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Predictions for five future sportbike classics

Tips for the next batch of bikes destined to be future classics in the auction house

If you were to name five appreciating classic sportsbikes from the last 25 years and you'll probably think of machines like an early GSX-R, an RC30, an RG500 or maybe a Honda CB1100R, which are now all increasing in value at an alarming rate. Bonham's auctioneers recently sold a 28-mile RG500 for almost £9500 - that's almost treble the Suzuki's original retail price. Even tatty examples now fetch at least £2000. But if you were asked which five modern sportsbikes look prime candidates for future classics then what would be on your list?

We've selected the machines we think are going to increase in value over the next few years. Bikes that have made a lasting impact on the UK's sportsbike scene and look set to make great future investments. Some are no-brainers, others aren't. Some you'll agree with, some you won't - so if you think we've over looked one then let's hear about it!

Aprilia RS250 (1994 - 2003)

Aprilia RS250 (1994 - 2003)

Even though Aprilia stopped producing the RS250 over five years ago, the tiny two-stroke race replica still rates as one of the most beautiful machines on the road today.

The RS Aprilia made it's first appearance in 1994, on the back of firm's successful 250cc GP bike. Using the same 55bhp V-twin engine seen in Suzuki's RGV250, it was placed into a gorgeously crafted aluminium chassis and swingarm. The model was updated in 1998, with fully adjustable suspension, peppier engine and restyled bodywork.

Availability

  • We found 16 examples for sale nationwide.
  • Cheapest - N reg 1995 with 21,000 miles for £1400
  • Most expensive - 2002 model with 8000 miles for £3295

Things to know

  • Many have been crashed
  • RS250 is trackday favourite
  • Engines needs overhauling around 10,000 miles
  • Use premium two-stroke oil only
  • 2500-mile service intervals
  • Fairing decals peel off

Specs

  • Power 55bhp
  • Weight 141kg
  • Seat height 810mm
  • Top speed 135mph

Useful websites

Honda RVF400 (NC35) (1994 - 2000)

Honda RVF400 (NC35) (1994 - 2000)

The RVF400's bigger brother, the 750cc RC45, is already a collectable classic and if secondhand values are to be believed then it looks as though the NC35 is heading in the same direction.

The RVF400 first appeared in 1994 as an unofficial import, taking over from the much-loved VFR400 NC30. Its single-sided swingarm, upside down forks and endurance-style fairing gave riders something that looked and handled like a big-bore sportster - without the huge insurance premium. The RVF was popular amongst newcomers, so check for signs it's been dropped/neglected and always ask to see the service history.

Availability

  • We found 20 examples for sale nationwide.
  • Cheapest - M reg 1995 with 20,000 miles for £1850
  • Most expensive - 1998 model with 15,000 miles for £3995

Things to know

  • Genuine bodywork expensive
  • Many have had loads of owners
  • Cost over £6500 new
  • Cramped for tall riders
  • A single headlamp costs over £250

Specs

  • Power 53bhp
  • Weight 183kg
  • Seat height 780mm
  • Top speed 138mph

Useful websites

Ducati 748 SPS (1997 - 1999)

Ducati 748 SPS (1997 - 1999)

Remember when you first gazed upon a 916? It's hard to believe you can now pick up the same impossibly exotic dream for under three grand. In fact 916s are getting so bloody cheap I've all but gone off the idea - but I could be tempted by a 748 SPS.

For those that don't know, the 'PS' bit basically means a few special goodies for racing homologation purposes, such as hotter cams, slightly more compression, different exhausts and an upgraded performance chip, Ohlins suspension and a single seat mounted on an aluminium subframe. This all adds up to a revvy, urgent, thunderous, corner-slaying weapon that will still do the business in the right hands.

Expect the engine to sound like a washing machine full of bolts when the bike's ticking over with the clutch out, but this mechanical mayhem should quieten down once the heavy-action clutch lever's pulled in. Any knocking or rumbling spells danger. Same goes for smoke from the exhaust. Run through the gearbox on the test ride too - any serious clunks could mean big trouble.

Availability

  • We found 3 examples for sale nationwide
  • Cheapest - 1999 V reg with 6200 miles for £375
  • Most expensive - 1999 model with 15,000 miles for £4200

Things to know

  • Service history a must
  • Dry clutch fragile if abused
  • Servicing expensive at main dealer
  • Frame easily damaged if dropped
  • Cambelt changes are vital

Specs

  • Power 104bhp
  • Weight 194kg
  • Seat height 820mm
  • Top speed 157mph

Useful websites

Kawasaki ZX-10R (2004 - 2005)

Kawasaki ZX-10R (2004 - 2005)

If you like your bikes on the spicy side, then there's nothing quite as fiery as the menacingly beautiful 2004 - 2005 ZX-10R. It was the total opposite to the lumbering ZX-9R it replaced, epitomising everything a true race bike should be - light, twitchy and a bit of a handful. Trouble is, it was bloody frightening in the wrong hands, which proved to be the 10R's downfall, as Kawasaki sidelined it two years later in favour of the watery underseat exhaust version. Once the new model appeared Kawasaki had trouble shifting the original " many were sold off at highly discounted prices.

The good news is the original was only produced for two years, which means there's a limited number on the market, so they'll get thinner on the ground as time goes on.

Availability

  • We found 73 examples for sale nationwide.
  • Cheapest - 2004 model with 11,500 miles for £4495
  • Most expensive - 2005 model 1,300 miles for £6999

Things to know

  • Softer rear spring reduces twitchiness
  • A steering damper's highly recommended
  • Power Commander smoothes fuelling
  • Standard exhaust sounds awesome

Specs

  • Power 160bhp
  • Weight 170kg
  • Seat height 825mm
  • Top speed 178mph

Useful websites

Suzuki TL1000S (1997 - 2001)

Suzuki TL1000S (1997 - 2001)

Mention the words 'Suzuki TL1000S' and most people usually think of rotary dampers and massive highsides. But even though the TLS has a fearsome reputation the fuel-injected V-twin is a seriously underrated bike. Unfortunately it never really recovered from the pack-hound beasting it was given by the UK press when concerns about the Suzuki's revolutionary rear suspension came to light.

At the time of its release the TLS was like no other motorcycle on the planet. It was as fast as any four-cylinder bike, could out-grunt any Ducati and was as reliable as an anvil. Then someone went and killed themselves on one, so Suzuki fitted a steering damper. Then someone else did the same and Suzuki recalled all the ECUs and replaced them with units that restricted the power in the first four gears. By the time the TLS ended its run in 2001 it was an emasculated shadow of the original beast.

But thankfully TLS values are now on the up. What's more electronic gadgetry can now bypass the restrictions, so third gear wheelies are on the cards again. And an Ohlins rear damper makes a world of difference to the TL's wayward handling.

Availability

  • We found 14 examples for sale nationwide
  • Cheapest - R reg 1997 with 26,000 miles for £1650
  • Most expensive - 2004 model (late reg) with 5,000 miles for £3695

Things to know

  • Ohlins damper transforms handling
  • Front forks benefit from revalve
  • Clutch can slip if fully synthetic oil used
  • Chain should be kept fairly slack
  • 180-section tyre improves handling (190 standard)

Specs

  • Power 123bhp
  • Weight 187kg
  • Seat height 824mm
  • Top speed 164mph

Useful websites

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