Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa 1999

If the phrase, “fastest production motorcycle,” means anything to you, then you’ve come to the right place.

In 1999, the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa blasted past that record by a whopping 20 miles per hour.

The Fastest Production Motorcycle

Prior to 1999, Honda and Kawasaki were tearing each other apart battling for the title of the fastest production motorcycle. From 1984 to 1988, the winner was Honda. 1984 to 1996, it was the Kawasaki GPZ900R Ninja. Kawasaki then beat its own record multiple times until Honda came back with Super Blackbird in 1996.

But all of that changed when a new contender appeared: the 1999 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa. The previous top speed, holding the record for the Super Blackbird, was just about 170 miles per hour. The new top speed, set by the Hayabusa: 190.1 miles per hour.

Designing a Record-Breaker

When it comes to the technology used in the creation of the world’s fastest production motorcycle, there is no room for skimping. If the frame is a pound too heavy or a pound too light, or if one nut or bolt is a millimeter too far left or too far right, the whole thing can go up in smoke.

The designers were determined to break the record used a four-stroke, transverse four-cylinder, DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder, a massive displacement of 1,298cc, and a compression ratio of 11.0:1. 

Many Variations, but Only One Hayabusa

A wide number of Hayabusa models and generations have gone into and out of production under a multitude of different names. However, only one will ever be known as a record-breaking masterpiece of ingenious design and engineering: the 1999 Hayabusa.

  • Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (1999)

The original Hayabusa had an output potential of 175 horsepower at 9,800 rpm and 102 pounds per foot of torque. Under no circumstances should any beginner hop on the saddle of a 1999 Hayabusa unless his goal is to end up nothing more than a skidmark across the asphalt.

There is simply too much power in this model for a newcomer. After all, why would somebody think that the best motorcycle with which to start off would be the fastest production motorcycle in the world?

  • Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa (2000-present)

The Hayabusa is still in production today, although significantly different in almost every way from the 1999 Hayabusa. Now only does the maximum speed of this model range from ten to fifteen miles per hour slower at top speeds, it doesn’t have nearly the power or output potential.

The Hayabusa in the News

The Hayabusa keeps getting announced year after year to continue the model’s legacy, although any prospective buyers should know that the new, stripped-down, post-1999 models don’t bear nearly the strength nor the power of the original.

Famous Media

No films or TV shows were ever made showcasing the raw power of the 1999 Hayabusa, surprisingly enough. You would expect that it would have at least been featured in the Fast and the Furious franchise, but it seems to have been entirely overlooked.

Social Groups

There are tens of thousands of fans from the US to Tokyo, all of whom love the Hayabusa. The Suzuki Hayabusa Lovers and Suzuki Hayabusa pages on facebook both have more than 10,000 likes!

The 1999 Suzuki GSX1300$ Hayabusa – a Miracle of Design

Not every motorcycle gets to be awarded the title of the world’s fastest production motorcycle. It takes a serious company with incredible designers and world-class engineers to fill those boots, and in 1999 that honor belonged to Suzuki.

Kawasaki KR-1S

Another in a long line of racing bikes, the Kawasaki KR-1S blows other superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters clean out of the water.

If you find yourself lining up for a race beside of these bad boys, just give up. You’ve already lost.

An Accidental Racer

Kawasaki had been creating racing bikes since 1969 through a process of design and engineering that this mega manufacturer had well under control. That said, you might expect the famous racing classic KR-1 to have been designed for racing. You would be wrong.

Unlike many of Kawasaki’s other models, the KR-1 was not based on the design of a previous racing bike. Rather, it was based on drawings intended for construction as a sleek, modernized road-running, high-performance commercial model. The KR-1S was the consequence of this bike’s natural evolution.

Designed for Commerce, Destined for Competition

Despite the fact that the KR-1 was initially intended for standard road usage, albeit with incredible performance potential, in production it quickly proved to have a mind of its own. Designers and engineers soon found themselves christening the KR-1S supersport.

Both the KR-1 and the KR-1S were two-stroke supersports meant for paved on-road driving. The KR-1S, however, was built with many qualities that were first introduced to the series in the KR-1, but the bike was simply more optimized for speed and competition.

A Timeless Model

In the KR-series there are other models, but there is only one generation of the KR-1S. It followed the less-powerful KR-1 and preceded the powerful, yet different, KR-1R C and D series.

  • Kawasaki KR-1S (1988-1992)

The engine used in the construction of the KR-1S was a two-stroke, parallel twin-cylinder, electronic engine with a variable exhaust and a 249cc displacement. The KR-1S sported a nice 59.1 horsepower and was capable of hitting speeds of 135 miles per hour.

This high-octane “consumer supersport” (really, who does Kawasaki think it’s kidding?) had a standing quarter mile time of only 12.9 seconds at a speed of 108 miles per hour.

The KR-1S in the News

On January 17, 2019, Motorcycle News published an article on the KR-1S in which the author’s “revisited” the masterclass racing machine that dominated the 1990s

Fifteen Seconds of Fame? Not One

The Kawasaki KR-1S might have come to be known as the pinnacle of motorcycle technology for the 1990s, but Hollywood never picked it up for use in any films. The KR 150, however, was everywhere.

Social Groups

Typically, when a motorcycle has only a few film and TV credits, that’s emblematic of a weak pop-culture following, making it incredibly difficult to find robust and well-rounded social groups for the motorcycle. Fortunately, that’s not the case for the KR-1S!

The Kawasaki KR-1S – a Missed Opportunity

If you haven’t yet ridden a Kawasaki KR-1S, what are you waiting for? This superbike, which Kawsaki for whatever reason believes isn’t a racing bike but just a casual riding motorcycle, is an all-around wonder of design. Unfortunately, they’re out of production today, but that just makes them all the more valuable.

Kawasaki ZXR-750R

This motorcycle has more than earned its nickname of “Ninja;” it’s staked out the competition and carved its name into the asphalt for years to come.

The ZXR-750R, also known as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R is a masterpiece to behold.

History of the Ninja

Kawasaki was initially an aircraft manufacturer in the early 1900s and it didn’t even market its motorcycles under the Kawasaki label until the 1960s. Before then, their motorcycles were known as Meguro motos, because of Kawasaki’s purchase of Meguro Manufacturing, a motorcycle company.

However, once Kawasaki got a taste for motorcycles, they quickly went all in, producing model after model, generation after generation, and classic after classic, including the Kawasaki ZXR-750R.

An Agile Design

The ZXR-750R wasn’t called the Ninja just out of coincidence. It earned that title by being sleek, agile, and faster than its competition, capable of sweeping in from one direction and disappearing into the other in a matter of seconds.

This feat of engineering was accomplished by inserting a four-stroke, transverse, four-cylinder, DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder and a displacement of 749cc into a lightweight, aluminum perimeter frame resulting in a total dry weight of 418.8 pounds.

Only One Ninja

Kawasaki updated the ZXR-750R every year or so, but never modified it enough to warrant calling it an entirely new generation of the Ninja.

  • Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R, a.k.a. ZXR-750R (1989-2003)

Kawasaki produced the Ninja for a grand total of fifteen years, making only minor adjustments where they were needed over the years. In 1993, a single-tube air system was put in place, which was replaced again in 1996 by a double-tube air system. That’s pretty much it in terms of changes.

The heavy duty engine designed for 121 horsepower at 10,500 rpm, torque of approximately 53.8 foot-pounds. A six-speed transmission to optimize gear-shifting of an engine with a 10.8:1 compression ratio enabled this amazing racing machine to hit speeds of over 150 miles per hour.

The Ninja in the News

On August 15th, 2019, the Ninja made headlines by pushing Kawasaki to lower prices on their new motorcycles, making now the cheapest-ever time to buy a brand new Kawasaki motorcycle.

Hollywood Fame

Versions of Kawasaki Ninjas have been on the silver screen for quite some time, racking up dozens of film and TV credits. Two of the most well known shows in which the Ninja appeared are Hawaii Five-0 and Murder, She Wrote.

Social Groups

As with any natural-born racing masterpiece, there are plenty of people itching to talk about their builds and rides when it comes to the Kawasaki Ninja. The Kawasaki Ninja Owners group on Facebook, for example, has more than 2,000 members.

The Kawasaki Ninja – a Racing Extraordinaire

Everybody who gets the chance to drive a Kawasaki Ninja comes away feeling the need for more fuel, more fire, more speed. Unfortunately, this model is now more of a collector’s item than a commodity, but Kawasaki is working harder now than ever before to give you what you want.

Yamaha XT 600

The Yamaha XT 600 led the world in off-road performance, precision, and power during its heyday.

Not only did it rise to fame for its success and popularity in the Enduro circuit, but it was also widely purchased for casual off-road entertainment.

Yamaha’s Breakthrough into Enduro

Enduro motocross isn’t just any old ordinary off-road race track like AMA flat-track racing. Far from it! In fact, Enduro competitions typically don’t even have a track at all, but a designated path through mud, swamps, gravel, mountains, and worse. A real nightmare for most motorcycles.

However, this sort of circuit was a piece of cake for the Yamaha XT 600, which was specifically designed to be an all-purpose Enduro racing champion.

Versatile Design

Between 1982 and 2003, the Yamaha XT 600 was the most popular Enduro racing bike in the world, but why? It might have had something to do with the incredible suspension system, capable of absorbing shocks and redistributing pressure in a more economical way.

Then again, it might have been due to the air/oil-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder, SOHC engine with four valves per cylinder in a frame with a mere 339.5lb total wet weight.

Multiple Variations on a Theme

Yamaha tweaked and modified the XT 600 quite a few times. However, plentiful modifications doesn’t necessarily mean plentiful generations.

  • Yamaha XT 600 (1982-2003)

The XT 600 demonstrated its affinity for mud and power to win by dominating the Enduro circuits between 1982 and 2003 thanks to an ingeniously designed suspension system that used a combination of telescoping forks in the front and a swing arm in the back.

The engine used was capable of producing 46 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, top speeds of just about 100 miles per hour, and about 32.55 pound-force feet of torque, making it perfectly suited for driving in and out of rough terrain as well as shooting down the straightaways.

The XT 600 in the News

As recently as April of 2019, multiple XT 600 builds were showcased at the Outlier’s Guild Motorcycle Show and featured in a highlight reel titled “The Best of the Outlier’s Guild Motorcycle Show” published on BikeEXIF.com

One of the Most Famous Motorcycles Ever

Very few, if any, motorcycles are said to have been used in as many films and TV shows as the XT 600. In fact, if you search for the Yamaha XT 600 in the Internet Movie Cars Database (IMCDB.com) you’ll find more than 100 results.

Social Groups

Considering how many credits the XT 600 has under its belt, you would expect that it would have countless Facebook groups with thousands of members, right? Well, that is exactly the case. This page in particular has more than 20,000 likes.

The Yamaha XT 600 – the Godfather of Enduro Racing

No other motorcycle in history has had as much of an impact on the Enduro racing industry as the Yamaha XT 600, a credit that the XT 600 will quite likely keep to itself for decades to come. Then again, who knows? Maybe Yamaha has something better in store. Here’s hoping.

Aprilia Moto 6.5

Relatively light for the amount of power at its disposal, this beetle-like motorcycle makes any rider feel like they have wings.

For many, the sheer speed and magnificent performance is enough to overlook the gawdy, awkward aesthetics of the Aprilia Moto 6.5.

A Competitive Start

Aprilia has a long and colorful history, rivaling that of the other popular Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati. Aprilia started in 1945 as a bicycle company, a focus that the company would maintain until the founder’s son literally took things into his own hands.

In 1968, Ivano Beggio and a few partners, hand-crafted the company’s first moped and quickly began shifting production to motorcycles. After many long decades or innovation and competition, the Aprilia Moto 6.5 was born.

Aprilia Versus Ducati

Aprilia and Ducati have always been duking it out to see who could capture the largest market capitalization both internationally as well as at home in Italy. Like this long-standing competition, the case of the Moto 6.5 was somewhat of a wash.

Under the hood was an engine with slightly above-average power. Despite this interesting engine configuration, widespread criticism circulated denigrating the designers for not creating an engine to keep up with the more unique design.

One Model Over Nine Years

Aprilia put the Moto 6.5 through only one generation during its nine years in production before taking it off the assembly line to be replaced by motorcycles that collectors and niche audiences considered more marketable.

  • Aprilia Moto 6.5 (1995-2003)

The four-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC, 5-valve engine used in the Moto 6.5 was often criticized for being weak or under-performing compared to other superbikes, motorcycles, or scooters of the time.

The Moto 6.5 had a miniscule horsepower of 43 at 7,000 rpm and was only capable of speeds as high as 93.1 miles per hour. What it lacked in power, however, it made up for in control. The tubular steel frame in total had a dry weight of only 330 pounds, significantly below the weights of the heavier doubles and triples on the market.

The fuel economy of the 6.5 was one of its biggest claims to fame, coming in at a total of about 41.3 miles per gallon, making it great for driving to and from work or school or taking it on a long ride out of town.

The Aprilia Moto 6.5 in the News

Almost two decades after Aprilia removed the Moto 6.5 from production, the motorcycle industry is still abuzz with arguments over whether or not the Aprilia Moto 6.5 should be considered a classic.

Famous Media

Despite its polarizing presence among the classics, the Aprilia Moto 6.5 has managed to secure multiple credits in TV and film.

Social Groups

Plenty of Aprilia groups can be found with a simple Google search, but this one is perhaps the best there is for owners of the Moto 6.5.

The Aprilia Moto 6.5 – A Disputed Classic

Even after more than twenty years since the Moto 6.5 first went into production, we have half the world of motorcycling saying that it doesn’t belong among the classics and the other half saying that classics don’t have to be simply high-powered machines.

But like it or not, the Moto 6.5 is here to stay.

Honda VFR750R

The VFR series is one of Honda’s longest-lasting production lines, and there’s no question as to why.

From power to performance, output to control, the VFR series is unstoppable, particularly the VFR 750R.

Quite the Living Legacy

Honda’s VFR-series motorcycles are among the minority of superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters privileged enough to live in production long enough to see their own legacy take shape.

Honda began production of its first VFR-series motorbike, the VFR750F, in 1986 and continues it even today with the newest addition to the VFR series: the VFR1200X in 2017. However, none stand out quite like the VFR750R.

A Design that Works

The VFR750R was designed with paved road racing in mind, which you can easily tell just by looking at it, though this becomes more obvious when you dig through the model’s specifications.

The lightweight backbone-type, diamond frame enables the hefty four-stroke, 90-degree, V-four cylinder, DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder and a displacement of 748cc to rip and roar across the tarmac with accuracy, precision, and of course speed.

There Can Only Be One

Unfortunately, there was only one model of the 750R every produced (though it was reproduced for one year much later on down the line). On the bright side, however, it was already perfect just the way it was.

  • Honda VFR 750R (1987-1990)

Despite the fact that the VFR family has dozens of different (or in many cases, identical other than a few minor changes) models, the VFR750R stands out as the supreme and superior option, making whoever said “first is the worst” look like a total fool.

The VFR750R had 112 horsepower at 11,500 rpm and a max speed of 151.8 miles per hour, but that’s not to say it was all go and no stop. The VFR750R had an amazingly safe and casual 62 mile per hour braking distance of only 115 feet.

The VFR750R in the News

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the VFR750R was a must-have in racing, almost constantly in the news. However, it’s since fallen from that spotlight, though it still enjoys some news coverage, just not as much as when it was king of the raceway.

Celebrity Endorsements

Three big names in racing famously won various racing championships while on the saddle of a VFR750R: Fred Merkel, Robert Dunlop, and Steve Hislop. Few modern racing celebrities still use the original 750R models, although certainly they all know and respect this classic superbike.

Social Groups

Having had their heyday in the racing circuit before the advent of social media, there’s not much out there in the realm of massive groups or pages on Facebook, but here is one with just over one thousand likes.

The Honda VFR750R C30 – a Racing Machine

Although the VFR750R has been removed from production for quite some time now, it has yet to be removed from the hearts and minds of collectors and auto-enthusiasts; and, if the specifications and smooth, powerful ride have anything to say about it, it never will be.

Triumph Speed Triple

Speed, speed, speed. That’s what’s in Triumph’s triple. Triple the Triumph, triple the success.

With three cylinders of power and great frame to maintain control at high speeds, it’s no wonder that this series of motorcycle has made a name for itself in the world of superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters.

History of Victory

Triumph Engineering was founded in 1885, lasted through two world wars, the great depression, and multiple booms and busts of the economy; but, eventually, poor finances got the best of the company and forced it into receivership in 1983 after 98 years in business.

That same year, the defunct Triumph Engineering was purchased by John Bloor and molded into Triumph Motorcycles, which would go on to become the largest motorcycle manufacturer in all of the U.K. 

Designed for Speed

When it came to competition, the Speed Triple’s reputation preceded it. It was a bike that needed no introduction. Instead, its specifications spoke for themselves.

Ever since the inception of the Speed Triple in 1994, power has been the number one priority. The 1994 model sported a four-stroke, transverse three-cylinder, DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder and a displacement of 749cc.

A Long and Wild Timeline

The Triumph Speed Triple has undergone thirty different generations of production, changing significantly from one to the next. It would be impossible to discuss them all in one short article, so let’s focus our attention on what they were, where they went, and where they are now.

  • Triumph Speed Triple (1994-1996)

This model’s immediate claim to fame should rightfully be attributed to its incredible specifications: an 11:1 compression ratio, 84 horsepower at 9,900 rpm, and either 49 or 66 foot-pounds of torque, depending on the engine purchased.

  • Triumph Speed Triple (2000-2001)

This particular model saw the beginning of the marked transition from the classic-style silhouette to the modern “racer’s cool” cruising cosmetics. Horsepower and torque were also increased to 110 and 70 (with the option for 95), respectively.

  • Triumph Speed Triple (2017-present)

Triumph markets the newest addition to the Speed Triple family as exactly what it is: the most powerful generational model that the series has ever seen. The newest models have 148 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 86 foot-pounds of torque wrapped up in a 1050cc engine.

The Triumph Speed Triple in the News

The Triumph Speed Triple is lucky enough to be a series of living classics. While many other classics were posthumously awarded the rank of “classic” after their production ceased, that’s simply not the case for the Speed Triple, meaning that Triumph is frequently publishing more and more news of its success on its website.

Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrities love Triumph. Both Tom Cruise and Michael Fassbender have openly endorsed Triumph Speed Triples in the past and plenty of other celebrities have marveled over other Triumph models.

Social Groups

If the celebrities are doing it, you can guarantee that the fans are, too. Actually, in this case, the fans were doing it long before the celebrities. Here’s a page intended for owners of Triumph Speed Triples with almost 3,000 likes.

The Triumph Speed Triple – Speed Made Real

The Triumph Speed Triple is one of the fortunate few superbikes, motorcycles, or scooters to ever stay in production while being considered a classic. Even if you refuse to consider anything made after 1999 a classic, you have to admit: the modern Triple is one beast of a machine.

Yamaha XV535

Yamaha is known for high-quality motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters capable of dominating their sections of the market for years and sometimes decades on end.

The two generations of the XV535, with their speed and maneuverability, serve to prove this point.

An Age Old History

The history of the Yamaha Motor Corporation is a long one, but not as long as many other brands such as Ducati or Honda. Beginning with production of the YA1 motorcycle in 1955, the engineers at Yamaha have had a lengthy and difficult journey, and the XV535 shows just how far they’ve come.

Production first began for the XV535 in 1988 under the name Yamaha XV535 DX Virago. This bike was intended for use as a cruiser motorcycle to supplement Yamaha’s lack of market capitalization in that sector of the motorcycle industry.

Designed for the Ride

The XV5353 DX Virago was specifically engineered to provide riders with a smooth, easy, and challenge-free ride anywhere from the open road to around the block.

The engine used on the original model was similar to those used in previous, more high-performance-focused superbikes. It had an air-cooled, four-stroke, V-Twin (two valves per cylinder), SOHC engine with a 535cc displacement.

An Extremely Diverse Family

Production of Yamaha’s XV-series began in 1981 and continues to the present in 2019. All-in-all, there are more than 50 different generations of models split between the XV family, though only two can lay claim to the XV535 title.

  • Yamaha XV535 DX Virago (1988-1998)

Despite its high performance on the street and on the road, and its fame for being such a smooth and enjoyable ride, the mirrors and parts of the frame were known to vibrate and wobble at high revs, making it dangerously unsafe to travel near maximum speed for extended periods of time.

  • Yamaha XV535 Virago (1999-2000)

The second generation of the XV535, released in 1999, aimed to fix the issues with the frame wobbling and shaking. Ultimately, these fixes came too late and Yamaha was forced to move on to the production of more popular motorcycles.

The XV535 in the News

In 2018, Hotcars.com listed the Yamaha XV535 in its list of 20 classic motorcycles that every collector should immediately purchase before prices invariably rise, as has been the case with many classics in the past.

Credits on Credits on Credits

Few motorcycles can boast of rap sheets as long as that of the Yamaha XV535. Just a glance at its IMCDB search results populates dozens of credits for use on the sets of a wide array of TV shows and movies.

Social Groups

Yamaha has quite a robust social following, although maybe not as robust as Ducati’s or that of Harley Davidson. Nonetheless, it’s still quite easy to find a solid social media group for socializing with other owners and enthusiasts. Check out this one for example.

The Yamaha XV535 – a Lesson in Comfort

Although the engineers and designers at Yamaha took far too long before finding a way to resolve the shaking and vibration issues of the earlier models at higher speeds, the 1999 and 2000 models for the most part don’t show any sign of this, making them an absolute must-have for any learner trying to warm themselves up before making the jump to the bigger engines.

Honda FireBlade

Fire in the name, fire in the engine, and fire on the tracks, this super sport puts other superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters on the back burner and roasts its competition.

What else could you expect of a modern model produced by none other than Honda?

A Hotrod’s History

Honda first put the Fireblade into production in 1992 under the alphabet-soup style name Honda CBR900RR SC23. With a name like that, it’s no wonder that people preferred to call it the FireBlade.

In 1992, the first FireBlade set itself up for success when it hit the market, landing firmly as the second lightest motorcycle in the world in the over 750cc category.

Lightweight Design

The lightweight design of the Honda FireBlade made it capable of going further on less, not that it had to. While some bikes will lower frame weight in order to increase speed capabilities with weaker engines, the engineers at Honda found a way to lower frame weight without sacrificing engine output.

This made for a monstrously powerful ride that could rip through the tracks like, well, a flaming blade through butter.

The Five Fingers of the FireBlade

Five primary models of FireBlades have been produced since 1992, each retaining the lightweight physique that made the original so successful while also adding, removing, and/or improving other parts to make for the best possible super sport.

  • CBR900RR SC28 (first and second generation; 1992-1995)

The first model set the stage for those that followed to ride on the coattails of its success for generations, pun intended. Honda’s ingenious ability to put a high-performance, 893cc, inline four-stroke engine inside a lightweight trellis frame proved incredibly valuable as this line showed.

  • CBR900RR SC33 (third and fourth generation; 1996-1999)

The engine was increased with the third generation up to a displacement of 919cc as well as improvements to the frame. The fourth generation experienced a near total redesign of the chassis.

  • CBR929RR SC44 (fifth generation; 2000-2001)

Once again, the engine was increased, this time up to 929CC.

  • CBR954RR SC50 (sixth generation; 2002-2003)

Keeping with the theme, Honda chose to use a larger engine for this model as well: 954cc.

  • CBR1000RR (2004-present)

The 2019 model has the largest engine of all them at 999cc, but more edits were made than just to the size. The entire engine was boosted with increased horsepower, torque, and more.

News of the FireBlade

Honda recently announced its plans to continue production of the FireBlade for at least until the end of 2019. Though, with the success that the line has been building over the past couple decades, it is doubtful that Honda will remove it from production any time soon.

Celebrity Endorsements

Michael Schumaker, a world-famous racer, participated in countless races on the back of a FireBlade with little to no problems. However, in 2009, he had a near fatal crash during a race, in which he skipped across the tarmac and lost consciousness.

Social Groups

If Formula One racers are playing with FireBlades, you can guarantee that their fans are too. Some Honda motorcycle groups have grown into the thousands on Facebook. This one designed for FireBlades is no exception.

The Honda CBR900RR – The FireBlade

FireBlades, like flaming blades, are not all fun and games. When experiencing the exhilarating thrill of driving one of these bad boys, you have to be absolutely sure to dress for the slide, not the ride. After all, if you play with fire, you might get burned.

Matchless G80

When it comes to the competition, the G80 is Matchless in more ways than one.

From the cold and calculated silhouette to the grinding roar of the exhaust, this masterclass machine has everything a superbike enthusiast or even a motorcycle purist could ever want.

Reserved Its Place in History

Initially produced by the Matchless Motorcycle Company in 1949, the G80 was absolutely peerless. It’s design marveled collectors and riders alike. Everybody wanted one. Unfortunately, the Matchless company didn’t have the same reputation.

Founded in 1899, Matchless began making motorcycles soon after, only to run itself out of business in 1966. Some might call it a coincidence that this happened a mere three years after the company’s decision to remove the G80 from production. Others might call it cause and effect.

A Matchless Design

The G80 was truly one of a kind. In many ways, it still is even today. Like others in its time, it was a push-rod single with standard architecture and design in that respect. What really set it apart, however, wasn’t to be found in the individual components but how they were brought together.

Nothing was necessarily over-the-top special or unique about the engine, suspension, or even the frame; but the way the engineers managed to put all of these rather humdrum parts together made for a timeless classic with unique potential and incredible performance.

The Black Sheep

The G80 is part of the long-standing G-series motorcycles produced by Matchless, but only one G80 generation was ever put into production. You could call the G80, the black sheep of the G-series.

  • Matchless G80 (1949-1963)

Put into production at the end of World War II, the G80 soared to the top of recovery-era demand. Not only did it have all the parts and potential that riders wanted in a motorcycle, but it exceeded those expectations in a way seldom seen in its competitors prior to this.

The engine was a rather moderate four-stroke single with a pushrod and two valves for the single cylinder.

Everything else from the frame to the suspension followed a similar standard design; however, the use of teledraulic forks instead of the more commonplace girder forks gave this model a fluidity of speed and control that set it far above the rest.

News of the Matchless G80

Matchless went belly up more than half a century ago and production of the G80 stopped even before then, so there hasn’t been much in the realm of modern news for fans and collectors of the G80.

Famous Media

Perhaps the most famous portrayal of the G80 is in the 2001 blockbuster film James Dean, in which James Franco plays the cult-pop icon. James Dean and some of his associates were known to be quite fond of the G80.

Social Groups

The best place to go to socialize with other Matchless owners and G80 enthusiasts is most definitely the Worldwide AJS and Matchless Motorbike Owners group on Facebook.

The Matchless G80 – a Classic without a Match

Whether or not Matchless went out of business primarily because of their decision to remove the G80 from production, as a mere side effect, or due to financial burdens of operating through two massive wars and a world-wide depression remains a mystery.

But if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the classic G80 is set in stone as an eternal icon in the world of superbikes, motorcycles, and scooters.