Is it time to retire superbikes?

Why have 180 mph motorcycles on the public roads in this day and age?
Why have 180 mph motorcycles on the public roads in this day and age?

Motorcycling has evolved considerably since the halcyon days of the Sixties and Seventies when two wheeled motorized transport shook off its black leather jacket Marlon Brando stigma and became the way "to meet the nicest people on a Honda." We live in a drastically different world now than the one that saw motorcycle enthusiasts' jaws drop at the first sight of the CB750, Z1-900, or Gold Wing.

As motorcycles grew in displacement and performance, the aura of the superbike grew and grew. While at first a superbike was defined as a 750 or 900 cc Universal Japanese Motorcycle with a transverse four cylinder dual overhead cam engine, this definition soon expanded to include a wide variety of faired street racers as the Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, Suzuki GSX-R1000, and Yamaha YZF-R1 and the Ducati 1098. Then came the eyeball flattening hyperbikes such as the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14, Honda CBR1100XX, and Suzuki Hayabusa which technically fit more into the rocketship category than any two wheeled street legal transportation has a right to.

The vast majority of superbikes see the track as often as bling bling SUVs see the trails... which is never. The owner of the hand waxed, 16 coats of clear lacquer Escalade cruising around town on $8000 worth of chromed wheels is about as likely as go mudbogging as the Hayabusa rider is likely to tape on numbers and go fly around the corners of a racetrack. The breathtaking levels of speed that these superbikes are capable of can only be legally and legitimately experienced on a racetrack, but unfortunately most of their immature daredevil riders choose to test their limits on public highways endangering not only their own lives, but those of the innocent motorists around them.

Even gigantoid cruisers such as the outrageous 2.3 litre Triumph Rocket III and the gargantuan six cylinder Gold Wings fit into this market segment whose time has come and gone. When I'm in Italy I regularly drive an automobile with an engine barely one quarter the displacement of this Hulk Bike. It is difficult to erase from my memory the sight I witnessed there a couple of years ago when a maniac riding a Hayabusa at well over 150 mph crammed his bike directly into the back of a Fiat Uno carrying an entire family. No one survived that crash, and although it can be argued that the Suzuki rider had it coming, what fault did the poor family in the Fiat have, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

We are entering an era of extreme fuel scarcity and ecological responsibility. We have pushed this planet to the limits and now it's pushing back. We need to not only minimize our carbon footprints but we also need to realize that the excesses of the past have no place in a threatened future. Just like monster V-10 pickup trucks and Hummer H1s have to retire to museums where future generations can gape at how wasteful, boastful and shallow humanity must have been, superbikes also must join the ranks of the extinct. Too much power, too much speed, too much fuel, too much danger.

If we want to be realistic about it, there truly is no reason for a motorcycle to be any larger than about 500cc. That size will carry two large people and a couple of saddlebags at the legal speed limit anywhere they want to go. With some fine tuning, manufacturers can market half-litre motorcycles that will do anything that a sane, reasonable rider will ask of them and return well over 60 mpg and maybe as much as 70 mpg.

And... yes... I'll have to bid adieu to my Harley soon as well. It will break my heart. But very unfortunately it is all too necessary.



Check out Hal's latest Hubs:

Also don't miss Hal's many other Motorcycling Hubs!

More by this Author

Comments 26 comments

koncling profile image

koncling 8 years ago from Nice Winding Room

that's true more larger more danger

but ithink's it depend "the man behind the gun"

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Yes, as they say in the automotive world, the mechanical problem that causes most crashes is the loose nut behind the steering wheel! :)

A Motorcyclist 8 years ago

Just admit it. You really don't know too much about motorcycles. The loose nut around here is the guy running this page; lots of opinion, little of substance.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

You, sir, are an idiot. And a speed-besotten one at that. Very dangerous. I pray you don't kill anyone while blasting around public highways.

Who'sThisClown? 8 years ago

There you go making assumptions again. You have no right to assume that he is a 'speed-besotten idiot'. You know nothing about him. He isn't the one writing pages of bullshit. I dont know what world you live in - but the sport bike owners I know (save for the ones who cant afford to) have their bikes on a racetrack regularly. Motorcycles are a hobby. They cant even be compared to someone driving an SUV. I agree there are some idiots on the road, but thanks to Darwin, those things tend to work themselves out. But the amount of riders I see behing irresponsible, compared to the law abiding ones are slim. This is coming from someone who's primary mode of transportation is a sportbike, I've never had a speeding ticket and I've never crashed on a public road, the only danger I've caused is to myself, by being on said public roads with the SUV driving, cell phone talking soccer mom's who are paying as little attention as possible to the road. Find some real statistics and perhaps we'll consider taking your writing as more than bullshit.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

You want statistics, Mr. Speed-Besotten Idiot? Go and educate yourself:

Who'sThisClown? 8 years ago

Did I mention I'm a proffessional firefighter? I've seen the statistics. And I'll tell you one things for sure - the sport bikes arent the problem. It's the big, heavy harley riding 'it can't happen to me' hot shots who are causing the crashes. I've seen more of them on them, dead on the side of the road than anything. I assure you, one thing I am not is a 'speed-besotten idiot'

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

I wouldn't care if you were a Nobel prize winner, Olympic gold medalist, Saint, or the USAirways pilot who made a safe landing in the Hudson. If you're a supersports rider you should READ THE STATISTICS and grow a brain cell! :)

Who'sThisClown? 8 years ago

I have seen the statistics. I've seen 40+ years worth of statistics. But being a firefighter - I've also seen it first hand.

Has anyone ever mentioned that jumping straight to insulting ones intelligence is a terrible form of argument?

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Tell ya what. On my Hub page I'll argue any way I want and you can set up your own Hub page and use your own set of rules. If you were truly "so sensitive" to argument tactics would you have used the alias you're currently using? Touche'! :)

CMack 8 years ago

So, I've read quite a few of your "stories" now, and it's pretty evident that you have some sort of vendetta against superbikes. You however have very little real information to pass on to people, your posts are filled with nothing but hateful opinion and rhetoric. Although I agree with you that there is, infact, a large group of superbike riders that should not be riding, I am unbiased enough to realize that there is just as large a population on cruisers and choppers that fit into the same category. The argument to ban any bike on the basis of displacement is about as useless as the debate to ban dogs based on breed. It is not the bike (or dog) that is the initial cause of harm, it is the moron in control of said odject.

So maybe, instead of jumping on the "ban everything dangerous" bandwagon, we should promote education, a graduated licensing program, and things of the like, as bans are never the answer.

You are leading the uninformed down a dangerous path, filling their minds with incorrect, and biased information, and in my opinion, that is far more dangerous than any rider on a Hayabussa, YZF, CBR, GSX-Ror any other model you deem as dangerous and unnecessary.

Now, I am ready for your "You're an idiotic speed demon" reply, as this is (factually) statistically how you reply to anyone who does not share your ignorance, maybe, perhaps as a responsible journalist, you may actaully take some of other people comments and use them to write an informtative and factual article.

Chris Mack

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Please feel free to enjoy the statistics at

peminatautomotive profile image

peminatautomotive 7 years ago from malaysia

I don't think it's a good choice for the rider to quit biking. Because for's us to determine our safety and we have to be extra cautious at all time.

Riding a superbike is a superb hobbies and don't just quit because of the accident happen. Riding is our pride and joy. Enjoy it by riding safely.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Yes, riding safely is the key. Unfortunately too many riders don't ride safely, but recklessly. :(

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

HOW STUPID ARE COMMENTERS who name themselves with expletives. Do you really think I'm going to publish that on a family friendly site like HubPages? Do you have ANY brain cells that actually work?

britishbikes 7 years ago

You are an enemy. You try to take my favorite thing in the world. I wish you ill and if I see you I will confront you.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Geez, thanks, I look forward to the confrontation! Sheesh, some people are such IDIOTS! And I mean YOU Mr. IP Keep uttering threats, and I'll see what your local constabulary has to say about it. MORON!

profile image

smack9x 7 years ago

This article seems to be have been written by a biased moron that doesn't know anything at all about motorcycle safety. The type of bike has nothing to do with which one is more safe to ride. If all these types of bikes were put in similar emergency situations and their riders understand all the capabilities of bike they are driving, the superbike will actually have the advantage being that it will be able to out-accelerate, out-brake, and out-maneuver any of the other types of bikes.

Also, there is a major flaw in the statistics that are quoted which is the environments that these bikes typically are in. Your sport, sport touring, and/or supersport bike is more often used in daily commutes in highly populated metropolitan areas where as your typical cruiser bike will rarely be seen. Your typical cruiser is driving down a long straight road in the middle of no where on a Sunday afternoon when there are no cars on the road.

If you wanna analyze riders of the said bikes for your typical superbike it is 'cool' to put on matching gear for the bike where as your typical cruiser its 'cool' to not where any protective gear at all. So who is really the safer rider??

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

You have NO clue, dude. Your justifications are a complete sieve. The statistics do not even come close to backing you up. In the famous words of Gordon Ramsay you're talking out of your arse.

weeman 7 years ago

yes it is time to limt the speed of theses m/c i ride but not one of the killer bikes

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author


David R 6 years ago

dear Hal Licino you are a complete moron and your statements are idiotic

sorry, just being honest

500cc rider 6 years ago

Dropping the displacement limit to 500cc would do nothing but make the manufacturers more clever. I Ride a 500cc sport-touring bike and it is more than capable of reaching speeds in excess of 200km/h which i have done personally in a safe controlled environment (read: closed road). With a 500cc imposed limit, manufacturers would simply offer turbo or supercharged models to meet the demand of riders wanting something faster or better. The market is the same with cars, with simple 'economy cars' like the Chevy Cobalt SS or Dodge Caliber SRT-4 reaching nearly 300bhp.

Also your remarks about a Hayabusa being on a track, I bet you would find more people racing on a track with a honda CBR125R than a Hayabusa, unless you are refering to a drag strip.

while you can show statistics from one single source you fail to take anything else into consideration and publish your article with a lot of opinion and bias which is bad reporting in itself.

Tone down the hate.

tyrell 6 years ago

sounds like a commie statement to me this article. pocket bikes for everyone and scooters and toyota corollas!!

Bob Rose 5 years ago

I agree with your sentiments on super bikes.Technology has advanced in leaps and bound so why do we have to keep increasing engine sizes? i think its because big bikes are now pseudo racer toys not transport.

Rob 4 years ago

First off the Hayabusa isn't a superbike and isn't homologated for any racing class, and it rides nothing like a superbike, supersport or sport bike. It's also limited too 300 km/h. Your entire argument is flawed is based on the flawed premise that the larger the engine the more dangerous the bike. In Europe more deaths result on 50cc than 125cc, and more deaths occour on 125cc bikes than larger capacity bikes including the litre class. More accidents are caused by people driving too slowly than too fast. Most motorcycle accidents happen under 100mph.

But you said you ride a Harley, which is probably why you think like this. Harley's are poor handling, unstable and cumbersome bikes, that vibrate too much. My Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC is a super naked rather than superbike but it still offers more control and stability at a 165 mph than your Harley or any 500cc bike would at 100 mph. And a 165 mph down the autostrada is a reasonable speed on that bike, depending on traffic, weather, road conditions, and distance between speed cameras.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article