Ever wondered what bike to buy if money was no object? A road-legal MotoGP bike perhaps? Or maybe a one-off classic? Something custom made? Those fortunate enough to have a bank account or two that's filled to the brim with cold, hard cash don't have to buy the same bikes as us mere mortals. They get to choose from the top shelf. A shelf filled with bikes so rare that most of us won't ever see one in real life, never mind riding one of these rare beasts.
In this list, we'll take a closer look at 20 bikes that are so rare, it's fair to say nobody has ever ridden them... well, maybe some have, but the vast majority of us will never get the chance to do so. Some of these bikes are modern hyper-speed machines, others are vintage classics - none of them are common.
20 Vyrus 987 C3 4V V
The Vyrus 987 C3 4V V ditched traditional front forks for a unique center hub design, it had an ultralight curb weight of only 339 lbs., and a Supercharged Ducati 1198cc L-twin engine pumping out 211 horsepower. Add an aggressive body, jet fighter-inspired lights and dashboards, and world-class Brembo brakes, and you've got one exclusive two-wheeled rocket. At $91,700 The Vyrus is only for people with lots of money and advanced riding skills.
19 MTT Y2K Jet Turbine Bike
When this bike was released, it took the Guinness World Records for most powerful production motorcycle and most expensive production motorcycle. It had 320 horsepower, 425 lb/f of torque, a 227 mile per hour top speed, and one of the greatest startup sounds ever. Later models got 420hp and 500 torques. The Y2K had an MSRP of $175,000 and it's believed only 17 were built.
18 Aprilia RSV4RF LE
Aprilia gave us the world’s first production superbike with aerodynamic winglets. The RSV4RF LE is a limited edition affair of just 125 units - all of them heading to North America. It was launched to make the technology and know-how of the Racing Department from Noale available to those who intend to compete or just want to have an RSV4 with optimized performance for track use.
17 Ronax 500
The Ronax 500 is the 21-gun salute to the two-stroke 500cc World Championship bikes of the 90s and early 2000s and bears a striking resemblance to the 2001 Honda NSR500 – the last two-stroke engine bike to win a Grand Prix, in the hands of a certain Valentino Rossi. This street-legal beast has been produced in limited numbers. Rossi’s favorite number, 46, to be exact. Price? $115,000... excluding taxes.
16 Ducati Desmosedici RR
Ducati made a short production run of 1,500 street-legal MotoGP bikes, and the road-legal Desmosedici RR still stands up as a convincing MotoGP replica. Sure, a modern BMW S1000RR or ZX-10R is probably faster and better handling, but the Desmosedici RR will hold its own and feel so much more special. It was around $72,500 when it was new - about four times the cost of a normal sportbike.
15 Honda RC213V-S
Honda’s road-going GP clone is so incredibly similar to the race bikes that an enormous effort must have gone in to make it road legal and pass emission tests. What really makes the RC213V-S stand apart is that it’s built alongside the race bikes, by the same team of people. Its hand-welded frame alone is a work of art that no mass-produced offering can ever hope to rival.
14 BMW HP4 Race
The BMW HP4 Race is based on the S1000RR, a 999 cc four-cylinder engine sportbike, and saw a limited-production run of 750 units in 2017. Like the Honda RC213V-S and Ducati Superleggera, the HP4 Race does not qualify for any race series and was made to display the manufacturer's technological prowess rather than for Homologation. While based on the S1000RR, most components are re-tuned for higher performance and greater adjustability.
13 Bimota V-Due
In 1997, Bimota first manufactured the V Due, a 500cc V-twin two-stroke motorcycle. Its power-to-weight ratio surpassed almost all sports bikes of the day. The first production run of 150 bikes suffered from major problems. By 1999, Bimota managed to fix most of the faults and made 26 units, however, all weren't road legal. 2001 saw the non-road legal "Evoluzione Corsa" model - only 14 were made - and the road-legal "Evoluzione" model of which 120 were made.
12 Yamaha R7
The Yamaha YZF-R7 or OW-02 had a limited production run of only 500 units. It was designed to compete in the Superbike World Championship and Suzuka 8 Hours endurance races. The base-model cost $32,000 and made 106 hp, but two race kits were available, the first costing $915 and making 135 hp, and the top-level $12,190 kit that unleashed 162 hp. The R7 was built for racing 'out of the box' and came with some serious componentry.
11 Lamborghini Design 90
Did you know that Lamborghini produced motorcycles too? Well, not many, in fact only one model, and in very limited quantities. Lamborghini Design 90 was designed in 1984-85, with the help of French leading racing bike constructor – Boxer-bike. Aerospace allowed them to create ultra-lightweight frames, and by using a Kawasaki engine the bike produced nearly 130 hp - more than enough for a 370-ish lb bike. Only 5 or 6 were made.
10 Kawasaki H2R
Kawasaki captured every two-wheel enthusiast's attention with their rejuvenation of the H2 brand. The Ninja H2R is a track-only bike that makes a claimed 310bhp courtesy of its supercharger and claimed the record as the world's fastest bike. For a mere $55,000, you get a carbon-fiber bodied bike, a set of paddock stands, and tire warmers... and no warranty. Exact numbers are hard to find, but very few were made.
9 Ducati 1299 Superleggera
Ducati took road bikes to a completely new level with the 1299 Superleggera, the first standard street bike with carbon fiber frame, swing arm, subframe, and wheels. Behind the fairing, you'll find the most powerful version of the Superquadro ever made, boasting 215 horsepower - that should be plenty, considering the incredible dry weight of 343 lbs. Only 500 lucky Ducatistas would get their hands on one of these... by paying $80,000.
8 Yamaha R1M
The Yamaha YZF-R1M is the closest you can get to riding Valentino Rossi's bike. Based on Yamaha's YZF R1, with some M1 MotoGP DNA, the YZF-R1M comes with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a flagship motorcycle from one of the most successful teams in MotoGP history. The total number of bikes made isn't clear, but somewhere in the region of 500 bikes were sold in the U.S.
7 BMW R7
The BMW R7 is truly a one-of-a-kind motorcycle that was introduced as a concept in 1934 but never produced. It did, however, inspire the R17 and R5 models. After its conception, the R7 was thought to be lost until it was rediscovered in 2005 and fully restored. We’ll never know how much it would cost to buy it as its original discoverers still own it and have no desire to sell.
6 Honda NR750 RC40
In 1992 Honda released the NR limited production road bike, of which only 300 were made. It cost £36,500 in the UK – five times the price of the CBR900RR Fireblade released in the same year. Apart from the 750cc V-4 oval-pistoned, eight-valves, two conrods per cylinder motor, other notable features for the time were the inverted front fork, magnesium wheels, twin-spar alloy frame, and underseat exhaust.
5 Yamaha RZV500R
This is a rare jewel - the RZV500R was sold in Japan and featured a hand-welded aluminum frame - just like the contemporary GP bike’s - along with improved suspension. You can pretty much forget even finding one for sale. But if you do, you better be prepared to get your wallet wide open if you want your name on the registration document.
4 1971 Rickman Enfield Interceptor
The U.K.’s Rickman brothers were renowned for building superb chrome-moly steel frames. In 1971, Royal Enfield abruptly ended operations, leaving a shipment of Royal Enfield Mk II 750 cc Interceptor engines sitting on a wharf in England. It was acquired by the Rickman brothers and they built a striking high-performance road machine with superb handling and a strong powerplant. Fewer than 200 were built.
3 1938 Crocker
Al Crocker fashioned single-cylinder racing bikes with Indian engines, but soon moved to OHV engines of his own design. V-twin road bikes soon followed, equipped with 1000cc hemi-head OHV engines, with aluminum engine cases, making Crocker’s bikes lighter and more powerful than the competition from Indian and Harley-Davidson. In all, only about 100 Crockers were built, making them highly prized for their rarity and appreciated for the advanced design.
2 The Flescher Flyer
This Flescher Flyer was built by Louis Flescher in Omaha, Nebraska in 1914. Flescher owned the city's largest bicycle shop, and built a very small number of machines as early as 1905 - he produced at least 4 different models, each different in design. The version housed at Wheels Through Time is thought to be the latest and most developed model he ever produced, featuring pivoting floorboards that controlled the clutch and brake.
Found behind a brick wall in a Chicago apartment building in 1967, the Traub was discovered during the building’s renovation. To this date, the origin of the machine remains a mystery. Its builder and its history may never be known, making the Traub one of the rarest motorcycles and best kept secrets in the world.