10 bikes I wanna own before I die…and why.

I've been thinking all weekend about what bike I'd like to get next (I currently have a KTM SMT990) and it led me to making this list of bikes I want to own before I die. Don't get me wrong - I'm not greedy - I don't want to own them all at the same time like some obsessed collector - but I do want to own each one for a while.......actually if we're being honest I would be happy owning them all together:) motorcycle collection I've had a few great bikes so this list probably won't the 'best 10 bikes' list but it's the remaining bikes that I want to ride/have at some point. Before we start, understand that, I've always been a fan of riding bikes the way the original designers intended (OEM/standard bikes maybe with a high-end exhaust to open up a few ponies that were hidden by Euro greenies). I thought about creating this list and sorting by how desirable they were but after 2 hours of jiggling around the order I realized that I'd never agree on one. So here they are in no particular arrangement:

1998 Yamaha R1

It's the first of the mental power 4 cylinder 1000's. It would have to be the white/red. Why? - because it changed how we think about 1000cc bikes. Nothing since has made such a gap on the previous incarnations. As a young bike trade runt I climbed into bike shop windows and carefully polished these R1s with MrSheen and wondered if I'd ever have one....and I still haven't!


some would say nicer than a woman with her fairings removed! some would say nicer than a woman with her fairings removed!


The Ducati 916/996 SPS/SP/R

This bike I do want to keep. And I probably don't care if it's a 916, 996 or 998 as it's not being bought for it's nice ride. I've ridden a few and never liked them but I can't help but stare at them when I stepped off one. The angular nose, the aggressive stance, the single sided swing-arm: what's not to like? They are one of the most stunning designs - even today IMO. The SPS/SP/R (Sports Production Special or Racing) range is THE one to get, at almost twice the price tag it came with a whopper motor, factory suspension and more carbon than most people knew existed....oh and it was Limited Edition. It was also the bike that coined the Foggy World Superbikes era.

996 SPS 996 SPS

Yamaha R7

Why - purely exotic reasons - this is an 'un-obtanium' (yes, that's a made up word). BSB/WSBK changed their cc regs shortly after Yamaha released it (1999) and most people don't even know about it. But if you had coin back in 1999 this was what you should have bought for the sitting room. This bike was sold in road trim but was essentially designed to be a proper race ready bike. Yamaha had to sell a number of these (500) to qualify for the current World SuperBikes regulations. It even had a single person subframe from the box!

Yamaha R7 1 This is how they sold it from the factory (only 40 to the UK)


And this was it's intended use. And this was it's intended use.

The BMW s1000rr

Unlike the other modern era bikes in this list I haven't ridden on of these yet and, chances are, I may not want one after. However, as it stands, I haven't had a chance to sample the madness. Released in 2009 by BMW to meet the World Superbike requirements they made 1000 bikes. I'd guess they were surprised by demand and in 2010 they upped the production. 180HP out of the box and more electrics than on the first spaceship this is a piece of amazing engineering. Getting one for myself might be my only chance to experience it first hand. Although I'll have to wait a few years as they're still fetching top dollar.


1992 Fireblade

Why?..... if you have to ask……just go home. This is a bike that significantly changed the landscape - the other brands took a long look at what they were releasing when they first witnessed one of these. In fairness they tried so much new ideas with this bike - they even installed a 16 inch front wheel to lighten it and help handling - it's almost the only bike that's ever ran that size front wheel ....before or since! As it happens I do know a guy with a brand new one of these sitting in his garage for sale (10k as far as I remember). Once that lotto cheque arrives I'll relieve him of it. 14977

1998 Hayabusa

Is it because they're so nice to ride? No, they're not even. Is it because of the good looks? HA - no So, then why? - When I sit at the bar in the year 2057 I can tell everyone that I owned a bike that did 200mph - why else? suzuki hayabusa blue

Aprilia RS250

Why? Because when I was 16 years old I'd have sold my left nut for one. Even today, X years on, this is still a shit fast bike for the road.....and the smell....ooooh the sweet smell of fully syn.....

nice carbony Arrows finish it nicely nice carbony Arrows finish it nicely

Honda CR250 2003-

Unlike the other bikes on this list my CR250 will have the factory Honda finishing touches: Pro Circuit exhaust, red clamps, A-kit suspenders - just like McGraths ones. This is a bike I'll keep once I find my one. As it happens a pal of mine has a similar bike and I had a spin recently. When I do find one of these it will be staying in the shed FOREVER. When I'm old, and waking up for a piss 10 times a night I'll go out to the shed, start it up and listen to the crisp rasp and wait for the sweet smell......ugh, sorry, starting to day dream there....

this is the stuff of all boys dreams One of Jeremy Mc Graths ones

  • zOU

    I completely agree with you on every word :y

    Let's agree, we get one each and then swap :)
    That's only 5 to get :)

  • zOU

    That's only 8 :p

  • Andy Quinn

    RC30. End of. Or a 748S...in yellow...like my one!

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