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TOP 10 Motorbikes – The World’s Greatest Ever!

January 17, 2007

If you stumbled upon this blog, chances are you spend more time in front of the computer than watching TV. But that doesn’t mean we have miss out on the good things the boobtube has to offer. That’s the reason why torrents and YouTube are so popular nowadays.

As a rider, there was an episode that I have long been wanting to catch which was part of a series shown in the Discovery Channel. I wanted to see it way before I started blogging. In fact, a clip from that show was what I featured in my very first post here. The series is called “Greatest Ever” which ranks the Top 10 machines through thorough research and interviews from experts. They had episodes which featured Sports Cars, Tanks, Fighter Planes, Helicopters, Weapons and Construction Machines. I’d never seen any of those (they never interest me anyway). But the episode on Motorbikes is what I wanted to catch. I’ve only seen the segment for Vespa (which ranked no. 8!) and was curious what the panel said about the other bikes in the Top 10; who wouldn’t be?

The other day, I finally found the complete set of links to the other nine segments from that show and I want to share them here. The bike declared the Greatest Ever was a surprise. I thought it will be won by the Ducati but as it turned out, it wasn’t just about speed. The no. 1 barely does 40 kph, but it still was voted by the experts. Interesting, isn’t it?

I’ll be posting the video clips here and place the specs/stats of each bike featured as provided here.

 


Harley Davidson Knucklehead

Year: 1936
Power: 36 HP
Engine capacity: 1,340 ccm
Weight: no info
Top speed: 145 km/h
Rank: 10th

 

So are you really up to spending the next hour or so watching the remaining clips here? If so, let’s proceed with the countdown from no. 9 to numero uno!

 


Moto Guzzi V8

Year: 1955
Power: 68 HP
Engine capacity: 498.5 ccm
Weight: 150 kg
Top speed: 275 km/h
Rank: 9th

 

 


Vespa (PX 125)

Year: 1977
Power: 8 HP
Engine capacity: 123 ccm
Weight: 106 kg
Top speed: 87 km/h
Rank: 8th

 

 


Brough Superior SS 8

Year: 1923
Power: 25 HP
Engine capacity: 981 ccm
Weight: no info
Top speed: 128.7 km/h
Rank: 7th

 

 


Britten V1000

Year: 1993
Power: no info
Engine capacity: 999 ccm
Weight: 138 kg
Top speed: 303 km/h
Rank: 6th

This one’s impressive as the whole bike is built from scratch in a garage by just ONE man in the 90’s! Too bad, John Britten passed away at such a young age. :(

 

 

 


Triumph Bonneville T100

Year: 2001
Power: 64 HP
Engine capacity: 865 ccm
Weight: 205 kg
Top speed: 180 km/h
Rank: 5th

 

Listen as Jay Leno comments on this bike’s one unecessary feature and heads on to deliver a punchline at the expense of Vespa. Vespa fans should not take offense though as Jay also does have a Vespa in his bike collection. :)

 

 

 


Y2K (o.k.)

Year: 2002
Power: 316.8 HP
Engine: Gas turbine
Weight: 208.7 kg
Top speed: 402.3 km/h
Rank: 4th

 

 


Honda CB 750 (K0)

Year: 1969
Power: 67 HP
Engine capacity: 736 ccm
Weight: 218 kg
Top speed: 200 km/h
Rank: 3rd

 

I actually felt bad for this bike since it was too perfect (speed, comfort, no vibration, etc.), it was deemed too boring. :(

 

 

 


Ducati 916

Year: 1995
Power: 109 HP
Engine capacity: 916 ccm
Weight: 201 kg
Top speed: 254 km/h
Rank: 2nd

 

 


Honda Cub

Year: 1958
Power: 4.3 HP
Engine capacity: 49 ccm
Weight: 65 kg
Top speed: 40 km/h
Rank: 1st

 

Have you spotted the Vespas in all throughout the show? If you didn’t, try to notice the bald guy’s (Mat Oxley) background in his interviews the next time you watch any of these clips.

So, what have you discovered today?

 

-o-
{▫}
J0HNRANA

john[dot]rana[at]gmail[dot]com


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63 Comments leave one →
  1. ardiepot permalink
    January 17, 2007 4:31 am

    Discovery Channel’s The Greatest Ever motorcycles is great for bike enthusiasts. I was also surprised on what bike was picked as number one, i have to agree with the hosts as all of them unanimously voted the Honda Cub50 as the greatest ever. Amusing was how they trashed the bike literally and still ran. The CB750 was just perfect, but they find it too boring. Then I wonder why there is only one sportbike included (no.2) and why any of the CBR929, Yamaha R1/R6, Kwak Hayabusa/Z1200/636 were not included in the list. They also changed the motorcycle scene in some way or another.

    • kwakjack permalink
      November 12, 2011 6:25 pm

      i would class the y2k as a sports bike mate

    • December 10, 2011 4:05 pm

      @ardiepot
      All those bikes you list are great bikes…but they are also derivative…nothin’ new.

  2. January 17, 2007 5:46 pm

    Ah yes!

    Syempre Honda User ako eh!

  3. January 18, 2007 4:49 am

    ha ha it goes about 22 mph i thought it would be te fastest motorbike the dodge tomohawk wow my dad got one of them of ebay for 10£ but it didnt work

  4. January 19, 2007 10:28 am

    knuckleheads were never 1340cc as shown on this page.
    there were two models, an EL 61 cubic inch, and the FL 74 cubic inch model.

    80 cubic inches rounds to 1340, which some ULH flatheads were, and of course, the big twins of the 80′ through mid 90’s.

    74 cubes is 1200cc. the 61? you do the math.

  5. January 28, 2007 8:38 pm

    I’ve noticed that the BMW had been snubbed. What?! Yeah, I hear yah. Ok so it’s a very short list. But come on, it’s indestructible (so they claim).Besides nothing says money like BMW.

  6. samio permalink
    March 19, 2007 3:14 pm

    ang lupit talaga ng mga hapon. ganyan sila ka tindi sa research. they consider everything… efficiency,economical, durability, user friendly, pati environment they always consider before building machines like these. hindi lang sila banat nang banat. sana ganito din gumawa ang mga pinoy. rock n roll heart n soul! :)

  7. April 28, 2007 1:42 pm

    My Cub here in Tokyo goes 70mph no problem. :)

  8. Giordano permalink
    May 22, 2007 10:37 pm

    i really wouldn’t like to cry going 70mph on a cub lol…..by vespa its better asd

  9. yuva permalink
    July 3, 2007 7:31 pm

    i need many motorbikes photos

  10. Boo permalink
    August 3, 2007 11:51 am

    is the cub the granddaddy of all u-bones?

    if so, then does it mean that today’s u-bones are the descendants of the greatest motorcycle ever?

  11. erick permalink
    August 7, 2007 12:09 am

    hehe! ang napiling no. 1 ay pang-masa talaga. kahit sa tricycle pwede sya eh! nagtataka lang ako kung bakit walang naisamang kahit isang “off-road” man lang. popular pa naman to lalo sa mountain hikings! puro speed and qualities lang pero may laban ba mga yan sa mga lubak at baha? hehe!

  12. Tamika permalink
    August 18, 2007 7:51 am

    Does anyone know where I can buy this on dvd?

  13. Henry Norris permalink
    December 6, 2007 2:14 am

    I was glad to see the CB750 make it to the no. 3 spot. I collect vintage Hondas and have two of these; one CB750 that is my “rider” bike. I recently went on a ride with several bikers all of who had, newer street and cruiser bikes. My 750 stood out as being smoother and more user friendly; it took all of the others much more time and steps to get going. Once we did get going, my bike kept up with all of them and outperformed most.(even the 1300 cc bikes) I personally don’t find that boring at all. Especially for a 35 year old bike. The only boring thing for me was waiting around for everyone else.

  14. Martin Falk permalink
    December 24, 2007 8:57 am

    Where are all the great touring bikes like BMW, and Honda Interstate?

  15. Sunny permalink
    January 4, 2008 5:00 pm

    Dude these videos are no more avaialble to watch. Any other link?

  16. January 7, 2008 2:45 am

    Hey Sunny! I just checked and all the videos are still in working order in YouTube. Check them out again. :)

  17. February 8, 2008 3:39 pm

    wow i need to get 1 of those

  18. Matthias permalink
    April 10, 2008 10:18 pm

    Hey,

    I ride a Vespa :-)
    I am missing the BMWs as well from the countdown, especially the R100. Never heard of the Y2K before ..

  19. Racer permalink
    April 11, 2008 11:27 pm

    Hi, how did u calculate the speeds etc? A mile is 1.6km, so when they say 129mp/h it’s not 129km/h, and 250mp/h isn’t 303km/h but 400km/h ;)

  20. August 2, 2008 10:07 am

    nice to heard that you made something very interesting! keep it up!

  21. 1stbird permalink
    September 1, 2008 6:00 am

    Thanks for bringing this collection together! What a great way to “waste” an afternoon!
    I bought a Honda CB750 after my CB550 was stolen. Great bikes, both of them!
    As for the Honda Cub, I’m pretty sure that was my first bike! My brothers and I nagged our parents to get us a motorcycle for Christmas and that is what they bought us! It was probably a little “gay”, as they say now a days, for us three boys, with it fairings and step through frame, but I sure remember riding it up and down the alley behind our house back then, much to the dismay of our neighbors! One of our parents friends use to say that we spent more time looking behind us than in front! (We wanted to see the dust we were raising!!)
    Thanks again and thanks to The Discovery Channel for producing this series!

  22. Wazoo permalink
    September 9, 2008 1:30 am

    It’s a great collection, and while some bikes are good bikes, like the Interstate and some BMW’s – they evolved over time (from the CB750 actually), and weren’t bikes that hit the market with totally new developments. I’m not surprised by that Cub’s winning. I wish Honda would start importing them to the US again, they’re sold elsewhere in the world, but not here. I have one that has 16,000 miles on it (which is a lot considering it isn’t a road bike) and has been backed over by a neighbor – it needed body work, and that was it. I rode it busted up for 5 weeks until parts came!! I’d like to point out my Harley buddies that HD hasn’t had a bike on the list since 1936…not exactly an engineering leader (had to rub it in!)

    Thanks to Discovery for the list – it’s great to watch!

  23. monali permalink
    January 5, 2009 11:36 pm

    good

  24. marvin permalink
    March 17, 2009 8:36 pm

    i cant believe that honda cub was the greAtesr motorcycle ever built,,, but i think it was deserving in terms of mass production but what i was expecting was something unique and powerfull and elegant in designlike ducati….

  25. tahrey permalink
    April 7, 2009 12:16 am

    Different strokes, I guess Marvin. It’s definitely an iconic machine. Goes anywhere, has motorised entire nations, etc. It’s not a 220mph uber machine, and you may end up getting everywhere late, but it’s great in different ways. You could have a similar argument about the “best car ever”, with the Veyron on one side and something like the Model T or Austin 7 on the other. In the end, these lists are all a bit of fun – no one’s actually ever going to agree on what the best one is (or even the composition of a top 10, if you make it in “no particular order”), so it’s silly to assume so. It’s not like Discovery are the hands of God or anything.

    BTW, it doesn’t do “like 22mph” (which isn’t 40km/h anyway). Opinion seems divided on what you’ll actually get out of it, but the (slightly optimistic?) original Honda marketing materials claimed 70km/h, or about 43mph. In a lot of markets you’ll find it limited to 45 or 50km/h however – and possibly in the state where this blog post was made from, there’s a mandated 25mph (40km/h) limit for that class of motorcycle (and restrictions on what roads you can use), the same limit as for golf carts, mini-trucks and “NEVs”. So even though you can go faster in the original one, it’s got a governor on it preventing higher speed.

  26. Ian Howell permalink
    June 21, 2009 7:00 pm

    What no VINCENT!!!!

  27. exchangeandmart permalink
    July 31, 2009 12:25 am

    I love vespas, considering buying one as I sold my bike the other day and am on the lookout for a new one, missing being on the road already. Not to put temptation in your way but… you should have a look on http://exchangeandmart.co.uk, they’ve got a load of used motorbikes on sale, it takes some self-restraint not to buy them all though! Great collection, keep up the good work, will keep an eye out for your future collections.

  28. Partial Recal permalink
    September 4, 2009 8:32 pm

    No Dodge Tomahawk???

  29. September 21, 2009 3:09 am

    2001 Bonneville? All the video showed was late 60’s early ’70s Bonnies. Quite a different beast, I can assure you.

  30. Young Scout permalink
    September 26, 2009 7:19 pm

    No one is never usually happy with other peoples top ten of all time.
    My personal point of view is why did the Guzzi V8 make it? Totally over rated.
    A better choice would of been the 1920 Indian Scout. This bike was the first purpose built motorbike and marked a signficant step in the evolution of motorbikes which had evolved from bicycles to being a true purpose built bike. Burt Monroe used a modified 1920 Scout to set his speed records in the 1960s.

    Broughs are impressive bikes, but they are totally unrealible. Even in their day they would need major servicing after a days riding. The Cyclone was just as impressive as the Brough, all be it 10 years earlier. Your lucky if you ever see a real Cyclone, i think only about 10 survived to this day. Crockers are also just as note worthy as the Brough.

    There are many BMWs that deserve a mention.

    I do agree with the supercub being the greatest bike of all time. Simple, tough and effective. I’ve owned one and it was a great bike for what it was (40 years old aswell!)

    • SamBlob permalink
      February 16, 2011 9:15 am

      Actually, I’ve read that the 1928-1931 Indian Scout 101 was a rather better bike than the original 1920 Indian Scout.

  31. J Pascoe permalink
    October 30, 2009 6:44 am

    Bought a C65 during a petrol strike in th 60’s (Australia)to get to work. Drained the car for fuel for about a month. Took the wife to work on the back. Sold after, when things got better.
    Just bought a going wreck on eBay for peanuts and fixing up with lots of parts from Tailand – very cheap! Doing a bit of customising. Great hobby and better than TV. Ah – NOSTALGA – IT’S NOT AS GOOD AS IT USED TO BE!!!!!!!!

  32. Peter Sandoval permalink
    December 1, 2009 11:28 pm

    I went to a motorcycle dealer out of curiosity just to take a look what type of bikes they were offering. To my suprise, I could not believe my eyes, an old stock brand new Honda C70 EX3 was for sale.

    The salesman told me to wait next week as the price being offered would be reduced as they will be having a clearance sale then. I went back next week and immediately made a down payment reservation and arrangements that I will fully pay the bike before december 31, 2009 and that I will get the bike by january 2010 after the papers and license plate have been given.

    I am now a proud owner of Discovery Channel’s World’s Greatest Bike. Thank you Discovery Channel & Honda.

  33. Bulldozer permalink
    April 29, 2010 8:04 pm

    Honda cub? Vespa? Are you guys kidding me? Where are the old Indians? The Flat head and pan head Harleys? What about even a Norton? Discovery channel usually you do a great job but this time you missed the mark by miles.

  34. May 3, 2010 3:57 am

    @ Bulldozer… Yeah those are great bikes as well but they did not get into the top 10 because there are way much better and reliable bikes out there…hence the ones in the top10… don’t be a douche…try to have an open mind. After all, you’re not the expert.

  35. May 27, 2010 1:36 am

    Hi dude.. My Father has used px 125 and it’s awesome.. very nice
    nice video and i like it

  36. June 28, 2010 8:27 am

    I wasnt impressed by these videos either it seems like the CB750 shoulda been closer to #1 but third aint bad either.I own a 2002 Nighthawk 750 that purchased since it had the air cooled 750/four engine that was a decendant of the origional(except the DOHC thing)I put about a 100 miles a week on that bike and its smooth,powerful, and absolutely dependable.

  37. bapi permalink
    July 8, 2010 12:30 am

    the rankings were well judged. truely but i am still missing bmw r800 from the list.
    and the bike y 2 k sucks

  38. Gabriel permalink
    July 10, 2010 4:25 am

    I just sold my Honda Cub (also known as Honda Dream here in Brazil)… I can say it really was quite a piece of engineering, it was a 1996 model and NEVER broke down…

  39. August 3, 2010 3:19 am

    great post.
    Thanks

  40. August 3, 2010 9:02 am

    First the bikes that should not have been included: the Knucklehead is just an obscure model that was not an especially good performer; not a landmark motorcycle. The Brough is in the same category, a quirky British bike that had no real following in the US. The Y2K turbine monstrosity; the only thing significant about it is its price, a price that only Leno could afford. It accomplished little other than a few video spots of Jay trying to not let it throw him on the ground. If the turbine, why not the Boss Hoss? In comparison, the Britten won championships and set records and deserves an even higher ranking. And I agree with other commenters; where are Vincent HRD and BMW? Consider how many speed and endurance records were set by the Britten in its short lifetime? I totally agree with the two Honda choices although I would have thought the ’79 CBX, a techno-bomb that took Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki 5 years to recover from, should have been included. Honda put motorcycling on the mainstream map. Before Honda, motorcyclists were stormy, unpredictable characters in leather jackets riding equally unpredictable Harleys (no wonder they were so angry), terrorizing citizens and destroying most everything in their path. Thank you, Soichiro, for showing us the way. You have my gratitude.

    • SamBlob permalink
      February 16, 2011 9:54 am

      “The Brough is in the same category, a quirky British bike that had no real following in the US.”

      What does a US following have to do with greatness?

      “I would have thought the ’79 CBX, a techno-bomb that took Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki 5 years to recover from, should have been included.”

      IIRC, it was also a bomb (i.e., a disaster) in terms of sales. It showed the world (but not Kawasaki until it was too late) that there *is* such a thing as “too much”. BMW is about to relearn that lesson with their new straight six. (Besides, Benelli did it first, technically)

      I agree about the Guzzi V-8, though. It never got a chance to prove itself, unlike the legendary V-twin that Stanley Woods won the 1935 Lightweight title on.

  41. September 26, 2010 10:33 am

    I like your blog. I’ve added it to my favorite bookmarks and subscribed in a reader.

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Thanks.

  42. November 17, 2010 8:29 am

    leather jackets can really make you look good, they also make you feel warm and comfortable `~’

  43. fernando daquial permalink
    December 5, 2010 4:59 pm

    meron me honda cub,honda c70 japan,talagang super sulit sya.im thinking of selling it but now na napanood ko to im having second thoughts na

  44. Kiwi Trevor permalink
    August 10, 2011 1:51 pm

    I think a real bike should have been number one, not a Honda 50 that my sister used to ride ! I agree with the Bonnie comment from Willy , my ’73 T140 is a real Bonnie !

  45. August 19, 2011 4:53 pm

    I really want the third one! It’s my only dream!

  46. March 18, 2012 7:10 pm

    The World’s Greatest Ever!

  47. chasrogers permalink
    April 21, 2012 11:33 am

    and dont forget honda flagship bike the GOLDWING tough and true nost still ruuning after 30 years and looking just as good as new. very comfotable to ride and safe too.

  48. New Zealand permalink
    June 6, 2012 11:59 am

    Always liked those CB750’s, and the Britten’s are beautiful, I seen one at a show once. Surprised there were no early nighties bikes such as FZR 1000 exup and of course the Honda Fireblade they were influential and race winners

  49. Buck Rodgers permalink
    August 12, 2012 4:24 pm

    What no scout 101? That’s a travesty. Completely agree with the Cub being top of the heap. Also what about the Yamaha 900 Diversion? Countless motorcycle couriers can’t be wrong!

  50. June 10, 2013 10:31 am

    exactly i don’t agree some Honda riders in Australia are way better like Travis Prastana
    see if you can all beat him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. will permalink
    March 13, 2014 2:35 pm

    go honda!!!!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. TOP 10 Motorbikes - The World’s Greatest Ever! - Motorcycle Philippines
  2. test post - Motorcycle Philippines
  3. The General Motorbikers Discussion Thread - Page 28 - FinalGear.com Forums
  4. The General Motorbikers Discussion Thread - Page 29 - FinalGear.com Forums
  5. Top Gear went to Vietnam and rode on two-wheels! « Who rides a Vespa?
  6. Greatest Ever Motorcycle: #10 - Harley Davidson Knucklehead | harleydavidsonmotorcycles

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