A sportbike (or sport bike) is any modern motorcycle designed and optimized for cornering, accelerating, and braking on paved roads or tracks. As Kevin Cameron of Cycle World states:
“A sportbike is a motorcycle whose enjoyment consists mainly from its ability to perform on all types of paved highway – its cornering ability, its handling, its thrilling acceleration and braking power, even (dare I say it?) its speed.”
Sportbikes are typically split into three classes:
- Lightweights: <500cc, typically.
- Middleweights, aka Supersports: 600-750cc
- Superbikes, aka Literbikes: 1000cc
- Hyperbikes, aka Hypersport or Open-Class: >1000cc
In modern days, the sportbike cafe racer has become more common, as these bikes handle and perform exponentially better than their vintage predecessors, but modern sportbike styling leaves much to be desired for the rider or builder who is a fan of retro or classical aesthetics.
For Sale: Gareth Roberts’ Ducati Superlite - The ultimate cafe racer from Oil In The Blood filmmaker Gareth Roberts… The Ducati MH900e (Evoluzione) is an ultra-rare, hand-built retro sport bike that paid homage to Mike Hailwood’s (MH) victorious 1978 Isle of Man […] “Tricolor” Retro Racer: Honda CBR1000RR by Crazy Garage - An RC30-inspired “Retro Racer” built in collaboration with Öhlins Korea… Known as the Fireblade in some markets, the Honda CBR1000RR was introduced in 2004 as the 7th generation RR superbike. Developed in conjunction with Honda’s […] Road Racer: Stoker S-RR by Stoker Motorcycles - The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6RR was a limited-production homologation special based on the company’s 636cc middleweight, the ZX-6R. Both machines featured new aerodynamic bodywork, ram induction, and a GP-style swingarm, but the track-oriented RR added an […] Turbocharged Superbike: Ducati 848 Turbo - Turbocharged Ducati superbike from two best friends… The Ducati 848 superbike, introduced in 2008, featured a 134-hp “Testastretta” V-twin, a trellis frame developed in conjuction with the company’s racing division, and in a surprising move […] Custom Ducati 999 “Paprika” by XTR Pepo - The Ducati 999, built from 2003-2006, boasted a liquid-cooled L-twin Desmodromic engine capable of 138 horsepower and 80 lb-ft of torque. While the 999’s styling — which was the work of South African designer Pierre […] Triumph Speed Triple by Italian Dream Motorcycle - Track Weapon: “Tripla Competizione” Sergio Giordano, the founder of Italian Dream Motorcycle, runs a team of professional racing mechanics uniquely qualified to build high-performance custom motorcycles. “Thanks to years of experience in the world of […] Ducati 900SS Retro Racer Cafe - The Ducati 900SS is a legend of a machine, capable of inspiring some of the most famous words in motorcycling history: “Some people will tell you that slow is good – and it may be, […] “Tripla 0.0” Triumph Street Triple - Italian Dream Motorcycle + The Arsenale: a modern yet timeless interpretation of the iconic Triple… Visionary Italian industrialist Carlo Talamo was one of the most successful Harley-Davidson importers in Europe and later became the first […] Suzuki Katana Restomod by dB Customs - Darren Begg of dB Customs has quickly established himself as a leader in world-class restomod builds. His builds often retain the original silhouette and paint scheme of the original, while upgrading the powerplant, suspension, brakes, […] Ducati 750SS Cafe Racer by Kaspeed - We are big fans of family-run workshops, especially when they turn out staggering beauties like this 2001 Ducati 750SS cafe racer. This is the most sophisticated build to date from twin brothers Jimmy and Mick […] Triumph Street Triple Cafe Racer by Jett Design - Whenever a race car fabricator turns their attention to custom bike-building, we pay attention. Racers have a special appreciation for light weight, solid geometry, and components that won’t fail under stress. Enter Andrew Jett of […] Suzuki GSX1100S Katana Restomod by ACP Customs - It’s tough to beat the big air-cooled fours of the 80s — especially when they get the restomod treatment from a skilled builder such as ACP Customs of Ontario, Canada, who built the Suzuki GSX1100S […] Ducati Monster Custom by XTR Pepo - Nobody builds bikes quite like the “master constructor,” Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo. His bikes tend to take their inspiration from the realm of motorsport, with paint schemes and high-performance engines, suspension, and brakes that […] Suzuki TL1000R Cafe Fighter by Magnum Opus - Ah, the Suzuki TL1000R — introduced in 1998 to be Japan’s mighty V-twin Superbike, designed to rival the dominant Ducatis on the track and in the showroom. The TL1000R would fall short in World Superbike, […] Honda CB1100R Restomod by dB Customs - The CB1100R was Honda’s first homologation special, an exotic, road-legal sportbike built from 1981-1983. Based off the CB900F, the single-seat CB1100R offered 115 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque, and was intended to homologate Honda’s […] Yamaha R1 Cafe Racer by Vintage Addiction Crew - We are big fans of Vintage Addiction Crew (V/A), having featured their XS400 cafe racer and DR600 scrambler. One of our favorite things are the shop is that they don’t rely on the same platforms […] Honda CB750F “Street Racer” by Vintage Iron Club - During our Florida swing last year, we were fortunate enough to meet Daniel Newcomb–“Presidente Daniel”–of the Vintage Iron Club, which describes itself as follows… We are a vintage motorcycle riding club in South Florida that […] Ducati 900SS Cafe Racer by MotoBergamo - Hunter S. Thompson famously said of the Ducati 900SS: “There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them – but I want one […] Topper’s Suzuki GSX-R1100 Cafe Racer - Our man from Cheltenham, Dave Solomon of Butchered Classics, is back with another build. This time, it’s a 1989 Suzuki GSX-R1100 built for his “vertically-challenged” mate, Topper. As you may know, the 1989 “K model” […] SAMCO V-1 Warbird - We have a very special treat today, the prototype of a new American motorcycle: the V-1 Warbird by SAMCO (Spirit American Motorcycle Company). The United States offers scarcely few American-made options for sport riders, especially […] Suzuki GS850 Cafe Racer by Mr. Swallow Customs - We’ve been enjoying profiling some of the Suzuki GS Series customs coming out of various shops, starting with the GS550 tracker we recently featured. Today, we have a stunning GS850 cafe racer by Sebastien Joigne […]