Hooniverse Asks- What is the Coolest Factory Motorcycle Livery?

I’ve always loved the concept of race on Sunday and sell on Monday, as I firmly believe that racing improves the breed, even when that breed is confined to the public tarmac. That being said, I don’t often find road cars painted in the hues of their racing brethren to be all that and a bag of chips. I think it has something to do with that race-day paint writing checks that your typical street edition can’t cash.
The same can’t be said for motorcycles however, as no matter how much faster a track edition may be, the road-going one is still going to be pretty balls to the wall. That’s why I don’t mind racing livery on street bikes, and in fact there are a few that I downright like. There have been a number of great motorcycle paint schemes that didn’t involve racing too, and some of my favorites are the metallic fades that BMW offered back in the ’70s and ’80s.
Motorcycles don’t generally engender themselves to extensive graphic treatments, so limited are the canvases they provide. That’s not to say that there haven’t been a few great ones, especially during the era of the full bodywork bikes. Considering those that have come, which do you think is the best? What, in your opinion, is the coolest factory motorcycle livery?
Image: asphaltandrubber

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  1. Kiefmo Avatar

    I could have gotten my CBR250R in Repsol livery. This isn't even close to the best Honda gets, but to offer it on their $4k budget sporty bike is just awesome.
    <img src="http://images.motorcycle-usa.com/PhotoGallerys/13_CBR250R_Repsol.jpg&quot; width="650px"/>

    1. Maymar Avatar

      <img src="http://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/CBR125R_Repsol.jpg?3d3fcc&quot; width=500 /img>
      Also, on the CBR125R – not as cool as the 50cc scooter Dean Bigglesworth brought up, but still neat.

      1. Kiefmo Avatar

        Me and my American-centric world view. I didn't even think about NAH bikes!

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      "Speedblock" is it's proper name. The black and yellow is the best, though, you're right.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        I believe Yamaha referred to it as the "track stripe." http://hooniverse.info/2010/06/15/molly-sanders-th

        1. OA5599 Avatar

          Cool article. I never heard of the guy, but apparently I like his work. The motorcycle in the second picture is identical (except for condition) to my first motor vehicle. I was in 6th grade, and a kid in my class had a motorcycle (Bultaco, BTW), and I somehow convinced my dad I needed one, too. Amazingly, not only did he say yes, but for $100 I ended up with what was certainly one of the best power-to-weight 100 cc bikes.

  2. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    Not sure if this is the coolest livery but as kids we used to pretend our bicycles were Ninjas. Adjust the bit of cardboard in the spokes and move your ass to the luggage rack and it became a Harley.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Kawa_ZX600F_b1.jpg&quot; width="500" </img>

  3. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    I liked the BMW Boxer Cup Replicas from the early 2000s. I have no idea if those were based on racing as I never paid any mind to them, but I liked the designs.
    But the Respol is a classic.

  4. telkinsjr Avatar

    <img src="http://www.alvarobautista.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Suzuki-History-Team-Suzuki-1974.jpg"&gt;
    Look at all that coolness just sitting there.

  5. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    Well, Britten's "factory" produced something like ten bikes total.
    But those were ten totally bitchin' bikes. And they looked amazing.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Britten_V1000.jpg&quot; width=450>

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      There's one in the motorcycle museum in Solvang!

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      <img src="http://tanshanomi.com/temp/Gilera_Lavado_92.jpg"&gt;
      The Britten falls under the same category as the early '90s Gilera livery — very cool as a track statement, but still a pretty horrific use of color.
      While my motorcyclist self is cheering, my graphic designer self is retching.

      1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        Yeah. Sorta wish they'd gone with another shade of blue/purple instead of the pink. The rest of the bike–the headers, especially–help me forget it, though.

  6. datsunofmine Avatar

    I'm partial to the red white and blue old honda vfr my uncle has that i've lusted after since i was a child. So 80's cool. I'm still trying to stop myself from trying to buy it from him, been sitting in the driveway for years…
    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/o0v3xM0.jpg"&gt;

    1. geistkoenig Avatar

      I'll take it. How much?

  7. Batshitbox Avatar

    Laverda. Graphic designers are a waste of resources. Paint the fast ones orange and go.
    <img src="http://www.vanderschalk.com/sfc/images/radoro.jpg"&gt;

    1. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
      PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

      Like when Buell went all black.

  8. geistkoenig Avatar

    <img src="http://www.ashonbikes.com/sites/default/files/ash_images/articles/110913/Ducati_Fogarty_95.jpg&quot; width="720">
    We are Ducati. We are Italian. We have some sponsors. Everything else is irrelevant.

  9. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/racing-color-chart.jpg"&gt;
    The other Italians can use red too, I suppose, and KTM can borrow orange from Harley if they want. And BMWs should be mostly white, with some sort of multi-colored stripe, but that really doesn't count. Or matter.
    Of course, they've gone and screwed up a perfectly good system the last few years. Jerks.

    1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
      Dean Bigglesworth

      I've somehow always thought of Yamaha as blue&white. Probably because my first thought is a DT50. Suzuki is yellow&black, because of the S1.
      As for Harley.. My neighbor bought a new Street Glide(i think) a few years ago. It is extremely orange. I can't think of anything more orange than that; It's more orange than an actual orange. His car? A black Prius, of course.

      1. neight428 Avatar

        Yamaha has been blue for me as well, but I'm going more off of modern supersport and motocross bikes.

      2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        I suppose I'm dating myself.
        <img src="http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a1/44/39/a14439b773c7b6d9993bfc813f10fe72.jpg&quot; height="500">

        1. Batshitbox Avatar

          Yamaha's modern dirt bikes are blue & white, and Suzuki's are yellow. IDK why.
          (Motorcycling racing?)

  10. neight428 Avatar

    No love for the Carcinogenic Cartoon Camel?
    <img src="http://raresportbikesforsale.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Joe_2.jpg"&gt;

  11. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Has to be the Mike Hailwood Ducati
    <img src="http://www.motorcycleclassics.com/~/media/Images/MCC/Editorial/Articles/Magazine%20Articles/2009/09-01/Mike%20Hailwoods%20Ducati%20900TT1%20Racer/Hailwood-9.jpg&quot; width=600>
    As seen on thousands of replicas, both factory and otherwise.

  12. Slow_Joe_Crow Avatar

    While I'm fond of the BMW Motorsport livery (white with multicolor stripes) I'm going to put up the IOM TT winning Norton F1, because JPS.
    <img src="http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/Gallery%20%20A/Norton%20F1%20Sport.jpg&quot; width="500">