7 old-school sportsbikes

Published: 29 October 2016

Legends from the 1990s that are on the verge of rocketing in value. Grab yourself a bargain while you can.

Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD (1996-1999)

Renowned as one of the best handling bikes of its day, the Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD redefined the sports 750 category in the late 90s. Lightweight, compact and nimble, the GSX-R was popular on both road and track. Its comfy seat and friendly riding position made it less intimidating than earlier GSX-Rs and their initial popularity means they are fairly common. However, road-going examples in original trim are hard to find.

What you’ll pay now: £1000-£2500.
But should you? Yes. Still impressive today, it’s a perfect sportsbike for those on a tight budget.

Yamaha YZF750 (1993-1996)

A more sedate offering from this era, the YZF750 offered a softer, more comfortable ride and a broad power delivery that made it easier to handle than its rivals. Far from boring though, the Yamaha came fitted with an Öhlins shock and high-quality upside down forks.

What you’ll pay: £1500-£3000.
But should you? If you want a less intimidating slice of the 90s then this is the one for you.

Kawasaki ZX-7R (1996-2003)

This was a bike designed to be great on the road, rather than an all-out track machine. Released at the same time as the GSX-R750 SRAD, it never quite received the praise it should have done at the time. Offering plush handling and a top speed of 167mph, the Kawasaki remains impressive today.

What you’ll pay: £1000-£3000.
But should you? It’s a cult bike with still enough power to put a grin on your face.

Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

With a top speed of 167mph, the Thunderace offers big smiles on a small budget. Producing 145bhp from its 1002cc inline four, it was sportier than its rivals but less extreme than the true sportsbikes of the day.

What you’ll pay: £1500-£2500.
But should you? If you are after a true Yamaha sports machine from that era, buy an early R1.

Suzuki TL1000R (1998-2004)

The definitive hooligan-bike, the TL1000R was a no-holds-barred all-out brawler. With an ultra-rigid beam frame housing a 996cc V-twin, the big TL was capable of 167mph and reserved for experienced riders only. These are now fast appreciating in value and few bikes get close to it for smiles per mile.

What you’ll pay: £2000-£3500.
But should you? Yes. Grab one before the price rockets (if you can find one).

Honda VTR1000 Firestorm (1997-2005)

Produced in an attempt to spoil Ducati’s dominance in the big V-twin sportsbike market, the Honda Firestorm offered similar thrills, for a fraction of the cost of the alternative Italian exotica. Never quite a match for the 916 as a poster-bike, the VTR1000 was actually a better all-round road bike. Producing 108bhp from its 996cc V-twin motor, there was an even spread of power throughout the rev range that made it fast, but also user friendly. Don’t be mistaken though, it is still massive fun.

What you’ll pay now: £1500-£2500.
But should you? Still a good road bike and good value. Why not?

Ducati 748 (1994-2003)

While the all-conquering Ducati 916 has rocketed in value over the past decade, the 748 is a bike that has not quite mirrored its crazy price hike, yet. Just 11bhp down on its big brother, the 748 was bejewelled with premium features including a single-sided swingarm, Brembo front calipers and Showa rear shock. It also steered much quicker than the bigger Duke too, but didn’t offer that same sense of speed and exclusivity. Still, reaching a top speed of 152mph, it’s no slouch and the average rider you would struggle to notice the performance difference anyway.

What you’ll pay: £3500-£5000.
But should you? This seems expensive on paper, but these bikes are sure to become collectables and will rocket in value.