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Best Mountain Bikes - Honda RN-01

The Best Mountain Bikes For Men Made By Motorcycle Manufacturers

Motorcycle Manufacturers That Dabble In Mountain Biking Too

Updated November 15, 2018

In the early days of motorcycling, most of the world’s most famous motorcycle makers originally built bicycles too, so it’s no wonder that some of today’s best mountain bikes for men are actually made by some of these well-known motorcycle brands. That being said, not a lot of people are aware that our favorite motorcycle builders still have an interest in the bicycle segment, so we’re here to right that wrong and showcase some of the best men’s mountain bikes manufactured by famous motorcycle makers.

Bicycles To Motorcycles: An Obvious Transition

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For many manufacturers, making the leap from bicycle to motorcycle was an obvious step. At the beginning of the 20th century, small displacement internal combustion engines were becoming more efficient, easier to manufacturer, and cheaper to buy, so for many bicycle makers, bolting one of these new engines onto an existing bicycle frame, with power delivered through a basic gearbox, made sense. With the onset of World War I, which was followed all too quickly by World War II, the world was left in dire need of cheap, reliable, and practical transportation and the humble motorcycle was the logical answer to the transport shortage. With motorcycles dominating the streets, the humble bicycle was almost forgotten about by big manufacturing firms who could only see the value in pushing their motorcycle lines.

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Unfortunately, many of these old manufacturers turned their backs on the bicycle for good – but there are still a few famous makers who haven’t completely forgotten their pedal-powered roots, who still manufacturer fantastic bicycles to this very day. More often than not, most of these prestigious bike makers crank out a limited edition bicycle every now and again as a PR stunt, but there are still a few who keep a few models on the books permanently. At the moment, the big trend is in electronically assisted mountain bikes, or just mountain bikes in general, so we’re going to focus on those kinds of models here.

The Best Men’s Mountain Bikes?

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Are they really the best mountain bikes though? Well, for the price tags that accompany some of these, we’d certainly like to think so. Price tag and prestige aside, if a company has been building bikes, either the pedal powered or engine powered kind, for the best part of a century, you can probably trust in their manufacturing skills. But before we lay down some unfounded claim that these are the best mountain bikes ever made, let’s just clarify that we’re talking about the best men’s mountain bikes made by motorcycle manufacturers!

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If you don’t already have a decent push bike in your garage you should get your hands on one anyway. You see, many of the world’s best motorcycle racers cycle as part of their regular training regime, with downhill mountain biking being one of the favored training methods. If you don’t believe us, you should check out the Instagram profiles of premier class racers like Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Marquez, Maverick Vinales, Danilo Petrucci, and Dani Pedrosa for proof! Why? Because it develops endurance, boosts lung capacity, and help to build lean muscle – all important things for serious motorcyclists.

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If it’s got two wheels, we urge you to get involved! Even if it doesn’t come equipped with an engine, you can still get yourself a cool branded bicycle from one of your favorite manufacturers, and here are some of the best offerings out there. So without further ado, here are 10 of the best mountain bikes made by motorcycle brands!

The Best Mountain Bikes For Men Made By Motorcycle Manufacturers

#10. The Benelli Tagete E-Bike – $1,899.00

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While Benelli might have leant its name to motorcycles, guns, and military vehicles, the company has also made its fair share of bicycles too. The Italian company’s current line-up mainly consists of electronically assisted bicycles aimed for the urban jungle rather than focusing on proper adventuring, but there are a few interesting mountain bikes you should consider. The Tagete is an e-bike that can comfortably take you from A to B in the city, but will also perform exceptionally well on tough trails and over long, tiring distances. It’s an ideal choice for those looking for top-end performance but need a versatile ride that can handle a multitude of environments.

Equipped with trail ready 7.5 inch wheels with the right rubber to help you traverse a wide range of terrain, the Tagete is so much more than your average mountain bike. Since it comes with an electric motor, it offers the rider six levels of pedal assisted riding, which can help you cruise at a top speed of around 15.5 mph for a maximum range of 62 miles, thanks to the compact and powerful lithium-ion battery – which can fully recharge in 4 to 6 hours. On top of that the Benelli offers excellent adjustable front forks, a quality gearbox complete with Shimano derailleurs, and boasts an LCD rider display to help keep you informed of your statistics and battery life. All in all, it’s one of the best mountain bikes for sale for the price asked.

#09. The BMW M Cruise – $1,150.00

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Next up, we’ve got the BMW M Cruise, a branded bicycle styled after the more famously known BMW M2 Coupe. While it might look a little tamer than some of the other bikes on the list, you can bet that this BMW is made with hard work in mind. It looks sleek, elegant, and stylish, and it’s no wonder that it won the Red Dot Design award when it first came out, but it actually performs as good as it looks too. Many people will be surprised to learn that this is a genuine BMW product, and it’s not just some made-in-China mass produced unit with a BMW sticker on it (because a fair few of those have been seen floating around on eBay in the past) – so if you want a BMW mountain bike to compliment your S1000RR, you’d better get one of these.

Built around a solid aluminum frame that comes equipped with a sturdy Suntour spring-mounted front fork arrangement, high-quality brake discs from Shimano, a 30-speed gear system thanks to Shimano Alivio derailleurs, and a useful wheel size that makes the M Cruise quite an option for both on and off road. Other cool features also include a BMW Original Trekking seat stem that allows for a fully adjustable saddle position (height and angle), and a pair of Continental Cruise CONTACT tires that offer advanced protection against sharp objects and potential punctures. Altogether, the BMW weighs in at a mere 30 lbs – and that’s what makes it one of the best branded bicycle made by a motorcycle manufacturer.

#08. The Honda RN01 – Not For Sale

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Wait, Honda make downhill mountain bikes? Yes they do, but only for professional racers, which is quite odd. They makes some of the best mountain bikes in the industry and frequently win races and championships…but don’t offer any of their models to the public. This model, the RN01, is one of the most sought after and secretive mountain bikes of all time, and it was reserved for pro-racing only. Honda were so proud of their product that they went to extraordinary lengths to keep it out of the hands of the opposition – they removed the gearbox from the frame after every use to ensure that the gearbox wouldn’t be stolen, even if the rest of the frame was. Lucky really, since two of these were stolen (without gearboxes) and surfaced on eBay.

It’s not hard to see why these weren’t offered to the public though – they feature some seriously over-the-top tech that would be wasted on casual riders. Honda added more gears than necessary, included a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) more commonly found on modern cars, featured Showa front suspension and a whole host of other top-of-the-range components that made it incredibly competitive. Weighing in at a mere 41lbs (depending on which specific model and setup you’re looking at), it’s clear to see why this is one of the best mountain bikes in the world. Which is sadly not for sale – and that’s why it’s not ranked higher.

#07. The Yamaha YDX-TORC – $3,499.00

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When we think of Yamaha, we like to think of the YZF-R1, or a keyboard – but did you know that Yamaha actually invented the world’s first power assisted bicycle back in 1993? Team Blue might make a mean motorcycle and cracking piano, but they’ve been the main driving force in electric bicycles since day one. Who knew? There current range offers a four distinct models, but we’re focusing on their rough and ready mountain bike: the YDX-TORC: an agile but aggressive mountain machine that offers up some impressive performance specs…if you can afford one.

Built around a hydroformed aluminum frame that’s mated to a RockShox recon front suspension fork, the YDX-TORC comes complete with a wide range of accessories including Shimano derailleurs, gears, and brakes, lightweight anodized fixings, Maxxis tires with a puncture protection under tread, and much, much more. It’s the motor that we like the best though, since it offers up to 80 Nm of peak torque, with five selectable ride modes – all controlled by a cool computer that lets you clock your times, distances, power consumption, charge USB devices, has Bluetooth connectivity, controls the bike’s LED lighting system, and more. All in all, the Yamaha YDX-TORC weighs in at 47 lbs and costs an appropriate $3,499.00. It is expensive, but you get plenty of bang for your buck. And it’s not as expensive as a couple of others on this list…as you will see. It’s one of the best mountain bikes for those who take their riding seriously.

#06. The Kawasaki DX – $239.00

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You might’ve seen some Kawasaki branded bicycle models before – they’re readily available, to the point that you can probably buy them in Walmart and places like that. You might have also heard that they’re not real Kawasaki models and that’s half-true. In a nutshell, these products are made under license and Kawasaki have made their money by lending out their logo and trade name. It’s a Kawasaki in name only…but as you can see by the rest of the entries on this list, the real McCoy doesn’t come cheap. Still, this “Kawasaki” offers great value for money and if you don’t feel like shelling out a couple of grand on a Yamaha, then the Kawasaki option might be the thing for you.

It’s your basic mountain bike arrangement, but with enough cool features to help it stand out from the crowd. The DX comes with an aluminum frame with a sturdy front fork and monoshock, lightweight aluminum wheels, off-road tires, disc brakes, Shimano twist shifting gears and derailleur, a quick release seat post, and a big Kawasaki logo on it. It might not be the most advanced mountain bike in the world but it does exactly what it’s meant to, and it does it well. What’s more, it’s cheap enough that it really doesn’t matter if it can’t keep you ahead of the BMW above because you can buy four of these for the same price, with change, and probably free shipping too. It’s not one of the best mountain bikes in the world, but it’s the cheapest way to own a Kawasaki, that’s for sure.

#05. The Bultaco Brinco – $5,800.00

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Spanish off-road brand Bultaco was given a new lease of life back in 2014, and when it came back to life it had wild plans for the future. Rather than revert to the old internal combustion engine days, Bultaco decided to jump into the electric-assisted bicycle market and eventually launched their awesome Brinco platform. The Brinco is essentially a small trials bike with pedals, or a mountain bike with a battery powered motor. It’s hard to define the Brinco, but since Bultaco have years of off-road experience to their name, you know that their product is going to be good. Boasting 2 kW of max power and a whopping 60 Nm of peak torque, the Brinco is a force to be reckoned with.

The aluminum hybrid frame holds on to a sweet electric pedal-assisted motor that can help propel riders to speeds of up to 40 mph, with a maximum range of 60 miles; there are four different riding modes, Sport, Urban, Eco, and a Power Control function, which help control power delivery and optimize the lithium-ion battery pack’s life. According to Bultaco, the battery can be recharged in as little as three hours. Other features include a pretty cool 9 speed gearbox, adjustable full suspension at the front and rear, disc brakes, a practical and trail ready wheel size, and a keyless ignition in the form of a swipe card and/or wristband. The Brinco platform is still pretty new, but with time we think it’s going to evolve into one of the best mountain bike platforms on the scene.

#04. The Aprilia Racing (Piaggio) WI-Bike – $3,999

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Alright, this is technically more Piaggio than Aprilia but since this one is decked out in Aprilia Racing colors, we’re going to chalk it up as an Aprilia instead. Either way, it doesn’t matter because Piaggio are also a valid motorcycle manufacturer, but we all prefer Aprilias over Vespas, right? Anyway, Piaggio have launched their own brand of electric bikes called the “WI-Bike.” While this isn’t as overtly “mountain bike” as the rest on the list, we felt it deserved a mention because it offers some great specs, decent versatility, and can handle a bit of rough if you dare to take the just-under $4000 machine away from the comfort of the city streets.

Powered by an Italian made 350 W electric motor with three distinct riding models that can propel the rider to speeds of up to 28 mph, the WI-Bike has more than enough power to keep things interesting. It also comes equipped with a lithium-ion battery back that offers a maximum range of around 80 miles, with a recharge time of three hours. While the specs are similar to the Bultaco, the Piaggio has some cool extra features that make it a little more interesting, such as its anti-theft tracking app that logs the bike’s integrated GPS system. While it’s not the best mountain bike on the list, we love it because it can handle the road and trails competently without much in the way of compromise. Though it’s much better on road than off. And the Aprilia colors definitely helped sway our logic on this one.

#03. The Ducati 310SX – $800.00

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For many of us, this might be the most economical, sensible, and easiest way for us to ever own a Ducati. In fact, I’ll bet you’re surprised that something with an official Ducati logo could cost so little, and we were a little shocked too. Usually Ducati merchandise is so overpriced that it’s beyond ridiculous. And to make things stranger, this isn’t some cheap crap with a Ducat logo on it. Oh no. Every model in Ducati’s branded bicycle range come from the Bianchi factory: the world’s oldest bicycle manufacturer that’s still in existence, and symbol of Italian pride. For approximately $800 you can own a Ducati, and a damn fine one too, with no desmodromics to scratch your head over, either.

There are a few mountain bikes in the current Ducati bicycle range but we like the 310SX on account of its price point and standard equipment. Featuring an aluminum frame, 29 inch wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, alloy components, Suntour front forks, Shimano gearing, derailleurs, and crankset, with Michelin tires to boot, the Ducati 310SX is quite an advanced bike for your buck…well, $800 is hardly cheap but it is for Ducati. Do Ducati make the best mountain bikes? No, but Bianchi certainly know a thing or two, and it definitely shows. Naturally, the Ducati 310SX comes in classic Ducati Red, but they also offer a cool Matt Graphite for the more understated Ducatisti.

#02. The Triumph XCX Limited Edition – $1,140.00

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If you want something a little more exclusive than the Bianchi Ducati, then why not take a punt on the newly released, limited edition Triumph XCX mountain bike? It’s not even that expensive when you consider the equipment it comes with, and it’s limited edition, restricted-to-500-units nature. Unlike many limited edition adventures, this mountain bike has been expertly designed and features some of the best parts that the cycling industry has to offer. This isn’t a no-name brand with the Triumph logo on it – this is a genuine Triumph, and for quite an attractive price. Fully analog, with no battery pack of any kind, this is the kind of mountain bike that a true purist can enjoy.

The stylish Triumph XCX comes equipped with a lightweight aluminum frame, RockShox suspension, Shimano derraileurs, shifters, and brakes, an FSA crankset, Kenda grips, a WTB Volt support saddle, WellGo pedals, and aluminum rims with Kenda tires too. All in all, you’re looking at quite a comprehensive mountain bike that boasts classic Triumph styling but with the goods to match, and considering the quality of the parts involved, it’s not a bad price at all – especially for a limited edition model. It is one of the best mountain bikes developed by a motorcycle manufacturer? For sure. However, there’s one more that tops it. And costs quite a bit more.

#01. The KTM Scarp Sonic – $9,900

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When it comes to off-road competition, KTM know what they’re talking about. It doesn’t matter whether you need gasoline or not, because when mud’s involved, the Austrian firm are the kings. The Scarp Sonic is one of the best mountain bikes in the world, made by a motorcycle manufacturer or not. The price might seem excessive but there are some seriously outrageous specs in play here. Just to get the ball rolling, let’s just say that all in, this full suspension mountain bike weighs in at an almost non-existent 20.2 lbs. That is not a typo.

The KTM Scarp Sonic achieves its ultra-lightweight existence thanks to the liberal use of carbon fiber. The frame is a full carbon fiber unit, complimented with featherweight rear and fork stays, a minimalist single-pivot rear suspension design coupled with a carbon rocker arm, and other carbon features that keep the KTM’s weight to the absolute minimum. The fully-adjustable suspension comes from Fox (front and rear), the rims are carbon fiber units from DT Swiss, a Selle Italia saddle, and the gear related parts are all top-end Shimano parts. In fact, this mountain bike features top end everything and for the vast majority of us, the specification means absolutely nothing because this sort of technology is way above our skill levels! However, if you happen to have a spare $10k laying around and you feel like buying a mountain bike that will outstrip everything else on the trails, then the KTM Scarp Sonic is exactly what you need.

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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…

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