10 Remarkable Motorbikes That Have Left a Lasting Impression

The tales of these motorcycles have served as a source of inspiration for numerous individuals and have played a significant role in shaping the history of motorcycles.

Surviving in the motorcycle industry is no easy feat, as proven by the struggles faced by companies like Gilera, Cagiva, and Vincent. However, there are brands and motorcycles that have managed to maintain their unique legacy despite facing years of competition and advancements in technology.

What are the motorcycles with the longest history? Which bikes have surpassed performance standards? What motorcycles have made a significant impact on the world and our perception of them? Let’s explore. We’ve put together this list based on thorough research, impartiality, and a touch of personal preference.

Each of these bikes holds an iconic status and has left a lasting impression for unique reasons, which you will discover shortly.

10: Brough Superior SS100

Production Years: 1924-1940

Brough Superior Ss100

Brough Superior Ss100

LEGACY: First Motorcycle To Go 100 mph

In the 1920s, George Brough revolutionized the British Supersport motorcycle industry. One of his most notable achievements was the development of the Brough Superior SS100, which became the first mass-produced motorcycle to reach speeds of 100 mph. Each SS100 was meticulously crafted by hand and rigorously tested before being delivered to customers, setting a new standard for quality and performance in an era where motorcycles with over 30 horsepower were a rarity. These exceptional machines earned the nickname Rolls-Royce of motorcycles due to their unparalleled craftsmanship and engineering excellence.

One of the bikes was involved in the tragic death of Lawrence of Arabia, leading to the introduction of crash helmets. Mark Upham has brought back the Brough Superior brand and is currently manufacturing modern SS100 motorcycles.

1937 Superior SS100 Specifications

Engine Matchless V-Twin, 990cc
Transmission 4-speed
Power 48 hp
Torque 60 ft-lb @ 4200 rpm
Top Speed 100 mph

9: Royal Enfield Bullet

Production Years: 1931-present

Royal Enfield Bullet

Royal Enfield Bullet

LEGACY: Longest-lived Motorcycle Design

The Royal Enfield Bullet boasts a rich heritage spanning over 90 years. Originating in England in 1931, it debuted with a 350cc single-cylinder engine and swiftly gained favor with the British Army and Royal Air Force. The Bullet’s straightforward and reliable design, which gained recognition during wartime, also contributed to its popularity as a civilian motorcycle. Its name pays homage to the original Royal Small Arms factory in Enfield, England.

2017 Bullet 500cc Specifications

Engine Single Cylinder OHV, 499cc
Transmission 5-Speed
Power 27 HP
Torque 27.5 ft-lb @ 5200 rpm
Top Speed 85 mph

8: Honda Super Cub

Production Years: 1958-present

Honda Super Cub

Honda Super Cub

LEGACY: Bestselling Motorcycle Ever (1958-present)

More than 100 million Super Cubs have been produced by Honda! The intentional design and unpretentious appearance of the Super Cub have caused even those who aren’t interested in motorcycles to say, I want one of those. Honda has been manufacturing Super Cubs with engine sizes ranging from 50 to 125cc since 1958. These bikes, which are air-cooled and feature a unique step-through design and comfortable seating, are considered the rebels of the motorcycle industry.

In 1960, the C102 model with an electric start gained widespread popularity, attracting riders with Honda’s memorable slogan, On a Honda, you’ll encounter the friendliest individuals.

The Super Cub has become a mainstay in Asia, Africa, and South America due to its dependable single-cylinder engine and affordable maintenance. Its influence on transportation has drawn parallels to the Ford Model T and Volkswagen Beetle.

1960 Super Cub C100 Specifications

Engine Single-Cylinder, 4-Stroke, OHC, 49cc
Transmission 3-Speed
Power 4.5 HP
Torque 2.5 ft-lb @ 9500 rpm
Top Speed 43 mph

7: Ducati 750SS

Production Years: Only 401 Units produced in 1974

Ducati 750Ss

Ducati 750Ss

LEGACY: 1972 Paul Smart Ducati Replica

Paul Smart rode Ducati to break lap records and win at Imola in 1972. Two years later, the 750SS was introduced as a tribute to that victory, retaining the essence of the original machine with a few modifications. The motorcycle press adored the 750 SS, with Cycle magazine labeling it as the ultimate factory-built café racer that pushes the boundaries of the sporting world.

The Ducati 750SS became incredibly popular, leading the Bologna factory to create a bigger 900SS model to satisfy enthusiasts. This motorcycle was even featured in the Guggenheim Museum’s The Art of Motorcycle exhibit and is now valued at over $100,000.


Engine V-Twin, 4-Stroke, 748cc
Transmission 5-Speed
Power 89 HP
Torque 52 ft-lb @ 9000 rpm
Top Speed 125 mph

6: Honda NSR500

Production Years: 1984-2001

Honda Nsr500

Honda Nsr500

LEGACY: Most dominant 500 cc GP Motorcycle

Between 1984 and 2001, the NSR500 achieved over 130 race wins and captured 10 rider and 11 constructor world championship titles. Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner, Eddie Lawson, Mick Doohan, lex Crivill , and Valentino Rossi are among the esteemed individuals who have had the privilege of riding it.

The NSR500 gained a reputation for being extremely challenging to ride at its maximum potential. It required riders to possess exceptional skill and finesse. To tackle this issue, the big bang engine configuration was implemented to modify the firing order and improve power delivery, aiming to make the bike more manageable for riders.

In 2002, Moto GP underwent major rule changes that signaled the conclusion of an era for a remarkable machine. However, Honda responded by unveiling the RC211V, stunning everyone and ensuring the continuation of its impressive legacy. Out of the 16 races it entered in that season, the new model triumphed in 14 and went on to claim 3 out of the following 5 Constructors Championships. Undoubtedly, it stands as one of the premier bikes to ever compete on the MotoGP circuit.

1989 Eddie Lawson Specifications

Engine V3, 2-stroke, 499cc
Transmission 6-Speed
Power 123 HP
Torque 58.7 ft-lb @ 11000 rpm
Top Speed 175 mph

5: Suzuki GSX-R750

Production Years: 1985-2016

Suzuki Gsx-R750

Suzuki Gsx-R750

In 1985, Suzuki’s release of the GSX-R750 allowed ordinary consumers to enjoy the performance of a track-ready motorcycle. Featuring a potent engine producing more than 100 horsepower and weighing less than 400 pounds, the remarkable power-to-weight ratio was unmatched on public streets.

In the early 1980s, sports motorcycles were bulky and awkward, with Honda and Kawasaki vying for dominance in raw power. However, Suzuki’s foray into the hyper-sports arena offered a unique alternative. The GSX-R750 featured an aluminum alloy frame and emphasized simplicity. It was designed with the philosophy of adding lightness, inspired by Colin Chapman’s innovative approach to F1 car design.

1985 GSX-R750 Specifications

Engine DOHC, 4-stroke, 749cc
Transmission 6-Speed
Power 100 HP
Torque 50 ft-lb @ 10,500 rpm
Top Speed 145 mph

4: BMW R12

Production Years: 1935-42

Bmw R12

Bmw R12

LEGACY: Revolutionary Design And Military Use

Traveling from the Arctic Circle to the southern tip of South America, Danny Liska covered 95,000 miles on a BMW R60. However, the German company’s pursuit of reliability had already commenced long before this epic journey, with the introduction of the groundbreaking BMW R12 in 1935.

The hydraulically damped telescopic forks were considered the most effective method for handling the front wheel of a bike. With its air-cooled, 745 cc side-valve boxer engine and Cardan shaft drive, the BMW R12 was well-suited for rigorous military applications. Its design served as a significant source of inspiration for motorcycle manufacturers in the post-war era.


Engine Flat Twin-Cylinder, 4-stroke, 745 cc
Transmission 4-Speed
Power 20 HP
Torque 26.3 ft-lb @ 4000 rpm
Top Speed 75 mph

3: Kawasaki Ninja

Production Years: 1984-present

Kawasaki Ninja Gpz900R

Kawasaki Ninja Gpz900R

LEGACY: First Mass Produced Bike to Touch 150 mph, And Appearance In Top Gun

The introduction of the Ninja designation on the GPZ900R marked the beginning of Kawasaki’s renowned motorcycle series, paving the way for a range that includes legendary models such as the high-performance Ninja H2. The H2, known for its incredible speed and allure, proudly displays the River Mark emblem, a symbol exclusively used for Kawasaki’s most iconic motorcycles throughout history.

The Ninja GPZ900R was the catalyst for everything that followed. This motorcycle became well-known after it was featured in Top Gun, with Tom Cruise’s character Maverick as its rider. The Ninja’s rise to pop culture icon was solidified by this exposure. Additionally, the GPZ900R made history as the first production motorcycle to reach speeds of 150 mph.

The Ninja series sparked significant progress in aerodynamics, engine technology, and rider aids, and has continued to move forward without hesitation. Additionally, here are some key points to consider before purchasing your own Ninja.

1997 Kawasaki GPZ900R Specifications

Engine 908cc 4-Cylinder
Transmission 6-Speed manual
Power 108 HP
Torque 62.9 ft-lb @ 6700 rpm
Top Speed 155 mph

2: Ducati Desmosedici RR

Production Years: 2007-08

Ducati Desmosedici Rr

Ducati Desmosedici Rr

LEGACY: Only True MotoGP Replica Ever

With a top speed of 194 mph and a redline of 10,500 rpm, there are only 1,500 Desmosedici RRs globally. It comes with high-quality parts from Brembo, Ohlins, and Marchesini, making it the only true MotoGP replica in the motorcycle industry. Certainly, it was also adorned with sponsorship stickers. It features a desmodromic mechanism, a design tailored for Ducati by Fabio Taglioni. This system utilizes rocker arms to control the opening and closing of the valves. This allows the engine to function with exceptional accuracy at all RPM levels.


Engine L-Four Cylinder, DOHC, 4-Stroke, 989cc
Transmission 6-Speed Manual
Power 200 HP
Torque 100 ft-lb @ 10,500 rpm
Top Speed 194 mph

1: Ducati Monster

Production Years: 1993-Present

Ducati Monster

Ducati Monster

LEGACY: Fathered the Naked Streetfighter, Inspired Design Leaps & Saved Ducati

In the early 1990s, the Monster stood out with its uncovered engine, steel trellis frame, and sharp characteristics, providing a refreshing contrast to the fully covered bikes of that era. It possessed the style of a sports bike and was remarkably simple to handle. The low seat and flexible engine of the new riders’ vehicle mesmerized them, while those seeking a challenge recognized its potential to speed like the wind. The Monster was constructed during a period when Ducati was on the brink of collapse, yet it took the market by storm immediately upon release. Its tremendous triumph not only sustained Ducati’s dealers but also brought to life machines like the Desmosedici and the Panigale.

Monster was initially projected to produce only 1,000 bikes, but it unexpectedly became the catalyst for the creation of the naked streetfighter segment and prevented the renowned Italian manufacturer from facing bankruptcy. In Belgium’s Hamme-Moerzeke on September 21, 2008, a total of 405 Ducati Monsters assembled and set a new Guinness World Record for the biggest procession of motorcycles from the identical brand and model.

1995 Ducati Monster 900 Specifications

Engine L-Twin, 4-Stroke, SOHC, 904cc
Transmission 6-Speed
Power 80 HP
Torque 60 ft-lb @ 7000 rpm
Top Speed 118 mph