Tenth Greatest: Knucklehead (06:26)
Harley Davidson launched the Knucklehead in 1936; it became popular with servicemen returning from World War II and gained a "bad boy" image. Twin V cylinders and customization allowed speeds of 100 miles per hour.
Ninth Greatest: Moto Guzzi (02:51)
Moto Guzzi pioneered use for multi cylinder technology in motorcycles, and achieved speeds of 190 miles per hour. Technical problems caused the design to be scrapped three years after conception.
Eighth Greatest: Vespa (03:57)
After World War II, Piaggio engineers designed the Vespa for utilitarian transport, creating an easy to ride bike that did not achieve highway speeds. The aeronautics company used aircraft components on their prototype.
Seventh Greatest: Brough Superior
When built, the Brough Superior was the most powerful motorcycle, achieving speeds of 100 miles per hour. George Brough avoided speed wobble by stabilizing wheels with castle forks.
Sixth Greatest: Britten V1000 (04:23)
John Britten built the Britten V1000 from scratch, self-manufacturing all components. He used carbon fiber to create a lighter, faster, stronger motorcycle with girder fork suspension making for better handling; it won several prestigious races in the 1990s.
Fifth Greatest: Triumph Bonneville (03:36)
Marlon Brandon rode a Triumph Bonneville in the "Wild One." In 1956, a modified model made a new land speed record of 240 miles per hour, achieved with a 650CC twin-cylinder engine.
Fourth Greatest: Y2K Superbike (06:59)
The Y2K Superbike is powered by a Rolls Royce gas turbine engine running on any combustible fuel. It achieves speeds of 250 miles per hour, holding the Guinness Record for fastest production bike made.
Third Greatest: Honda CB 750 (04:41)
The Honda CB 750 was initially produced in 1969; it reached 60 miles per hour in less than eight seconds. Design included disc brakes, in line four cylinder engine, and counter balanced pistons, equating to a fast, easy to maintain, and non-vibrating motorcycle.
Second Greatest: Ducati 916 (04:27)
The Ducati 916 was designed for speed and aesthetics; reengineering of the V twin engine allowed it to make controlled turns during acceleration. Road model sales turned the company into a world class sports bike manufacturer in the 1990s.
Greatest Ever: Honda Cub (07:25)
Soichiro Honda designed the Cub for durability and mass appeal, marketing to average citizens; it gained reputation as a starter motorcycle and now 40 million have been built. It is cheap, simply designed, fun to ride, and nearly indestructible.
Credits: Episode I: Motorcycles (00:30)
Credits: Episode I: Motorcycles
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