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Most Powerful Bikes
One of the fastest and most powerful bikes in the world.
31. Honda CBR600F
When it comes to 600s with legend status, its hard to argue for anything to be number one other than the original CBR600F. Before this bike, there was no 600 class. The CBR600F was an ambitious attempt to create a single bike that was all things to all people, and it worked remarkably well, effectively doing the same allrounder trick as the VFR750, just in a lower class and at a much lower price. In all its steelframed glory, with basic suspension, 85bhp engine and jellymould styling, it proved to be just as happy touring as on the track. The styling was updated for the 90s but the same steelframed thinking carried on long after its rivals switched to aluminium. Despite being lowtech, the CBR just kept winning on the track (taking European supersports titles in 91, 92, 93 and 94) and in showrooms, where it was a bestseller year after year. Surely any remaining 1987spec CBR600s in mint condition (are there any?) are soon to rocket in value.
32. Ducati Monster 600
Its been two decades since the Monster appeared in 600cc form, and even more than the earlier 900cc version its responsible for a transformation of Ducati into a brand synonymous with style to both motorcyclists and nonbikers. Back in the 90s, the Monster was such a fashion icon that there were plenty of styleconscious citydwellers who were taking their bike testspurelyto be able to be seen on a Monster. While Tamburinis 916 gets all the praise, its arguably Miguel Angel Galluzzis Monster that gave Ducati the presence that enabled the firm to survive and attract a whole new type of customer. While the 900cc version came first, it was the 600 that got the bigger sales numbers and gave an entry level to the Ducati lineup. It might have missed out on its siblings performance but it lacked none of their kerb appeal.
33. Suzuki Bandit 600
In any objective test between the machines on this list, the Bandit 600 would probably come near the bottom. Its slower than most of them. It wont handle as well as any of the sports bikes. It cant even really offer the same practicality, thanks to the lack of fairing. But when we look back in decades to come, the Bandit is one of the few machines that can truly claim to have spawned enough imitators that a class would be named after it ? for a long while, any naked, standard bike couldnt avoid being called a Banditrival. And then theres the sheer breadth of its appeal. Sensible, hivisjacketed, greyhaired riders loved them. But so did newbies. And then there were the camotrousered, Simpsonhelmeted wheelie fans that were nothing without their Renthalbarred Bandits. Surely the Bandit name, and such a versatile bike, is overdue a comeback?
34. Kawasaki ZX6R
It might raise an eyebrow or two to place the 2003 ZX6R above the two previous machines in the pantheon of 600s, but were talking about legend status here rather than more easily defined attributes. For us the green machine ? and particularly the shortlived version with the reverseangled headlights from 20032004 ? has a certain something that the R6 and the CBR600RR miss out on. It was really down to the sheer level of kit this bike had. When most 600s had rightwayup forks and budget brakes, it got radial calipers and beefy upsidedowners. There was a lap timer on the dash, back when such a thing was unusual enough to be worth mentioning. And it just felt so small and focussed compared to its predecessors.
35. Yamaha R6
When the 2006 R6 appeared in late 2005, it caused nearly as big a stir in the 600cc class as the R1 had done back in 1998 moving the whole game on in a way that few others had ever managed. Much was made of the 17,500rpm redline ? an incredibly high figure for a 600 that in fact proved too good to be true. It turned out that, in reality, the revcounter was a tad optimistic; the bike really hit its limiter somewhere shy of 16,000rpm. But thats all an aside to a machine that upped the classs game on pretty much every front. Not a comfy commuter, but still a formidable tool today and one that dates from the tail end of a mechanical era, just before electrickery started dominating sports bike chat
36. Honda CBR600RR
The old CBR600F was a jackofalltrades with sensible styling and a big dash of comfort, that hung on to a steel tube frame long after its rivals had switched to far more sophisticated designs. But the CBR600RR from 2003 was a massive leap forward ? creating a racerep that looked virtually identical to the allconquering RC211V MotoGP bike. Even now, a dozen years on, the current CBR600RR is still largely derived from the same design, showing just how revolutionary it was. Well looked after, the oldest RRs still go for as much as ?4000, which means theyve held their value quite remarkably over the years, too ? they were ?7199 new, so have lost less than 50% of their value in 11 years.
37. Suzuki GSXR600 SRAD
It was always inevitable that a GSXR600 would make this list, but the choice of which one was a tough call. The 1997 SRAD edged lighter, later models and the perimeterframed earlier machines thanks to styling and technology that elevated them above their rivals at the time and still makes them instantly recognisable today. That humpbacked tail was, if you remember, directly inspired by Suzukis GP machinery of the time, and marked out a real attempt to add some serious windtunneltuned aero to a production 600. The frame was almost unimaginably beefy for its era (and compared to todays finely tuned designs it looks positively girderlike). Still a decent trackday tool today, and a bargain with it.
38. Yamaha FZS600 Fazer
The firstgen Fazer 600 was, arguably, not as good as the Hornet it was competing against. And on the used market its probably an even less sensible choice, because theyre unlikely to have fared well over the last decade or so. But theres something brutal about the original tubeframed Fazer 600, with its finned engine and slotty headlights, that elevates it above the onpaper arguments. Maybe its just a little more masculine than the Hornet, with a hint of muscle bike about its stance. Maybe its the slightly more badboy reputation. The fact youre now most likely to see them commanded by wobbling, flourojerkined, ?under instruction? riders hasnt managed to dull their appeal.
39. Honda Hornet 600
A mildly detuned CBR600 engine in a steel frame and wrapped in minimal bodywork that was pretty much the definition of standard. It might not sound like a recipe for longlasting success, but the Hornet 600 had just enough ability and style to elevate it above the masses, and soon became the first bike of choice for a generation. The highlevel exhaust and (weirdly) an element of styling emphasis on one of the radiator tubes was enough to make an otherwise dull shape distinctive and slightly sporty. Everything else was Honda of the era when that meant so close to perfect that its verging on boring. Which explains why it was so well loved.
40. Ducati Pantah 600
We ummed and ahhed over this one for a while. The Pantah debuted as a 500 and it ended its life as a 650, and even the midlife Pantah 600 was almost out of our specifications thanks to its 583cc motor. But at the end of the day it got the nod thanks to its position as the first of the beltdrive camshaft Ducatis, and as such arguably the first of the modern era. And, hard though it is to imagine a paucity of 600cc sportsbikes, back in 1981 the Pantah 600 was pretty much the only faired 600cc racerep on the market.
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