High-performance motorcycle brands
To point out, when it comes to speed and performance, you’d probably first think of the Japanese motorcycle brands Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda or Suzuki or the European Ducati, Aprilia and KTM. All these manufacturers, except Kawasaki, dominate the Moto GP with their most advanced racing technology. These brands are perfect for those adrenaline junkies that are going crazy for speed and performance.
But not all riders are looking for an overload of horsepower and out-of-this-world speeds. A lot of riders enjoy motorcycles for a lot of different reasons. Classic, retro, vintage and custom – we connect these words with a different type of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Classic, Retro, Vintage motorcycle brands – the good old days
Every rider has his favourite memory about his first-ever motorcycle, first ride, riding experience, and whatever it is. It brings you back to the good old days. Classic and vintage motorcycle brands represent the best history has to offer. It is widespread that manufacturers surprise us with the introduction of new, retro-styled motorcycles. It’s like an evergreen. Therefore, you can see it a thousand times, and you still won’t be able to take your eyes away.
To point out, the most famous motorcycle brands in this segment are several. Still, my list would include Harley-Davidson, the American pride, BMW, the German leading motorcycle manufacturer with its rich history in the motorcycle business, and Ducati, famous for their seductive Italian design, are one of the most influential European motorcycle brands. Victory is another American, but much younger motorcycle brand. The company recently had a big existential crisis and unfortunately stopped manufacturing motorcycles in 2017. We shouldn’t forget the British Triumph, known for its cafe-racers with a scent of vintage in most of their models.
The TOP10 list
Here is a short fact list about the TOP 10 most famous motorcycle brands and their most successful bike models. I don’t want to decide which motorcycle brand is #1 and who is following, so I’ll leave that up to you:
Kawasaki is a Japanese manufacturer founded in 1939. In 1963, they started to make motorcycles in addition to aircraft and other vehicles. The companies’ slogan is “Let the good times roll!” And most popular Kawasaki bikes are the Ninja and the KLR. Kawasaki is one of the most popular motorcycle brands among beginner riders.
Honda is a Japanese company as Well. Even though they are doing business since1946, they only started to produce motorcycles in 1955. In the year 1982, Honda manufactured almost three million vehicles which made it the most popular motorcycle brand in 1982. Most popular Honda bike is the CB500.
BMW is a company with the most extended history in the German motorcycle business. BMW started its business in 1901, and they made their first motorcycles in 1923. They kept on producing motorbikes through the entire WW1. BMW’s most famous bike is a sports bike, the S1000RR. BMW is the most famous German motorcycle brand.
Yamaha is another Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, founded in 1955. Right now, Yamaha is one of the leading and most recognizable motorcycle brands in the world, since they are a part of Moto GP and have Valentino Rossi racing for them. The most popular model of Yamaha motorcycles is the YZF-R6.
Ducati is the most famous Italian motorcycle manufacturer. The company started manufacturing motorcycles in 1929 and is currently owned by Audi. You probably know Ducati for their V-twin engines. The two-cylinder engines complement their distinctive Italian design. Ducati produced its first motorcycle in the year 1950. The Scrambler Icon is the most popular model of this particular motorcycle brand.
Triumph is a British Company specialized in motorcycle manufacturing from it was beginning in 1984. Even though the brand is rather young, their bikes are one of the most popular choices among caffe-racer riders. But oddly enough, the most popular Triumph motorcycle is the Tiger 800 XC, an adventure bike.
Moto Guzzi was founded in Italy in 1921. It was once the leading company in motorcycle development and innovation. Even today they are still one of the most boutique motorcycle builders and very popular among riders. Most popular Moto Guzzi bikes are the Breva and California.
Harley Davidson, the American pride, is the most famous American motorcycle brand that makes bikes that we all know as one of the symbols that represent the United States of America. Harley Davidson, founded in 1903, is famous for making choppers and depicts an iconic image of a biker. Most popular Harley Davidson bike is still the 1915 11F.
Suzuki opened its doors in 1909 in Japan. However, the company did not start to make a motorcycle until 1952. It was only ten years later when they became part of motorcycling sports and still are today one of the strongest motorcycle brands in the MotoGP. Unsurprisingly, their most popular bike is the GSX-R750.
Victory, an American motorcycle company, founded in 1997, tried to end the Harley domination on the American chopper market. Unfortunately, the company closed its doors after 20 years of manufacturing (y. 2017). Their most popular bike was/is Victory Vegas.
There is a long legacy of all those brands. However, the history of innovations made some of those motorcycle brands the market leaders but left a lot of others just as followers. The primary strive in the innovation process was mostly performance-oriented, and only in the last decade, a huge demand arose for the safety aspect as well.