The 90’s was an incredible time for sportsbikes. Some astonishingly good motorcycles were made and still to this day are sort after. The bikes were interesting, full of character and awesome to ride (well, mostly). Even the bikes that had negatives points are full of nostalgia for the era.
So here is bike trader, We Buy Any Bike’s Top Ten 90’s sportsbikes. In a decade when choosing the best is really hard work. Do you agree with these? How would you order them? Let us know in the comments!…
Aprilia RSV Mille
The bike didn’t break any records or work with any new pioneering technology. However, it is still a solid V-twin superbike. The RSV Mille is no Ducati to look at. Most people would agree is a nicer bike to ride. Its known for big pulsating power, flat torque, nice amount of power delivery. As well as a compact V-angle for familiar steering characteristics if you just got off an inline four. The Mille has high-quality components such as Öhlins suspension. Brembo brakes and Marchesini rims, and is still a desirable bike today.
Yamaha FZR1000 Genesis
The Genesis is a milestone model in Yamaha history, it marked the transition from 2 strokes to 4 stroke sportbikes. This bike represented a new generation of performance big motorcycles. The FZR1000 Genesis was presented to the public a the Cologne IFMA motorcycle events. Which was held in Germany and the success of the model built from there.
From the Japanese manufacturer Kawasaki, the ZX-9R was produced from 1994 until 2003. The ZX-9R was developed in response to the Hondas CBR900RR Fireblade. ZX-9R began life as a sports machine but ended up being known for an excellent sporty sports-tourer. Kawasaki ZX-9Rs were pretty heavy. However, from the ‘C’ model of 1998 onwards, they were light enough to be a capable cutting edge sports machine.
The CBR900RR FireBlade wiped the floor with competitor motorcycles at the time. Not because it was faster or more powerful but due to it being lighter. Rivals were all well over 200kg, the first Honda CBR900RR FireBlade was just 185kg. However, Honda didn’t cut corners in quality to achieve this lightweight bike. The Fireblade can easily run to 100,000 miles with routine maintenance. Time has shown this was an incredibly durable machine. It’s still a wild ride and a surprisingly practical motorcycle too.
Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD
The forefather of every modern Suzuki sportsbikes. For this manufacturer 1996 was the ground zero years. On the scene for 4 years at the end of the 90’s. The Suzuki GSX-R750 was the companies entry level sports bike. 1996 brought the end of the double cradle frame for Suzukis and instead introduced a twin spar from the RGV500. Everyone was pretty excited by the ‘SRAD’ element which stands for Suzuki Ram Air Direct. This was a new system forcing the air into the airbox.
Although this bike is knocking on now, it still has silky handling and a load of character. It was created for homologation purposes, for the Superbikes World Championship by Honda Racing Corporation. A successor to the VFR750R RC30. The RVF750R featured a DOHC liquid cooled V4 4-stroke engine and a single-sided swingarm with gear driven cams. If there was ever a bike that really had a reputation to live up to it was Honda’s RC45. After the success of the RC30, the RC45 really had to pull out all stops. When building the RC45, Honda drew on its extensive knowledge of racing the RC30 and factory RVF racers.
The bike that put Ducati back on the map in terms of sportbikes. It did something that few have ever done before. It transcended the boundaries between the different markets and achieve universal recognition from the world. The 916 become renowned for its awesome styling and fierce ride quality, quickly reaching iconic status. There was a lot of hype about this bike. However, taking to the roads, some found the 90’s bike a distinct disappointment. The clutch is heavy and handling isn’t razor shape, but no one seemed to really care. The bike is still one of the most notorious bikes in history.
The ZXR750 was heavily compared to its rivals at the time. It wasn’t the fastest, lightest or even most powerful. People loved this bike because it looked awesome. They are a decent road bike and can hold its own out on the track. With a liquid-cooled inline four engine and 110bhp at the rear wheel. The ZXR750 is still a rapid motorcycle!
The TL1000R has an enhanced rear shock, which means it doesn’t misbehave as much as the TL1000S. This bike isn’t the crazy monster that was reported to be at the time of the launch. But does have the ability to scare the bejeebers out of you from time to time. Throttle response is cleaner and more predictable then a modern Panigale. Thegearboxx is as smooth as you’d hope from a Suzuki machine.
The amazing sportsbikes of the 90’s, the YZF-R1. Even today this bike is a sports machine to be reckoned with. The early 98-99 model is known as the liveliest and hardest to handle, with the bikes progressing in this field over the years. Don’t think this makes them ‘easy’ bike to ride though; they are a beast riders find hard to tame. The Yamaha YZF-R1 has always delivered a minimum of 150bhp, things really get going at 10,000rpm to the redline at 11,500rpm. This bike has become somewhat of a legend for Yamaha are still sort after 25+ years later.
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