The first bike we can call a superbike hit the roads over 50 years ago. Since then, the market has given us some stunning machines, not only looks-wise. Breath-taking – and we do mean they take your breath away as you speed off – technological advancements mean these bikes can literally give MotoGP bikes a run for their money.
The level of fine-tuning means superbikes handle better and have more powerful engines, yet are fully road legal. In fact, some of these bikes might just be too powerful for road use, if that’s possible. Owners of these bikes say they need to make sure they’re fully aware of the speedometer at all times or they find the bike has crept up to way-past-legal speeds without the rider even noticing.
Compiling a list of the top 10 superbikes is difficult, cutting that down to only five is even more of a challenge. Read on to see if you agree with the choices.
Norton V4 SS and RR
There is no way you’d ever miss this gleaming silver machine; the V4 does a wonderful impression of a speeding bullet as it flies around the track. Influenced by some of the most prestigious British luxury cars – think an Aston Martin that’s been turned into a superbike – but it’s got the power to back up the flashy paint job as it’s been tested and refined at the Isle of Man TT.
Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5/K6
This has tobe the bike you need make sure you’reconstantly keeping in check. The engine is a monster and weighing in at only ateeny-tiny 166kg if you’re not careful you’ll have a nice wad of speeding tickets being delivered aftereach ride. Totally worth it, though!
Image attribution: Marcoscm [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Ducati 1198S 2008-2011
With its bright red paint job and much lighter weight, this bikedeserves to be on any list of the best superbikes! It’s a bike that every fanof two wheels should aim to ride at least once in their lives.
Image attribution: Dédélembrouille [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
KTM 1290 Super Duke R Special Edition
Thissuperbike isn’t called the Special Edition fornothing. The eye-popping orange paint jobtakes a backseat to this naked bike’s smorgasbord of KTM PowerParts. It’s lighter,more precise, better sounding, and features hand-levers that can be tailored toyour needs amongst a host of other features. This limited-edition beast (itsofficial nickname is actually “The Beast”) of asuperbike also has clutch and generator covers made from a carbon/Kevlar mix.
Image caption: KTM AG [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If what you’re really looking for is a MotoGP bike you can ride on the road then this is the superbike of your dreams. Unfortunately for most, it’ll have to stay in their dreams – only 250 were made worldwide. If the standard bike isn’t quite enough, there is also an optional sports kit available to decrease the weight and increase the engine power; but this is a track only option.
Image attribution: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
The Fireblade may not be to everyone’s taste, but that’s probably because they have been around so long. It’s definitely a contentious choice, but Honda has spent over 25 years refining the Fireblade and that dedication pays off. Up against its closest rivals, it’s refined, precise and elegant.