or bikers, having a motorcycle has always meant one thing – freedom. But from the outside, there's an instant personality label stamped on the rider according to the type and style of the bike. Get a chopper and you're instantly a badass. Get a sport bike and you're a risk-taker and an adrenaline junkie. There are few things in life that instantly catapult one's self-identity as well as the perceptions of others like purchasing a motorcycle. The following are 10 bikes that will turn anybody from chump to champ overnight....
Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Every now and then a bike escapes from the depths of hell to reign terror on the common folk. As the "world's largest capacity motorcycle" with a 2.3-liter three-cylinder 2,294cc engine, the Triumph Rocket III Roadster is an absolute beast. Tipping the scales at 807 pounds with 146 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque, this heathen is tamed by Nissin and Brembo brakes sporting ABS, 43-millimeter upside-down forks and twin Kayaba shocks. With a thunderous roar, intimidating looks and the tendency to chew up and spit out any Vespa in its path, this Triumph cruiser takes no prisoners. It's available in any color you want as long as it's black.
Ducati 848 Evo
Being the most powerful motorcycle in its class – with 140 hp on tap from its reworked Testastretta Evoluzione engine – already puts the Ducati 848 Evo on a pedestal. But when you add in high-end components like Brembo Monobloc calipers, a cross-mounted stabilizer bar and Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires, this superbike is just as comfortable on the street as on the track. With a curb weight of only 369 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio is outrageous and will have you blowing by lesser liter-bikes all day. This Duc is available in red, but what's the point? Opt for the only real option here-the blacked-out "Dark" edition. Bend up your license plate and stealth mode is complete...
Big Bear Athena ProStreet
When the Discovery Channel had their Biker Build-Off, Big Bear Choppers did what they do best and the result was total domination. After winning the competition, the manufacturers took their one-off creation and turned it into a production model – the Athena ProStreet. With a 97 hp, four-stroke V2 engine and a dry weight of 700 pounds, you won't be winning any speed contests. But don't fret, this bike is a chopper and meant for rolling around slow and steady to show of its stunning looks. The Big Bear Athena is distinguished by its aggressive 44° rake and 20-inch seat height giving it a long and low stance. The bike can be had with chrome wheels and brake calipers and customized with any kind of paint scheme you desire.
BMW S 1000 RR
The latest superbike from BMW Motorrad has attacked the scene on two different fronts – power and technology. The engine is a water-cooled straight-four with a whopping 193 hp on tap. Given that this street-legal race bike weighs in at a ridiculous 403.5 lbs dry, it also sports one of the longest swingarms available to keep the front wheel firmly planted. On the tech front, the BMW S1000RR comes with an HP Gearshift Assistant for clutchless upshifts, Race ABS and a Dynamic Traction Control system that is an industry first. In addition, it also has various modes for Rain, Sport, Race and Slick conditions. Finally, here is a German motorcycle capable of keeping up with its Italian and Japanese brethren.
Confederate Limited-Edition P120 Fighter
Looking like something straight out of Batman, the Confederate Limited-Edition Fighter is an amalgamation of carbon-fiber, titanium and aircraft grade aluminum, all rolled into a futuristic cruiser of epic industrial styling. The bike has a top speed of 190 mph by way of its radial twin 1966cc engine. With 160 hp available and a weight of only 460 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio makes for a blazingly fast street bike. As such, stopping power comes by way of racing inspired 4-pot Brembo brakes. Only fifty of these will be made for a few lucky buyers. If you want something even more sinister, consider buying the Confederate Motorcycle P120 Black Flag in- you guessed it- black garb.
NCR Macchia Nera
Owning a naked exotic racer instantly instills confidence. The NCR Macchia Nera sports an exposed titanium frame hugging a heavily tuned Ducati 998 Testratretta engine putting out 180 hp. With all that power running through to a full-race spec exhaust system, the sound is unbelievable. No compromises were made when selecting components with parts bins raided from Formula1, MotoGP and aerospace projects, including a carbon-fiber gas tank, Brembo brake system, EVOLUZIONE clutch system and Ohlins racing forks. This superbike tips the scales at only 297 pounds. Just make sure you check your insurance options with Carole Nash Insurance Company.
Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883
Murdered out rides have been all the rage but don't always translate well to the real world of bikes, where plenty of attempts of have resulted in ill-fated creations. The Harley Davidson line of Dark Custom motorcycles has found the right formula of styling and performance in a world void of color. And the Sportster Iron 883 is a throw-back chopper with serious street cred due to the chopped rear fender, duel straight cut mufflers and low front and rear suspension. Everything else is blacked out with a black powder-coated engine and covers, black 13-spoke wheels, black belt guard, black fork sliders and fork gaiter, black hand and foot controls, black headlamp bucket, black drag-style handlebar and black riser. Throw in the Evolution 883cc V-Twin engine and that visceral Harley exhaust sound and you've got a serious contender on the block.
Vyrus 987 C3 4V
What do you get when you take a bike that weighs only 339 pounds fitted with a Ducati-sourced 1198cc V-twin engine boosted by a supercharger? That would be the world's most powerful production motorcycle. With 211 horsepower on tap, the Vyrus 987 C3 4V bike from a small shop based in Rimini Italy, will smoke anything out there on the road today. The design includes a hub-center, sans fork, with steering completely separated from the suspension. Most streetbikes follow the same formula but Vyrus takes a decidedly novel and innovative approach. The bike showcases its tech wizardry on the outside with the pipes, drains, conduits and heating ducts all exposed to provide a true work of art as well as a beast of a machine.
Ducati Streetfighter S
Loosely based on the 1098, the new Ducati Streetfighter is a gentrified take on the original 'streetfighters' that emerged in England in the early 80s. The naked superbike craze isn't slowing down and the exposed steel Trellis frame, aggressive headlights and double stacked stainless mufflers makes a profound statement with a solid tribute. As always, top drawer components like Brembo brakes and Ohlins fully adjustable folks inch this bike closer to race-spec. One of the coolest aspects is Ducati Traction Control (DTC) which offers 8 different levels with progressive allowances for wheel-spin tolerance. This comes in handy with the liquid cooled 1099cc engine putting out 155 hp.
As difficult as it may be to believe, this wicket creation is actually built by Honda. A modified version of the liquid-cooled 1312cc V-Twin found in the VTX1300 is used as the powerplant. The Fury has all the styling one would expect from a custom chopper, including a super-long 71 inch wheelbase, ulta-low 26.7 inch seat height, 38 degree rake, skinny 90-series front tire wrapped around a 21-inch front wheel along with a fat 200-series rear tire hugging an 18-inch wheel. The Honda Fury has a five-speed transmission and utilizes a shaft-drive system. Honda's production chopper looks like something straight out of a small fab shop, but you don't have to worry about the inherent issues with bikes of this ilk as you get rock solid reliability from this Japanese juggernaut.