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Top 10 stunning homologation specials

Track-ready production bikes to make you drool

Top 10 stunning homologation specials

HOMOLOGATION specials are a weird concept. Production-based racing– epitomised by WorldSBK – is supposed to let manufacturers to show off their real-world road bikes on track. But then those same manufacturers go and build special race-oriented bikes that they shoehorn into showrooms purely to get an edge on their rivals.

Objectively the resulting homologation specials are usually terrible road bikes. But since when has the longing for a bike been objective? It turns out that many of us would be more than prepared to put up with lumpy idles, uncooperative flat-slide carbs, single seats and unusable gear ratios in exchange for the sublime, race-ready feeling that goes hand-in-hand with these machines.

These days the homologation special is having a revival, albeit without the compromises of the past. Road-ready racers like Honda’s CBR1000RR SP2, Kawasaki’s ZX-10RR and Yamaha’s R1M have all been created to exploit minimum production limits of Superbikes; they’re classics of the future, but will any become as desirable as the bikes in our top 10?

10: Kawasaki ZXR750RR

Kawasaki might have become a dominant force in WSBK over the last few years but while it didn’t finally clinch a manufactuter title until 2015 the green-obsessed firm has been a leading light in the series since its inception. Adrien Morillas took the firm’s first victory on a GPX750R (unusually, it was red) at the fourth-ever WSBK race – race two in Hungary, 1988.

Within a few years the likes of Aaron Slight, Scott Russell and Rob Phillis were regular winners, with Russell taking the rider’s title in 1993. The ZXR750RR – and its descendant, the ZX-7RR – were the bikes that carried Kawasaki racers through the 90s. The formula remained consistent; compared to the stock superbikes, the RR models got close-ratio boxes, flat-slide carbs, alloy fuel tanks and suspension tweaks. The stock ZXR750R was the more useable road bike, but it doesn’t make the RR any less desirable.

9: GSX-R750RR

Suzuki is another firm that’s been a WSBK stalwart over the years, but its rewards for the involvement are even more limited than Kawasaki’s. It took both the rider and manufacturer titles in 2005 with Troy Corser on a GSX-R1000, but those are its only championship successes. So why include the GSX-R750RR here? Because it’s the ultimate expression of the oil-cooled GSX-R750 line. It also looks awesome.

Just 500 were made back in 1989, with a long-stroke engine, single seat, alloy fuel tank, close-ratio gearbox and big, 40mm carbs. Suzuki never dived headlong into the homologation game like its rivals, so special GSX-R750s are thin on the ground, making the RR all the more desirable. There was one more – the water-cooled GSX-R750 SPR of 1994 – but it lacks the RR’s style.

 

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