The Bimota YB5 was tagged as the fastest, maddest, most expensive hyperbike on the planet when it was rolled out in 1987. With 130-horsepower from the amazing FJ1200 engine, the YB5 was what the Hayabusa is now, only with the flair and exclusivity that comes with a bike that is hand built and one from a run of only 208 units.
What do you think of when you hear “Chinese motorcycle?” Cheap, ugly, and under-performing? Those observations would be largely correct, as the majority of Chinese motorcycles to come to these shores (that’s the United States, for our international readers) were exactly that. Let’s face it: the words “Made In China” aren’t held in high regard.
I was in awe as Ian Drysdale blipped the throttle of the V-8 in his Melbourne workshop. The sound reminded me of a howling F1 car. Very few bikes make the hair stand up on the back of my neck when they are free revved – some MotoGP bikes, any Pro Stock drag racer, any two-stroke racer, and definitely this amazing home-built machine.
Ireland is not a location you think of when it comes to motorcycle companies. Sure, the country has a great heritage in motorcycling, especially when it comes to racing on real roads, but as a locale for a company actually selling motorcycles? Not so much. It’s not a big stretch, then, to imagine an unconventional place to be the home of an unconventional vehicle, and with a name like Volt Motorcycles, you can likely guess what kind of unconventional vehicle Volt produces.
When it comes to liter-class sportbikes, technology has become the name of the game. There’s an alphabet soup of acronyms out there to describe the many number of ways you, the rider, can lap a racetrack as fast as you can with far fewer consequences for a mistake than ever before. Yamaha, Ducati, Kawasaki, BMW, Aprilia are just a few of the manufacturers offering top-level sportbikes with sophisticated levels of electronics.
Here’s another rare old beast that never made it to America, not officially anyway. Produced from 1981 to ’83, the CB1100R was Honda’s first “homologation” special, meaning a bike that had to be made available for sale to the public to qualify for racing. According to various sources, 1050 were produced in 1981 (CB1100RB), followed by 1500 in 1982 (RC), and a final 1500 more in ’83 (RD). The bike pictured above, owned by our friend and top geezer Grant Hellinger, is CB1100RC number 1500 – the last one to roll off the line in ’82.
We’ve traveled down this path before when we asked what types of bikes our readers have owned. What we learned there, frankly, didn’t surprise us too much. You’ve owned a bunch of different motorcycles. That makes you a lot like us. We like motorcycles – all motorcycles. As an industry friend once said about our profession, “All motorcycles good; we investigate.”
It’s a question we’re asked all the time: “What’s the best motorcycle for a new rider?” It’d be great if we could give the same answer every time, but in reality the answer depends on many factors – rider size, competency, wants, needs, and desires among them. Small displacement bikes are generally a good place to start, but read enough forum commenters and before long you’ll find someone who shares their tale of how they started on a literbike and lived to tell the tale.
We sometimes say that the motorcycling public is a large and diverse set of people, and while that may be true, Youtuber “Yammie Noob” has broken us down into nine simple categories (with some colorful language you may not want your youngsters to hear). Do you swear by the Ninja 250 and its ability to make you a better rider? You’re in here. Do you spread the ATGATT gospel everywhere you turn? You’re in here, too. Hipster with a broken cafe racer? Oh, you’re definitely in here. If you’re reading this and don’t ride a cruiser, chances are you fall into one of these categories. I know I do. Heck, there’s a good chance that even if you are a cruiser rider you can relate to a few of these. So, which one are you? Let us know in the comments section.
While it may not have won our recent comparison test against the Aprilia RSV4 RR, that’s no reason to dismiss the bike. The completely revamped 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is an impressive motorcycle. Kawasaki’s engineering staff had a tough task on its hands when taking the previous generation ZX-10R – which had just finished capturing a World Superbike championship – and making it better, but it’s undeniable that Team Green has done just that. So, for this week’s Top 10, I’m going to highlight 10 of my favorite features of the new ZX-10R.
At the pace the 1000cc literbike field is advancing, it’s easy to overlook the middleweight 600cc sportbike class. For instance, few might have even noticed it’s been three years since Honda gave its CBR600RR a slight refresh. Tom Roderick rode the bike both on the street and the track, where he came back impressed but not overly enthusiastic about Honda’s middleweight supersport. With the march of time giving way to technologies like traction control, cornering ABS, inertial measurement units and apps that can adjust the bike’s attitude at the push of a button, we thought it was time to revisit the CBR600RR to see if time has given us a new appreciation for the simpler things in life.
Look around the liter-class sportbike landscape. The field is littered with some of the most technologically advanced and blindingly fast motorcycles the world has ever seen. Trickle-down technology from the world of MotoGP and World Superbike is making its way to production motorcycles faster than ever before, and it’s hard to deny the sportbike landscape is all the better for it.
CSC is quickly expanding its model range. In late 2014 we tested the 250cc adventure-touring RX3 Cyclone, and gave it a favorable review. A year later CSC announced the dual-sport TT250. We’re still waiting to see the TT250 in the flesh, but have been told it shouldn’t be much longer. Today, CSC announced a third 250cc motorcycle, the very sporty looking RC3.
The chance to review an all-new motorcycle prior to the bike’s world launch is about as rare as a Vincent White Shadow, but that’s the opportunity our Australian correspondent, Jeff Ware, received late last November when he got to spin laps aboard Kawasaki’s all-new ZX-10R. Because the new 10R is the most exciting new sportbike of 2016, we jumped at the chance to publish Ware’s review so we could be among the first in the world to share riding impressions of this important new machine. Our review was cleverly titled “First First-Ride Review,” because Motorcycle.com’s official first-ride review was intended to be posted after the bike’s world launch.
Suzuki’s GSX-R750 is arguably the most influential sportbike of all time, and 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of when the original GSX-R750 debuted on American soil. The Gixxer 750 is now bookended by 600cc and 1000cc versions, but the 750 remains one of the best-balanced sportbikes on the market. Our Australian correspondent, Jeff Ware, has loads of experience with the GSX-R750, being a longtime motojourno and the restorer of the 1985 Gixxer used in the article below. Ware outlines the history of the GSX-R750 and compares his original GSX-R with its contemporary brother to illustrate the evolution of the sportbike over the past three decades. Enjoy! —Kevin Duke, Editor-in-Chief