The four best Isle of Man TT bikes (List)


Honda Fireblade

The story of Honda’s premier entry in the IOMTT is stuff of legend among racing fans. All but laughed off the island when he visited on a recce trip and announced his intention to compete, Soichiro Honda returned in 1959 with a handful of four-stroke, DOHC, twin-cylinder 125cc motorcycles and a fire in his belly. The RC142 didn’t just compete, however; four of these machines came sixth, seventh, eighth and 11th in the Lightweight class, while Naomi Taniguchi scored Honda’s first ever world championship point and Honda took the manufacturers’ team award – an unprecedented level of success in a team’s debut year.

Now, the RC142 easily deserves a spot on this list, and so do many Hondas that succeeded it – Mike Hailwood’s 1960 250cc machine, Freddie Spencer’s 1983 NS500, the RC166 and  the more recent RC213V-S – all contributing to a huge 189 TT wins, 65 clear of their nearest rival.

However, this isn’t an ode to Honda (well, not quite), so we’ve kept it to three. And they had to be CBRs, for the machine is just the epitome of the TT.

First, the factory VTR SP-1 aboard which TT’s most successful racer Joey Dunlop took a sensational Formula One Senior win back in 2000, setting his fastest ever lap of 123.87mph and completing a hattrick of TT race wins that year. At 48 years of age and just a couple of months before his tragic death, it was the last in a string of 26 incredible TT victories.

John McGuinness needs no introduction, and likely neither does the bike aboard which he set the first 130mph lap in 2007. But we’ll give you a brief blurb, for this is a bike that has beyond earned its spot in the TT hall of fame. In the race’s centenary year, McGuinness (now the island’s second most-winningest racer with 23 victories), further advanced his legendary status and became the first man to lap at over 130mph aboard a HM Plant Honda Fireblade.

Finally, sharing the Honda spotlight, is the machine behind one of the greatest ever TT feats – the Padgetts Racing Honda Fireblade that Ian Hutchinson rode to Superbike and Senior TT victory in 2010. Aboard it, Ian Hutchinson earned his position among TT legends, becoming the first and only person to win five TT Races in a single week.

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