There is no clear definition for what muscle motorbikes are, but they can be generalised as – motorcycles with high displacement and horsepower. Also in appearance the engine, air intakes and exhaust pipes are clearly highlighted in the design. These bikes go by many names, while streetfighter is the most common, super naked and muscle bikes all refer to the same type of motorcycle.
While muscle motorcycles have their roots in the 1950s and 1960s cafe racing culture, they draw their inspiration from the newer Japanese bikes of the early 1980s. The most common thought for the reason behind their evolution is a result of young inexperienced riders not being able to afford the continual replacement parts after repeated crashes! As time went on, more mods to assist with tricks like higher handlebars and better headlights were added and became the norm.
The streetfighter or muscle bike was first featured in 1983 when Bike magazine commissioned a cartoon by artist Andy Sparrow to replace Ogri. This comic was called Bloodrunners and featured couriers who delivered blood and body parts for transplants. While it is believed to have the claim to the first printed design template of the streetfighter motorcycle, the term was actually officially applied to a customised Harley-Davidson first.
Modern Muscle Bikes
Muscle bikes, as we have come to know them today, are a result of the boom in sports bike popularity in the 1990s. With so many people riding (and crashing) sportbikes, the high cost of replacing the fragile plastic fairings became an issue. Especially with the younger population who didn’t have the resources to replace them every time they had a get-off.
These crashes generally resulted in one of two outcomes, the first being the damaged fairings would be discarded and replaced with inexpensive dirt bike signal alternatives. The latter was the crashed bikes would be written off by insurance companies resulting in more high-performance bikes needing only minimal repairs on the market.
Of course, it didn’t take long for motorcycle manufacturers to see a market for this aesthetic that was gaining momentum. With only a few tweaks to their existing designs, which also happened to be cost-cutting, a new class of motorcycles was unleashed onto the market!
Triumph was one of the first motorcycle manufacturers to mass-produce a streetfighter. The 1994 Triumph Speed Triple was not a bad start, and as of 2022, there are over 30 generations of this bike gracing the streets.
Naturally, Honda, the Japanese powerhouse, followed suit and soon after realised the X-11 in 1999, which was also referred to as the CB1100SF. Ducati, better late than never, joined the party in 2009 with its aptly named Ducati Streetfighter. Designed by Damien Basset, the Ducati Streetfighter went on to sell three different variations from 2009-2015.
We just bought in this very clean Yamaha XJR1300, take a look!
SellYourBikeToday.com recent muscle bike buys include; Yamaha MT01, Suzuki B-King, Suzuki GSX1400, Honda CB1300, Honda CB1100X X11, Kawasaki ZRX1200 and the MK1 Yamaha XJR1300! Which is your favourite?
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