Classic Motorbikes That Will Never Be Forgotten

Amazing, famous motorcycles. Mechanical interpretations of form fitting function are simple, clever, and have attitude. Motorbikes are more than just transportation—their chrome, single-sided swingarm, and unmatched speed make them beautiful.

The XR750, a parts-bin special built to suit changing AMA dirt-track rules, is a prime example of the whole being bigger than the parts. Harley's racing department had to reconsider their 1970 season after years of dominance.

Honda introduced the transverse-mounted, inline-four-cylinder engine in 1969. The CB750, one of the first real "superbikes," changed the game due to Soichiro Honda's concern with the American market.

Honda Super Cubs sell the most motorcycles worldwide. A bulletproof single-cylinder engine, 50 years of production, and low ownership cost will do that. The Ford Model T and Volkswagen Beetle affected motorized transportation in Asia, Africa, and South America, as did the Super Cub.

The Z1, internally called project “T103” and “New York Steak,” was Kawasaki's bigger, quicker CB750 competitor. When Honda introduced the CB in 1968, Kawasaki ditched their nearly complete 750cc effort and began a superbike power war.

Icons last forever. Triumph stopped making motorcycles three times, but Bonneville persists. Early Triumph Engineering, Norton Villiers Triton, Devon Bonnie, and Hinckley Bonnevilles are magnificent from every angle. Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Steve McQueen topped this brazen Brit. Parallel-twin engines have been expanded from 650cc to 865cc and carburetors replaced with injection.

Ducati created the 864cc “square case”-powered 900 Superlight to compete with Japanese supersports in the 1970s. The larger Desmodromic L-twin, like Paul Smart's Imola-winning 750 SS, was an instant hit. With its spoked wheels and left-side shifter, Ducatisti prefer the 1978 model.

In pit row, the Norton Commando race bikes were so successful that they were called “unapproachable Norton”. Interestingly, the Nortons' approachability made them tricky on the track.

The Brough Superior SS100 was called the “Rolls-Royce of motorcycles” for its meticulous customisation. Engineering and craftsmanship guaranteed each 1924 SS100 to exceed 100 mph. George Brough rode the Brough Superior SS100 to 130 mph in the standing kilometer in 1928. Lawrence of Arabia

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