Kiwi Rider January 2022 Vol.1 - Page 83

One of the most noticeable aspects of motorcycle development has been the way that engine capacities began to escalate following the 1960s . Yes , there were large capacity machines , even before the Second World War , but they were rare compared with the escalation that occurred in the 60s and after . 500cc had been the most common capacity for many years . Then models such as the Triumph Bonneville , Norton 650SS , and BSA Rocket Gold Star began pushing the capacity up to 650cc . Then in 1969 Honda fired a warning shot at the British , American and European motorcycle industries . It came in the shape the Honda CB750 , an over-head cam , four-cylinder machine that would change the game for ever . It often helps to understand why certain

Les Graham winner of the first 500cc World Championship in 1949
Valentino Rossi winner of the final 500cc World Championship in 2001 developments occurred by looking at what happened on the race track . One of the reasons racing has been supported so enthusiastically by the manufacturers , is of course because it provides a show-case for their products . Success on the race track has been an almost perfect reason for wanting to ride a particular brand on the road . It was an inseparable link to what they would sell in the market place . When the World Championship began in 1949 , 500cc was the gold standard for the top spot . Over the years that followed , other classes such as 350 , 250 , 125 , 80 , 50cc , and sidecars , would produce world champions in their classes , but