Old School Speed
5 Vintage Superbikes Under $10,000
Welcome to Found, a series where classic goods are handpicked by Gear Patrol‘s writers and editors and ready for a good home.
There isn’t really one set definition for the term “superbike.” It was coined in response to the Honda CB750, which pushed the boundaries of what two wheels and a frame could achieve, drawing from Honda’s Gran Prix motorcycles but in a road-going package. The entire superbike category really hit its stride in the mid-to-late ’80s, when manufacturers’ top-end motorcycles came to resemble their racing bikes with additional lights, mirrors and convenience features to make them more suitable for use on public roads.
Above all, early superbikes pushed the boundaries in terms of power, aerodynamics and technology — they were some of the most nimble speed machines on the road. Should you be skilled enough (both on the saddle and with a wrench), owning one of these historic machines is incredibly rewarding. And there are a few that are also incredibly affordable — some of the best examples can be had easily under $10,000.
1972 Honda CB750
What we like: The original superbike. The Honda CB750 was a revelation when it launched in 1969, not just because it could hit over 120 mph, but because it was just as quick and more reliable than the fastest British bikes at the time. It signaled the arrival of the Japanese motorcycle industry and its ensuing dominance.
From the seller: “This motorcycle is very clean and well maintained, proving to be an extremely reliable motorcycle during the last ten years. It even has the original owner’s manual under the seat.”
Location: Ferndale, Michigan
1985 Honda VF1000R Interceptor
What we like: The “R” version of the Honda Interceptor VF1000F was, for a brief time, the fastest bike in the world, hitting 150 mph thanks to the 122 horsepower, derived from a reworked version of the standard Interceptor’s 998cc V4 engine and aerodynamic fairings. The VF1000R also got more aggressive ergonomics and an upgraded chassis, plus the latest and greatest of Honda’s performance technology.
From the seller: “A really nice original VF1000R Interceptor. This is a wonderful piece of history, and they’re not exactly growing on trees.”
Location: Georgetown, Texas
1987 Suzuki GSX-R 750
What we like: When it originally launched in 1985, the Suzuki GSX-R 750 was monumental — it was essentially Suzuki’s World Endurance (World Superbike didn’t exist yet) competitor with added lights and mirrors to make it roadworthy. Yet it was reasonably priced. At a time when even the fastest machines on the road were naked, the GSX-R helped popularize the full-faring, race-replica superbike.
From the seller: “This is a one-owner, pampered bike that is completely original, unmolested and in amazing condition. Runs and drives like new.”
Location: Miami, Florida
1990 Ducati 851
What we like: This is, essentially, the road-going counterpart of Ducati’s 851 race bike, which Raymond Roche used to win the 1990 World Superbike Championship. The road version of the 851 was particularly impressive too, delivering 105 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and sending the driver to a top speed of over 150 mph.
From the seller: “Weber Electronic Fuel Injection; Marzocchi Suspension; Brembo Brakes.”
Location: Addison, Illinois
1992 Yamaha FZR 1000 EXUP
What we like: In 1989, Cycle World declared the FZR 1000 the Bike of the Decade, and for good reason: it produced 145 horsepower at its peak and could top 160 mph. More notably, it had Yamaha’s revolutionary Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve (EXUP) system, which continuously adjusts the exhaust flow on the bike to deliver the maximum amount of power at varying engine speeds — this allowed the FZR 1000 EXUP to hit 60 mph in under three seconds.
From the seller: “Always stored indoors on carpet! Rare Corbin seat, plus solo seat with fairing.”