Motorcycle of The Decade

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Onederer, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Mar 24, 2004
    The Trans-Mississippi
    That's a big claim. You want to elaborate on that thought?
  2. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

    Dec 13, 2011
    I had a Commando 850 and a Honda CB750. The Norton was much more fun to ride, but the Honda was far more reliable.
  3. Berto

    Berto Inherently Floridian

    Aug 14, 2006
    Alachua, Fla

    The Evo and softail chassis was the first Harley that was pretty reliable and didn't needs lots of care and attention to keep it running well. It was a bike that appealed to more than just the faithful and defined the cruiser class.Its the bike that has gotten 100s of thousands of people on a motorcycle.It is the bike that brought us PIRATES!! :lol3
  4. Fundy Rider

    Fundy Rider Where 2?

    Jul 5, 2009
    St. Stephen New Brunswick
    My vote has to be the ktm950/990 adventure series from 03 on.

    Name me one other bike that can do it all as well. I mean everywhere and not just in the dirt, and in the dirt for a 500 pound machine to do what it does at speed or not. It really comes down to the rider. Tour, Canyon Carve, two up, and leave everything else in its category in the dirt behind.

    Lightest v-twin on the market. Racing pedigree. Actually a race bike that became a road bike.
  5. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

    Oct 30, 2004
    West is the Best

    Using that example, would you think that the Honda Cub had a bigger effect on world ridership? Remember we are talking about world here, not just here.

  6. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

    Jul 23, 2010
    As far as bikes that are Energizer Bunny ready to go all the time, and just go, go, go

    Honda Pacific Coast PC800.

    Not particullary thrilling, but it was ultra reliable, and still has a great following.

    "Plastic coated reliability"

    2nd vote:

    The infamous Kawsaki KLR 650.

    25 years of bone rattling service to us. I did not say "fine service", and not "refined service".

    The KLR is the lever action Winchester rifle of the motorcyle world. More of them (the rifle and the bike) in the hands of more adventurers around the world because they were handy, reliable, and affordable.

    Ps: Lucas McCain had a doo-hickey too. :lol3
  7. IgoFar

    IgoFar Been here awhile

    Mar 14, 2009
    No doubt, the 1200GS. The GS is the father of the adveture tourer and the 1200 further refined the that niche. The bike does it all. On the hiway, you can go all day long and still have something left in you when you're done. In the twisties, catch me if you can. Gravel and light off road, surprising for a 500+ lb. bike. Of course, a goldwing will do better on the hiway. Sure, a sport bike will do better in the twisties. No doubt, a KLR will do better on the dirt. But as a complete package, The GS can't be beat.
  8. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf
    Do we have any candidates for the present decade? Is there a 2010 or newer motorcycle that moves the dial like the the landmark machines listed for earlier decades?

    Ducati launched the Panigale, Multi and Daivel, but somehow they don't strike me a landmark products. KTM has their SM-T 990? Their new 350/500 dual sport products that might qualify, since they are street legal race bikes, complete with CA emissions gear. Triumph has their 800 Tigger.

    Anything novel out there so far this decade?
  9. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Oct 25, 2004
    India Wharf
    He's got a point. When the employees bought the Motor Company from AMF through a landmark LBO and made over the product line with the EVO motor, they launched a surge in motorcycle ownership not seen since Honda and the 'nicest people'.

    Thank you Dean Witter...

  10. Vertical C

    Vertical C Long timer

    Jul 19, 2007
    Sydney Australia
    Honda NC700s/x/i
  11. FootLoose1949

    FootLoose1949 Returning Biker

    Aug 21, 2012
    Reading, Berks, Uk.
    I would contend that the Vincent 500cc Comet, 998cc Rapide, Black Shadow and Lightning, were the motorcycles of two decades, the 1940s and 1950's. Few if any other bikes were as tehnologically advanced until at least 2 decades after this, (Engine a structural part of the chassis, probably the first production machine with mono-shock rear suspension) and until the early 70's the world's fastest production motorcycle. For decades after the bike went out of production, it was many a pubescent teens fantasy motorcycle and it took over 4 decades for other motorcycle manufacturers to realise that mono-shock suspension was superior handling-wise to the old swinging-arm system. Quite why the HD gets nominated, unless it's for being the absolute opposite to the Vincent, baffles me!
  12. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

    Feb 11, 2008
    Southern Oregon
    As great as those are, they're just upgrades of the 450/525/530 street legal race bikes which came about in 2007. Which I think Husky did with a couple of bikes in 2005 or 2006.
  13. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2005
    Halfway between Munich and Redditch.

    Everything you've said about the Vincent is debatable. (this will be taken as blasphemy, but as good as Vincents were for the time, the mistique of the Vincent has gone far beyond what it really was)

    Other manufacurers have used the engine as a structural part of the chassis, most notably, for the British Industry, was Royal Enfield.

    If you want to consider the Lightning as a "production motorcycle" (I don't), then yes, it might put Vincent at the top of the speed class, but I think a check of road test statistics through the 60's might actually prove even that assumption to be wrong.

    And the Vincent may have had a rear suspension similar to a modern mono-shock suspension, but even Vincent owners (I'm friends with several, and have ridden a Black Shadow myself) will tell you that there's a bit of a hinged-in-the-middle effect, even when they're well put together. And let's not forget that they continued to use a girder front suspension right up to the bitter end.

    But beyond that, there are other motorcycles that helped "define" motorcycling for the two decades you mentioned, while the Vincent because of it's price and exclusivity, failed to influence motorcycle design very strongly at all, even if some of their innovations were eventually adopted and improved on years later.
    And while they captured the imaginations of many young men and boys, they weren't very successful in the marketplace in spite of their reputation. The last one was built in 1955, only half way into the decade.

    For the 50's, I'd want to name the Triumph Twins, starting with the Speed Twin, and ending with the Bonneville.
  14. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

    Feb 11, 2012
    80's: BMW R GS series - that's when it startet, not the R 1200 GS or something
    90's: Suzuki Hayabusa for obvious reasons
    00's: BMW S1000RR for changing the BMW image and technological superiority (engine, electronics)
    10's: VFR 1200 FD for being the first motorcycle with dual clutch transmission
  15. 2handedSpey

    2handedSpey bunned

    Sep 5, 2011

  16. HammerMacGreed

    HammerMacGreed Long timer

    May 9, 2009
    San Jose
    I don't know if it's true for all areas, but around here I'm seeing alot more Victories. Always been a fan, but the new Cross Country and the Vision seem to really have the superslab touring thing down. I've asked owners what they think, previous bikes, why etc, and get a few interesting answers.

    Guys coming from Goldwings say they wanted a feet forward bike, something skinnier between the feet. Something a little less buzzy and more thumpy. Better MPG. Been told the Vision handles better than the Goldwing (am a Goldwing owner so don't kill me). Been told the CC has more storage, lower saddle and just plain easier to ride. Easier to pick up too.

    Guys coming from a Harley have told me they got sick and tired of fixing their broken bikes. Lotsa complaints about "death wobble" on touring bikes. One guy who had a Heritage Softail said he almost gave up motorcycling because he thought his back was too bad to keep riding- then told me that was 5 years ago (after he got his Victory Hammer). Had a few Dyna guys tell me they wanted hardbags (before Switchback). Couple complaints of electrical problems. Wanted something different- didn't want to be "Harley Guys" anymore. Handling far better that anything HD currently produces except the dyna (told not a good touring platform by previous owners). Told lean angle was better too.

    Guys coming from Jap cruisers told me they wanted something american, but not a Harley. My Kawasaki Drifter 1500 is an Indian clone, so I kinda get what they mean; gets old explaining no, it's not a Harley (or Harley clone). Been told the reliability is right up there with Honda.

    Haven't run into any BMW converts... yet.

    Run into a few sportbike converts who told me they chose the Victory because of it's performance over the HD. Kinda strange they didn't choose Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha, but then I guess if they had I wouldn't have asked because it wouldn't have been a Victory.

    Don't know if I'd consider it a motorcycle of the decade, but , but maybe cruiser/tourer of the decade.
  17. BigArn

    BigArn Long timer

    Dec 7, 2007
    Triumph Bonny T100!!!! :clap :clap
  18. 2handedSpey

    2handedSpey bunned

    Sep 5, 2011

    Interesting, I have been seeing a bunch more of those Victory sleds. Pretty cool bike, too. I'm certainly not a cruiser guy (yet?) but I can see the appeal of a Victory. I grew up outside palace called Sturgis and you can bet your bottom dollar I am probably not going to be buying a HD any time soon. Another tall, professional white guy, cruising to the suburbs on a HD just isn't my thing (no offense to HD fans) it's simply not for me.

    I've always liked the Buell's too fwiw...

    Partial hi-jack over.
  19. Onederer

    Onederer Crunch Nugget

    Aug 24, 2008
    At the bottom of your glass, staring back
    I tried to place everything how people have described them. There are discrepancies like bikes being manufactured late in a decade but being know for the later decade, bikes like the CB750 in SOHC and DOHC models in the 1970's but started in the late 1960's, bikes like the KLR650-DR650 which are still in production, etc.

    ADVriders have also suggested bike based on engine design alone, with no model designation. If a bike was suggested with the incorrect model designation, I did not spend hours researching the correct sizes or model nomenclature, I just put it as it was written.

    A (?) means there is a question of which bike specifically because it was not mentioned, which model specifically if more than one was made in that decade but not mentioned by detail. There may also be a note about which country it was available if an exact model is not given.

    Since the last full decade ended and this one is in its infancy, all bikes suggested for 2000 and on are in one group.

    Here are the numbers so far:
    <DIR><DIR>1920’s Top-Bike Harley Davidson
    Harley (?)

    1930’s Top-Bike Harley Davidson
    Harley Knucklehead (?)

    1940’s Top-Bike Harley WLR/WLA
    Harley WLR/WLA :3
    Harley Twin Cam (?)
    Indian (?)
    Vincent Black Shadow :

    1950’s Top-Bike Vincent Black Shadow
    Harley Panhead (?) :2
    Harley Sportster :
    Norton Manx
    Triumph Bonneville :
    Vincent Black Shadow :6

    1960’s Top-Bike Honda CB750
    Harley Panhead (?)
    Honda CL77-250
    Honda Super Hawk
    Honda CZ250 MX
    Honda Cub :4
    Honda CB350 :3
    Honda CB750 :7
    Triumph Bonneville :5

    1970’s Top-Bike Honda CB750
    Ducati Air Head (?)
    Ducatti 750SS :
    Harley Chopper
    Harley Shovelhead (?)
    Honda 125 Elsinore
    Honda CB750 (DOHC/SOHC?) :10
    Kawasaki Z1 :4
    Norton Commando :2
    Suzuki RM125
    Yamaha IT400
    Yamaha RD350
    1980’s Top-Bike 3-way Tie (see below)
    BMW R80
    BMW GS
    Ducati 851
    Kawasaki Ninja (?) :2
    Harley Evo (?) :2
    Honda RC30
    Honda Hurricane :
    Honda Goldwing :3
    Honda GB500
    Honda VFR750 (?) :2
    Honda V45 Interceptor :2
    Honda Pacific Coast
    Huskvarna 500XC
    Kawasaki KLR650 (until?) :3
    Moto Guzzi V7 Sport
    GSX-R1100 :2
    Suzuki GSX750R :3
    Yamaha V-Max :2
    Yamaha YZ125H
    Yamaha FZ750
    1990’s Top-Bike Suzuki Hayabusa
    BMW Airhead (?) :2
    BMW 650GS (Dakar?)
    BMW 1150GSA
    Ducati 916 :5
    Harley Fat Boy (until ?) :2
    Harley (?)
    Honda VFR :2
    Honda XR400R
    Honda CBR600F
    Honda CBR900RR
    KTM 300 (EXC?)
    Kawasaki Ninja (?)
    Suzuki GSXR (size?)
    Suzuki Hayabusa :7
    Suzuki DR650 (until?)
    Yamaha YZF400F
    2000’s: Top-Bike BMW GS1200
    Triumph Bonneville
    BMW S1000RR :3
    BMW 1200GS :11
    BMW 1150GS
    BMW K1600GT
    Duccatti Multistrada 1200S :2
    Honda NC700
    Honda VFR 1200FD
    Harley Twin Cam (?) :
    Kawasaki Verseys
    Kawasaki ZX-14
    KTM 450XC-W
    KTM 990 :2
    Piaggio MP3
    Suzuki Vstrom (size?)
    Suzuki GSX-R 1000
    Triumph Daytona 675
    Triumph Bonneville (?)
    Triumph Bonneville T100
    Yamaha YZ250F
    Yamaha YZF-R6
    Yamaha R1
    Yamaha Tenere (size/country?)
  20. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

    Dec 6, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    The KLR 650 would have been the bike of the decade if it was built in the 1920s.