We are all individuals, we as a capitalist society like choice and we like to think that our consumption choices reflect that.
The same can be said for motorcyclists – after all, who don’t like to shop for that next new pride and joy.
And yet, we’re also used to being habitual, with many of us heading in a predictable direction when it comes to motorcycle shopping.
Models like the BMW R 1250 GS/Adventure, Yamaha MT-07, Triumph Trident and Royal Enfield Meteor 350 have become familiar landmarks on the road… but have you ever wondered “what happened to this or that model?
You know, motorcycles were launched with great fanfare and brag, only to be overshadowed and overlooked when it came to exchanging money…
Something like these 10 motorcycles, which you might be surprised to learn, are actually still available to buy all shiny and new right now…
With annual sales of nearly 30 million, it’s rare that you get a motorcycle from Honda that we can never be entirely sure is still available until we check out the website, but the Honda NC750X in is an example.
Dubbed an “adventure motorcycle” by Honda, the fact that it looks instantly out of place next to the Africa Twin and even the X-ADV scooter says a lot about the NC750X’s confused positioning in the lineup.
In reality, the NC750X – the only NC model remaining after the removal of the standard 750 – is better suited as a “Touring” bike that just happens to get its boots a little muddy from time to time. It’s a nice look – more attractive than the Honda NT 1100, anyway – practical and looks solid… but it’s as unremarkable as most ‘does what it says on the tin’ Hondas.
With the aforementioned NT launch already rendering the NC750X redundant, the incoming Transalp ADV – built on an all-new 755cc twin platform – will likely kill the NC750X softly early in the year.
It was one of the most anticipated motorcycle launches of 2018…but just four years later, you’d be hard pressed to spot the modern reimagining of the Suzuki Katana on the roads.
With a look considered both futuristic and genre-defining at the time of its launch, the original 1981 Katana has become part of motorcycle lore. Indeed, while the Katana divided opinion when it was first revealed, today it is remembered as groundbreaking, even extravagant.
So it’s ironic that today’s reboot is largely overlooked for the exact opposite in being, well, forgettable.
While many of the original features – such as the square headlight and nose section, partial fairing – remain intact, the 1981 Katana was truly a modern-looking motorcycle of its day, while the modern version looks dated rather than retro.
If Suzuki had stuck to its guns and produced something similar to the Katana-inspired Stratosphere concept, then we think the outcome might have been very different.
BMW R 1250 R
It’s a little strange to include Europe’s best-selling motorcycle on a list of forgotten models, but such is the ubiquity of the GS and GS Adventure variants, it’s fair to say that the other spin-offs don’t get not much attention. .
With the RT version, the R 1250 GS seems forever destined to be so associated with these three models that the other two – the RS and the R – barely see it.
The flagship of BMW’s naked lineup, the R 1250 R clumsily presents itself as a superfluous big-engined roadster that neither packs the punch of potential “hyper” rivals like the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Kawasaki Z H2, nor leans on tourer because this base is well and truly covered by its siblings.
Chuck in the fact that its territory is being encroached upon by the S 1000 R and F 900 R, so the R 1250 R is rather surplus to requirements.
Yamaha Niken GT
Yes, yes, yes…before you say it, we “know” that the Yamaha Niken GT muddy the waters when it comes to being classified as a motorcycle, but much like the Jaffa Cake-biscuit debate, it fits to the invoice here.
Yamaha’s vision is beyond reproach with the Niken – a two-front, one-rear trike – featuring clever gyroscopic technology designed for superior comfort and stability, plus the soothing notion that you won’t fall off. not very easily.
It’s also a pretty decent long-distance tourer, but there’s no disguise, the Niken GT is a quirky quirky that we couldn’t recommend to anyone at all uncomfortable receiving attention anywhere you go passers-by.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Niken hasn’t won over buyers in the same way as the nifty Piaggio MP3, largely because its unique – albeit well-judged – features aren’t quite worth the gawps its asking price of £15,500 and a selection on the accomplished Yamaha Tracer 9.
Benelli TRK 502
To be fair, we could have placed any member of Benelli’s current range of British motorbikes, such is the historic Italian company’s tiny status in the UK.
It’s not the only brand limited by its sparse distribution network, but Benelli’s status as a player becomes more surprising when you consider that he’s become something of a rising star in the world rankings, one that now outsells Triumph and Ducati comfortably.
Substantial investment from Qianjiang Motors has seen Benelli’s range and footprint grow exponentially across Asia, where it is now a popular choice.
However, the effect was also felt in Europe, with the Benelli TRK 502 now the best-selling motorcycle in Italy by a kilometer, thanks in part to the mid-capacity soft-roader/tourer having few obvious rivals.
Low prices, practicality and good kit levels make it attractive to a UK buyer…you just need to find one first.
All credit must go to Zero for not only persevering with its all-electric theme long before it became a consideration for mainstream companies, with the American company having forged decent value and a diverse range of options.
However, while Zero’s designs – like the SR/F and the new DSR/X – are smart and future-proof, they’re not terribly exciting either…
Not that he hasn’t attempted to pump some adrenaline into the lineup in the (clumsy) form of his Zero SR/S, a modestly fast mid-range roadster doing sportbike cosplay.
Indeed, Zero slapped a hideous angular fairing on the SR/F and called it a sport bike, which might convince a whole lot more if the SR/S were even an iota more exciting and appealing to ride than taking the bus.
A quick sprint off the line is a godsend, but the SR/S wears out before your pupils have dilated. Add in a price of £12,670 – around £4,000 more than the far superior Yamaha R7 – and it’s easy to see why buyers swerved.
Triumph Tiger 850 Sport
Something of a sore thumb in Triumph’s lineup, the Triumph Tiger 850 Sport is meant to fill the specs as a more touring-focused model… except Triumph said something similar about the Tiger 900 GT bigger, more powerful and more capable launched just a few weeks ago. earlier.
Essentially a successor to the previous-generation Tiger as standard, the Tiger Sport lacks some of the smart technology, maturity and grunt of the 900, but retains that usual triple character.
Fitted with the same engine as the Tiger 900, it’s been detuned to a smaller capacity and horsepower, hence the 850 suffix, while the price also reflects reductions with the £2,000 cheaper Sport at £9,495 .
And yet we can’t help but think that, just as we view 99p as favorably better value than £1, we wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to opt for the 900 GT over the 850 Sport on bragging value alone…
CF Moto 650 NK
CFMoto is gradually gaining a foothold in the UK and Europe with models such as the 700CL-X and 800MT, but the Chinese company has a wider range of motorcycles available here for longer than you might expect.
Formerly known as WK Bikes (White Knuckle, FYI…), the current lineup is now aligned with the core CFMoto brand and features larger capacity models than most making the trip from China.
Among these is its tried and tested but very, very dated 649cc platform which is offered in MT soft-roader, GT sports tourer and NK.
Meaning “naked”, the NK650 – which looks like a cross between a KTM 790 Duke and a Suzuki SV650 – is very easily overlooked among accomplished rivals thanks in part to innocuous styling and mechanicals cashing in on their pensions.
CFMoto might have better luck just slapping its eye-catching £5,799 price tag on the fairing as a paint option.
MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800
Suppliers of ‘Motorcycle Art’, thanks to models like the F4, F3 and Brutale, MV Agusta certainly has it all figured out when it comes to creating stunning models.
Such an exotic signature image, however, isn’t as easy to translate to something more upright and function-oriented than a Sports Tourer, where styling ranks much lower on the order of importance.
Nevertheless, the Var brand got off to a good start with the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800, much more slender than its main rivals, especially in the RC racing version. With its tuneful – if it gets old – 800cc three-cylinder engine encouraging a spirited driving experience, the Turismo Veloce is a decent case… if you lived outside the UK.
A sparse dealer network has always been a bogeyman to MV Agusta’s UK fortunes, while the Turismo Veloce plays on its premium image by sporting a hefty £13,950 price tag…
In short, if you’re going to go to the effort of buying an imported MV, you’ll get a Brutale…and if you want a Sports Tourer, you’ll get something cheaper, more efficient, and not a source of migraines when things are bad.
Ducati Super Sport 950
The fact that the Ducati SuperSport 950 is considered the tourer of the Italian firm’s lineup tells you everything you need to know about the Panigale-not-Panigale SuperSport 950.
In fact, head over to the Ducati website, scroll down all models in small thumbnail size next to each other, and the remote SuperSport 950 bears all the hallmarks of the sport bike sibling.
Except that there the similarities end, the SuperSport 950 persevering in the twin-cylinder architecture of the firm, unlike its cousins now sporting the latest V4 and V2 trends.
For a ‘Tourer’ the SuperSport is surprisingly a track day hustler, but generally this model suffers from being too tourer when it could be a sports bike, or too much of a sports bike when you want a turn. After all, why buy a curdled semi-skimmed SuperSport 950 when you could have a fresh, fatty Panigale?