Best Motorcycle Brands
Motorcycles are the most elegant and admired form of transportation anywhere in the world. Around 200 million motorcycles are used worldwide and the count is rising every year. The list is endless from tourers to sports, enduro to choppers; these modern day motorcycles offer comfortable riding positions with a certain visual swagger.
Motorcycles are perceived to have a conscience of their own; they make your journey adventurous and exciting. They are fast, manoeuvrable and agile that gives the rider freedom to ride anywhere anytime.
Every rider has its own specific preference when it comes to choosing between brands. Few may consider the design and specifications as the buying factor while others may be influenced with the technology and top speed. You may also come across the types who enjoy classic, retro, and vintage rides or the ones who choose their rides specifically for adventure motorcycle touring.
While there is no harm in sticking to your style, it is important to pick the right brand before investing your hard earned money.
Let us look at some of the best motorcycle brands that are popular among riders for their performance, riding pleasure and dependability.
Top 10 Motorcycle Brands in the World
Headquartered in Tokyo, Honda has been the largest motorcycle manufacturer of motorcycles since 1959. In 2019 the company recorded a production milestone of 400 million-units, highest among any motorcycle brands globally. Be it long distance touring motorcycles like Rebel 1100 and Africa Twin, or the off road dirt bike segments; Honda is acclaimed for their quality and trustworthiness among the motorcycle community worldwide.
The brand is known for producing extremely versatile bikes with plenty of power and comfort to match every riding style. They deliver performance as well as utility and are enjoyable even at low speed, something that makes it different from any other motorcycle brand!
Be it touring, super sport, cruiser, adventure or a city ride; Honda has really established its market in the entire riding segment making it the top motorcycle brand in the world.
When it comes to style and excitement, there is no comparison of Yamaha – another brilliant motorcycle brand based out of Japan. The company recorded a sale of five million motorbikes globally, making it the second largest motorcycle brand in the world and an immediate competitor of Honda. With its first ever production in 1955, Yamaha has successfully entered into all the possible riding segments like trail, enduro, motocross, electric and even concept motorcycles. Not to forget some of the legendary motorcycles like the YD2, YDS3C Big Bear, TR3, YZ250, OW48 and RZ500 that paved the way for Yamaha to win many world championships.
Yamaha motorcycles are comparatively cheaper to purchase and easier to maintain. Additionally, they are far more agile and swift on the corners. So if you are training to ride a dirt bike for the first time, Yamaha will prove to be your perfect companion due to its maneuverability.
With much of the experience gained from manufacturing aircraft engines, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a multinational brand having its origin in Japan has produced many historically acclaimed motorcycles including H1, Z1, and GPz900R. Their strict quality standards and highly efficient technology have raised the standards of the global two-wheeler industry. The company focuses on building high productive engines that are environment friendly as well.
Kawasaki motorcycles stand out in a crowd due to its high performance engine, elegant looks, dependability and their riding experience. Their mission to design best motorcycle engines in the world led them to produce powerful yet refined motorcycles that are fit for beginners as well as pro riders. They are easy to ride and comfortable enough to ride on a long distance road trip with your friends. Besides, Kawasaki bikes offer an enjoyable and rewarding riding experience that no other motorbike can offer.
One of the largest UK-owned motorcycle producers selling more than 60,000 motorcycles every year globally; Triumph has major manufacturing facilities in Thailand. It is the most popular choice among adventure enthusiasts and long distance riders and is the most satisfying motorcycle brand among the biking community. Theses bikes are a mix of enduro as well as cruise making them dual sports motorcycles.
The widely acclaimed street fighter motorcycle Triumph 675 cc Street Triple was their bestselling bike. With the launch of Triumph Tiger 800 and Tiger 800 XC in 2010, the brand gave a very tight competition to the fellow rival’s BMW F800GS.
As of 2019, Triumph has been actively manufacturing and supplying world class racing engines for FIM Moto2 World Championships, leading to a fierce competition between Hondas.
Germany’s most loved motorcycle brand, BMW Motorrad is known for producing sports, touring, roadster, heritage, adventure and urban motorcycles since 1920. Their first ever motorcycle, BMW M2B15 was a flat-twin petrol engine manufactured just after the 1st World War. Till now the entire motorcycle production takes place in Berlin, with an exception of G310 series that is currently built in an Indian plant.
BMW is known for its medium and high capacity engines; the company produces engines ranging from 310 cc to 1,802 cc. Some of the most popular bikes include R1200GS, R1200GS Adventure and the S1000RR which paved their way into super bike world championships. With the launch of BMW G450X, the company entered into a fierce competition in the off-road motorcycle segment as well.
Currently, BMW is producing four classes of engines to cater different types of riders; F & G series singles, F series twins, R series and the K series.
What started as a diesel engine repair shop in 1934, after series of restructurings and stakeholder changes is now a worldwide renowned brand in motorcycle industry. Back in 1974, KTM won its first ever Motocross World Championship in 250cc category. Till date the brand has won 96 MXGP, MX1 and MX2 championships combined.
The brand has a proven record to showcase uncompromising results when it comes to power and performance. They are built with skills and have a character of their own and are called as the bikes with a ready to race philosophy. Some of the renowned motorcycles that KTM has produced so far are the RC390, 200 Duke and the 1290 Super Duke R.
KTM off-road motorcycle segments include Motocross, Cross-Country, Enduro and Free Ride. Street bike segments include Supermotos, Adventure, Sports, Super sports, and Super bikes.
Harley is the most popular motorcycle brand in the world and most preferred cruiser brand in United States. The brand is responsible for uplifting the style of chopper and the contemporary motorcycles of the 90’s. The modern day Harley Davidson is built to endure, styled to explore and designed to cruise on any kind of adventure.
Some of the acclaimed motorcycles of Harley include Street Bob 114, Fat Boy 114, VRSCDX Night Rod Special, FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide and the 2006 VRSCSE2.
The bikes produced by Harley are packed with high performance engines that no other competitor can match. Besides performance, Harley motorcycles are a perfect balance of beauty and brawn. This versatile long-haul cruiser offers custom styling that has set a benchmark in the world of motorcycling.
An Italian company, Aprilia has become one of the best and most popular motorcycle brands in the world. Post World War II, Aprilia entered into the market of bicycles and small capacity motorcycles. As of today, the company has a series of superbikes including the 1,000 cc V-twin RSV Mille and the V4 RSV4, and street bikes in capacity of 125 cc, 250 cc and 500 cc engines.
Since 2004, Aprilia has won many SuperMoto World Championship titles in both S1 and S2 classes. They have also won Superbike world championship in 2010 with the launch of RSV4; a specialised V-4 engine.
Aprilia is a pioneer when it comes to technology, efficiency and reliability. Their highly sophisticated power packed engines guarantee maximum dependability and durability. In addition, the company focuses on comfort while recognizing different phases of ride (acceleration, throttle release, braking, and constant throttle) and the overall rider safety.
Owned by Italian automotive manufacturer Lamborghini, Ducati is a premium motorcycle brand that is known for manufacturing absolutely stunning and cutting edge high performance motorcycles. Ducati is characterized for producing four stroke two-cylinder piston engines with an unconventional V2 valve design that delivers enormous power and torque.
Since 1988, Ducati has won 14 riders’ world championships and 17 manufacturers’ world championships. With more than 320 victories to its name, it has become the most preferred motorcycle brand among the riders of Europe.
Also read: 10 Most Powerful Motorcycles in the World
Although the brand produces a wide range of engines, but its primary focus has always remained on premium high performance engines. The Ducati Multistrada 1260 S, Superleggera, and the Panigale V4 R are some of the flagship super sport motorcycles that are applauded to be the most advanced consumer motorcycles all around the globe.
Founded in 1898 as a parts and accessories company; Norton, an iconic British brand celebrated across the world built its first motorcycle in the year 1902. This century old motorcycle brand has reserved a unique space in legendary motorcycles and serves as an inspiration for many emerging brands.
Interpol 2, Classic, Commander, Dominator, Commando 961 SF MkII, Commando 961 Cafe Racer MkII and Commando 961 Sport MkII are some of the acclaimed motorcycles produced by Nortan. In 2018, Norton was awarded ‘fastest British bike’ at the Isle of Man TT with a record time of 131.745 mph.
Also read: Fastest Motorcycles in the World
As of 2020, TVS has acquired the entire Norton Motorcycles and the company continue to run its production in England.
Popular Motorcycle Brands in Asia
Hero MotoCorp (earlier known as Hero Honda) is an Indian multinational company and the largest manufacturer of two wheelers in the world (motorcycles and scooters combined). The motorcycles were produced with an aim to provide an affordable means of two-wheeled transportation among every Indian household. In the year 1999 with the launch of CBZ; a power packed 156 cc Honda engine, Hero surprised the Asian market with its superior acceleration and performance.
Yet again in 2003 Hero came up with a single-cylinder air-cooled motorcycle named Karizma. This 220 cc motorcycle was the first among few Indian bikes that could cross 60 mph effortlessly!
In 2011 the two motorcycle giants Hero-Honda decided to split which led to the emergence of Hero MotoCorp. The company is now planning to enter into adventure touring segment by introducing motorcycles in the 300cc and 400 cc segments.
TVS named after the founder Thirukkurungudi Vengaram Sundaram Iyengar is a multi-industry company with its headquarters in Tamil Nadu state of India. The brand won the prestigious Deming Application Prize in 2002; one of the highest awards in TQM granted to the contributors in the field of Total Quality Management.
Best known for its cheap and affordable motorcycles, TVS recently received ‘Outstanding Design Excellence Award’ from BusinessWorld magazine and the National Institute of Design in India.
Most popular bikes of TVS include the Star HLS 100 cc; which was also appreciated on the famous Grand Tour episode of ‘Feed the World’ for its exceptional performance and durability.
Japanese multinational corporation Suzuki became the first Japanese manufacturer to win a motocross world championship in 1970. Thereafter, the motorcycle division of Suzuki flourished in the motorcycle racing world and established themselves in premier motorcycle segments.
The King of Sportbikes, the GSX-R1000 powered by liquid-cooled 988 cc inline four-cylinder engine is among the most iconic motorcycles in the world. The company is consistently rated high for its reliability, low maintenance cost, affordability and is often compared with motorcycles produced by Yamaha or Honda.
Some of the top selling Suzuki motorcycles in Asia include Suzuki Gixxer, Gixxer SF, Burgman Street, Gixxer SF 250, Intruder, and V-Strom. The company is also preparing to launch GSX R1000R and GSX S750 under its premium motorcycle segment.
Royal Enfield is one of the oldest motorcycle brands that is still in production. After its merger with Eicher, an automotive company from India, Royal Enfield established its name in the Indian market in the range of 350cc and 500 cc engines. Till date these models are in production along with several different models that cater different market segments.
By 2015, Royal Enfield had setup another headquarters in Northern America with an intention to cater the western riders and to market its premier motorcycle segment (Bullet 500, Classic 500 and Continental GT 535 Cafe Racer).
Some of the popular motorcycles include Royal Enfield Classic 350, Bullet 350, Himalayan, Thunderbird 350X, Interceptor 650, Classic 500, Continental GT 650, and Royal Enfield Bullet 500. Upcoming models include Royal Enfield Roadster, Cruiser 650, and Hunter 350.
An American brand of motorcycle which was acquired by Polaris industries in 2011 is still producing motorcycle that reflects the Indian traditional styling back in the 1950’s. Its high-performance engines and a consistently growing line-up of credible and popular motorcycles have revitalized the brand once again.
Post its acquisition, Indian Motorcycle gained popularity among its users and since then has launched several variants to serve different riding segments. Indian Chief was launched in 2013 that had a larger and more powerful engine. Consecutively in 2014, Indian Scout was launched to revamp its 70 year old legendary motorcycle Scout. Other popular motorcycles include; Challenger Dark Horse, FTR1200, Challenger and Scout Bobber.
A renowned motorcycle brand having an Italian origin is currently owned by the Qianjiang Motor Group of China. The company is acclaimed for producing high quality and commendable motorcycle engines that gives an immense pleasure while riding. Engine performance, fuel economy and the gearbox are some of the important factors that lure riders towards this brand.
With a synergy between its Italian origin and a Chinese parent organization, the company promises to produce multiple motorcycle variants to cater every possible riding segment.
Ever since its comeback, Benelli has produced some quality motorcycles including the Tornado 900 Tre super sport bike with a unique three-cylinder engine and the TNT roadster known for its stability and relaxed riding position. Upcoming economical models include Benelli 302 S, Benelli 402 S and Benelli TNT 300 that will primarily focus on the young generation.
A two-wheeler company that was highly popular in India to manufacture Vespa like scooters since 1959 produced its first motorcycle in the year 1986. Since then Bajaj has produced a wide range of motorcycles in all the possible segments of motorcycle touring. These bikes are attractive, economical, low and medium capacity engines that are reliable and easy to maintain.
The company gained Asia-wide popularity when it first launched a first generation Pulsar; air cooled 150 cc/ 180 cc motorcycle for the youth. Pulsar soon gave a strict competition to the rival Hero Honda CBZ. Back in those days, the bike offered the level of performance no other brand could match.
As of date, the most popular models for Bajaj include Pulsar NS 125, Pulsar NS200, and Pulsar 150. Upcoming models include Pulsar RS400 and NS250.
Another Italian brand that is popular for its retro style. Owned by Piaggio, Vespa is a gearless bike also called as ‘Scooty’ and is the first choice for many urban commuters. Surges in the demand of vintage motor scooters have made this brand even more popular. It is particularly famous for commuting in countries of Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, India and Indonesia) due to its agility and hassle free ride.
The company also plans to enter into an all-electric automobile sector and has recently launched Vespa Elettrica with a 2 kW battery and a range of 100 km along with a hybrid model having a range of 200 km.
Also read: Best Electric Motorcycles
SXL, LX, VXL, Notte, Elegante, ZX, and Urban Club are some of the popular premium models in Asia. However in comparison to other gearless models available in Asian market by Honda or Hero, Vespa is comparatively expensive.
An oldest European manufacturer with an Italian origin, Moto Guzzi is known for its historic role in changing the dynamics of Italian motorcycles. Magnificence and utter stunning motorcycles are some common adjectives that are used to address Moto Guzzi. The brand represents values and an authentic passion for motorcycles.
It’s most iconic engine; 90° V became the brand’s bestselling and most extravagant motorcycles of the century. Till date, Moto Guzzi has retained the same framework and concept while designing the V7 range motorcycles. The production was sky high post its merger with Piaggio group in 2004. Breva and the Griso 1100 were launched in the following year along with 1200 Sports to cater the granturismo market. Various new models can now be seen by this brand that includes Griso 8V, Bellagio, Stelvio, V7 Classic and V7 Café.
An Indian based automotive company, Mahindra & Mahindra Two Wheeler division is a part of the Mahindra group. All the motorcycles are produced at state of the art manufacturing plant in Madhya Pradesh. Mahindra recently acquired the French Peugeot Motorcycles brand to establish itself in the global market.
The company became the first ever Indian motorcycle brand to participate in FIM Moto3, Motorcycle Racing Championship in the year 2011. Its major focus has been to produce engines in capacity of 125 cc to cater the Asian demand. Mahindra Centuro, Gusto, Mojo, Rockstar are some of the popular motorcycles that are common on the roads of India. These bikes are cheap, reliable, low in maintenance and best in the segment.
Motorcycle Brand Popularity
|List of Countries||Popular Brand|
|Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, United States of America, Canada, Puerto Rico, Denmark, Germany, France, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Croatia, Montenegro, Mali, Libya, Egypt, Congo, Gibraltar.||Harley Davidson|
|Algeria, Spain, Togo, Kenya, Cameroon, Greece, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bahamas, Honduras.||Kawasaki|
|Senegal, Dominican Republic, Italy, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Guyana, Jamaica.||Ducati|
|Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Latvia||Honda|
|Niger, Colombia, Benin.||Yamaha|