Honda RC213V-S on track

Can the Japanese match the Italians when it comes to motorcycle aesthetics? This list suggests they can

When it comes to practical factors such as reliability and technical excellence, the Japanese let everyone else down. But when it comes to style and looks, the Italians are recognized as champions, followed closely by the British and Americans. The Japanese ethos is based more on efficiency than beauty (one could argue that efficiency is beauty), but that doesn’t mean they can’t beat the Italians in their own game from time to time. Of course, some say that beauty lies in function and form, and that’s what the Japanese are good at, but there are also some polished gems.

10 Honda RC166 – 1966

Honda RC166 Grand Prix racing motorcycle

If you look at today’s MotoGP bikes, they’re nightmares of angular bodywork and aerodynamic attachments, a far cry from the purity of previous generation race machines designed to cruise in the slipperiest air possible. increase. In the ’60s, MV Agusta was a master at building bikes as beautiful as they were successful, but Honda showed that their bikes weren’t just about engineering, with the gorgeous little 1966 250cc RC166.

If it’s a shame that the incredible six-cylinder engine is hidden, at least it’s hidden by the shapely bodywork, perfectly highlighted by the silver and red color scheme and perfect yellow stripes. Everything works in perfect harmony, from the skinny wheels to the long red tank to the amazing six exhaust pipes. Art on wheels.

9 Honda CB750 – 1969

Honda CB750 in red, facing right

The Honda CB750 was not only revolutionary with its use of an in-line 4-cylinder engine, electric starter and front disc brakes. We also managed to pack an engine that is physically much larger than anything ever put on a street bike into a chassis that looks neat and compact with very clean lines, without the engine being overly dominated.

It may not look flashy now, but at the time it showed that Honda could design a bike that was both good looking and mechanically efficient, but not all street-legal Hondas up to that point were. The fact that it revolutionized the world of motorcycling only takes us a closer look, but there’s little to be wrong with the style.

8 Honda RC213V-S – 2015

The RC213V-S has a full-titanium exhaust system

With the 1992 CBR900RR FireBlade, Honda rewrote the rules of the sport bike, focusing on lightness, compactness and chassis dynamics rather than sheer performance. Honda’s success is well-known, and subsequent generations of his Fireblade have outperformed their competitors, but have always remained good-looking bikes.

But for a truly stunning beauty, the current generation of his Fireblade SP is also a limited edition MotoGP street racer RC213V- developed from his RC213V which was a huge success in the hands of the circuit and Marc his Marquez. I have to give it to S. Every element of the RC213V-S is technically and performance perfect, and the design is simple yet beautiful.

7 Yamaha YZF R1 60th Anniversary2022

Yamaha YZF-R1 riding from left to right

Like the Honda Fireblade, the Yamaha YZF-R1 just keeps getting better and better as the years go by. While not as approachable as the Honda, the Yamaha remains one of the most extreme superbikes thanks to its uncompromising riding position. However, it is undisputed that it is discreet in terms of design. Especially in the modern version with its spiteful nose, the two little headlights look like the eyes of the whole world. Then comes the 60th Anniversary Edition, with livery that mimics Yamaha’s racing colors from the 60’s and 70’s, and proves to be great.

6 Kawasaki H2R2023

Kawasaki H2R in black and green, right side view

Amazing mechanicals: With over 200 horsepower, the supercharged 1,000cc Kawasaki H2 is a marvel before you even see it. Then, when you think of an H2R with over 300 horsepower, the distrust increases even more. Kawasaki has also managed to give its mechanical madness a striking yet somehow intriguing look, enhanced by a self-healing paint with a real silver basecoat that allows it to shine in the sun even in low light. It looks amazing even under the light. The whole bike is intimidating and compelling, screaming performance, but also a striking piece of sculpture.

5 Honda NR750 – 1992

The NR750 was the first four-stroke motorcycle with an under-seat exhaust

Honda Stupidity: Unfriendly critics called it “Never Ready” because it took too long to develop. But when it really comes into play, its phenomenal V8/V4 engine (essentially he’s a V8, but with four elliptical pistons he forms four combustion chambers) Not only that, but its futuristic design was also great. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but it also brings styling cues like narrow twin headlights, an under-seat exhaust and a single-sided swingarm into the mainstream, giving Massimo his Tamburini credit when creating the Ducati 916’s finish. Not only did it inspire, but the style of sportbikes in general for the next 20 years. The engine was beautiful inside, with 4 oval pistons, 8 connecting rods and 32 valves.

4 Suzuki Hayabusa2023

The iconic Hayabusa’ release served as a fitting farewell to the 90s

Once an ugly duckling, the GSX-1300R Peregrine Falcon, despite its incredible performance, is now a masterpiece of understated yet beautiful design that clearly hints at the monstrous power behind the fairing. It is The original curvilinear design gave the bike excellent stability at high speeds and a unique look that you either love or hate.

Very modern, the 3rd generation Hayabusa has been given a less sassy and classier look, but it’s still quite unlike any other vehicle on the market. Suzuki made no attempt to hide the bulk of the bike, purposely making it look big and imposing while keeping it beautifully modern.

3 Honda CBR600F – 1989

A white and red CBR600f hurricane with gravel and wall background.

Japanese manufacturers have long been able to extract huge power from small displacements. The 600 class in particular was once very popular, with four manufacturers producing bikes in this class. It was the most distinctive and, for some, the most charming, even though it looks a little outdated now. His 1989 CBR600F, with its comprehensive bodywork and eye-catching graphics, was very different from other Japanese motorcycles of the time. A similar concept by Ducati was also developed for the Paso 907 model.

This design went through a process that began with the 1955 Super Cub to hide the mechanical elements of the bike and came to the logical conclusion of keeping the rider clean. If it’s a sports bike, you don’t have to worry about it so much, but the CBR600F still has its appeal.

2 Honda Gold Wing – 2018

Honda Gold Wing in red, right side view

It may not be beautiful in the traditional sense, but the latest generation Gold Wing has a sculptural beauty despite its size. The Gold Wing first appeared in 1974, but as a sport bike rather than a touring bike. The Gold Wing as we know it today was born when Honda realized that many of its owners were riding long distances, and it has been refined over the years. Also, and very importantly, it looks much better and hides that volume without actually sacrificing passenger or luggage space. Some would argue that this is the “best” of all big touring bikes, but that’s subjective, but it’s definitely better looking than ever.

1 Yamaha XS650 – 1970

Yamaha XS650 in red and white, publicity shot

While competitor Honda was working on the next phase of the four-cylinder motorcycle, Yamaha was still very much interested in the British parallel-twin engine and set out to build its own. The resulting XS650 was launched in his 1970, and despite the vertical cylinder of his 650cc engine, in terms of overall style and aesthetics, manufacturers such as Triumph were in a period of bad style at the time. easily surpassed the British design of

The proportions were perfect, the tank was beautifully sculpted, the chrome was delicate and tasteful, and more importantly, it was reliable, smooth, leak-free and strong. While it may not have been as important a nail in the British motorcycle industry as the Honda CB750, it did show that the Japanese had some knowledge of building good looking British style motorcycles.