12 Most Significant Motorcycles of All TIme

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Monsignore, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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  2. mpescatori

    mpescatori n00b

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    Thank you, you are a true conoisseur ! :clap:clap:clap

    My thanks to EFFERVESCENT for mentioning the Vespa, and WPBARLOW for mentioning the Ducati pantah.

    You are both spot on.

    I have taken the time to read all nine pages of this thread, and noticed most posts deal with japanese bikes from the '80s onwards.

    I beg to differ.

    Kawasaki KLR 650 ? Sure, why not, but who actually created the genre ? Yamaha XT 500, right ?
    [​IMG]

    and... what about the Ducati Scrambler ? THAT is the bike which created and wghetted America's appetite for a big bore dirt bike, the rest was simply the Japanese industry putting all its ooomph behind an Italian idea. :viking

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Many have claimed a few harleys were trend setters... 1972 Superglide ? Gimme a break !

    Compare the 1972 Superglide and Electra Glide to the 1972 Guzzi V7s

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] ORIGINAL PICTURE OF CALIFORNIA CHiP MOTO GUZZI V7

    [​IMG]
    You could scrape the pegs on a Guzzi 850 T3... could you really even try it on a Harley Wide Glide ? Don't think so...

    As for production sports bikes, Italian magazine "Motociclismo" called for a comparative contest among all 750s available on the market and reserved a full three days at Monza in 1972;
    the bikes present at the challenge were :
    Moto Guzzi V7 Sport (Vtwin 4stroke), Ducati 750 GT (Vtwin 4stroke), Honda CB 750 Four, Kawasaki 750 Mach IV (2stroke triple), Laverda 750 SF (4stroke twin), Suzuki GT 750 (Buffalo to you).
    MVAgusta shrugged and Triumph/Norton were in too muany financial troubles. BMW and Yamaha gracefully declined.

    The Guzzi lapped Monza in 2′ 02″47, a full 11" faster than the Kawasaki 750 Mach IV, which may have accellerated faster in a straight line, but could not corner.

    All in all, the Guzzi V7 Sport WAS the mother of all modern sport bikes. You can read about it here and here with Google or other web translators.

    [​IMG]

    As for the rest... what's the point of mentioning the Yamaha RD400, when it was the curtain call to the RD350 ?
    Yamaha XS650, hello anyone ?
    Yamaha XS1100, the first "BMW beater" on long range motorcycle touring ? (US-wise, we still had the Guzzis) :D
    Honda 750/900 Bol d'Or, the first bikes with 4valves/cylinder?
    MVAgusta 750s, the first bike you could "race on Sunday, commute on Monday"? (at what price...!)

    Going back to EFFERVESCENT and WPBARLOW...

    The Vespa was the first two-wheeler to truly motorize the masses... in Europe and Asia, long before Honda even started producing lawn mowers.

    [​IMG]

    Ducati's 750/900 "PASO" after famed pilot Renzo Pasolini was dubbed "the Testarossa of motorcycles"

    [​IMG]

    The "Pantah" (1979) was the first "new engined" Ducati, the boy-racer bike which resuscitated Ducati from oblivion, but it the Paso, which later evolved into the 851, to truly create the new category.

    :jkam
  3. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    I bought a 750 Paso new in 1988, with Euro spec lighting and tuning. I was rare in that I fell in love with the styling which most would agree was new and cutting edge for it's time. Unfortunately it offered not only the horrible Cagiva/Ducati build quality of the day [engine rebuild twice within 6000 kms] but the worst electronics package of Marelli and Lucas all in one. It was so bad that it spent most of it's life in my 4 yrs ownership in the local dealership either waiting for parts, or arguing about what thewy would cover under warranty, which was clarified when the only dealer in Western Canada went broke leaving me with no option but to trade it in on a brand new BMW 100GS. Best fucking move I ever made!! Still have the Beemer. This sour experience, and that of a Ducati ST2 rental in New Zealand 3 yrs ago [engine literally exploded in a ball of smoke and oil on the road] has permanently weaned me off anything to do with a belt drive Ducati.
    There's a reason these things are so cheap!!!
  4. YamaGeek

    YamaGeek Ancient trailbike padwan

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    I can think of 5 bikes..

    I'm going to say first and foremost the Honda SuperCub OHV 49 c.c. Honda introduction in the US. They developed a tiny bike that really performed.

    Nearly 4.5 hp from a 2.99 cu.in., 4 stroke, pushrod engine. Really phenomenal when you consider what stock late '50's big bikes were putting out as HP. The Cub also set the stage for all of the other Honda (and other Japanese makes,) success stories, as the little Cub was used as a street bike, and off road as the Cub trail 50 and 55. Their engines were little jewels of manufactured excellence, and led to the better performing OHC, horizontal cylindered street and scramblers and trail 50's, 70's, and 90's-110's.

    The Cub could be considered an entire genera of influence.

    The early 1960's Ducati 250 introduced another innovative bike to Americans, a small, quarter liter, 4 stroke motorcycle that could touch 90 mph. Not until the '68 Honda 350 was there to be a similar 4 stroke bike with comparable performance. The Ducati, despite it's abysmal lighting, was amazingly nice handling, had a decent 5 speed gearbox, was light, and the engine spun up willingly.

    I think BMW's slash twos should be mentioned. I mean they started the whole shaft drive revolution as being the best recognized bike without a chain final drive.

    The 1974 YZ Yamaha MX series for introducing monoshock rear suspension and effective reed valved two-stroke racing performance engines that didn't blubber or lose power below coming onto the pipe.

    Honda's first CVT Scooters like the Elite and Aero for mating their engine technology with a variable ratio belt drive transmission in a effective city commuter scooter that spelled the end of the Piaggio marque of two stroke scooters.

    not 10 I'm afraid..
  5. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

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    Honda 305 Dream. Honda's flagship tourer at one time. Excellent reliability, performance, durability and fuel economy. :clap
  6. mountaincadre

    mountaincadre Been here awhile

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    Kawasaki gpz 900r, enough said me thinks.:deal
  7. stefan tilden

    stefan tilden Adventurer

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    What was the first really sporty bike available to the average joe/josephine?

    The RD 350
    [​IMG]
  8. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Great bike but your statement really doesn't ring true.... the X6 was out long before the R5/RD350's and was in the same mold and sportier. And most would judge the Honda CB350 as by far the more significant twin cylinder motorcycle of this era and it outsold the RD350 by 5:1.

    - Mark
  9. bluegreen

    bluegreen Adventurer

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    First Superbike came out in 1969....

    The CB750
  10. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

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    Suzukis GSXR 750, a whole new ballgame started with this bike, it was way ahead of anything else those days
    Before the CB 750, the CB 450 rates a mention, also from Honda, the indestructible VFR 750. Kawasakis three cylinder strokers 500 and 750, not forgetting the Z 900. The Vincent Black Shadow however, stands head and shoulders above the others, in my opinion.
  11. Monsignore

    Monsignore Plunger Boy

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    Greetings YFFs, OP checking in.

    First of all, thank you so much for such a lively discussion and great suggestions. This thread is in no way closed. Please keep up the ideas and conversation.

    Second, due to our time table, I have created a list of 12, er, 14 bikes. Here it is, in no particular order:


    1. 1958 Honda Super Cub
    2. 1980 BMW R80G/S
    3. 1969 Honda CB750
    4. 1994 Ducati 916
    5. 1970 Harley-Davidson XR750
    6. Yamaha HL500
    7. 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa
    8. 1938 Triumph Speed Twin
    9. 1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster
    10. 1998 Yamaha YZ400F
    11. 1948 Vincent Black Shadow
    12. Ted Simon’s 1973 500cc Triumph Tiger 100 T100P
    13. 1991 Britten V1000
    14. 1980 Honda GL1100
    I know there will never be a definitive-for-infinity list; this is the list we will be using for our project. And I know there will be plenty of disagreement. Good. I want to keep this discussion going.




    Now, another question: Do any of you own, or have access to, any of these bikes? If yes, would you be willing to be interviewed, possibly on camera, in the future? The "in the future" is very fuzzy right now. Could be next summer, could be later.


    Again, thanks for everyone's continued participation. And should there be a trials bike on there?
  12. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    First superbike came out in 1948...The Vincent Black Lightning (the term just hadn't been coined yet).
  13. jestragon

    jestragon Been here awhile

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    I might not have a fraction of the brand/model knowledge of most of you, but all my life travelling has raised a few suggestions:

    What about models like Yamaha's DT 125 or Honda's XL125? Old models ('74 for the both of them I think), which are still being made as far as I know, with few changes.

    Most of the bikes I see riding around here (apart from the TVSs and chinese city bikes) are clones of these style bikes, but there are also untold originals still riding around, with probably trillions of miles between them, held together with scrounged parts and wire and a sincere bismillah.

    They might not have inspired works of motorcycling art, but they've changed the lives of millions of people in developing nations. A little honda clone enduro has a lot more significance to the average person in the tropics than just about any other bike listed, except for perhaps the Cubs.
  14. spezjag

    spezjag Long timer

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    I would say the first Superbike came out in the Twenties: the Brough Superior SS 100.
  15. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    Actually, the first "termed" superbike was the Norton Commando.

    The first superbike was in fact the Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Sports.
  16. justafurnaceman

    justafurnaceman Imaginary

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    I don't have even a half of the knowledge that some of you guys have. I don't know if it's just the age or maybe more time and dedication to motorcycling. It has been fun to see what people have chosen and look at the history of some of these companies.

    Thanks!
  17. Reduxalicious

    Reduxalicious Been here awhile

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    1955 Moto Guzzi V8/Otto (I unno, There may have been other bikes with a v8)
    1969 Honda CB750
    1972 Kawasaki Z1000 (first of the Super Liter Bikes, I think?)

    What ever 70's Model saved Harley's ass. This is all I can think of for now.
  18. waveydavey

    waveydavey happy times!!

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    Popular Mechanics says that the Vincent Black Shadow was the worlds first superbike.
  19. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    When it comes down to brass tacks, every era has had it's equivant "superbike". I'll have one of each please. :clap
  20. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    I think the term came into general, widespread use around the time of the introduction of the CB750, Mach III, Triumph/BSA triples, and a couple years later, the Z1. As nice as the Black Shadow was, if we're talking "significance" there is no comparison - I'd bet the CB750 outsold the BS by 100:1, and the CB750 was the template for an eventual UJM motorcycle design that came to dominate the industry for decades to come. But you can certainly make a case to include both.

    - Mark