The Most Important Motorcycle Manufacturers of All Time
There are so many manufacturers that have come and gone during the period of the motorcycle hype, it is difficult to identify the most important ones. In this blog we attempt to point out the best bike makers there have ever been, obviously there will be many that will be omitted but nevertheless this is the list.
Vintage motorcycles have never been so popular, and some of them are fetching unbelievable prices. One manufacturer has been nicknamed the Rolls Royce of Motorcycles, and that is Brough Superior. George Brough started his company in 1919 in Nottingham, and for two decades he produced high quality machines for a host of famous riders, including Lawrence of Arabia.
Brough Superior is synonymous with quality, and the machines delivered a level of performance, style and rideability that no other manufacturer came close to. Some of the bikes that the factory produced cost as much as an average house, but they were definitely worth it.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Kawasaki could not be more different than Brough Superior as it is not truly a motor cycle specialist. Kawasaki make jets, ships, all manner of industrial equipment and so forth. However, it has been making quality motorcycles since the 1960s.
And if you do look at some of Kawasaki’s best early models, you can see that every facet of their manufacturing capability was poured into their motorcycles. Especially the machines that were at the high-power bracket, starting with the 500cc Mach III. Kawasaki also were responsible for making the world’s first superbike, the ZI, and it was as fast as a Ferrari or a Corvette but for a fraction of the cost.
Vincent-HRD manufactured their bikes in the UK but took America by storm in terms of demand for their machines. It was well before other British exports such as the Beatles had made their name in the US, and the Americans loved the design of the bike with a revolutionary rear suspension.
If you were looking to buy a legendary Vincent Black Shadow, then it could cost as much as a quarter of a million dollars, if indeed you could find one. This bike was the fastest mass-produced motorcycle of its day and its advanced technology and raw power singled it out as a classic.
Motor Guzzi is only a couple of years away from being one hundred years old, which makes it the longest operating motorcycle manufacturer in the world. It was founded on the banks of the beautiful Lake Como by Carlo Guzzi who decided to start making motorcycles as he could not find one he liked.
One of the company’s most famous machines has to be the V7 Sport which is still produced today under the guise of the V7 Cafe Classic. This bike was the choice of the English counterculture group the Rockers which of course spread over the pond at a later date. The Cafe Classic refers to the old races which used to take place that started at a cafe and attempted to reach a finish point before a jukebox song finished. These great bikes and their manufacturers are just some of the great machines and makers in motorcycle history, there are many more.