staged in Daytona, Europe, and other areas of the world, the bike would compete with and defeat the finest twin cylinder bikes that major manufacturers had to offer. Ten V1000s were ever produced.

8. Ducati 999R

Ducati combined the finest features of its profitable 996, 998, and 916 platforms into one imposing package with the 999R. 2003 saw the beginning of the 999R’s production by Ducati, which would last until 2006.

Due to its contentious design, the 999R participated in several World Superbike championships and received high praise from critics. Yet, thanks to an L-twin desmodromic engine that generated reasonable power and torque figures, its performance on the racetrack demonstrated that Ducati’s design approach was still among the finest. The 999R was among the most accurate bikes of its era and the most impressive race bikes ever, thanks to its performance-focused suspension system and trellis chassis.

9. Triumph Bonneville

Triumph motorcycles have produced some of the most well-known bikes over the past century. Since its debut in 1959, the Bonneville has been the British company’s most popular model among all the classic bikes it has created.

Interestingly, the company named the bike from the notorious Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. This is a region of the open desert where eminent bike manufacturers battled to set land speed records. The parallel-twin four-stroke engine of the Bonneville allowed it to reach 115 mph, which was unheard of at the time. Aside from its insane speed, the “Bonnie” was well-liked by celebrities and professional racers of the era because of its sleek design and low-slung seat.

10. Aprilia RS250

The Aprilia RS250’s design can only be compared to a Swiss watch in terms of precision across the board, with each component performing a specific function. The 1995 release of the RS250 was influenced by Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP RSW250 Grand Prix motorcycle.

This 249-cc, V-Twin liquid-cooled engine was fitted in a twin-spar frame with thin-walled monocoque reinforcements. The RS250 was one of the first production bikes to feature a lap timer on the dashboard, contributing to its popularity, especially among teenage riders. It was also easy to operate and had outstanding suspension and brakes for its price.

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