Top five sport bikes we miss

With sportsbikes making up the flagship of many manufacturers’ ranges, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most would live forever

Suzuki GSX-R600 SRAD

LIFE at the top of the sports bike tree must be a pretty daunting one indeed. You have a target on you back so big it’s almost impossible to miss and billions of dollars of competitors R&D going into knocking you off the perch.

And if you don’t perform, you get axed. And that’s the sad tale of many a great a bike. With everything from screaming two-strokes to 1000cc race bikes for the road, here are five sports bikes we wish were still around today.

5. KTM RC8

Refined it wasn’t, neither was it that easy to ride fast. But it was uncompromising, hard-edged and delivered and adrenalin hit that was hard to duplicate. It’s because it was so bad (as in good) it was actually brilliant, and sportbikes addicts with a penchant for a hooligan bike flocked to the RC8 in their droves.

Sadly in 2010, the KTM RC8 was discontinued in the UK, as KTM switched its focus to the adventure and naked ends of the market. The RC8 is totally dead though, it lives on in the DNA of the Super Duke and Super Duke GT. We do just sincerely KTM would give a faired sports bike just one more go.

4. Cagiva Mito

With the looks of a Ducati 916 and the smell and sound of a 125cc GP bike, the Cagiva Mito was a learner rider’s wet-dream of a bike back when it launched in the 90s. The reality of owning one was just as good back in the day. You had almost GP-spec handling and pace on the right road that meant you could keep up with dad and his mates on their big bikes. You also got the authentic GP mechanic experience too, as engine maintenance and using the correct oil was the key to keeping this dinky GP replica in tip-top condition.

3. Suzuki GSX-R600 SRAD

We know, the later GSX-R600s were the ones to have, but none of them looked quite as cool as the SRAD. With its twin headlights shrouded into the fairing it looked like you could roll out of the pitlane at the Suzuka 8hr and nobody would notice you weren’t on a race bike.

2. Triumph Daytona

Discontinued a couple of years ago, the Daytona was one of the best handling bikes in the supersport pack and was backed up by that juicy mid-range from the Street Triple derived engine. We know it’s had a swansong, in the form of the Daytona Moto2 special edition, but it’s not a full production bike that most can afford to buy.

While the Daytona may be gone, for now, we don’t think it’ll be forever. We’ve had numerous conversations with Triumph staff about the likelihood of a reboot and their answer has always been delivered with a wry smile…

1. Honda CBR600RR

The death of the CBR600RR was a shot to the heart of many motorcyclists, from avid trackday riders to the occasional weekend warrior, the bike that everyone thought would live forever had been taken too soon.

For Honda though it was simply a number on a spreadsheet, and with dwindling sales in the supersport class and ever-tightening emissions regulations, the only option was to the cut the bike from the range.

It is still available in some markets though, with the US being one of those places where a CBR600RR is still a fan favourite among the sports bike riding masses.

Like any other bike on this list though, the demise of the CBR600RR may not be forever… we’re hearing reports from Japan that Honda may be working up its replacement. Watch this space.