When asked to choose just one motorcycle to ride forever, most enthusiasts would pick a sportbike. Sportbikes may not be the best bikes for long-distance riding, but they deliver a riding experience like no other. There’s a lot we like about sportbikes; their modern-looking designs, incredible speed, and their agility that make the rider feel like they’re one with the bike.
Over the years, manufacturers have introduced multiple sportbike models to take advantage of the high demand. While some are still in production, many were discontinued for one reason or another. Let’s explore 8 discontinued sportbikes every motorcycle enthusiast wishes will be revived.
8 Ducati 916
Let’s kick off with one of the greatest Ducati motorcycles ever made, the 916. The 916 is a fully faired sportbike Ducati built in the ’90s to dominate the racing scene.
There’s a lot to love about the 916. For one, it’s widely considered to be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made. The 916 also had the power to match its gorgeous looks, thanks to a 916cc fuel-injected V-Twin engine producing 114 hp. The 916 also has a rich racing history, having won four WSBK titles.
7 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
When the iconic Suzuki Hayabusa debuted in the late ’90s, Kawasaki knew it had to respond with a worthy competitor. So just a year after the Hayabusa’s introduction, Kawasaki unveiled the ZX-12R.
The ZX-12R was built with one goal in mind; to equal or surpass the Hayabusa’s production motorcycle speed record. As such, it was equipped with a massive 1,199cc inline-four engine producing a crazy 178.5 hp, making it the most powerful motorcycle ever built at the time. Due to the gentlemen’s agreement between motorcycle producers, the ZX-12R’s top speed was limited to 186 mph.
6 Yamaha YZF600R Thundercat
In 1996, Yamaha introduced the YZF600R Thundercat to replace the FZR600R. The Thundercat retained many of the major mechanical components that made the FZR600R such a beast, including the engine, transmission, suspension, and steel Deltabox frame.
At the heart of the Thundercat was a 599cc liquid-cooled inline-four engine producing up to 100 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque, giving it superb performance. Interestingly, the Thundercat was the only four-cylinder motorcycle to defeat the dominant Ducati 748 in a race.
5 Norton F1
Norton Motorcycles is one of the oldest British manufacturers, having started building motorcycles in 1902. In the ’80s, Norton had the ambitious project of developing a Wankel rotary engine for its motorcycles, as it thought rotary engine technology was the future.
After several years of development, Norton’s rotary engine found its way into a road-going motorcycle, the F1. The F1 was based on the Norton RCW588 racing motorcycle and was powered by a 588cc twin-rotor Wankel engine. We’d love to see a modern version of the Norton F1 today.
4 BMW K1200RS
BMW is mostly known for building some of the top European luxury cars, but the company’s motorcycle division has also built some absolute gems over the years. One of the coolest BMW motorcycles is the K1200RS, a fantastic sport-touring motorcycle produced from 1997 to 2005.
The K1200RS had a fantastic design and was powered by the final evolution of BMW’s four-cylinder longitudinally-mounted engine, producing 130 hp. The K1200RS also had a wide range of standard equipment, including ABS.
3 Honda RC51
The RC51, also known as the RVT1000R, is a homologation special Honda built in the 2000s to compete in the Superbike World Championship. Honda built the RC51 with one goal in mind – to prove to everyone that another manufacturer’s V-Twin engine could defeat Ducati on the track.
The RC51 was equipped with a 999cc liquid-cooled V-Twin producing 133 hp, giving it great performance. Upon introduction, the RC51 won the World Superbike Championship with American rider Colin Edwards and repeated it in 2002.
2 Aprilia RS250
The RS250 is a superb sportbike built by Aprilia in the late ’90s to celebrate its success in the World Superbike Championship. The RS250 was inspired by the Aprilia RSW250 – a Grand Prix motorcycle used by the likes of the iconic Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi, and Max Biaggi.
Although the RS250 is road-legal, it was equipped with multiple technologies derived from Aprilia’s best racing motorcycles, making it a beast. It was powered by the Suzuki RGV250 V-Twin engine, but Aprilia made some modifications to improve performance, including revising the ECU and redesigning expansion chambers.
1 Ducati 748
The 748 debuted in 1994 and immediately impressed gearheads. The 748 was a smaller version of the 916 and had a gorgeous design penned by Massimo Tamburini, making it one of the most stylish motorcycles of the day.
The 748 used the same Desmoquattro engine as the 916, but with a smaller displacement of 748cc. With an output of 87 hp, the 748 could reach a top speed of 155 mph.