Discontinued Superbikes -10 Bikes We Have Loved And Lost
Discontinued Superbikes - 10 bikes we have loved and lost
There is no doubt we have been blessed with some incredible machines in recent history. Over the last 20 years or so manufacturers from all around the world have continued to push the boundaries of what was possible from putting two wheels and an engine together. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that, during that constant pursuit of going faster, some bikes will get left behind and relegated to the history books. This list, in no particular order, explores some of our favourite bikes that we have loved and lost (for the UK market at least) over the years.
Discontinued in 2010, the RC8 was the perfect bike for those in touch with their inner hooligan. A difficult bike to ride and a difficult bike to live with, but a very easy bike to love. The RC8 stood out in a crowd of Japanese bikes with its aggressive styling and quickly gained itself a strong fanbase that mostly continues today. The RC8 has been revisited slightly in the form of the new track only RC-8C and the DNA of the bike lives on through the Super Duke series.
Triumph Daytona 675
Leaving us in 2017, the 675 at the time was the best handling bike in the super sport class. Paired with its unique triple cylinder engine that boasted a stronger mid range from most of its competitors, the Daytona was a real winner both on the track and on the road. Given the continued success of the Street Triple and the high demand for the limited run of Daytona Moto2 bikes, it doesn’t seem likely that we will have to wait too long for the Daytona to return.
Back in the early 90’s Norton were making huge waves in the British Superbike Championship with their rotary powered RCW. The F1 is the road going variant of that bike. The F1 was only produced between 1990 and 1991. Despite its short life span, it made it onto this list because of its innovation at the time. With modern advancements in technology and the recent reserection of the Norton brand, we cant help but wonder how awesome a modern day, rotary powered Norton SS would be.
The R6 seems too modern to be on this list of missed bikes from yesteryear. Laid to rest in 2020 after a 21 year life span and many success stories under its belt, the dwindling 600cc market and the ever tightening Euro5 regulations has made the R6 simply not worth pursuing for Yamaha. A crying shame and a very long, sharp nail in the coffin of the 600cc class as a whole.
Benelli Tornado Tre
Benelli pulled the plug on the Tornado in 2014 after 12 years of development. The 900cc (later 1130cc) triple powered Tornado was often regarded to as the third wheel in terms of Italian superbikes. Striking in appearance and more than capable in terms of performance, the Tornado quickly gained itself a loyal fanbase that still exists today. Sadly, Benelli shifted their focus to smaller capacity bikes after being bought by a Chinese holding company in the late 2000’s. The Tornado name does live on in the form of a 300cc bike, but it is merely a shadow of what was a really great, if unusual, bike.
Honda VTR 1000 SP (RC51)
Built for only 6 years (2000-2006), the SP1 was a no-nonsense race bike built as a stamp of authority from Honda to show the world they had what it takes to build a winning race bike. The SP1 was a brand new bike, owing nothing to the VTR1000 with which it shared its name. Winning almost everything it entered and being more affordable than a Ducati, the SP1 was a huge hit. If only Honda would revisit the model…a V4 SP1 anyone?
Honda CBR 600RR
The CBR 600 RR was a bike we all thought would be around for ever, the ultimate in super sports all packaged neatly into a very friendly, useable and capable bike. Sadly, the 600RR suffered the same fate as the R6 mentioned earlier and tighter emissions rules and a struggling market forced Honda to pull the plug on the 600RR and focus instead on the tamer 650R. The 600RR does, for now at least, live on in some US and Asian markets.
Ducati 916 looks paired with two smoke goodness, the little Mito was many a learners wet dream. GP spec handling and performance meant the little 125cc Mito could hold its own against bigger bikes on the right roads. Just as cool now as it was back then and a crying shame the model line wasn’t continued. Cagiva did tease us at the 2006 EICMA by showing a prototype Mito with the same chasis and body as the original but with a 500cc four stroke engine. Interesting, but sadly, we haven’t heard anything since.
MV Agusta F4
MV Agusta is a brand steeped in motorcycle history, the F4 is the bike that spearheaded the brands resurgence in 1999. The bike had a successful run, sporting various trims and engines in its 19 year life span. Designed by the famous Massimo Tamburini, the F4 was one of the most evocative bikes of the era. As MV Agusta continue to build stronger dealer networks and further establish its brand, we only hope the F4 will grace us with a return in the near future.
Suzuki GSXR 600
And with this, it really would appear the 600cc sports bike market is on its knees. Following the R6 and 600RR earlier in this list, the lack of demand and tighter emissions regulations and higher production costs have made the GSXR 600 not a viable option for Suzuki. With all this in mind, all eyes are now on Kawasaki to see if they will continue the development of their ZX6 range.