The only apt adjective associated with a superbike is, well, speed. Technically, any bike with an engine displacement above 500 cubic centimetres qualifies as a superbike. Arguably, the fastest street legal production bike today is the Suzuki Hayabusa with a 1340 cc engine. It is capable of reaching speeds of between 188 and 194 mph, although some might plead their case in favour of the MV Agusta F4 R312. The "312" (kms, making it 194 mph) in the name is said to be the highest speed the bike can supposedly achieve, according to the manufacturers.
Bimota DB8 Oro Nero
Did you know that Bimota, a small Italian manufacturer of some of the finest motorcycles in the world is named after the three founders - Bianchi, Morri, Tamburini? This aesthetically-sculpted bike isn't made on an assembly line. Every model is hand crafted. Oro Nero means "black gold." Looking at this beauty, we wouldn't have agreed to any other name. And Oh! Did you notice the price tag? With only 8 bikes for sale this year, you could well buy a top-end BMW car, if you care.
Ducati 1199 Panigale
- At the heart of this beauty is a Superquadro, L-twin cylinder, liquid cooled engine, which is a structural element of the bike, rather than a standalone unit fitted onto the chassis. This creates a perfect amalgam of power and stability. Ducati has always set high standards and with this masterpiece, they have outdone themselves. Did you know that this bike is fitted with Pirelli Diablo tyres? Diablo means "Devil" in Spanish. Only the Devil can help this bike muster speeds in excess of 186 mph.
- This British bike has its unique place in history. The company has gone through some torrid times but now after a revival of sorts, it has launched the "24," a limited-edition bike with only 24 units to be sold internationally. The company, though, plans to produce a twin-seater version of the 24 later. Those who know Hesketh, know the F1 roots of the company, with James Hunt's famous 1975 victory at the Zandvoort circuit. The number on Hunt's car was 24 and hence the name of the new model.
Honda CBR 1000RR
This legendary bike has received some important modifications for 2014. More power, new windscreen and a new ride position make this bike even more desirable. A revolutionary Combined Anti-Lock Braking System (C-ABS) provides unprecedented braking confidence under tough conditions by electronically gauging the weight that the rider puts on the braking lever. Fireblades were introduced in 1992 and have sold around 215,000 units the world over. Tells you how popular this bike is. Did we mention that it runs like a dream?!
MV Agusta F4
- One of the best bikes in the market today, the F4 is also arguably the best looking bike amongst all and has become the embodiment of style, performance and speed. The company believes that with the F4, they have created their best yet. In a historical turnaround of sorts, Harley Davidson, who bought the ailing MV Agusta from the Cagiva Group in 2008 sold it back to its former owners in 2010. It should be noted that Cagiva Group itself had bought the then-ailing AMF-Harley Davidson plant in 1978. History repeats itself?
Suzuki Hayabusa 50th Anniversary Edition
The GSX 1300R is an iconic bike and the special edition commemorates the bike’s 50 years in the US. The bike has a top speed of 186 mph, but enthusiasts believe that the 'busa is capable of achieving more. It has one of the most demonical engines ever to sit inside a motorbike chassis. So much so, that the turbo motor of the 'busa has been used to drive race cars and even an aircraft!
The year 2014 was an exciting year for biking enthusiasts and the bike manufacturers obliged them with generous launches of some of the best superbikes in history. With each bike surpassing its previous performances and expectations, it remains to be seen as to how these will be eclipsed by other bikes or by newer versions of the same bikes in the near future.