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10 Seriously Ugly Motorcycle Design Catastrophes!

And The Award For “Ugliest Motorcycle” Goes To…

Bimota Mantra

Nothing annoys readers quite like a list of ugly motorcycles. 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 “ugliest motorcycle ever” lists before but that’s proof enough that they’re definitely card carrying members of the ugly motorcycle club.

 

#10. The Victory Vision

Victory Vision

The Victory Vision is a great model to kick this list off with. It’s actually a great motorcycle which takes a lot of inspiration from the likes of Honda’s NM-4 but adds a decidedly American twist to things by adding a nice and powerful air-cooled 1731cc v-twin engine into the mix (there’s an oil-cooled model too). Unfortunately, the bike’s designers should’ve taken some design cues from Japan, or gone more American with it. Instead we’re left with a schizophrenic design that’s neither modern nor classic, which is a real shame because mechanically, the Vision is fantastic. Visually, it doesn’t really know what it wants to be.

#09. The Ducati Paso

Ducati Paso

Next up we’ve got the Paso, and this should cause some debate. To some, it’s a remarkable design exercise that showcases exactly what a modern sportsbike should be. To others, however, it’s a blight on Ducati’s impeccable design record. It’s the product of the (then) newly formed relationship between Cagiva and Ducati, and the Cagiva influence is obviously there but while trying to squeeze Cagiva’s design language into the Ducati, something was lost along the way. The Paso is a legendary motorcycle for many reasons – unfortunately, one of those reasons is that it’s quite ugly. Still, what it lacks in looks it makes up for in performance. It’s proof that even Ducati occasionally builds ugly aesthetically challenged motorcycles though.

#08. The Suzuki Hayabusa

Suzuki Hayabusa

The Hayabusa suffers from a similar affliction to the Paso above. It has everything you could ever want in the performance department, you can’t argue with its speed and engineering. In fact, the Hayabusa is nothing short of a mechanical marvel and has long been regarded as the pinnacle of heavyweight superbike technology. But for many motorcyclists there’s one huge problem with it: it’s ugly. Despite being aerodynamically correct, there’s no getting over the fact that the Busa is a fat and bulbous thing. It might be called the “peregrine falcon” when translated from the Japanese, but it’s more of a bloated whale really.

#07. The Harley Davidson Road Glide

HD Front Fairing Front Quarter

Okay, this one will cause some debate. There are plenty of Road Glide enthusiasts who will seriously disagree here, and they’re allowed to. Our problem with this bike isn’t that it’s an out and out ugly beast, it’s just that it has the potential to be quite a stunner if only the designers re-designed that god awful front fairing. We get that it’s there to protect the rider and make the bike more aerodynamic, but come on, you could it make it easier on the eyes, surely? No? Alright then, join the list of ugly bikes and carry on.

#06. The Suzuki B-King

Suzuki B-King

Poor old Suzuki, they seem to have a habit of building the ugliest bikes ever. The B-King is one of the strangest motorcycles of all time. The premise for it was simple: a naked Hayabusa. Who wouldn’t want that? A motorcycle that boasts all the power of the beastly Hayabusa but without the unsightly aerodynamics, it’s the perfect motorcycle, surely? Apparently not. The result was something that defies perspective and conventional design language. It’s definitely muscular, but not in a good way. Imagine putting huge, swollen muscles on an animal that shouldn’t be that muscular, like a horse. It’s not right to look at, is it? That’s what happened here. The Suzuki was just too big in all the wrong places. As ugly bikes go, this one is one of the worst offenders.

#05. The Honda Pacific Coast

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 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.

#04. The Suzuki Katana

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 ‘mean sport bike’ 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 ever 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 bike. Iconic, yes, but ugly nonetheless.

#03. The Suzuki Madura

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 most unappealing motorcycle that Suzuki has ever made.

#02. The Harley Davidson ‘Topper’

The Unusual Harley Topper Scooter

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.

#01. The Bimota Mantra

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.”

 







Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…