Data from the Department for Transport shows that there are currently more than 1.3 million motorcycles, scooters and mopeds on Great Britain’s roads. In the mid-1990s, there were around 720,000 – a sure sign that getting around on two wheels has become increasingly popular over the past 25 years.
A motorcycle certainly delivers a thrill quite unlike any other vehicle, offering riders a unique sense of freedom and adventure. Any true motorcycle owner will be fiercely proud of their pride and joy and want to protect it at all costs and, as with cars, there are numerous makes and models out there for any riding enthusiast to choose from. But what if you’re looking for something extra special?
A purist might be tempted to eschew the latest versions in favour of an older vintage and evoke precious memories of a bygone era. So, what are some of the best classic motorbikes that are bound to get any petrolhead’s adrenaline pumping?
Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit
Extremely reasonably priced when it was first launched in the mid-1990s, the 1200 Bandit is sure to become a classic. So, if you’ve got one, hold onto it. With superb acceleration and assured cornering, it’s a fine piece of engineering and guarantees a good time.
When it comes to good-looking bikes, the V-Max is difficult to top. It made a splash with a nine-second quarter-mile from a standing start – unheard of at the time of its launch – and its speed was such that some UK models were restricted on power.
Arguably the classic motorcycle. Around 90,000 of these were built during World War Two after Harley-Davidson won a contract from the United States government. Designed to be tough and durable, they were created so that they could be maintained and repaired even if the rider did not possess a great deal of expertise or equipment.
The Bonneville range sports a distinctive style and the original, launched in the late 1950s, has become iconic for all motorbike enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a combination of premium performance and timeless appeal, the Bonneville represents the ultimate classic.
Vincent Black Shadow
Widely regarded as the world’s first superbike, the Shadow counts famous US talk show host and avid petrolhead Jay Leno among its many admirers. Sadly, none have been produced since the mid-1950s but it was considered the fastest bike of its time and its status as a true classic is undisputed.