Good sounding bikes brings out a certain emotion in us.
Sounds are subjective.
But some truly sounded great.
As we conclude this “10 Best Sounding Bikes” series, I would like to say that I truly miss the sounds of not just big bikes but of most bikes. The Covid-19 lockdown has brought on an even stronger sense of yearning to ride.
Till then, the sounds of a number of bikes do bring back a sense of nostalgia. The older bikes seem to sound better, since there wasn’t any or much regulation that emasculated their sounds. These sounds emanated not from just the exhaust but also from the engines, which added a character to the bike.
5. BMW R nine T
One of our friends pointed out this bike. We won’t disagree. The BMW Boxer has been liquid-cooled since 2003, bring along lots of refinement. However, the R nine T retro series is still oil/air-cooled. They have this low-down “vrom.” Not “vroom,” but “vrom.”
4. Suzuki GSX-R 750/1000
We’re talking about the classic Gixxers here. With the right pipes, they had a distinctive bark when blipped then sounded like Imperial TiE fighters (watch Star Wars and you’ll understand) at high revs. Suzuki sounds best with Yoshimura exhausts, right? That’s because the factory worked with the fame tuner for a long time. Check out this 1986 Yoshimura Suzuki Suzuka 8 Hours endurance racer, ridden by Kevin Schwantz and Satoshi Tsujimoto.
3. Any two-stroke(!)
Ah, ye ol’ smokers. Nothing sounded dangerous like an angry swarm of bees under the tank than a two-stroke singing “on the pipe” at 10,000 RPM. Never mind that some two-strokes (especially Yamahas) sounded like they’re wet farting during tickover. Watch this video below and see how the engine comes alive from 9,500 RPM onwards.
2. Honda CBX
No other bike could ever sound like the Honda CBX1000. That’s because it was an inline-Six, produced to be the fastest production bike. Oh, it braps. Yes, it howls. But with the right mechanical symphony mixed in.
1. Ducati 888
It was hard to decide between the CBX and 888. But maybe because the 888 not only sounded like thunder from far away, it also sounded like a (smaller) piston engine fighter plane flying too low. Its rumble reverberates inside your rib cage, while that dry clutch rattles like a trash compactor eating a metal spoon. Added together with a goose-like intake honk under the tank, it was a sound that stirred the soul. Even its predecessor, the 851 and roadgoing 900SS cousin sounded (almost) like that. This was one of the last bellowing V-twin sportbikes ever produced, besides the 916.