For those of us who do not know their motorcycles terribly well and go on pure looks alone, there is a reason we get taken for a literal ride. There are plenty of good-looking super-performance bikes in the world, and then there are simply those that are good looking, and that's it... These motorcycles only look fast. They ride slow and often are plagued with numerous other problems. Basically, they may look like a million bucks but are shoddy builds. The thing with motorcycles is that they not only need to be safe. but must be safe and reliable. Speed has to be married to balance and an even displacement to both tires. Else all one has is a ticking time bomb that could become a widowmaker in a split of a second.
Motorcycles have to be even more finely balanced and tuned than cars do because there is the additional risk associated with the two wheels and the open frame. The riders are at the mercy of the motorcycle and the road, and even the best can go down under the weight of a badly built bike. Then there are those that only look fast but are clunky, slow and prone to hiccups. These may look amazing and give you the feel of managing escape velocity but are tortoises amidst sharks on the open road. Buy these for looks alone, and don’t expect any miracle when you push the throttle.
19 Moto Guzzi 750S
This superbike comes from the stable of the oldest European motorcycle manufacturer that has been in the market with a nonstop production run. This Moto Guzzi was developed with ambitious plans of minimizing vibrations that were being transferred to the bikers when on high speeds.
The company used rubber extensively on the engine and handlebars so that it can absorb these annoying vibrations.
Unfortunately, this idea failed and it added to the woes of its revering fans. The handlebar was not stable at high speeds and was, in fact, tough to control. Plus, the bikers had to slow down their excitement to save themselves from any kind of injury.
18 Harley-Davidson LiveWire
The first electric motorcycle from the house of Harley-Davidson, the LiveWire is a prototype that was unveiled in 2014 to the global audience. Design-wise the motorcycle looks stunning and does fit the bill of its target audience that includes 18 to 35-year-olds, women, African-Americans, and Hispanic riders. This is Harley’s attempt to reach out to a more varied group of riders. After a few successful test rides in the domestic and international markets, Harley announced in January 2018 that the LiveWire will be up and alive in another one and a half year. However, this Harley, unlike its cousins, lacks in speed arena. A top mark on 93 mph is definitely on the disappointing side.
17 Honda Rebel 500
The Rebel 500 is essentially an entry-level cruiser for Honda both in terms of its competitive price and engine displacement. But this small-engined bike doesn’t look any lesser when we gaze at its rebellious design and Honda’s aggressive marketing positioning. The Rebel 500’s lively liquid-cooled four-stroke parallel-twin unit can cough up a worthy 46 horsepower and 33 ft-lb of torque. Plus, at just 408 lbs, its lightweight body frame is extremely handy for nimble handling and quick maneuvering.
However, its speedometer only tops out at 108 mph.
In a way, it fills the bill of buyers who don’t want to venture out on the highways and are more interested in a relaxed riding experience of the tighter urban areas.
16 MotoCzysz E1pc
The motorcycle company MotoCzysz is named after its creator Michael Czysz who was also an architect by profession. Michael Czysz dreamt of creating a world-class race bike that could lock horns with other giants in the racing arena. His primary goal was to compete in MotoGP and his team did win the 2010 TT Zero, an electric motorsport event that was held at the Isle of Man TT. They broke the previous speed record and won three more titles in a row. The E1pc is armed with 10 individual lithium polymer cells with an output of 12.5 kW. Plus, a DC internal permanent magnet motor named as 'D1g1tal Dr1ve' together produced 100 horsepower and 250 ft-lb of torque. The only low point is its range of 40 miles and a top speed of 141 mph.
15 Lito Sora
The Lito Sora is, undoubtedly, one if the best electric motorcycles we have in the market today; especially for its unconventional design and world-class features. Unlike many other run-of-the-mill electric manufacturers who tailored some old traditional bike with an electric motor and some batteries to create a new electric monster, the Lito Sora looks different and fresh. It is armed with the first-in-the-industry electric motorcycle seat that enabled the rider to attune the seat in a lower or a higher position for a comfortable riding experience. Plus, it moves from zero to 60 mph in around four seconds. However, a top speed of just 120 mph put it out of the league of the speed machines that rule the motorcycle market.
14 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
The Rocket III Roadster boasts of not just the largest-displacement engine on any motorcycle in history but it also sits strong as the most-powerful Rocket III avatar with an output of 127 horsepower and 145 ft-lb of torque.
Triumph dubs it “the ultimate muscle street-fighter” out of all its existing lineup.
The Roadster utilizes a massive 2.3-liter liquid-cooled inline-triple power plant to propel to a top speed of 145 mph. Plus, its large brakes and lush suspensions keep the rider in control of this gargantuan beast. However, for its heavy stature, actually one of the heaviest in the bike bazaar, the Roadster is perfect for barreling down the highway, but not every speed fanatic's cup of tea.
13 Kawasaki 750 Triple H2
The Kawasaki Triples were the glory of Kawasaki from 1968 till 1980. These Triples were armed with air-cooled three-cylinder two-stroke engines with a displacement range of between 250cc to 750cc. And, they were touted as one of the fastest street bikes in its heydays. The 750’s engine was capable of thrashing out a hefty 74 horsepower and 57 ft-lb worth of torque. It could achieve a 0-60 mph feat in just 4.3 seconds and reach a top mark of 120 mph. Unfortunately, the 750’s brakes and handling were dubbed as one of the worsts in the history of motorcycles. Therefore, it earned the title of a widow maker and had to be taken off from Kawasaki’s successful gang of fast bikes.
12 Ariel Arrow
The Ariel Arrow was a brand of Ariel Motorcycles, a British motorbike company. It had a very short lifespan of seven years between 1968 and 1965. The Arrow used a two-stroke twin-cylinder engine and a steel-pressed backbone-styled frame. The reason for its demise was it low-mounted muffler that compromised its ground clearance too. The mufflers were built so low that the bikers would often run out of road especially when they were making turns that required leaning over.
The Arrow did offer sound handling but was booed heavily by its owners and received a lot of negative word-of-mouth publicity.
Plus, it was desecrated as one of the worst creations of all time.
11 Kawasaki H1 500
The H1 500 was unveiled by Kawasaki back in 1969. It looked a tad similar to its bigger cousins which were launched later as 750s. The H1 500 featured an air-cooled two-stroke straight-three 500 cc engine that could cough up a healthy 60 horsepower and 41 ft-lb of torque. This super bike earned Kawasaki a rebel outside-the-law image that worked well with its fans in its initial years. The speedster was heralded for it powerful image but was soon became notorious for its poor handling and an inadequate braking mechanism. When riders were over 4500 rpm, the bike’s front wheel posed a threat to their life.
10 Suzuki GT Series
The Suzuki GT Series was offered with a range of engine capacities and cylinder counts between 1972 and 1977. The GT 380, 550 & 750 were all two-stroke three-cylinder engines. The GT 750 came in with dual disc front brake that was measured as a big achievement by Suzuki.
However, the powerful-looking motorcycle had a low-slung silencer that proved to be a big hindrance during long rides.
The disc brakes were almost non-existent in the wet conditions. Plus, to add insult to the injury the bike had a wavering swing arm and the bikers had the heart in their mouths when riding at high speed.
9 Honda CX 500
The Honda CX 500 had its existence between 1978 and 1983. The CX 500 was an instant hit for its bold appearance and was labeled as “plastic maggot” back in 1979. This superstar carried a 497 cc water-cooled V-Twin engine and became a favorite with its esteemed buyers. With a rather deep-seated design, the motorcycle looked muscular and was actually a merger of standard, sport, and cruiser bikes. But some of their variants were plagued with a big manufacturing defect leading to a major recall that tarnished it in-effect goodwill in the industry. The fault lay with the bike’s crankshaft and it caused the downfall of CX 500.
8 Harley Davidson Sportster
Harley-Davidson has had a very long list of high-quality motorcycles and an equally strong fandom ever since it came into existence. The Sportster is a strong and heavyweight lineup of Harley-Davidsons since its inception in 1956. However, the 1981 Sportster was a bit gauche design wise and could never make an impression in terms of overall performance.
The long forks were set at a steep angle and the bike had to be driven at a very low speed.
Though everything suited the rider’s straight line maneuvers, this Harley lacked the knacks that were needed for turns or wide-ranging riding trips.
Greeves was a British motorcycle company that was founded by its namesake Bert Greeves. He is apparently a well-known British engineer famed for Invacar – a three-wheeler designed for disabled riders. Though Greeves had a fairly successful run in the motocross arena, it seemingly was a testing ride even for hardened bikers. The original leading link forks models were plagued with problems for the day they were floored in the market. This motorbike had a puny suspension that turned completely ineffective during any kind of braking; effectively, transferring the brunt of any sort of large bumps to the riders through the bars.
6 Honda Super Cub
This Honda Series is also known as Honda Super Cub or just Honda Cub and is the largest-selling motor vehicle till date with more than 100 million of them kissing the roads worldwide. Honda has kept this nameplate alive since its origin in 1958 and its legendary successful journey is often used as a marketing case study in management institutions worldwide. The Honda Cub is an underbone motorcycle that uses a four-stroke single-cylinder engine to power itself. On the other hand, the three-speed automatic transmission that was there on the earlier models was susceptible to locking the rear wheel. Plus, these models had a meek suspension with poor damping resulting in a pogo stick kind of effect on bumpy places.
5 Johammer J1
The Johammer J1 is a product of an Austrian electric motorcycle manufacturer called Johammer e-mobility. The company unveiled its futuristic electric cruiser, J1, in 2014 to the international audience with a lot of fanfare.
The J1 is driven by a DC-powered synchronous electric motor paired with a single-stage transmission.
The motor is capable of offering a peak power output of 16 kW. The J1 has won many laurels ever since its launch but a top speed of 75 mph is something that does not gel well with its stunning looks. This limitation, despite its award-winning design and avant-garde technology, may turn out to be a damp squib.
4 BMW R1200GS
The BMW R1200GS, similar to its cousin R1200GS Adventure, comes from the widely held GS family of dual-sport motorcycles that uses a flat-twin engine to power itself. Its 1.17-liter air-cooled powerhouse is capable of thrashing out a whopping 109 horsepower and 89 ft-lb worth of torque. This all-roader can deliver exceptionally in off-road terrain as well. Plus, an armchair-like comfort coupled with an authoritative riding position makes do with an excellent control and vision. Also, the R1200GS makes perfect sense if someone wants to go for an all-day comfortable ride instead of a high-performance on-road thrilling experience on a speed monster.
3 Suzuki V-Storm 650
The V-Storm 650 is a mid-weight sport touring motorcycle that is dubbed as one of the most comfortable ones in the world of biking. It features an impeccable riding position that suits both comfort and control of the riders. Also known as DL650, it has a larger fan following worldwide than its big brother DL1000. The reason is its adaptability to rise up to conditions like cruising, adventure touring and even a bit of off-roading. And, it has long been a preferred set of wheels for the Iron Butt riders and cross-country jaunters. The DL650’s four-stroke V-Twin does put out 66 horsepower and 44.5 ft-lb of torque but with best top speed figure of 112 mph, it is more of a cruiser than a speed monster.
2 BMW K1600GTL
This monstrosity carries a 1.65-liter transverse-mounted straight-six engine as its heart. BMW claims that K1600GTL’s powerplant can thrash out a massive 160 horsepower and 129 ft-lb worth of torque.
The K1600GTL is a full-dress luxury touring motorcycle that was introduced by BMW Motorrad to lock horns with the market leading Honda Gold Wing.
BMW used a unique cast magnesium alloy subframe to save weight; the frame fortifies the front of the beast too. With an exceptional technology and overwhelming amount of features, the K1600GTL is revered as a “BMW 7 Series on two wheels” by its devotees. However, they believe it’s a little less relaxing than its arch rivals. And above, it is electronically circumscribed to a top speed of 136 mph as it could turn unstable beyond this speed.
1 Husqvarna 250 MX
Husqvarna is named after a Swedish city called Huskvarna, from where the originated back in 1903. Ever since the company has been a specialist in the field of motocross, supermoto, endure and street bikes. The 250 MX of the 70s looked tempting for its era and it was equipped with the most advanced features that could make it stand apart from its budding rivals. But, the major issue was with the swing arm and shock absorbers that made its rear end riffle from side to side at the slenderest of provocation. Thus, the shocks and swingarm were considered feeble against its brawny appearance. Plus, its exhaust was routed erroneously that could burn the left leg of the rider.
Sources: Mecum.com, TopSpeed.com, MotorcycleNews.com