The 1990s was a magical era for sportbikes. Both the Superbike World Championship (WSBK) and British Superbike Championship (BSB) launched in 1988, providing a new testing ground for manufacturers to showcase their flagship street bikes. By the mid-'90s, competition among Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, and Kawasaki reached a fever pitch, with OEMs frequently trading title campaigns.
Some of the period’s most iconic models include Yamaha’s YZF750. Suzuki’s GSX-R750 SRAD, Ducati’s 996, and Honda RC51 SP1. The hooligans at YouTube channel 44Teeth were lucky enough to test the legendary superbikes at Chippenham, England’s Castle Combe circuit and these titans of speed didn’t disappoint.
Yamaha introduced the YZF750 in 1993. The superbike’s run only lasted until 1998, but Team Blue made every one of those years count. James Whitham rode the YZF750 to the BSB championship in its debut season and Niall Mackenzie captured three consecutive BSB titles from 1996 to 1998 aboard the bLU cRU’s rocket.
However, after WSBK and BSB adopted regulations to include 1,000cc engines, Ducati’s iconic 996 picked up where the YZF750 left off. Piloting the 996, Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson, and John Reynolds achieved a BSB three-peat for Ducati between 1999 and 2001. During that same period, Carl Fogarty seized his final WSBK crown in 1999 and Troy Bayliss won his first WSBK title in 2001 aboard the 996.
Honda split those two Ducati WSBK championships in 2000, with future-MotoGP rider Colin Edwards helming the RC51 (VTR1000) SP1. Edwards would reclaim the title in 2002 with the revised Honda RC51 (VTR1000) SP2, but he would transition to the Grand Prix ranks in 2003 and Honda would soon move on to the CBR1000RR.
While Suzuki’s GSX-R750 SRAD (Suzuki Ram Air Direct) never achieved BSB or WSBK supremacy, but with James Whitham, John Reynolds, and Chris Walker manning the GSX in WSBK and BSB, the SRAD remains one of the most sought-after classics. Of course, the fellas at 44Teeth have their pick of the litter, but which iconic ‘90s sportbike would you take for a few laps around the track?