Compiling a list of the greatest sportbikes ever built is not easy. Sportbikes are about pushing the boundaries and venturing beyond one's comfort zone by their very nature. Every rider has their own set of restrictions. What helps with one rider will not function for the other. It is important to understand this. It is a universal truth. And it is just this characteristic that distinguishes sportbikes. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all answer in business.
There is no way to gratify everyone when you have a list that only has the ten best bikes.
Some models that have been formed may not meet your expectations, depending on your perspective. However, such is life.
Top 10 Bikes in the World
- Honda CB750
To chronicle the narrative of the greatest sportbikes ever built, we must start with the motorcycle that started it all: the 1969 Honda CB750. The Honda CB750 was the world's first superbike, even though it does not fit the contemporary definition. We would not be able to enjoy the beginning of the race-replica sportbike era in the 1980s if it had not lived.
When the Honda CB750 initially appeared in 1960, it was hailed as a revolutionary machine. It heralded the arrival of a new generation of high-performance sports bikes that put British and European models in disgrace. With a 736cc four-cylinder engine producing 68 horsepower and 44 pound-feet of torque, the CB750 was a powerful motorcycle. It allowed it to reach a top speed of 156 km/h.
In addition, it included an electronic start, flashing turn lights, and a disc brake as standard equipment. There are no gimmicks like anti-lock braking, traction control, or aerodynamic fairings, just pure, unadulterated fun. It was, in fact, the world's first superbike.
- Suzuki GSX-R750
The 1970s witnessed the gradual evolution of conventional bikes into fairing-mounted sports machines. Still, it wasn't until the 1980s that authentic racing replicas began to appear. Suzuki had several models from that period worthy of inclusion on our list, including the RG500 Gamma, which was never sold in the United States. Nevertheless, one motorcycle deserves to be mentioned: the GSX-R750 from 1986.
Even though it wasn't the first GSX-R, Japan's GSX-R400 had been available in Japan since 1984. The GSX-R750 was the first GSX-R model to be made accessible in the United States. Some historians believe that if the Honda CB750 is considered the world's first superbike, the Suzuki GSX-R750 is considered the world's first real "crotch rocket."
The GSX-R750 was powered by a small air/oil-cooled inline-four engine that produced peak power numbers of 100 horsepower and 52.1 lb-ft of torque and maximum speeds above 170 mph. It had great dual headlights, a proper race-inspired paint job, and endurance-racing fairings. It performed well, but it also seemed to be of high quality.
- Honda VFR750R RC30
If the Suzuki GSX-R750 introduced sports performance to the general public, the Honda VFR750R RC30 presented it to the upper echelons of society. RC30s were only produced in limited numbers (3,000 total), with each one costing $15,000 to build. That seems to be a decent number now, but it was a significant sum. The RC30 demanded such a high price for a good reason. They were constructed entirely by hand by HRC's racing mechanics and included only the highest quality components.
The RC30's engine was a 748cc V4 that featured cutting-edge technology and several intricate components. The innovations included titanium rods, gear-driven camshafts, race-inspired gearing, and an unconventional firing sequence.
Consequently, widespread electricity distribution could be given when and where required. The RC30 had 118 horsepower and 51 lb-ft of torque in its free version, and it was capable of reaching speeds above 150 mph. In addition, a lightweight aluminum twin-spar frame, a slipper clutch, Showa suspension with complete adjustability, and a distinctive single-sided swingarm were all featured. There was even racing gear from HRC available for the riders. Depending on the condition, a new RC30 now may cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000.
- Aprilia RS125
Size and power aren't necessarily the most critical factors for sportbikes. One particular motorbike remained the stuff of fantasies for many aspiring riders for most of the 1990s, the Aprilia RS125. While the Aprilia RS was not as well-known in the United States, it was prevalent in Europe. It was a two-stroke motorbike with a small capacity but with some notable performance figures. It would be nothing to say that it was the bike that began a thousand racing careers.
Unlike many other miniature racing replicas, the RS125 was as fantastic to ride as it was to look at.
The Aprilia RS produced 15 horsepower in its purest and most limited configuration. Anyone with a wrench and a little know-how, on the other hand, could swiftly and efficiently unlock the engine's total 34 horsepower and 18.4 lb-ft of torque potential. And that is what they did.
We would not have had racers like Casey Stoner and Cal Crutchlow if it hadn't been for the Aprilia RS. The Aprilia RS was instrumental in producing such high-quality small-capacity racing. We saw this when the RS went head-to-head with the similarly remarkable Cagiva Mito in the season's last race.
These bikes are amazing machines that demonstrate that size is not everything. To grasp what it means to be amused, you must first experience it on an RS125 or a Mito motorcycle.
- Ducati 916
Known as the Ducati 916, it was one of the most recognizable motorcycles of the 1990s and is still in production today. Thanks to its gorgeous bodywork, powerful engine, and race-proven handling, the 916 is generally recognized as one of the best sportbikes ever produced. It is unquestionably one of the best motorbikes ever produced by Ducati.
This motorcycle is powered by a 916cc 90-degree desmodromic V-twin engine designed by Massimo Tamburini that generates 115 horsepower and a maximum torque of 115 Newton-meters.
Tamburini is widely regarded as one of the finest motorcycle designers. Although the 916 is just one of his many well-known masterpieces, it is perhaps one best. Powered with a turbocharger, the 916 could reach speeds of up to 160 mph. As well as a chrome-moly trellis frame and aerodynamic bodywork, the 916 also featured a stylish single-sided swingarm and outstanding under-seat exhausts, all of which enhanced the overall performance.
Having won four Superbike World Championships, the 916 has left a lasting legacy in superbike racing. When Tamburini created the MV Agusta F4, he made it clear that the F4 was intended to be the 916's spiritual successor and another motorcycle worthy of inclusion on this list.
- Yamaha YZF-R1
To understand the significance of the very first R1, you don't have to be a Yamaha rider. The Yamaha YZF-R1 was invented in 1998 and completely changed the type. Essentially, the motorbike considerably raised the bar and altered the idea of what might be, or rather should be, a sportbike in the liter-class.
The R1 models from the first generation were a complete bundle. The R1 was the smallest of the rivals, and in some cases, it was even smaller than many 600s! Moreover, it was the lightest and most powerful motorbike in its class and the most powerful motorcycle.
Yamaha's Genesis engine, a 998-cc liquid-cooled, 20-valve, DOHC, inline four-cylinder unit with carburetion, provided the power for the R1. When correctly tuned, it could produce 150 horsepower and 72.7 lb-ft of torque, and it could achieve speeds of up to 168 mph. The engine comes in a box that weighs 448 pounds when wet.
Consequently, the YZF-R1 became an immediate hit with the riding public. Every rider with a taste for mischief wanted to get their hands on the latest master of the track. In fact, in such high demand, merchants could not keep up with demand and supply them quickly enough in the great market on closed circuits since they were (and continue to be) fearsome track day weapons.
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
However, although the ZX-9R was an excellent commuter, it could not keep up with the times. To bring the Ninja back into the game, Kawasaki put the ZX-10R motorbike onto the market in 2004. It was a huge success. You could create a list of Ninjas that represented the finest sportbikes ever built. Still, we've attempted to keep our selections to just the most significant versions available. And the ZX-10R is, without a doubt, the most important of them.
The new Ninja was lighter and more powerful than the previously stated R1, and it outperformed all of its competitors. It was powered by a 998-cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine that, when pushed to the ground, generated 155 horsepower. It has 76.1 lb-ft of torque, a top speed of more than 180 mph, and a 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, among other things.
Additionally, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R was equipped with an all-titanium exhaust system, which helped the motorcycle's already superb power-to-weight ratio by enhancing its overall performance even further. It was minor and lightweight, yet it was swift. If you could stand the sight of Kawasaki's characteristic lime-green paint job, it was the ideal motorbike for the period.
No matter whatever iteration of the ZX-10R you're talking about, it's regularly rated as one of the greatest sportbikes on the market. Even yet, it's a motorbike that's almost too wonderful to be accurate, and it has to be ridden on a track to achieve its full potential.
- BMW S1000RR
From a technical standpoint, the first BMW S1000RR was introduced in 2009, when BMW offered 1000 bikes as homologation specialties for racing. Following its overwhelming success in 2009, BMW decided to turn it into an economically feasible production bike starting in 2010 and to continue through 2015. This motorcycle would become BMW's first contemporary sportbike, and it would make an indelible mark on the motorcycle industry that has endured to the current day.
Upon first glance, the first-generation S1000RR didn't seem to be anything particularly exceptional. It had a pretty standard set of components, including an inline-four engine with ABS, Brembo brakes, Bosch electrical controls, and a comfortable suspension packaged in an aerodynamic package. On the other hand, BMW was able to take those elements and create something even more significant.
The S1000RR was an incredible weapon, delivering 193 horsepower and 82.5 pound-feet of torque while hitting top speeds exceeding the 186 mph Gentleman's Agreement. Buyers who choose the optional accessories, on the other hand, experienced something very different.
- Ducati 1299 Panigale Superleggera
Something about the 1299 Superleggera makes it worthy of inclusion on this list, although any Panigale would be excellent. They drew everyone's attention to the Superleggera since it was the top-tier 1299 model initially emerged in 2016. The Panigale 1299 Superleggera is a limited edition of 500 units that takes the standard Panigale and turns it into eleven. As a result, it was even lighter than the 1199 Superleggera that came before it, allowing it to fight with the greatest in the world on a superlight sportbike with an incredible power-to-weight ratio.
The Superquadro V-twin engine, which had a displacement of 1285 cc and produced 215 horsepower and 108 lb-ft of torque, was the most powerful factory twin-engine ever made. Because titanium and aluminum components were used in place of steel components, it was both powerful and lightweight. However, to optimize the engine's potential, Ducati needed to reduce the weight of everything else on the bike.
It was accomplished using a carbon fiber frame, subframe, swingarm, and wheels. The Superleggera's total weight was reduced to 344 lbs dry and 268 kg wet, thanks to carbon fiber in the fairings and other parts of the bike. It was very lightweight, but it was also quite costly. Each had a price of $80,000 and was limited to only 500 bikes in production.
- Kawasaki Ninja H2
A new Kawasaki Ninja H2 motorcycle entered the market in 2015. The introduction of this all-new supercharged hyper sports motorbike was a breath of fresh air for the motorcycling industry. In contrast to the terrifying and outlandish H2R, H2 conceived the streets rather than in a few chosen restricted circuits. There is no way it could produce more than 300 horsepower, but it does make more than 200, which is plenty for most people.
The H2 is powered by a 998cc inline-four engine that has been supercharged. It was the world's first production supercharged vehicle of its sort. Rather than relying on third-party technology, the Kawasaki supercharger was developed specifically for the H2 engine from the ground up. Consequently, the air pressure in the airbox is 2.4 times greater than the surrounding atmosphere, allowing for some explosive performance.
It should be no surprise that the H2 can reach speeds above 200 mph thanks to its 210 horsepower. Although the H2 is very quick, it is equipped with more than just a supercharged engine. It has the feel of a high-end motorcycle: the fit and quality of every component are excellent, and the engine is powerful. Every machine component, from the suspension to the brakes to the flex in the chassis, is designed to withstand the machine's incredible power. Indeed, it's a fast motorbike, but it's also surprisingly comfortable to ride. Although the figures might be overwhelming, you remain in complete control at all times.
And when it initially entered the market, the price was a shocking $25,000. That’s not too cheap for one of the greatest sports bikes ever built.