Top 10 Modern Classics

History will look kindly on these bikes

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10. Yamaha R7

Yamaha YZF R7

The Yamaha R7 made a statement when it was introduced in 1999: “I’m here to win races.” Loaded with Superbike technology like fuel injection (something not even the R1 had at the time), five valves per cylinder, titanium con rods, twin injectors, and top-shelf suspension, the R7 is still impressive even amongst today’s sportbikes.

At the time we called it “the best handling bike available”, and even by today’s standards it would probably garner the same affection around a circuit. The R7 fell short of winning a World Superbike championship, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not often a Japanese brand pulls out all the stops in search of glory, so we rightly get excited when one does.

The R7 cost $32,000 when new, and with only 500 examples in existence, it’ll be a dream come true to find one that cheap 50 years from now.

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  • Greg Morris

    I can not believe you guys left out the Suzuki SV-650.

  • Grant Ray

    Even in terms of US-spec bikes, this list is seriously weak. Brand new sport bikes like the S1000R and the 1199 are great, but you guys should really know better than to be so narrow-minded about what makes a classic. No KTM 950/990 Adventure? No Bimota V-Due? No Ducati Sport Classic? No Aprilia SXV? No Honda XR650R? No BMW HP2 Enduro? That’s just off the top of my head.

  • Nils G

    I kept reading through, wondering when the V-Max would show up. So, where is it?

  • Dusty P

    How about any of the Buell XB lightnings? Not only were they technologically unique, but there’s the whole Buell legacy, the fact that the company no longer exists, would be cause for a lot of exclusivity down the road. There’s not a bike in this list more unique than an XB.