5 Of The Ugliest Production Bikes Ever Made
And The Award For “Ugliest Motorcycle” Goes To…
Updated August 9, 2018
Nothing pisses off readers more than a list of my top 5 fuglies. Why? Because it’s all a matter of taste – and while we like to think we have a degree of it, we’re always told that we’re wrong. Now, it the midst of our vibrant custom scene, no bike is truly ugly – we mean, some riders hate Viragos, but we’ve seen how they can look with a bit of effort – and like in the real world, it’s what’s on the inside that counts… But some bikes are an exception to that rule… Now, who are we to criticize motorcycle design? We’re nobodies really, so take our suggestions with a grain of salt…You may have seen a couple of these on similar lists before but that’s proof enough that these bikes are one thing: ugly.
#1 The Honda Pacific Coast
Interestingly enough, any mere mention of the Pacific Coast is enough to spark controversy. Why? Because it has a diehard following…Yep, some people really dig this funny looking machine. Hell, there are even forums dedicated to PC purists who love nothing more than hitting the highways in their pseudo-futuristic boxes. Underneath the kid’s battery-operated, toy trike-esque exterior, there is a wonderful V-twin engine and enough people out there value just that, so much so that Honda produced the PC for a long run between 1980 and 1990 and again (yeah, I know) between 1990 and 1994. It’s a quality little touring machine but no matter how much alcohol you consume, it’d be hard to fall in love with one – and you’d be better off getting a cab home alone. It’s not the ugliest motorcycle of all time, but it’s definitely on the list.
#2 The Suzuki Katana
No matter what year, the Suzuki Katana was never going to make the cover or the centerfold of any bike porn mags. It probably wouldn’t even garner advertising space in the most derelict of phone boxes either. As a production motorcycle though, it was pretty popular and sales were pretty good; probably down to the fact that it had a touch of the ‘meanness’ about it and was impotent enough to attract the entry level biker market. Now, like above, I’m trying to find a redeeming feature for the Suzuki and guess what? I can. It’s this little custom beauty from ICON 1000: a 1982 Suzuki Katana reworked to compliment the donor’s bizarre angles and maximize it’s output. It’s hard to call that custom one of the ugliest motorcycles made, right? If Suzuki manufactured a line of these instead, we might be placing it on a whole different list altogether. But they didn’t. And the Katana was discontinued in 2006. Today it’s resurfaced as a legend…but it’s still an ugly motorbike.
#3 The Suzuki Madura
The Suzuki Madura is a repeat offender – I’ve written about this design mistake before. A rare breed, the Madura didn’t sell as well as Suzuki thought they would and production was halted after two short years but still, you can find some Madura fans out there, although there aren’t many of them. I almost feel like I’m shamelessly lifting this from my last Madura bashing session but it’s a true story. Trying to find a good image of the Madura, I came across this forum topic: ‘Free Bike – Should I Take It?’ Aye, it was a Madura but there were no takers. Not one. It was a runner with a full history and everything but no-one could bring themselves to adopt such an ugly piece. Sure, the Madura was a capable bike and probably a blast to ride but…it was aesthetically challenged, and possibly the ugliest motorcycle that Suzuki has ever made.
#4 The Harley Davidson ‘Topper’
Another ‘Top List’ mainstay, is the Harley Topper. Rolling straight out of Milwaukee with a little 162cc two stroke engine, it’s a wonder why this miniature unit didn’t take the world by storm – although it’s looks probably had something to do with it. It does have a touch of the ‘lunch box’ about it and it actually reminds us more of an old coffee flask I used to have but the more I look at it, the more I kinda want one. I mean, it doesn’t have the retro appeal like an old cub that would see the hipster crowd frothing at the (expletive deleted) but it is a weird little machine that would probably turn a few heads. The more we talk about it, the more we want one and the more redeeming features are popping into my head. Let’s move on before we have a real change of heart. It’s ugly. Move on.
#5 The Bimota Mantra
Just because it’s a Bimota doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth having. Sadly, French designer Sacha Lakic’s innovative approach to motorcycle design was perhaps a little too innovative. Sure, there’s a Ducati derivative engine sitting underneath the alloy trellis frame and anyone who has ever ridden one gives it full marks for performance and capability but it looks terrible. I mean, the faux walnut dashboard should be enough to put anyone off but if that wasn’t enough, the headlight looks as though it was designed to suck dust rather than slice through the air. The shape is forward thinking but perhaps a little too outrageous to be taken seriously. Bimota have made some gorgeous motorcycles, but this one ain’t one of them. Ugliest motorcycle ever? We say “yes.”