15 Fastest 750cc Motorcycles Ever

Today I’m going to talk about the bikes that were once the kings of the road, and track. The 750cc class has taken a back seat in recent years, although there has sort of been a bit of a resurgence in some ways.

The rumours in Moto GP of a move to a smaller capacity have now been confirmed for 2027. So we will now have a new 850cc category set to replace the litre bikes at the top in world racing.

Once, the 750cc class was the most fought over in the motorcycle industry and in this video I will talk about the bikes that defined that class for me.

Before we get to what I consider the pinnacle of the 750cc class, we do need to look at some context, so for those who want to you can click to the list proper now, but you won’t get the full story if you do.

The Europeans had always dominated when it came to fast large capacity motorcycles. The Americans made bigger engines, but they didn’t have the performance the European brands did.

However, both knew the Japanese were setting to challenge their dominance.

The Motorcycles That Set The Standard

1968 gave us Lino Tonti’s masterpiece, the Moto Guzzi V7. This was the forerunner of the 750S and eventually the legendary Le Mans 850, but in many ways it was the V7 that defined the Moto Guzzi brand. The engine format became synonymous with the name and Moto Guzzi have continued with that format right up to the modern day.

The British had their 750’s too. BSA and Triumph had decided on a high performance triple as their flagship and again it was in 1968 that the Triumph T150 and BSA Rocket 3 rolled into the showrooms.

I have talked about the 750 triple in the best sounding 4 stroke motorcycles video linked above and they were at least on paper, the fastest production motorcycle available in 1968. That was however a hotly contested claim.

In 1969 it was Laverda who began to rise through the ranks of the most desired motorcycle brands. This was the year their new 750 parallel twin began to succeed in the Endurance Racing world and the Laverda 750S was released as a production bike. Behind the scenes though, work had begun on a new Laverda 750 OHC prototype triple engine,

The 750 triple would never come to market, but its engineering would be used in the development of what became the Jota and 3C 1000cc triples and these are the bikes that would define the Laverda name for many, but it was that 750cc twin engine that won them more races than any other.

1969 also gave us the BMW R75/5 and the Honda CB750, so the marketplace was awash with new 750cc motorcycles that would stretch both our abilities and our finances to whole new limits.

MV Agusta entered the market with their 750S and Ducati had the 750 GT prototype at shows in 1970 although it didn’t go into production until 1971 to my knowledge.

Then, in 1971 the 2 strokes hit the 750cc class. Kawasaki gave us the H2 Mach 4 and Suzuki came to market with the GT750.

All of these bikes created a frenzy in the sales rooms around the world. And set new standards of power and performance. They carved their own individual niche’s, but there was always at least one eye on the top speed they could reach.

The Formula 750 World Championship had begun in 1973 and Barry Sheene took the title, but it was a short lived series and was dominated by Yamaha. They won every year after the Suzuki of Sheene, from 1974 to the last Championship in 1979. These were the 2 strokes though, and it was in 1977 that the Formula TT series was born.

Giacomo Agostini announced he would never race at the TT again after his close friend was killed in 1972 and the TT became an even more contentious race. Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts and other riders in the championship refused to race there and as a GP circuit it was on borrowed time.

Shortly after the 1976 TT, the FIM finally announced the Isle Of Man TT would be wiped from the racing calender.

Organisers at the TT got together with the Auto Cycle Union and devised a new series that would include the infamous Isle Of Man TT.

It started as simply the Isle of man TT and the Ulster GP, but by 1984 it had grown to 6 events and eventually in 1986, 8 races were held around the world in such exalted circuits as San Marino , Misano, Hockenheim, the Isle of Man, Assen, Jerez, Imatra, and the Ulster GP at Dundrod.

The blue riband Formula I class was originally four-strokes from 600 to 1000cc and two-strokes from 350 to 500 cc however this was reduced to a 750 cc maximum in 1984.

In the same way that Yamaha had dominated the 750cc World Championship, it was Honda who were unbeatable in the F1 TT Championship.

There is some incredible footage from the Isle of Man and Dundrod I wish I could have used here but the risk is too high, so I put it up on the backup channel as a Tribute to Joey Dunlop and the people who raced alongside him. Do go take a look and don’t forget to subscribe there too.

Although the channel is less at risk now, Last year taught me how brutal YouTube can be.

The Formula TT Championship continued until 1990, but in 1988, the world racing scene changed, with the birth of the World Superbike Championships.

This championship pitted 750cc 4 cylinder bikes against 1000cc twins and would eventually replace the successful Formula TT Championship.

It was the beginning of the modern WSBK era.

It wasn’t until 2003 that the rules were changed to allow 1000cc 4 cylinder bikes because the twins had dominated so much, and since then the regulations have been changed again and again, but at the start, the 750cc bikes were the kings of the road.

This is the background of racing that all these bikes were born into and I hope it helps you put their achievements into perspective. Remember, if you do enjoy it, don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel for more motorcycle madness.

From the first 750 Formula TT Races in 1984 until the mid 1990’s when the twin cylinder 1000cc Ducati and then Honda’s took over, the 750cc Superbikes were always the fastest.

In America, it was 1983 that the rules changed to reduce the maximum capacity in the AMA Championships to 750cc and here the return to the litre class wouldn’t happen until 2002.

So between 1985 and 2000, the world had a very lively hotbed of racing available to any manufacturer who could build a 750cc four stroke Superbike good enough to win.

Every manufacturer had their own timeline, and I will try to give you an idea of the progressions.

Suzuki GSXR750

I will start with Suzuki.

The Suzuki GS750 hit the market in 1976, but by 1980 we had the GSX 750. Then in 1982 we got the now legendary GSX750 S Katana.

Each new model pushed up the level of performance and each manufacturer was looking to outperform the others.

Then, in 1985 that we got the first ever GSXR 750.

This was the start of a new era of performance and it is the period I will be looking at closely today.

If you would like a video specifically about the older 750’s, let me know in the comments and I will gladly oblige.


The Suzuki GSXR 750 set a new performance benchmark in the 750 class and it is the only one of the bikes here that is still on sale today. That has to be a testament to the original idea, and Suzuki have kept to that original script with every new model released.

Unlike all the previous 750’s, with the possible exception of the Yamaha TZ750 which was only available as a production bike in a few markets, this was a true race replica. A ballistic 100HP 4 cylinder 4 stroke that looked like it had rolled straight out of the paddock at the Macau GP.

The look was based on the works Suzuki endurance racers from the previous year, and complete with twin headlamp fairings, it rolled into and out of the showrooms.

The new oil cooled engine allowed the designers to push the limits of what had been possible before and every component was built lighter as well as stronger. This allowed the new engine to rev safely up to an 11,000rpm redline. Max torque of 73Nm didn’t hit until 10,000rpm and max power hit only 500rpm later at 10,500rpm.

This narrow power band meant it wasn’t the easiest bike to ride fast, but for someone who could ride, they were one of the fastest bikes around.

The aluminium chassis was stiffer as well as lighter, and especially on the earlier models could be difficult to set up.

As with the engine, the margin for error was narrow. Get it right and they were a sweet handling bike. But getting it right could be a real art-form.

As the years passed there were many updates, giving us bikes like the Slingshot and the equally legendary SRAD among many others.

To many though it was these early Slabside GSXR’s that would redefine the 750 class.

Lighter than the bigger more powerful Superbikes, they were easier to ride and in most cases, faster on the roads and on track.

Suzuki’s design was honed gradually, because the recipe was right from the start. Build the most powerful and lightest 750 engine you could, wrap it in a lightweight frame. Make it look and ride like a real race bike and watch the sales roll in.

Yamaha, The FZR and YZF750

Yamaha had been trying everything in the engine development department. They were experimenting with multi valve arrangements to extract the maximum power from their engines. Not content with the 4 valve arrangements they had already mastered, they tried two different 6 valve arrangements and even a 7 valve per cylinder head.

The final decision was that the extra weight and complexity of the 6 and 7 valve arrangement made them unusable, but they discovered that a 5 valve arrangement increased fuel flow and efficiency while adding minimum weight.

This is the format that spawned the Yamaha Genesis engines, and the FZ750 was their initial offering in 1985. This was an affordable sportbike, not a Homologation special, but it produced 105HP and 91Nm of torque straight out of the crate.

The engine had been tilted forward dramatically at a 45 degree angle which lowered the centre of gravity and created an almost perfect directional fuel flow through the carbs.

It was heavier than the opposition at 206Kg dry, but it handled like a dream.

Although it was successful in the showrooms, Yamaha were on a mission to win Championships again. And in 1987 they released the first FZR750.

It was a bike built to be ridden to its limits and those limits were being pushed every year.

It wasn’t more powerful than the others, but the engine just had more punch, and the Genesis head was a revelation, improving fuel efficiency, it created more power and had better fuel economy,

Then, in 1989 we got the first of Yamaha’s FZR750RR, OW01 race bikes. These were homologation specials, built as a road going race bike, and they were as fast as anything on the roads.

Yamaha had shortened the engine using a 40 degree inclination on the block and the chassis was shortened too. It used a twin spar aluminium perimeter frame that was developed from the endurance racers of their day.

Every piece of the bike was honed and the engine tuned to over 120HP. Final weight was around 185Kg dry and Yamaha managed to do what they have always done best. This was a bike with fantastic components throughout, but it was so much more than the sum of its parts.

On track, in the Club and National Championships they were often on top, but it was Thomas Stevens who gave them their only AMA Championship win in 1991 and they never managed to win in the 750cc era of World Superbikes.

By 1993 we had a new lighter and more powerful YZF750R being ridden to its absolute limits by the likes of James Whitham among many others. It racked up many more titles in the various national scenes but sadly just never succeeded in winning the World Championship.

Kawasaki ZX7R

1984 had seen the launch of the Kawasaki GPZ750R or ZXR750 as it was known in some markets. The bike was fast for sure, and they sold well, but it never had the racing pedigree they wanted, and it wasn’t until the release of the Kawasaki ZX7R H1 in 1989, that they could say they truly had a competitive race bike in the 750cc class.

The Kawasaki ZX7R H1 and later H2 models were not the expensive homologation specials other manufacturers had opted for. These were road-going race bikes built for the masses. They weren’t the expensive race bikes on offer elsewhere, but they were fast, nimble, and a joy to ride.

They collected wins in the AMA Championships and in World Superbikes.

Doug Chandler won in 1990, then Scott Russel in 1992, Russel also went on to win in World Superbikes a year later in 1993 too.

The Kawasaki ZX7R, later ZXR750 and ZX7RR cemented Kawasaki’s reputation for making fast, reliable, and exciting Sportsbikes at a much cheaper price that their competitors.

The 750 Kawasaki changed a lot over the years, but kept its reputation throughout. Production continued right up until 2003, but it is the early H1 and H2 models that are still remembered most fondly.

Compared to the Homologation specials, it might be considered lacking by some top level riders, but compare it to the standard models in the other ranges and it stood up to the test and came through with flying colours.

Honda, The VFR, RVF750, RC30 and RC45

Honda had a conundrum. Should they stick with the across the frame 4 design that had served them so well? Or gamble again and see if they could rescue the reputation of the VF range.

The original Honda VF750F Interceptor had arrived in 1983, but there had been a major blunder and the cams and cam chain tensioners had been made from cheese.

Honda’s reputation for Bombproof reliability was in tatters and it had cost them heavily in sales.

Soichiro Honda split the R&D department in 2 and locked them away at different ends of the factory. Each was told to build the best 750 they could. One a V4 and the other an across the frame 4.

The resulting third generation of the V4 engine was first used in the 1986 VFR750, and it was this engine that would end up being considered by some as the best engine Honda ever made.

This engine had a 180 degree crank and a new firing order to replace the earlier 360 degree crank. It had also lost the forked rocker arms and now had individual rocker arms for each lobe of the cams. Valve timing had been changed too, to maximise power at 10,500rpm, and gear driven cams sat in ball bearing races with multiple oil feeds to minimise any issues with wear.

Pistons, rings, valves, cams, con rods and crankshaft were all lighter than in the previous models. It had a bigger airbox and the carbs had been repositioned to improve fuel flow and a new exhaust system designed too, which all helped to push maximum power up to over 105HP.

1987 saw the release of the CBR750 Hurricane, It had the same gear driven cams as the VFR750, and in the end, many solutions were shared.

The Hurricane was just 1 HP down on the VFR and was also 1kg heavier, but it did produce slightly more torque.

In the real world, the only difference in performance was down to the rider. They were equals in almost every way, but it would be the VFR that would become Honda’s new flagship.

It was rumoured to have been a complete financial failure it had eaten so much money in R&D, but Honda’s reputation had been saved, and the VFR would go on to become known as one of the most dependable and exhilarating bikes ever made during that era.

1987 also saw the birth of the race bred Honda RC30. This was the homologation special, built to win the world superbike title.

It used the third generation of Honda’s 750cc V-Four engine, with gear-driven cams, but it used a 360-degree crankshaft like the original 1983 750 Interceptor.

That crankshaft redesign helped push the power curve up to a 12,500rpm redline and this bike had a droning exhaust note that changed from haunting to nerve tingling as the revs rose higher.

The RC30’s engine had titanium connecting rods topped with lightweight, short skirt pistons. It would produce around 115HP and the whole bike weighed in at just 185Kg dry. It would go on to dominate in the Formula TT, AMA, and in World Superbikes for the next few years.

Then, we saw the birth of a bike you might not expect to hear about in the 750cc class, but it was in 1989 the very first Fireblade prototype was built, and it was actually a 750.

The CBR750RR Fireblade Prototype, was built to create the lightest high power sportsbike possible, But with the success of the VFR750 and CBR1000, the final decision was to stroke the original 750cc engine to create a 900cc bike that produced the power of a litre bike but was as close to the size and weight of a racing 750cc Superbike as possible.

They succeeded, and the rest is history, but it meant the 750 Fireblade was never put into production.

1994 saw the introduction of the Honda RC45, and RVF750’s. This was Honda’s final attempt to knock the 1000cc Ducati twins off the top step with a 750.

The RVF was another masterpiece from Honda, but it never achieved the success that the RC30 had, and it failed in its attempt to dethrone the Ducati’s in World Superbikes.

Ducati, The 748 and 749

There is one more bike that I have to give an honorary mention to. Well two actually, but both were built in the same factory at Borgo Panigale in Bologna Italy.

When compared on paper to the 4 cylinder race bred bikes coming out of Japan, the Ducati 748R first released in 1995 might seem lacking, unrefined and expensive, but the 748R was a motorcycle that defied the laws of physics.

It was built around the chassis and running gear of the 916 that arrived the year before. The engine of the 748 was tuned very differently though. It produced nearly as much power as the 916, with almost 100HP on tap, but to get to that power, it needed to be revved hard.

The V Twin design and a maximum torque figure of 75Nm might make you think it had plenty of low down grunt, but it didn’t. That max torque didn’t hit until almost 9,000rpm and in many ways you could say it was more like riding a 2 stroke with its narrow power band.

We got the R model, then the SP model and even an SPS and Biposta versions in 1999.

It was never the bike to choose for a relaxing ride out, but as a track weapon it was incredible. Stir up that gearbox and let the engine rev and you were rewarded with a rush of power that was utterly addictive. I would also say the handling was only rivalled by the final era of Zane Laverda twins which I talk about in the 12 Unbelievable Italian Motorcycles video linked above.

After the 748R, in 2003 came the Ducati 749 and this is a motorcycle that will always split opinions. The twin vertically mounted projector headlights gave it a unique and unusual look, which some loved and others hated.

The engine was the first 750cc Testastretta engine. Ducati had given it a higher compression ratio also increased the bore size and shortened and lightened the crank to make the engine rev even more cleanly. They managed to squeeze more power from the new 750 engine, but that was just the start.

The 749 was a total redesign with few parts carried over from the 748, yet it retained that essential race bike feel that the 748 had.

The 748 and 749 never got the acclaim of their bigger brothers, purely and simply because it was the bigger V Twins that kept winning the championships, but that takes nothing away from these 2 utterly fantastic bikes.

I wonder if the new 850cc machines that inevitably come from the new MotoGP regs will have the same impact these bikes did.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Well, There you have it.

My breakdown of what I consider the golden years of the 750cc class. These bikes are all now quickly becoming the most sought after collectors bikes on the market. Built at a time when R&D budgets were routinely thrown out of the window by the designers and engineers who created these utterly incredible bikes.

I would argue that in many ways they represent the pinnacle of motorcycle design. They may not be the most powerful or the fastest in a straight line, but in the real world they will all outperform all but the very best riders.

They all deserve their place in the motorcycle history books and I for one give thanks to the people that made them possible. And the racers who made them all sing on the track.

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