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Harley Davidson

The American Muscle Motorcycle as some have dubbed it, Harley Davidson has managed to turn a single type of motorcycle into a full-fledged, badass, legendary icon. While it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see a Harley on a race track, you’re guaranteed to see it praised in most, if not all, motorcycle clubs that you might ever encounter.

This brand has not only put the USA on the world map of motorcycle producers, but it has also garnered a worldwide following of loyal fans who couldn’t imagine riding any other brand or type of motorcycle. Harley Davidson emerged in the 1950s and changed the motorcycle scene forever. We don’t want to imagine what a world without choppers would be like today.

 

Ducati

The Italian brand has given way to some awesome motorcycling legends. While it may not have the engine sound that Harley has, it makes up for it with its own signature style that has propelled it to the top of MotoGP preferences. If we were to compare Ducatis to a car brand, they would definitely be the Ferraris of the moto racing world.

Despite only one win in a MotoGP championship, this brand is still highly respected and continues to thrive even to this day. Its touch of elegance is provided by none other than the people who also produce Lamborghinis, who are themselves under the patronage of the world-famous Audi brand of cars.

 

BMW

When you think of BMW, you might usually picture fantastic cars with amazing speed, agility, maneuverability, and style unlike any other. Needless to say, BMW’s motorcycles share the same features as their four-wheeled counterparts. BMW cars and motorcycles have also made appearances in James Bond movies, further making them feel more special.

And just like with cars, BMW also likes to make a variety of motorcycle types, ranging from scooters all the way to sport bikes and everything in between. If we were to take solely variety into the mix, BMW would probably be king in the motorcycle enthusiast world. We hope that one day we will see a BMW motorcycle participate in a MotoGP competition.

 

Aprilia

With a modest start in the motorcycle world, Aprilia has quickly gained traction in several market segments, with some people speculating that its goal is to overtake Ducati as the premier Italian choice for motorcycle racers. This brand’s engineers clearly emphasize superb styling and engine responsiveness, with many of Aprilia’s motorcycles having a flawless start.

They first entered the motorcycle racing world in 1976 during the Motocross World Championship’s 125cc division. While it may have not earned a championship for any racer out there, it has still managed to make a good enough impression for the brand to still stick around to this very day and still manage to sell tons of motorcycles all over the world.

 

Honda

While many people probably know Honda best because of their cars, you should know that they started making motorcycles long before they even considered entering the car market. Their very first motorcycle came out all the way back in 1949, making this brand one of the longest-lasting on the motorcycle market up until this day.

They reached peak popularity in the 80s when they managed to produce around 3 million motorcycles in a single year due to increased demand from moto racers and motorcycle enthusiasts all over the globe. With several types of motorcycles under their belt, it is no wonder that they found such mass-market appeal, especially considering their performance in MotoGP.

 

Yamaha

Yamaha is probably the best-known motorcycle brand out there. The Japanese giant is so big that it even expanded into several other territories, even though it originally started out as a piano and reed organ manufacturer. So many MotoGP legends have raced and won championships with this brand’s motorcycles that it’s absolutely fantastic and ridiculous at the same time.

It is no wonder that Yamaha gets praised so much since the teams behind the company always put their hearts and souls into creating absolute wonders on two wheels. And like the previous two brands on our list, Yamaha also has a wide range of motorcycles from which to choose. Plus that, as we mentioned, they also make other great things, such as ATVs, scooters, and snowmobiles.

 

Kawasaki

Another brand hailing from Japan, Kawasaki is one of the big four Japanese producers who make excellent motorcycles. Though not as appreciated as Yamaha or Honda in its homeland, Kawasaki motorcycles still make people fall in love with them all over the globe. Despite its lack of MotoGP participation, the technology and engineering put into every motorcycle is amazing.

And don’t be fooled by the small number of trophies it managed to bring to competitors who have raced on Kawasaki bikes. Their street-legal models are absolutely astonishing, with some models being able to reach top speeds in mere seconds. This brand is practically a pioneer of the superbike category in the worldwide motorcycle scene.

 

Suzuki

What motorcycle enthusiast hasn’t heard of the SV650X? If you know that motorcycle, then you know the top-notch quality that Suzuki likes to bring to the table. Even if its bikes are super powerful, they somehow still manage to be welcoming toward beginners as well. It’s not a small feat, nor is it something simple to achieve, with many brands struggling to find balance.

Fun fact: even though Suzuki is best known for its motorcycles, the brand actually started as a manufacturer of weaving looms. That’s quite an impressive jump. And to go from one completely different industry to another and somehow managing to master the former with such talent is worthy of praise.

 

KTM

Hailing from Austria, KTM began as a car repair shop somewhere in the 1930s and then started designing its own motorcycles in the early 1950s. From then up until the early 1990s, KTM has produced many scooters and casual motorcycles that people enjoyed for their ease of use and smooth rides throughout towns.

But that all changed in 1992 when it underwent a severe rebranding and started shifting focus toward off-road performance bikes. Since then and up until today, KTM has produced magnificent sportbikes that have been used in numerous competitions, including the world-famous MotoGP, Supermoto, and even the Enduro series.

 

Confederate

This brand caters to the rich audience, as it produces custom-made high-end motorcycles for people who can afford such luxuries. No average Joe could ever afford a Confederate, which makes it part of the appeal. Even though you don’t see many of these in competitions, when they do show up, they’re guaranteed to leave your jaw dropped.

 

Triumph

Our last brand on this list is yet again one of the world’s most renowned motorcycle producers. But just how much influence does Triumph have over motorcycle fans? Well, many of its earlier bikes are now collector’s items and they’re worth a small fortune. The brand has made a name for itself by producing powerful and performant motorcycles that everyone can enjoy.

But Triumph also brings to the table something that no other motorcycle brand can pride itself with. During World War I, Triumph supplied the Allies with around 30,000 motorcycles that would be crucial in winning key battles all around Europe. And if that wasn’t enough, it repeated this feat even during World War II.

This propelled the brand to new heights, and many patriots and freedom lovers all over the globe started ordering motorcycles from this manufacturer simply because of its efforts to provide us with the liberties that we hold so dearly today. The British giant is worthy of praise for this alone. And it still produces massively popular motorcycles today.

 

Royal Enfield

When looking at old motorcycle brands, there are very few that can rival the history of Royal Enfield. This British multinational motorcycle manufacturing company is currently based in India, and it prides itself on being the oldest global motorcycle brand that is continuing production.

The company produced its first motorcycle in 1901, and though the specifications may not look impressive to enthusiasts nowadays, the bike was state of the art at the time. The motorcycle was designed by Frenchman Jules Gotiet and Bob Walker Smith, and it had an 11/2 horsepower Minerva engine that was attached to the front of the steering head.

In 1932 the legendary Bullet motorcycle was first built, being displayed for the first time at the Olympia Motorcycle Show in London in November 1932. There are three versions of this model currently being produced: 250, 350, and 500cc.

To this day, the Royal Enfield Bullet is still one of the most popular motorcycle models; it is also the longest-lived motorcycle design in history. The brand is evolving continuously, and despite not being as known as some of the other more famous motorcycle companies, it has managed to outsell Harley Davidson.

The brand’s focus on delivering high-performance and affordable motorcycles, combined with the emotional package that comes with it being one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers, has helped this brand continue to gain global traction.

SYM Motors

With over 13 million motorcycles registered in 2018 alone, SYM Motors ranks among the top 10 motorcycle brands in the world. It is a Taiwanese brand that has a long history of more than 60 years, during which it has produced a long list of two-wheeled vehicles.

Today, the company has split the production between Taiwan, Vietnam, and China, and SYM Motors takes well over one billion dollars in revenue across all of its lines of motorized products. Apart from building motorcycles, the brand is also known for its moped and scooters.

The brand is currently present in over 90 countries all over the world, and its products have garnered high praise from customers and critics alike. The goal of SYM Motors is to provide customers cost-effective products that don’t compromise quality or performance.

Most motorcycles that go out of SYM Motors’ factory gates are budget yet reliable bikes that cater more to the markets in developing countries. The SYM Attila is one of the brand’s iconic models, and it was the first automatic scooter sold in Vietnam in the early 2000s.

However, the model that is best known for its quality and reliability is the SYM Wolf. The only problem with it is that it has garnered so much praise that it always sells very quickly, making it difficult for customers to get their hands on one.

 

Husqvarna

Over recent years, Husqvarna has changed ownership numerous times, but despite this, the brand’s philosophy has remained unchanged. The focus remains on delivering top of the line motorcycles that buyers will feel proud of riding and displaying.

The brand’s passion for innovation is clear when looking at the products and services it delivers to customers all over the world. 1903 was the year when Husqvarna first ventured into the business of producing motorized bicycles with a model that was slow and awkward, but that fell in line with all the other products available from its competitors at that time.

The line of motorcycles that Husqvarna produces is very diverse, ranging from Supermoto to Enduro and Motocross bikes with different engine sizes from 125cc to 701cc and coming in different colors and designs. There’s certainly a bike for every need and taste.

The most popular models from this brand are the Svartpilen and Vitpilen street bikes, and they are marketed toward the urban crowd. To this day, Husqvarna remains one of the most popular European motorcycle brands with a large following of devoted fans.

 

Vespa

Vespa is one of the most famous Italian motorcycle brands, and this alone makes it worth having a place on our list. The name of the brand means wasp in Italian, and it came about due to the design of the first Vespa model way back in 1944, which, you’ve guessed it, resembled the look of a wasp and the name stuck.

This brand is part of the Piaggio group of companies, another resonant name in the world of two-wheel vehicles. Despite once being at the cusp of bankruptcy, nowadays, the brand is enjoying an unparalleled level of success worldwide, and it has a great brand image that even the expensive motorcycle brands can’t help but be envious of.

Vespa enjoys so much success that in many parts of Europe and Asia, the brand’s name is a byword that is used exclusively when talking about high-quality scooters that are made in Italy.

Ever since the MP5 Paperino, which was the first-ever Vespa, the design, performance, and reliability of the bikes that the brand produces have gone a long way. Thirty-four different Vespa designs have been released over the years, and now you can find a Vespa in CVT, manual, and electric options.

Beta

The story of Beta is over a century in the making, and it began in 1905 when it was founded in Florence under the name of Società Giuseppe Bianchi, and it focused primarily on building handmade bicycles. It was only in the late 1940s, due to the development of motorized transport, that the company switched its attention to motorcycle production.

The first model that came out of the company’s gates was a fairly simple mix of Italian creativity and simplicity. It involved attaching an engine with a roller transmission to one of the brand’s bicycles. The result was the first Beta motorbike.

In the 2000s, Beta partnered with some of the most reliable motorcycle brands, namely KTM and Suzuki, to use engines designed by them in its motorcycles. One area in which Beta excels is the production of high-quality dirt bikes that are capable of handling the rigors of competitive mountain climbing.  

In the present day, Beta has started to produce all of its 2 and 4-stroke engines in-house, and the plan for the future is to continue to commit to the growth, expansion, and evolution of the Enduro world.

 

Hero

Wondering ‘what is the largest selling brand of motorcycles in the world?’ You might find it surprising to hear that it is this brand. Hero became the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world in 2001 when it managed to get first place in terms of unit volume sales in a single calendar year.

Since then, it has retained this title for the following 18 consecutive years. It may not have the fame of the German or Japanese motorcycle brands, but with over 90 million happy customers all over the world, this brand is certainly worthy of a place on this list. Hero is indeed the biggest motorcycle company in the world, at least in terms of sales.

The reason why the world might not be as familiar with the brand may be due to the fact that, as an Indian company, almost half of its market share is in India. The brand plans to take on the world since, in recent years, it has expanded to over 37 new countries across Africa, Asia, and South & Central America.

The goal of this now global brand is to deliver socio-economic progress and empowerment to developing countries through the help of its large range of affordable products and services. Hero doesn’t produce high-end motorcycles, but it helps make this hobby possible for a global audience.

 

Gas Gas

The name of this brand comes from a Spanish slang that means going twice as fast. Once the US public understood what the name of this brand meant, it wasn’t just the bikes that started gaining speed but also the sales.

Even so, Gas Gas couldn’t compete with American motorcycle brands on equal footing since they didn’t have the fans or brand recognition. Instead, the brand let the performance of its motorcycles do the talking, and after Gas Gas bikes won multiple Championship titles, the American audience started to pay more attention to this company.

Compared to other brands of motorcycles on this list, Gas Gas is fairly new since it has started manufacturing the first trial bikes in 1984. Today, the brand has expanded into the market of quads, motocross, and enduro bikes.

One of the most popular models is the EC ranger 300, an Enduro model that is aimed exclusively at the off-road crowd. It is a very lightweight bike that has a body constructed from a proprietary type of plastic that the brand calls unbreakable.

Parents may also be familiar with the Supermotard line of electric kid’s motorcycles since these popular bikes are produced by Gas Gas. What makes them stand out is the fact that they come with an app that allows parents to limit the speed, playtime and shut down the bike if the kids need to focus on other things such as homework. 

 

Final thoughts

From this list, it’s hard to choose which brand is the best. They all bring something unique to the table, and if you look hard enough, you’ll find a model that best suits your style and needs from any of these.

 

 

A passionate admirer of all-leather Harley merchandise, Irina can help readers better understand the world of motorcycles. From the latest fashion trends to trip ideas for your next bike vacay, you will find everything you need to know about your two-wheel passion on this website.

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