The motorcycle scene of today differs greatly from that of the ’70s. Bikers who grew up then will admit that there’s this adrenaline rush that comes with mounting those rare ’70s bikes; there is this surge of power that cannot be matched with anything experienced on the bikes of this age.
Those bikes were designed for extreme use, and fixed up yourself until there was nothing left to do. The bike scene of the 1970s was dominated by Japanese brands who offered higher performance, better quality and reliability at a lower price.
Finding any of these bikes today is like looking for a needle in a massive mountain of a haystack. Yet you just might get fortunate to find someone willing to sell one of these beauties. So, in no particular order, we have compiled a list of those rare 70’s bikes that you just need to see.
ALSO SEE: Top-15 Best Motocross Riders Of All-Time
Table of Contents
The ’70s Bikes We Wish We Had
The Honda CB750
This bike came out in 1969 and with its launch introduced the inline-Four engine, disc brakes and the upright seating position. This motorcycle design inspired the design of Japanese manufacturers which then came to be known as the Universal Japanese Motorcycle. The bike weighed 218kg with an engine that produced 67bhp and a speed of 201km/h. It was the fastest bike of that time with a 3.25-inch (82.5mm) front tyre and a 4-inch (102mm) rear tyre.
The Lito 500 Motocross
Though it was produced in 1961, this bike was a big-time player during the early years of motocross. It was widely known due to its innovative construction and the fact that many great bikers used it, Sten Ludin being one of them. It had an air-cooled single-cylinder 497cc (80×99mm) engine and four-stroke magneto ignition. It had a power rating of 35hp, a carburetor fuel system, and a 4-speed chain drive emission. The bike weighed 287lb with a 3.00×21-inch front tyre and a 4.00×18-inch rear tyre. It is believed that there are only 35 originals of this bike, thus earning a spot on our list of rare ’70s bikes.
1975 Laverda 750GT
This bike was birthed with the introduction of the 750cc engine. The 750cc engine had a low compression rate compared to the 650cc after which it was designed. They are an indestructible brand with the 750GT being introduced in 1970.
Moto Guzzi V7 Sport (1971)
This bike was designed based on the standard V7. It had a five-speed gearbox and due to its lack of extraneous parts, it was lighter and better handled. The Le Mans was based on this bike.
Suzuki GT750 (1971)
While Honda and Kawasaki competed to produce the fastest bikes with four-stroke engines, Suzuki stuck with two-stroke engines. The GT750 is a 3-cylinder, 2-stroke bike and was the first Japanese bike to use the water-cooling feature. This earned it the nickname Water Buffalo, certainly a pioneer amongst the rare ’70s bikes.
1975 Puch MC250 Twin Carb
This rare 70’s bike had a splendid frame design, magnesium cases, hubs, and forks, and a Mazochi suspension. The bike also came with twin carbs; the first was a Bing Carburettor with the usual piston port setup and a second carburettor on the engine’s right side that serviced the rotary valve. Only 90 of this bike were produced in 1975 increasing its rarity.
1968 Bultaco 360 El Bandido
The 1968 Bultaco El Bandido is of Spanish build and was introduced to the biking scene in 1967. It was initially a 350cc design but was later upgraded to a 362cc and a 43.5 horsepower when the company increased the bore size from 83mm to 85mm. Its American design had an unusual wheelbase that was 55.9 inches and a head angle of 31 degrees, all of which made for a highly improved scrambler track performance.
Benelli Sei (1972)
It was the first production bike to have a six-cylinder engine. The Benelli featured an inline-Six engine which was based on the Honda CB750’s inline-Four with two extra cylinders added. It came out as a 750cc but later became a 900 in 1979. With its shape changed and a bikini fairing added, it almost resembled the Moto Guzzi Le Mans.
1976 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans
The Le Mans was manufactured in 1976 by an Italian company known as Moto Guzzi. This sports motorcycle got its name from the annual 24-hour endurance race which is always held at Le Mans in France. The original 850 had clip-on bars and a nose fairing while later models had three-quarter fairing.
1973 – 76 BMW R90S
The R90S was produced from 1973 to 1976 by BMW. It was a 900cc sport bike. It showcased the “/6” boxer-engined range. It had a new tail, some bikini fairing and a distinctive two-tone painting. These distinctive features was meant to deviate from the regular BMW bikes. The R90S had an output of 67 horsepower and a top speed of 124 mph, and could run a quarter mile in 13.5 seconds. It had an acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds with a torque output of 5400rpm
Harley Davidson XLCR
This was produced between 1977 and 1979. The bike was a 45-degree V-twin 998cc two valve engine. It had a power of 61bhp; a torque of 6200rpm and a top speed of 110mph. The bike weighed 234kg and was speculated by some to have been designed from the existing XLCH Sportster.
Triumph X-75 Hurricane (1972)
This bike was credited as starting a new class of bikes called cruisers. Production began in 1972. It had an air-cooled transverse triple 744cc engine with a 67mm / 70mm bore/stroke. It had a compression rate of 8.3:1 and had 5 gears. Its front wheel was 19 inch with a 3.25 by 19 inch tyre and a rear wheel of 18 inch with a 4.00 by 18 inch rear tyre. It weighed 205kg and had a maximum power if 58bhp at 7250rpm.
1974 Yamaha YZ250A
The YZ250A had a liquid cooled, single cylinder, two-stroke engine. It had a 6-speed transmission and power was regulated through the multiplate wet clutch. It has a 90/90-21 front tyre and a 110/100-18 rear tyre. Stopping was done through a single disc hydraulic both at the front and the rear. It has a front suspension of spring-type fork with a speed sensitive, fully adjustable damping and a single shock full adjustable rear suspension. The bike had a weight of 212.08 pounds and a wheelbase of 57.72 inches.
Kawasaki H2 Mach IV (1972)
This was built with the goal of becoming the fastest accelerating motorcycle. It did become the fastest accelerating bike but had a speed lower than that of the Z1. It was designed to be an improvement on the H1 Mach III. It was launched with a 750cc, three-cylinder, two-stroke engine which produced a power of 74bhp.
Honda GL1000 Gold Wing (1975)
This bike had only four cylinders and a liquid-cooled, four-stroke 1000cc engine. The Gold Wing was built around a shaft-type final drive and delivered low-maintenance performance. It has a top speed of 125 mph, which results from power filtering through a five-speed manual transmission and conventional clutch. It runs a 72mm bore and a 61.4mm stroke and a compression ratio of 9.2: 1 that churns out 80 ponies at 7500 rpm and 63 pound-feet of torque maxing at 5500 pm.
So there you have it, our list of incredibly rare ’70s bikes. If you still own one, then consider yourself lucky. If you think we missed any, then let us know in the comments section.