Remembering the ‘80s

The 1980s were great years for motorcycling. Here are some highlights, courtesy of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). 

  • 1980AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame member Ricky Johnson turned 16 and earned his professional license. He went on to win seven AMA national championships and was a member of four U.S. Motocross des Nations teams. 
  • 1980The documentary Take it to the Limit was released. The film, produced by AMA Hall of Fame member Peter Starr, explored various forms of motorcycle racing.  
  • 1981AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame members Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson led a group of 13 investors in the purchase of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company from AMF for $80 million. 
  • 1981: Maico bored out its 440cc motocrosser to 490cc, a dominant open-class MXer. 
  • 1981: Yamaha produced its first liquid-cooled motocrosser, the YZ125H. 
  • 1982: Manufacturers began producing turbocharged motorcycles. 
  • 1983: Freddie Spencer became the youngest rider to ever win the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship. 
  • 1984: Harley-Davidson reinvented itself with the new Evolution 45-degree, V-twin motor. 
  • 1985: Suzuki introduced the GSX-R750. 
  • 1985: Spencer won the Grand Prix World Championship in what is arguably the single greatest season in the sport. 

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