Nine of the best modern classic bikes from the 1990s

Modern classic Yamaha on white background
Image courtesy of Yamaha

Who remembers the 90s? Some people are looking back to the decade that gave us classic songs, like Wonderwall, Smells Like Teen Spirit and the Macarena, and classic films like Pretty Woman, Carry On Columbus and Titanic. And, of course, some amazing motorcycles that have taken their rightful place as modern classics. 

Read on to discover some of Bikesure’s favourite 90s bikes that would look great in any serious collection. 

Kawasaki Ninja ZZR1100

The ZZR1100 was in production from 1990 to 2001 and was the fastest production motorcycle you could buy until 1996. The first production motorcycle that used a ram-air intake, its top speed of 176mph made it a highly desirable sportsbike then, and the kind of bike that gets petrolheads all nostalgic and misty eyed now.

Honda CBR1100XX 

The CBR1100XX “Super Blackbird” was developed specifically to take the crown of fastest production motorcycle from Kawasaki and it did so in some style. Well, 178.5mph. Despite this potential top speed, it was also able to deliver a fun yet reliable ride at lower speeds, making it a regular sight on the roads in the second half of the 90s.

Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa

Suzuki GSX-1300R Hayabusa on a white background
Image courtesy of Suzuki

The battle for fastest production motorcycle was a fierce one in the 90s, but it was undoubtedly won by Suzuki in 1999 with the Hayabusa. With a top speed of a ridiculously quick 194mph, the Hayabusa was an absolute beast on the road but a beauty to look at. With a design that was refined in a wind tunnel, its undulating fairing still looks sleek and futuristic to this day. 

Not just the fastest production bike of the 90s, it was the fastest bike of the 20th century. Thankfully, a combination of companies responding to new legislation limiting speed and emissions and diminishing returns on the cost of speed led to companies reaching an unofficial agreement to knock the whole fastest production bike competition on the head.  

Ducati 916

During the 90s, Ducati was almost synonymous with Carl Fogarty as the racing legend kept the brand’s name in the public’s consciousness with a string of wins. His exploits helped make the 916 one of the most iconic bikes of the 90s on its release in 1994. Its pin-sharp Italian design means it’s still considered one of the best looking bikes ever made nearly 30 years later.

Triumph Tiger 900

A stunning royal blue Triumph Tiger 900 modern classic on a white background
Image courtesy of Triumph

Triumph’s current golden age undoubtedly began in the 1990s, and the Tiger 900 was one of the many classics that demonstrated to the world they were back at the top of their game. The Tiger is an adventure bike aimed at taking on Honda’s Africa Twin and others in that segment, and it did so in fine style. The first version was available between 1993 and 1998 and has a sleek angular design, but for our money if you’re looking for something that’s undeniably 90s, then you can’t beat the 1999 model. The sinuous bulges of the bodywork are the epitome of pre-millennial aesthetics and still look pretty funky today.

Suzuki Bandit 600

The Bandit was a huge success for Suzuki on its release in 1995 and saw other manufacturers scramble to replicate its affordable sports roadster stylings. The fact it was pretty affordable and also sensible enough for less experienced drivers helped too, and it retains a devoted following to this day with the Bandit owner’s club keeping the flame alive.

KTM 620 Duke

KTM are mostly known for their off-road machines, but the Duke, their first road bike, quickly found fans with its combination of speed and control, making it a mighty machine for the more adventurous commuter. Its twin vertically oriented headlights give it an unmistakably 90s look, somehow perfectly fitting the decade that gave us the shell suit, global hypercolour t-shirts and wallet chains.

Yamaha YZF-R1

The R1 is a bike that, in its various future forms, is a natural choice for classics of the noughties and onwards too, but it all started back in 1998. The YZF-R1 featured a powerful, compact engine that allowed it to be fitted onto a smaller framed bike, giving it nimble handling and an entirely satisfactory 168mph top speed. Its large twin headlights and sweeping fairing give it a tough, yet friendly bug-like appearance, and the R1’s continued presence in the market proves that it’s a classic through and through.

Honda XR650L

Honda’s street legal trail bike first hit the road in 1992 and quickly won the hearts of bikers who wanted something as good at getting you down green lanes as it was at getting you to work. They must have been doing something right as the XR650L is still being produced and is still, a few technical tweaks and mandated-by-legislation changes aside, the same bike you could buy back in 1992.

Want to read more about 90s bikes? Take a look at our blogs on the best motorcycles of the 1990s and 10 of the best classic 90s sport bikes.

Insurance for your classic motorbike

If you already own one of these classic 90s motorbikes, or are planning to invest in one, then Bikesure can offer you peace of mind with one of our tailored classic motorbike insurance policies. Call us for a quote today.

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August 8, 2023