The automotive industry is an ever-growing market with colossal revenue generation and economic progress for a country. Bikes are one of the most popular means of transportation. Every motorcycle enthusiast’s ambition is to acquire a superbike, and its incredible peak speeds and acceleration are one of the main reasons for this.
Japan motorcycles are one of the most reputable bikes amongst riders worldwide. When discussing Japan’s top 10 Bikes brands, we often consider various aspects of Bike companies that deal with manufacturing, design, and sports development and production.
In this article, we will be looking at the best Bikes brands and top speeds and acceleration Bike brands in Japan so that you can have a bird’s eye view of the current scenario and will be able to gauge the future of the automotive industry in the coming eras.
The top 10 Japan Bikes are discussed below-
Our first real muscle cruiser on the list, the Yamaha V-Max, shook up the industry when it dropped in 1985. Propelled by a massive, at the time, 1,197cc liquid V-4 engine, the V-Max was as shockingly fast as it was visually imposing. The powerplant featured dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and a high compression ratio that produced nearly 120 rear-wheel horsepower. Using a lightweight aluminum frame and employing the engine as a stressed member, the bike was light for its size and power. While generally soft-sprung and mediocre in handling, the V-Max was known for its impressive acceleration. Only minor changes graced the bike from its introduction in 1985 until the more powerful and modern second generation debuted in 2007. These bikes enjoyed a large following in the drag racing community and are an excellent example of 1980s Japanese engineering prowess and design.
When the Yamaha company unveiled the new 1970 XS650, they fired a shot across the bow of the entire British motorcycle industry. The Yamaha XS650, then and now, is an excellent alternative to the Triumph, BSA, and Norton twins of the day. WHEN IT HIT THE MARKET, the XS650 had one of the world’s most modern large displacement parallel twin engines. Compared to its pushrod-driven British counterparts with origins in the late 1930s to 1940s, the Yamaha’s 650cc parallel-twin engine featured a single overhead cam. The overhead cam valvetrain allowed for a machine that revved quickly made great power, and did not require constant valve lash adjustments. The Yamaha XS650 was used successfully as a street and race bike. Capable of running the quarter mile in the high 13-second range, the XS650 was as fast as many of the top muscle cars of the era at the dragstrip. In recent years, it is reliability and close resemblance to classic British twin-cylinder motorcycles have made it a favorite of customizers wishing to get the look of a classic Triumph or BSA without the constant maintenance.
With a lineage going back to the 1970s with the RD350, the RZ350 was the swan song for fast, light, two-stroke street bikes in the United States. Possessing a liquid-cooled 347cc parallel twin two-cycle engine, the RZ350 used a primitive computer system to operate a power valve system that changed port timing to produce solid low-end torque and high RPM horsepower. The small engine makes about 43 horsepower, giving the motorcycle a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour. Available from only 1983 to 1985 in the United States due to increasing emissions standards, the RZ350 is highly sought after by two-stroke enthusiasts and enjoys strong aftermarket support due to the engine being the same (minus the power valve system) as that used in Yamaha Banshee ATVs.
Kawasaki H1 Mach III
The mid-1960s witnessed the boom of the muscle car fad in the United States, the largest motorcycle market in the world. Japanese bike manufacturers realized that Americans wanted faster motorcycles along with their faster cars. Kawasaki sought to produce a 500cc bike that could run with any American muscle car at the dragstrip, and the result was the H1 Mach III. Displacing 499ccs, the two-stroke inline-triple engine propelled the motorcycle to low 13-second quarter mile times with speeds near 120 miles per hour. For straight-line speed, the bike was a fantastic machine. However, braking and handling were marginal at best, and the bike gained a reputation as a somewhat dangerous machine when ridden aggressively on the street.
Kawasaki realized its two-stroke H1 was faster down the dragstrip than the new Honda CB750; however, the Honda CB750 outclassed the H1 in handling, braking, and standard features. Seeing Honda rack up impressive sales numbers, the engineers at Kawasaki worked hard to produce their first superbike. The result came in 1972 as the Kawasaki Z1. Using Honda’s winning formula, the minds at Kawasaki used a transversely mounted 903cc four-cylinder engine. While Honda opted for a single overhead camshaft actuated valvetrain, the Kawasaki employed a dual overhead camshaft system. While more complicated, this helped to produce more power. The Z1 also featured an electric start and front disc brakes, matching the feature set on the Honda CB750. Due to the more significant displacement and dual overhead cams, the Z1 produced more power and faster top speeds than the Honda. When the Z1 debuted, it was the most potent mass-produced motorcycle available to American consumers. At a time when muscle cars were beginning to see sliding power figures, the Kawasaki Z1 was upping the ante on fast motorcycles.
In 1984, Kawasaki, unconcerned with their standing in the bike horsepower wars, introduced a machine to overthrow the reigning champion, the Suzuki GS1100E. The GPz900R produced 115 horsepower, thanks to the introduction of liquid cooling. More efficient than previous air and oil-cooled models, this 908cc transverse four-cylinder engine possessed increased compression and aggressive camshaft and ignition timing profiles. The lightweight, aerodynamic, and powerful Kawasaki became the first bike to reach a top speed of 150 miles per hour. The father of the famous Ninja line of sports bikes, the GPZ900R. The Kawasaki garnered Hollywood fame as the bike of Tom Cruise’s character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in the 1986 film Top Gun and became an icon of 1980s superbikes.
In 1980, Suzuki dropped a bomb on its Japanese competitors by introducing the GS1100E. Based on the earlier GS1000 series, the GS1100E featured a new cylinder head design. Dual overhead camshafts, four valves at a narrow-angle, and a new specially shaped combustion chamber helped the engine produce 108 horsepower. When the GS100E debuted, it was the fastest mass-production bike on the market, and for three years in a row, it won Cycle World’s Superbike of the Year award. A favorite of drag racers, the engine used in the GS1100E has seen countless racing victories at the amateur and professional levels alike. The machine is known for its power potential and durability four decades later. Aftermarket performance companies still offer large big bore kits to increase displacement and horsepower.
Honda CB750 SOHC
In the mid-1960s, Honda began to explore the desire of American consumers for faster and larger bikes. Honda first released the CB450 twin-cylinder motorcycle to test the waters. A sales success, the manufacturer created a revolutionary mass-produced bike. The result was the CB750, called the first “superbike,” the CB750 offered features no other mass-produced rival could match in 1969. Utilizing a single overhead cam 736cc transverse-mounted four-cylinder engine, the bike produced nearly 70 horsepower and achieved a top speed of 120 miles per hour. The Honda was remarkably smooth and vibration free compared to its contemporaries.
Along with its unique engine, the bike came with front disc brakes and an electric start, making the Honda CB750 unrivaled in its features when it hit showroom floors. Sales blew the company’s expectations out of the water. From 1969 to 1978, when production on the first generation ended, nearly 400,000 examples were sold to the public.
Honda’s first try at a “big” motorcycle, the CB450, sold relatively well and helped the company test the waters for more extensive and bolder machines such as the CB750 a few years later. A parallel twin design, the 444cc engine was innovative in using dual overhead camshafts and torsion bar valve springs instead of the traditional coil valve springs. The Honda CB450 produced 45 horsepower, an impressive performer, roughly equivalent to the more aged British 650cc designs it competed against for customers. Initially styled like Honda’s other bikes, the early CB450 “Black Bomber” bikes have become increasingly popular with collectors. Able to propel the bike to a claimed 110 miles per hour, it impressed many with its speed for such a small displacement engine. Utilizing a system similar to “Ram Air,” the bike possessed a computer-controlled set of butterflies that opened via electric servos to induct more air into the engine, raising power by approximately ten percent at higher RPM.
Some would argue that the Honda Cub is the motorcycle equivalent of the Ford Model T in that it introduced motorcycle ownership to a wide array of buyers that may not otherwise have purchased a bike. Honda used the marketing slogan “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” to sell scores of these machines. Basic, rugged, and economical, the Cub helped Honda break into the American market by offering a cheap alternative to more expensive and less reliable options from scooter makers. Featuring a simple pushrod-operated 50cc engine, the Cub was low compression, making it easy to start and run on the most marginal fuels. The machine was cheap, and the bodywork made of synthetic materials instead of sheet metal helped keep the cost down. The most prolific motorcycle ever sold, the Cub has been in continuous production since 1958 and has sold over 100 million units worldwide in varying engine sizes.
Now that you’re familiar with the list of the top ten fastest motorcycles in Japan and some of their notable qualities, selecting the bike you want to buy is easier.
The top Japanese bike brands listed here are some of the most durable. These are the brands to consider if you’re looking for a Bike that will last you for years. So this list is of legendary bikes that are champions in their titles, reaching the pinnacle of performance and earning eternal fame.
Read also: Top 10 Bikes in Japan.