Brief Guide to Classic Motorcycles by Country

Filed under: Classic News |

While there are many fantastic new bikes to consider when buying a motorbike, there is something special about the classics which have influenced all modern designs and it is not just big American bikes that have been popular.

This was something that was recently explored by Devitt Insurance who looked at a few classic bikes from places all over the globe. Here are a few of the highlights.


Triumph Bonneville

The iconic Triumph Bonneville is the definitive British bike and they have been hard to avoid since the 60s with over 300,000 models made in the 60s and 70s. The Bonneville was all about pace, power and handling and, like many things from the 60s, it has gone on to become a cultural relic.

Norton Commando

The Norton Commando had a short but successful life having launched in 1967 with the firm collapsing 10 years later. Despite this, the Commando left its mark on the bike world with its good looks and low-tech engine which was updated in 1973 with the Commando 850 which featured an 828cc two-cylinder for an improved performance.

BSA Gold Star

In terms of influential bikes, the BSA Gold Star is certainly up there as a bike built between 1938 and 1964 and the most popular race replica after WW2. The name comes from its victory at the pre-war Brooklands circuit where gold stars were awarded to racers that managed a 100mph lap with BSA stating that the bike was designed for completion and not touring.


Kawasaki Z900/1000

Of course, Japan has been a pioneer when it comes to motorcycles and have developed many classic models - a Devitt survey revealed that Japanese brands were by far the most popular amongst riders. The original Kawasaki Z1 narrowly missed out on being the first superbike which led to a delay in the launch which proved to be worthwhile as this led to a much-improved 903cc DOHC engine with better brakes and chassis.

Suzuki GS1000

Suzuki is another influential brand which made a strong range of inline-four four-stroke bikes with the GS1000 being a great example with old-school handling, good looks and plenty of torque for a classic street bike performance - the Devitt survey revealed that most people use their bike for leisure so Suzuki vehicles are often popular.

Yamaha RD350 YPVS

Yamaha dominated the 60s and 70s with their two-stroke machines with its RD twins ranging in capacity from 125 all the way up to 400cc. They made a series of developments over the years culminating in the RD350 YPVS which is considered to be an all-time classic.



The iconic German manufacturer has bikes dating back to the 20s but production was interrupted heavily till after WW2. The 70s was the key time for BMW with the flagship R90S which was a full supersport machine which won superbike races at Daytona.

Moto Guzzi Le Mans

Moto Guzzi has stuck to its roots much like Harley Davidson with today’s bikes retaining the classic look and feel. The Le Mans was a great superbike in the 70s and there is now a decent aftermarket meaning that it is relatively easy to keep classics like this in good condition.

If you are looking for a classic, you cannot go wrong with any of these all of which have left their mark on the biking world.