When it comes to drooling over classic motorcycles, we’re guilty of doing it more than most. So today, as a special treat for all our readers, we count down the top 10 most sought-after classic motorcycles. One thing’s for sure, these are the kind of machines that you certainly need classic bike insurance for!
1. 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa, Copper
The silver and copper two-tone, Suzuki Hayabusa has the prestige of being the fastest standard production bike of the 20th century. Although the speed of later models was restricted, the 1999 incarnation reached speeds of between 188 and 194 miles per hour, making a ride on one of these Busas an adrenaline-fuelled dream.
2. 1997 Triumph T595 Daytona
The T595 was Triumph’s first attempt to make a dent in the sports bike market. Featuring a 955cc displacement in-line three-cylinder engine, part-designed by Lotus, the T595 marks a watershed moment in Triumph’s illustrious history, as a company with a lack of sport bike pedigree managed to produce a machine that could stand proudly with its contemporaries, such as the Honda Fireblade.
3. Triumph Bonneville
The Bonneville series are some of Triumph’s most iconic bikes, with appearances in all manner of media, including films like An Officer and a Gentleman, starring Richard Gere as well as the Harry Potter films.
The second Bonneville and perhaps the most popular in the series, the T140, won Motor Cycle News’ Machine of the Year Award in 1979, making it a staple on every collector’s wish list.
4. Matchless Silver Hawk
Debuting at the Olympia Motor Cycle Show in 1930, the Matchless Silver Hawk was described by its manufacturers as “unquestionably the most fascinating machine to ride that has ever been built.”
The bike may have flopped in terms of sales owing to its exorbitant price tag, and this led to a production run of only four years, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a cult classic among collectors.
5. Norton Manx
Norton is a company with true racing pedigree, with the company entering the Isle of Man TT from 1907 through to the 1970s, and is an icon of British engineering. The Norton Manx is a redesign of the pre-war racing Norton International and is an overhead cam single-cylinder machine, which was available with a 350cc or 500cc engine; with a top speed of 140mph, the Norton Manx was no slouch in its day and continues to be a firm favourite among collectors.
6. Vincent Series B Rapide
The fastest production bike of its era, the 1946 Vincent Series B Rapide is one of the most expensive bikes to make our list, with a quality restoration coming in at anywhere from £50,000 upwards.
The Series B was ahead of its time when it comes to construction, with its oil-tank spine frame, low-hanging engine and oddly placed front and rear suspension at the bike’s extremities, as well as its quickly detachable wheels. The bike’s irregular lines gave the Series B an odd feel, but one that vintage collectors have come to cherish.
7. Brough Superior SS100
One of the rarest and most prestigious, bikes around, the Brough Superior SS100 was advertised by its manufacturers as the “Rolls Royce of Motorcycles.” Designed and built by George Brough in Nottingham in 1924, the SS100 broke numerous speed records in its day, with George Brough and Freddie Dixon both topping out at 130mph over 1 kilometre.
Every SS100 was famously guaranteed to be able to achieve 100mph on the road, but it is the visually stunning design that sees collectors paying in excess of £200,000 for some of the best examples.
8. 1940 Indian 440 four cylinder
Costing more than $1,000 at the time of its production – considerably more than the then average car – the 1940 Indian 440’s streamlined look, silky ride and quirky inline-four-cylinder engine made it popular among wealthier bike enthusiasts. And with only 10,000 Indian 440s ever produced, it remains a rare and prized possession among collectors.
9. Ducati 916SPS
Almost identical to Carl Fogarty and Troy Corser’s 916, which won four World Superbike Championships, the 1994 launch of the 916SPS was one of the most anticipated in sports bike history. The 1996 version produces an incredible 134bhp and tops out at over 160mph, establishing it as a favourite among speed-chasing collectors.
10. Kawasaki Z1
In 1973, Kawasaki ripped up the rule book of high-performance motorcycling, with the release of the Z1. As well as establishing itself as the quickest and most powerful superbike of all time, topping out at 130mph, the Z1 was a visual delight, with its high bars, teardrop fuel tanks and slick paint job. It’s not difficult to see why the Kawasaki Z1 remains a firm favourite amongst collectors.
If you’re lucky enough to own any of these bikes, you would probably also appreciate classic cars on similar merits of style, power and cult status. Of course, classic bikes are worlds apart from classic cars, but just like with bikes having classic car insurance is important to give you protection and peace of mind in case of damage or theft.