The world of motorcycles is an exciting one. Whether you like them or not, there is no denying the fact that there are a large number of people who absolutely love them, including us. Not only can a motorcycle be more affordable but they also come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so it is very easy to find one that you like. They also take up less space compared to cars, essentially proving to be easy personal transport for those on a budget or with space constraints.
Similar to the world of cars, however, there are both good and bad motorcycles out there. Some are known for their speed yet completely suck when it comes to reliability so it is important to know which ones are worth getting if you plan on getting started as a motorcycle owner or even if you're a veteran. Different motorcycle manufacturers have put out some great motorcycles over the years and with the number of models that are out there, it is very easy for some of them to be lost among the crowd. This is why we set out to come up with a list of motorcycles that were really good but most people do not know about them. Some of these date all the way back to WWI while others are fairly recent, so there is something for everyone in here.
25 Horex VR6
Horex was one of the top motorcycle brands but they went through hard times and are now owned by 3C carbon. Now, Horex is building two bikes and one of them is the Café Racer. It uses the Horex VR6 engine with a capacity of 1218 cc and a narrow-angle V6 architecture that can produce a power of 163 bhp. The acquisition by 3C carbon which has a lot of experience related to carbon fiber components has allowed the Café Racer to have fully self-supporting carbon subframes and a carbon trellis frame making it look brilliant and sporty. Overall the production of this bike is limited and not many people own this beast, however, it is one of the great bikes that not many people know of.
24 Paton S1
Paton has always produced bikes for the track ever since it began production and introduced itself in 1958 in Grand Prix racing. The S1 was introduced in 2014 as their first bike meant to ride on the road instead of track.
The Paton is handmade in the factory in Milan, and it uses a 650CC Kawasaki ER-6 parallel twin engine.
The Kawasaki engine only produces a mere 72bhp however the Paton is designed to be really lightweight and so the performance is still very great. The bike is cheap compared to similar ones on the market with a base price of $23,000 and is guaranteed to not regret the purchase.
23 Benelli Tornado 302
The Benelli Tornado 302 has swept aside the famous Yamaha R3 as it offers even more for the money you pay. Firstly as you can judge by the name “Tornado” it goes up to a massive 180 km/h top speed which is credited to 302cc parallel twin engine that provides 36 bhp at 12000 rpm.
The Tornado 302 has inverted front forks that are adjustable, and twin disc front brakes having four-piston calipers which grip the rotors.
All of that provides a great ride having enough speed, adequate breaks when you need them and super handling. The price is not a lot for the Tornado 302 which makes all of this seem like a bargain.
22 Cagiva 650 Raptor
The 650 Raptor combines a Japanese engine powered by the Suzuki SV650 and Italian design. The Cagiva 650 Raptor was produced to rival the Ducati 600, although it was not up for the challenge, it still turned out to be a good bike. The bike is capable, and it is lightweight which makes it great for normal rides. Using the Suzuki engine, the performance was going to be great, but it was made even better thanks to the fueling mods making the bike feel more smooth and fast. People who have ridden this bike are satisfied with the comfort level which comes as a surprise from the riding position on this bike. Overall, the bike may not be something extra special, but it is the complete package.
21 Honda Vultus
The Honda Vultus is a great looking bike which has a futuristic and sporty look, only from the front though. The one thing that ruins it may be the backrest however a little extra comfort never hurt anyone. Also, it has a huge saddle on its side which again ruins the whole look Honda was going for.
However, Honda has hit two birds with one stone with this one, as the Vultus is a tourer or cruiser which looks great too. Other than the comic book like looks, the Vultus has a 745cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine having a 54 bhp and providing great fuel economy which makes it a good bike overall.
20 MZ 1000S
In the motorcycle industry BMW is one of the most well known German motorcycle manufacturers, however, another not so well known German manufacturer is MZ. MZ has been in the game for as long as BMW and they have produced some great motorcycles, one of which is their 1000S. The 1000S was a result of them investing in new machinery. It has a parallel twin 1-liter engine, which packs enough punch producing 115 bhp at 9000 rpm. The 1000s has a comfortable wide seat, along with great suspension and breaks it gives you a comfortable ride experience making it an overall great bike to have.
19 Benelli Tre-K
One of the best creations from the Italian manufacturer, the Tre-K is an all-purpose street motorcycle. The riding position is upright and comfortable, and the seat is comfy too making it convenient for most riders even if they want to ride for long.
The suspension is really soft as well helping you on patchy roads, or even when you want to go really fast.
The Tre-K incorporates a 1033 cc motor which gives the motorcycle enough power. This bike has helped Benelli make its name as it is certainly one of their best productions.
18 Kawasaki VN2000
The VN2000 from Kawasaki was one of the bikes that incorporated the idea of big engines. It was the bike with the biggest engine for a while, having a V-Twin engine with 2-liter capacity. Sales did not go as expected, mostly because of dealers and the Kawasaki brand was a Japanese one while the market wanted an American badge. The bike was great though, as almost 90 percent of bikes that were registered are still on the road. The bike is well built and reliable even for years, it has a huge engine that provides monstrous power, and it does exactly what it is designed for; smooth and easy driving. So, it is one of the best productions out there only failed because of the wrong launch timings maybe.
17 BMW G650X
BMW produced the X series with three variants the XCountry, XChallenge and the XMoto. The G650 X series had the 650 single cylinder engines which the F650 machines had, however, they had much better designing and style.
Each model brings about something new for the customer, while keeping almost the same engine, but changing components such as brakes or suspension according to the character of bike they wanted to produce. The X series was supposed to be a really great seller, and bikes registered at the beginning of production are still on the road, however, why they did not work out well is a reason not known.
16 Kawasaki AR50
The AR50 was produced by the Japanese producers from 1981 until 1994. It was a moped bike having a 49cc air-cooled two-stroke engine, which produced only 35 mph top speed. To be fair, the top speed was for the learner law, which was made up for by great qualities in other places. The weight was just 78 kg and it was really easy to handle and just as comfortable. The AR50 did not lack in looks either, as it was not something to be ashamed to commute in. The icing on the cake was the pricing which was affordable for most of the public.
15 Ducati Pantah
The 500SL Desmo helped Ducati in tough times during 1970 when the brand was in dire trouble. They took assistance from designed Fabio Taglioni who gave them plans for the Desmo.
The 500SL Desmo has a 499cc SOH Desmo V-twin engine, having a 5-speed transmission, giving it a top speed of 120 mph. It also had a racing version, the TT2, and it won four Formula 2 racing world championships during 1981-1984.
These two bikes had a belt drive camshaft which went on to be an important feature in the Ducati bikes from that day onwards. It is considered a great bike for the track and it has been collected, and so overall it is one of the best.
14 Ducati 1098
Ever since the Ducati 916, enthusiasts were waiting for a similar production by Ducati and the 1098 was just what they wanted. The bike was the pure image of the Ducati brand having great looks and doing what it is supposed to do in the best way. The handling is exceptional as the forks give you perfect feedback and overall it lets you control it any way you like to. The engine was one of the most powerful in its time producing 160 bhp at 8000 rpm. The build quality is reliable as well because it has been built really well. It is one of the best bikes out there that is not lacking in any of the areas, hence it deserves the appreciation.
13 Confederate Gen2 P51
Confederate has spent 25 years of building really great generation one motorcycles, and they have as expected outdone themselves with the generation two P51 Combat Fighter. The bike is perfect as it is really great to look at and it can be a beast on the road as well.
The powertrain has a capacity of 2200cc, and aerospace grade aluminum has been used to hewn the top.
Confederate has designed the chassis to be integrated with the body and as a result, they boast that the Gen2 P51 will be one of the most fatigue resistant motorcycles. It has a really large engine, however, it is really lightweight for the monstrous power it can create, surely a must buy.
12 Kreidler CR-125L NPJ Edition
Kreidler is one of well known German manufacturer from back in the day, where most bikes owned were of this brand in the 1950s. Recently Kreidler has been well known for producing E-bikes and bicycles; however, they have introduced a new motorcycle lineup. These motorcycles are mainly just for normal commutes and are easy on the eye, making them nothing fancy. The CR-125L however still feels good to ride as you can ride it at motorway speeds, thanks to the fuel injected 125cc single engine. The bike is a bang for the buck as it is ideal for daily commuting and great to ride on.
11 Yamaha SDR 200
The SDR 200 was launched in 1986 and known as “The Whippet.” The SDR 200 has a 200cc single cylinder two-stroke engine and it was intended to be a sports motorcycle. Flash forward a few years; Ducati released the Monster in the year 1992 which had a lot of similarities with the Yamaha SDR 200 which a few people noticed.
Both motorcycles had a minimalist design which consisted of only a tank and nothing much more. The Trellis frame and the three-spoke wheels were another thing in common. The SDR 200 overall was a decent bike and performed well enough for what it was made for, however, it only stayed in production for only about a year which is kind of sad.
10 Indian Scout
The Indian Scout was intended to be the direct competitor to the famous Harley Davidson Sportster. It is a really stylish mid-sized cruiser, which has outperformed most of its competitors.
The V-twin engine is water cooled in order to boost the performance and they chose to style the water cooling machinery instead of hiding it like the other motorcycle brands do.
The Indian Scout is really great in the handling department, as the steering feels really light and the bike follows each move of the rider with precision. The only grab about this bike is the price although some might consider it a great bike regardless of the price, and anyone would love to get their hands on one.
9 Keeway Cruiser 250
The Keeway Cruiser 250 was produced in 2015 and Keeway was successful in building a stylish cruiser. The engine is a fuel injected, air-cooled 4 strokes one with five-speed transmission. The cruiser is really reliable especially for people using it for commutes or medium distanced trips. It is really stylish as well as it draws attention when you ride it on the road, maybe because it gives out that Harley Davidson kind of look. Being a cruiser, it is wide enough to maybe not let you drive through narrow places however the bike is easy to control. The bike is stylish, reliable and really fuel efficient which makes it one to look out for.
8 BMW HP4
Let’s begin with what the name stands for; the HP is an acronym for high performance. The HP4 is one of the most highly rated sports bikes. It is super fast and it looks really great even if there are better-looking competitors, the performance makes up for that.
The engine produces a massive 193 bhp and it has a weight of 169 kgs putting it almost into the race bike category with the World Superbike weight limit.
It has four modes, and in all four modes the power is the same however the traction control is played around with. Overall the bike is just mad and it will blow your brains out because it can go super fast.
7 BSA Bantam
One of the best classics of the motorcycle world, the Bantam is one of the greatest creations of the British motorcycle industry. The BSA Bantam was such a success that over half a million units were sold. The Bantam was a lightweight motorcycle based on the German design DKW RT 125. The Bantam had various models over time; the D1 was the first one which was a 125 cc engine motorbike.
Because of the success of the first model, BSA went on to create the D3 in 1950 which had a 150cc engine and better suspension. The last one in 1968 was the D14 which had better performance and a four-speed gearbox, and larger exhausts. The Bantam is one of the most iconic classic bikes of all times and is a legend in the motorcycling world.
6 BSA Rocket
The Rocket is also known as Triumph Trident as it was designed by Triumph which was then owned by BSA. The planning on this one was great by BSA as they were ahead of everyone, however, they brought the concept into production so late that the early advantage they had was lost.
This bike was a triple, in a time where most of the brands had singles, twins and some fours as well, but no one had a triple.
If the BSA Rocket was not released later when the revolutionary Honda CB750 was released it is guaranteed that this bike would have sold a lot of units, or at least more than what they did.
5 Velocette Thruxton
The Velocette brand was finding it hard to compete with the Japanese producers; it already had a great bike known as the Venom produced. The Venom was a single, and during the 1960s there were many twins in production in Britain and Japan so Velocette came up with the Thruxton. Velocette had financial problems and the designer made a racing kit and modified the Venom which resulted in the Thruxton. The Venom was already reliable, had great handling and was a good racing bike, and so the Venom was a better version of it having a top speed of 120 mph and great handling. Unfortunately, the Velocette firm collapsed and only close to 1100 of these wonderful bikes was produced.
4 Phelon & Moore Panther Model
The Panther Model is a really old bike; it was produced in 1930 by Panther which was originally known as Phelon & Moore. The Model was produced until the 1960s.
The Model 100 was said to be one of the heaviest motorcycles by their producers, however for a 600cc motorcycle nowadays it is really lightweight weighing 175 kg.
The panther in those times attained a top speed of 85 mph, and you could get one with a side haul. Although people preferred owning twins instead of a single, the Panther could pull out a lot more power at the cost of extra fuel. It is one of the most iconic British bikes produced.
3 Triumph Model H
This motorcycle was produced during the First World War, and it was nicknamed "Trusty" because of its reliability during these difficult times. 30,000 units of the Model H were produced for the army until the end of the war which was in 1918.
It was one of the first bikes without pedals that to be produced by Triumph.
The engine was a four-stroke cylinder one with 499cc capacity, with a three-speed gearbox that required gear changes by a hand lever. The engine required low maintenance, the bike was reliable and it did what it was meant to do in an effective manner making it one of the best classics out there.
2 Metisse Desert Racer
This bike may be known because of a famous scene from the film “The Great Escape” where Steve McQueen jumps over a fence of a prisoner war camp using the Desert Racer. This was a hand-built motorcycle in Britain, and only 300 were produced. Steve McQueen himself has quoted “This rig is the best handling bike I’ve ever owned.” The motor installed in this one was a powerful 650cc TR6 which could take you right away to 100 mph. The legendary Desert Racer had it all for where it was meant to be driven, it had the power, the handling and most importantly it was really reliable.
1 KTM Duke 390
The Duke 390 has been improved over the years and the 2017 one is really close to great, as it has been designed to resemble its sibling the 1290 Super Duke R. It is powered by a 373cc water cooled single cylinder engine which gives a power of 43bhp. The bike feels really good to ride on, especially when you throttle the response is great.
The rear shocks and the upside down front forks have improved the handling and made the ride smoother. Lastly, the breaking is great as well which give you much sharper reactions.
All in all, the Duke 390 has been improved ever since production but you could get all of this in most other bikes so why the Duke 390? The answer to this is the price at which you can get this, even if it was a little more expensive the Duke 390 would still be worth for all it has to offer.