The five most significant motorcycles of the modern era.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jack Briggs, Dec 1, 2002.

  1. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    • 1969 Honda CB750K0
    • 1960 Honda Cub 50
    • 1967 Honda CB77 305 "Superhawk"
    • 1973 Kawasaki Z-1 903
    • 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Honorable mentions:

    • 1975 Honda GL1000 GoldWing
    • 1977 Suzuki GS750
    • 1983 Honda VF750F Interceptor
    • 1970 Yamaha DT-1
    • 1969 Kawasaki H-1 500
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Most pleasing motorcycle from both subjective and objective viewpoints:
    • Honda CBR600F (all series, on up to the present Fi)
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Triumph Bonneville—despite the electrical system—my favorite possession when I rode.
    Indian—can’t remember the model number, but an older cousin took me for a spin (my first time on a bike) on his many years ago.
    A second for the ’67 Honda 305.
    Any Harley Sportster from 60s
    Vincent Black Shadow/Lightning
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Maybe this will attract more participation in a new location.

    I selected the original Honda CB750 Four as the most siginificant motorcycle of the modern era based on the fact this single model changed the entire two-wheeled paradigm: It de facto took out the British motorcycle industry, reintroduced the four-cylinder engine as an industry standard, performed brilliantly at a startlingly economical price, introduced the first hydraulic front-disc brake, and an and on.

    No other single bike had so far-reaching an impact.

    Similarly, the little step-through Cub 50 laid the groundwork for what would become the most powerful motorcycle manufacturer in history. It was the Cub 50 that made it such that you could "meet the nicest people on a Honda." It was nonthreatening to a public that looked at motorcycles as instruments of the dark forces.

    And the CB77 Superhawk showed that Honda, with its SOHC 305cc vertical twin engine, could perform up there with the 500cc and 650cc Triumph Twins and give an XLCH Sportster a run for its money.
     
  6. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    No BMWs in the list?
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    topics too broad. Best for what? Lots of bike have revolutionized different aspects of motorcycling.
    no BMW's come to mind because they haven't done a whole lot. They build fantastic bikes but nothing revolutionary, aside from their airbag development and use of linked/ABS brakes. They just kind of do their own little thing and thumb their noses at the rest of us.
    I would like to have a boxer cup replica though [​IMG]
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I'm not saying the "best" bikes necessarily, but the most significant in terms of their impact on the industry and the riding public. And I also am keeping it to the modern era. So the original Triumph vertical twins deserve mention as they wrested the industry from the chokehold of the American V-Twins.

    An all-time list (all eras) would have to make room for the Indian Chief and Indian Four, as well as for BMW's original boxers and Harley's efforts.

    Face it: The Japanese Big Four own this industry.

    Other significant bikes:

    • Ducati's original desmodromic V-Twin, the GT750 from 1971.
    • Honda's first serious motocrosser, the 1973 250 Elsinore.
    • The 1978 Kawasaki KZ900 LTD, the first Japanese factory "cruiser" (and what an impact that idiom has had on the sport).
    • Norton's original 750 Commando from 1969 (because of its then-unique "Isolastic" engine-mounting system).
     
  9. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I have to say the honda goldwing, for providing a level of touring comfort unheard of beforehand, who knew people would want all that shiz on two wheels. Reverse, cd players, air adjustable suspension, amazing.
    I agree with the GSXR-750 for the same reasons as you, probably.
    I do have to toss in the aprilia mille, who knew an upstart could kick ass in GP and rival ducati on their home turf. I think that bike will open up the doors for future bikes from aprilia like the tuono, that will change motorcycling down the road.
    the t595 speed triple, just because it's cool as hell and there's nothing like it [​IMG]
    I might be biased by recent reading, but I'll go witht he V max bringing up the rear, one of the first great power cruisers.
    good call on the norton commando, BTW.
     
  10. Brandon_T

    Brandon_T Screenwriter

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    I miss my F1, [​IMG]
     
  11. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    I would have to say the Honda CBR 600 "F2" would be a honorable mention. The F Series was mild compared to the completly revamped F2 series. The "F" series hasnt changed much since the F2 came out in 91(?) Sure they have changed, but not much.
    However, my opinion is biased, since I am a proud owner of a 91 F2 which I have owned since 93 [​IMG]
     
  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The Rune's leading link front suspension is nothing like the Telelever in any way, even remotely. The Telelever is used exclusively I assume because BMW owns the technology.
    So a technology's not revolutionary unless the rest of the industry copies it?
    That's a valid point I think.
    Important advances like overhead valves, OHC, DOHC, liquid cooling, shaft drive, telescoping forks, rear suspension, and perimeter frames have become industry standard. Telelevers and desmo valves have not.
    The Telelever could be copied I suppose. It is a superior technology to conventional forks in most ways. Of course the RADD suspension seen on the Yamaha GTS was superior and revolutionary also, butlook what happened to that. (happened to what?).
     
  15. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Interesting call about the original 1984 ZX908 Ninja. It was the first of the modern sportbikes to utilize a liquid-cooled transverse inline DOHC 16-valve Four. Cagiva had been working on a liquid-cooled transverse inline Four, but the Big K beat them to the punch.

    Now, nearly all sportbikes are built around liquid-cooled transverse inline Fours. So, the first Ninja was a major influence.
     
  16. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  17. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    (From the Guggenheim exhibits....)

    HILDEBRAND & WOLFMUELLER 1,489 cc, 1894, Germany

    "The Hildebrand & Wolfmueller became the first powered two-wheeled vehicle to be offered to the public on a series production basis. The Hildebrand was crucial in its move away from the foot pedal as the main source of engine power. The motorcycle was no longer a hybrid, but a machine with its own essential qualities."

    Indian Chief 1,206 cc, 1948

    "The Indian Chief debuted in 1922. During the 31 years that it was produced, this archetype of the American cruiser was Harley-Davidson's main sales competitor in the V-twin heavyweight class. Capable of a top speed of 85 mph, it could travel 35 to 45 miles on a single gallon of fuel. The Indian Chief was frequently the first to introduce new features that were later adopted by its Milwaukee rival, Harley-Davidson. The late-model Chief was distinguished from other motorcycles of its era by the long, graceful sweep of its deeply valenced fenders, first introduced in 1940 and subsequently adopted enthusiastically by Harley-Davidson and the new generation of Japanese designed cruisers."

    Honda C100 Super Cub 49 cc, 1963

    "One of the most important motorcycle designs of the century, this little 49-cc step-through was responsible for establishing Honda's reputation worldwide. With a reliable, virtually unbreakable engine and a revolutionary use of plastic bodywork to protect the rider from the weather, the Super Cub appealed directly to non-motorcyclists—the “nicest people” in Honda's famous advertisement. Approximately 26 million of these attractive and utilitarian machines have been produced."

    Harley-Davidson Model 7D 49 ci, 1911

    "The first Harley-Davidson V-twin engine appeared in 1909, based on the popular French Griffon design, but the engine was flawed, and few machines were produced. The Milwaukee manufacturer did not offer another twin until 1911, when the firm expanded its line beyond the single-cylinder model that had been its sole product. The revised V-twin engine, the Model 7D, was the first in an uninterrupted succession of V-twins that have remained a hallmark of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle."
     
  18. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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  19. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Actually I believe that the 900 Ninja offered even more than you've specified. It had a full fairing and better brakes than people had seen. Also, the side mounted cam chain was very important as well.

    Shawn,

    Do you happen to have any of the text about the 900 Ninja that was featured in the Gugenheim/BMW exhibit? Or the CB750 for that matter?
     
  20. Mike Ilano

    Mike Ilano Extra

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    Anyone remember the "Hans Muth" designed Suzuki KATANA? Man, I think that's classic [​IMG]
     

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