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n 1997 the hit film Titanic was released, Harry Potter was published, and the Great Comet of 1997, the Hale-Bopp, was visible to the naked eye. Like all of these, Sport Rider was a fantastic form of media and entertainment (shameless plug) and featured some bikes that blasted down the pavement like a comet through the expanse of space. Some such beasts were the hyper-fast Honda CBR1100XX, Sam Wheeler’s 300-mph Kawasaki ZX-11-powered Bonneville Streamliner, four AMA Championship-winning bikes like Rich Oliver’s Yamaha TZ250, Erion Racing’s SuperTeams Honda CBR900RR, Aaron Yates’ Yoshimura SuperSport GSX-R750, and Matt Wait’s Mitchell’s H-D Harley 883. Kent Kunitsugu, who became the editor of Sport Rider following Nick Ienatsch’s leave of editorship after the February 1997 issue, also participated in the Isle of Man TT, which is depicted on the cover of the October issue.

SR took a magical mystery tour to Italy to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the state of motorcycling. And while we are on the topic of The Boot, we also wrote about how Japan attacked Italy, no, not a militaristic attack, but a shootout between the Ducati 916, Honda VTR1000F Superhawk, and Suzuki TL1000S.

We also poked at the Romanelli six-valve Ducati prototype, a creation of Francesco Romanelli, to see how it would react and found that “not much happened out of the ordinary until 9,000 rpm when the bike suddenly came rushing fully to life with both barrels blazing,” and later “the rush of this six-valve Ducati is unworldly for a normally aspirated twin.”

By December there were plenty of contenders for the glory of being bike of the year, including Suzuki’s GSX-R750 and GSX-R600, Honda’s VTR1000F, Yamaha’s YZF1000R, and Ducati’s 916. It was the Suzuki GSX-R750 that took the crown over the Duc since it met “the criteria for a practical, real-world sportbike.

And that, my friends, closes out another year of Sport Rider covers.

February 1997 issue of Sport Rider
February 1997 issue of Sport RiderSport Rider
April 1997 issue of Sport Rider
April 1997 issue of Sport RiderSport Rider
June 1997 issue of Sport Rider
June 1997 issue of Sport RiderSport Rider
August 1997 issue of Sport Rider
August 1997 issue of Sport RiderSport Rider
October 997 issue of Sport Rider
October 1997 issue of Sport RiderSport Rider
December 1997 issue of Sport Rider
December 1997 issue of Sport RiderSport Rider

Behind The Covers Of 1997: