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
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|
|Torque||60 ft-lb @ 4200 rpm|
|Top Speed||100 mph|
9: Royal Enfield Bullet
Production Years: 1931-present
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|
|Torque||27.5 ft-lb @ 5200 rpm|
|Top Speed||85 mph|
8: Honda Super Cub
Production Years: 1958-present
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|
|Torque||2.5 ft-lb @ 9500 rpm|
|Top Speed||43 mph|
7: Ducati 750SS
Production Years: Only 401 Units produced in 1974
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|
|Torque||52 ft-lb @ 9000 rpm|
|Top Speed||125 mph|