With stunning bikes, technical advancements and pivotal milestones, the 1980s was a vibrant period for motorcycling in Britain. Accelerating sales saw the decade begin with the old, twin-shock Universal Japanese Motorcycles and end with race replicas, fully-faired tourers and screaming strokers. Bike sport grew and had a bigger influence on what was being ridden on the road. Learners became restricted to
125s, and the Paris–Dakar Rally spawned a new class of road-going replicas such as the Africa Twin, the precursors of today’s popular adventure bikes. And on the street, hooligan ‘LC Johnnys’ evolved into Simpson Bandit-wearing ‘streetfighters’ and day-glo-bedecked road racers on GSX-Rs.
Having ridden and written about virtually every new bike since the 1970s, Phil West looks back at fifty motorcycles that were all hugely loved and lusted over during the decade that inspired a generation of bikers.