five bikes that will try to kill you

#motorbikes #bikethrottle #drivetribe #bikes #tankslapper #crash

4y ago
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It doesn't take an expert to crash a motorcycle. In fact, any old idiot can manage it. There are some bikes out there though, that have a certain reputation. Even looking at them causes the pupils to dilate and the palms to get sweaty - these are the widow makers.

maico 700

Forget everything you knew about scary two-stroke MX bikes. Honda CR500? Pah. Kawasaki KX500? Forget it.

This 685cc two-banger single from Maico looks scary just sat on the stand. The figures are enough to get anyone's attention - 85bhp and just 100kg means it's a proper nasty handful of a bastard to ride. Only seriously professional MX riders need apply, or people with a death-wish.

yamaha yzf r1 (1998)

That first R1 back in '98 really blew everyone away at the time. It was lighter, faster and more agile than anything that came before it - by a country mile.

That agility came at a price. The stacked gearbox meant Yamaha could fit a longer swingarm but it still wasn't enough to stop the front end reaching for the sky at every opportunity. The steep steering angle that gave the 4XV its agility also meant it tank slapped. All. The. Time. In fact it was so ferocious, there were reports of Yamaha dealers filling up with used examples in record time. Owners were too scared to ride them and quickly traded them in for something a little less berserk.

I had two '98 R1's (pictured above) and completely fell in love. In hindsight I probably should have fitted steering dampers but that would be admitting defeat. Both regularly tried flipping me off the back at each crack of the throttle, or slapping me into submission at every sign of a rough surface. Everyone should experience that first R1, it's addictive.

suzuki tl1000s (1997)

Right from the beginning of the initial press launches, there were whispers that Suzuki's brand-new 1000cc V-Twin machine was a little...unstable. A journalist was killed whilst riding one and a tank slapper was the cause. They were eventually pinned down to problems with Suzuki's rotary damper which locked up under extreme heat, causing the rear end of the bike to become rigid.

All TL's were recalled for a steering damper to be fitted, and in years to come the TL gained a serious cult following due to its bad reputation.

The big red Suzuki TL1000S in the photos above was also mine and in a year of ownership the old girl never gave me so much as a single kick or slap. Yet another seriously epic machine that everyone needs to try at least once.

Kawasaki zx-10r (2004)

Just as Yamaha had done back in 1998, Kawasaki repeated in 2004 with the launch of its ZX-10R Ninja. More power, less weight - and a milestone of a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio with 180bhp and 180kg.

It wasn't just numbers though, on the road and track this bike quickly got a reputation as a real animal. Journalist Warren Pole commented on the launch of the new Ninja; "This bike is going to hurt people". Comments like that probably do manufacturers a favour and even though it wasn't a racing success, Kawasaki still sold plenty of them, customers wanting the latest and greatest bad-boy on the market.

this bike is going to hurt people

Journalist Warren Pole on the '04 ZX-10R

kawasaki h2r

It's quite fitting that Kawasaki dug out the H2 moniker for their latest hyper bike.

Their original 1970's H2 was the original widow maker - the 750cc two-stroke triple being able to crack a quarter mile in twelve seconds in standard trim back in 1972! Of course the chassis technology of the day had no chance of taming all that power and it was a real handful.

Fast forward to the present day and Kawasaki decided to launch a crazy machine to showcase their technological know-how. With the aid of a supercharger, the H2R squeezes 320bhp from its 998cc engine and can crack 250mph.

Even the £50,000 price tag seems quite reasonable when you look at those statistics. It'll blow a Bugatti Veyron into the weeds with its power-to-weight ratio of 1500bhp per ton. As you can imagine, it's a bit of a handful to ride. Here's TT legend James Hillier wrestling one around the Isle Of Man TT course, touching 206mph in the process.

(and one bonus item...)

any 1980's trike -

Blame James Bond for these things - after Sean Connery rode one in 'Diamonds are forever' they really started to take off. Fine at first with small engines, not so fine when manufacturers started cramming properly quick 250cc lumps into them.

These things would topple over in a stiff breeze and plenty of kids from the 80's will regale you with tales of being stuck underneath one in a ditch. Eventually they were banned, which makes them all the more desirable today.

Honda's ATC250R. Certain death awaits.

Honda's ATC250R. Certain death awaits.

Another 250 from Kawasaki. Looks cute - will stick you in a ditch.

Another 250 from Kawasaki. Looks cute - will stick you in a ditch.

Yamaha's Tri-Z 250. A trip to casualty had never been so easy.

Yamaha's Tri-Z 250. A trip to casualty had never been so easy.

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Comments (39)

  • you forgot any Harley Davidson above 60mph....

      4 years ago
    • I routinely cruise triple digits on a softail. You sound like a bitter old man sad that his sportbiking friends all grew up, so he has to hang around with kids half his age.

        3 years ago
    • Touched a nerve snowflake?

        3 years ago
  • In Europe Yamaha RD 350

      4 years ago
  • Owned two TL's (one in the garage now) and a 2004 ZX10R from new. Loved 'em.

      3 years ago
  • It has to be the full power vmax once the full power kicks in it's hang on for dear life

      4 years ago
  • Errr.... where is the most famous bike of them all.?????

    Yamaha YPVS 350LC.

    This thing killed more people than any other bike, ever.. it wheelied wether you wanted to or not.

      4 years ago
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