Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Older Cruisers

1) Suzuki Madura - Here it is ladies and germs! The motorcycle that set a standard likely never to be duplicated. The front wheel and fender are acceptable. Everything to the rear of the fork tubes needs to be dumped into a crusher. Any motorcycle manufacturer that allows a design like this to come off the drawing boards should be sold off and the executives set to working in coal mines. I can't even begin to list everything that is a visual violation on the Madura. All I can do is gaze slack jawed at its unimaginable, untenable, unbelievable, unthinkable ugliness!

2) Moto Guzzi Nevada - Just to prove that the Italians could compete with the Madura in the Uglistakes, the Nevada proves just how wrong a cruiser can go. First of all, let's extend the forks without changing the rake so that the bike looks like it's going uphill, then let's flow the tank into the side covers in a parody of Craig Vetter's Triumph Hurricane, then let's top the whole thing off with scoops and whoops and the Nevada logo which just may be the most awful logo in motorcycling history. It just went to show that Italians understood cruisers as well as I understand how to pilot the space shuttle.

3) BMW R1200C - Here is the scene that should have been in the 007 movie: "Good day, Q, what do you have for me today?" "James, here is your new motorcycle, the R1200C." Bond takes one look, pulls out his Walther PPK and plugs Q right between the eyes, walking away as Q's corpse slumps over the bike, his blood dripping all over the bizarrely misshapen inexplicable and inexcusable ugliness of the worst design ever to escape from the Bavarian Black Forest.

4) Ducati Indiana - Did the Duck execs take a look at the Moto Guzzi Nevada and decide to clone it? Were they all suffering the after effects of LSD bummers? There are entire sections of this bike that are lifted from the Nevada, and that's definitely not a credit to either manufacturer. The enormous black plastic triple clamp cover, however, sets the Indiana apart as not even Guzzi had the sheer bad taste to foist that element on the bike. Well, at least the Duck doesn't have fork tubes so extended that it yaws the whole bike back!

5) Harley Davidson Sportster Boattail - What would any discussion of ugly be without including the famous Boattail that Harley besmirched both the Sporty and the Super Glide with? They had to dig deep within the junk pile of bad design to come up with this massive, extruding butt with a deeply inset taillight. Match it up with a bulky and flabby tank and you have a bike that just begs to be stripped and chopped!

6) Honda Magna - You have to stare at the Madura for a very long time and then the Magna doesn't look quite that bad, but confess... it's really close, isn't it? Arising from the core of horrendous Japanese pseudo-cruiser design, this scrap heap on wheels has enough bits and bobs and incongrous elements to put the warehouse shelves at NAPA to shame. If I were forced at gunpoint to have to pick out the absolute worst element, it has to be how that retch-inducing rectangual headlight leads into that vast expanse of exposed triple clamp and then into a tank that looks like it's sliding into the rider's crotch. Yuck!

7) Excelsior Henderson Super X - Fortunately the new Ex Hen factory was only around for a very short time, just enough to forever sully the great marque and then disappear into bankruptcy court. By looking at the Super X, you can certainly agree that it was their rightful due. Although I love the oversized engine cylinders, I can't stand how they cut into the bottom of the tank, and how the huge front springs on that cantilever fork look like they just got pulled out of a Serta. But a total of four fork elements cutting through the front fender seal the deal. Goodbye Super X, and good riddance!

8) Kawasaki Vulcan 750 - Sure, the vertical twin Vulcans are just as ugly, but the 750 V-Twin takes the prize for its unique blend of underfinned sanding block cylinders, horrible take on a peanut tank, and that chrome and black inset oval thing that is stuck on the front of the frame for no reason whatsoever. Why anyone would pass over Yamaha's much cleaner XS Special series of cruisers (not the icky Viragos) for this aberration is beyond me.

9) Yamaha Virago 1100 - Yamaha had done Japanese pseudo-cruisers right with its XS Special series, especially the 650 vertical twin. Sure, you can argue with a few of its lines, but generally, that bike looks as righteous as hell. But when they went V-Twin, they threw out everything they had learned and followed the Madura into the styling inferno with acres of chrome, pointless doodads, weird sausage mufflers, and a V cylinder angle that all through the decades of its production always looked like it was way too wide.

10) Kawasaki Vulcan 88 - This first generation Big Twin did everything wrong, while its second generation version seemed to do everything right. This bike is a horrendous mess, with that big chrome coffee can just hung on the front of the frame like they had nowhere else to put it, the overbulbous chrome tumor on the top of the tank, and a plain jane engine that looked like it was half its displacement. But the biggest violation has to be the exhaust port on the rear cylinder. It's on the wrong side, and makes the entire exhaust system snake around like it lost its way!


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Comments 17 comments

DogDaze 7 years ago

Wow...the BMW and the Super X don't really belong on the list.

Narrow minded folks should just keep there pie-holes shut!

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Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

And blind people shouldn't post on Hubs when they have the aesthetic sensibilities of a sea slug. :)

RealTired 7 years ago

I pretty much agree with the Dog...besides, why must anything that is "unique" be criticized?? I'm just sayin...remember, beauty is in the eye of the...person who bought the bike.

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Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Who are you? The designer of the Subaru Tribeca grille? :)

Shelby 7 years ago

I must disagree with you about the Magna, and hopefully by the look of many of your other replies to disagreeing readers, I wont get a rude backlash.

My first bike was an '86 V65 Magna, and it's by far my fav ride I've ever had. It's not a "pseudo-cruiser" as you say, the word is muscle bike and it definitely lives up to it.

It's an upright bike; you sit on the bike like your body would naturally like to sit when travelling, instead of stretched out like some sort of ass backwards lazy boy on wheels, or hunched up like a dog in heat.

The seating gives you much more control of the bike, which is greatly needed to wrangle this V4 monster.

As for the headlight, of course not everyone likes it, it's way different than most bikes on the road and you definitely have a right to dislike it. Personally I like the headlight; it adds character and individuality. The tank flows with the bike, it doesn't dump off into the rider's crotch, it flows into the sidecovers, which in turn flow into the nicely swept rear fender. As for all the "doodads" on the engine, what do you expect from a bike that is aircooled and has four carbs and valves. I'm impressed with how Honda was able to keep the bike so compact (it weighs maybe 550 lbs.) while having room for all of the performance driven components. And not only is it a performance bike, but it's built to last. My 23 year old bike still starts and rides as it did the day it was new, without much more than regular maintenance. I expect to put hundreds of thousands more miles on it without it quiting on me.

I know this is a hub for the so called "ugliest bikes", so your opinion is definitely worth something, but to say that some of these bikes (namely the Magna and the V-Max which I have great fondness for) are heaps of junk and their riders should have their licences revoked for riding them is plain juvenile.

I respect Harleys just as much as I respect my Hondas and BMWs, and although I'd never own a Harley (unless it was an old '53 like my dad owned when Harley made real bikes) I'd never say it was a piece of trash or scrap metal to any HD rider's face, because I know people live for those bikes and put a lot of pride in them.

I think these lists were a great idea and you nailed it on the head with a lot of these bikes, but your choice of words and straight up disrespect to some of these bikes (a lot of which have a downright cult following) makes me wonder if people have forgotten the true love and comradery of motorcycling.

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Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Shelby, you're entitled to your opinion and I'm entitled to mine. I respect your right to being able to state your case so no "rudeness" here. However, when you defend anything about the 86 V65's styling, it simply goes to prove that your opinion is wrong and mine is right. :)

Shadow Shack 7 years ago

Despite the looks department, everything on that list,perhaps save for the Super X and Sporty Boat, would suck the headlights out of today's land barges. In other words, you wouldn't know how ugly they were through the dust you'd be eating.

Shadow Shack 7 years ago

forgot to add ---

re: the Vulcan 88 at the bottom --- "This first generation Big Twin did everything wrong, while its second generation version seemed to do everything right. "

See, if we're talking looks alone, that definitely holds water. I used to own one and won't argue that point one bit( but you forgot to mention the gaudy motocross sized gap between the rear tire and fender). Owners of the bike lovingly dubbed them BUBF: Butt Ugly But Fast.

That first gen 1500 quite simply walks away from everything 1500cc and up today, save for the big Triumph Rocket. 92 foot pounds of torque (at the crank anyways) and under 600 pounds of mass to move, it was tipping the scales at the same rates as the 1100 Shadows and produced more oomph than the EVOs and 1400 Intruders which it sold against in its day. It truly was the biggest and baddest back then, and would have little difficulty beating down most of today's big inch bruisers that are sporting more cubes and tonnage (bikes that quite simply need all that extra power just to get them moving).

Combined with less weight, the ground clearance allowed the bike to be rather nimble next to the competition...only the lighter and shorter wheelbased 1400 Intruder could take down the BUBF in the curves. In short, about the only way to beat down a BUBF is not by more displacement, but by more cylinders.

But I won't deny how ugly they were. Frankly, I think it deserved a higher ranking on your list on that premise!

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Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Yeah, this is strictly an aesthetic review, and I do agree with you on the sheer power of some of those bikes! :)

tin12 6 years ago

I agree 100%! These are some ugly bikes. Yes... this is my opinion.

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Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks! I agree!

Frankenbiker  6 years ago

My Madura is fugly, but it will still smoke any bike out there. I flirt with 80 at 2nd gear.

John  6 years ago

I own a BMW R1200C, and I've had a lot of compliments on it. Just because a bike has some originality and looks different, doesn't mean it's ugly. It's been very reliable as well. My guess is, the writer of this article owns a Harley, and he thinks everything else is ugly.

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Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

The R1200C is attractive... but only if compared to a Yamaha Raider or a 3-D poster of Gabourey Sidibe's cellulite. :)

Flooze101 5 years ago

Some really ugly bikes, in my opinion. Sure they are powerful, useful, etc, but UGLY!! I ride a Suzuki Katana 1100 striker and I think she is stunning. But I must admit, despite being a Suzuki Girl, that they sure made some butt ugly bikes. Thanks for all the list - reading the comments on all of them made my day! LOL!

chad 5 years ago

this list is missing the Moto Morini Excalibur. Worse then the Moto Guzzi Nevada (or similar model named Florida) or Ducati Indiana

JoeBlow 4 years ago

Hal Licino go smoke some more crack, or whatever drug it is you are on. The Magna is an all time classic. Sure the engine could have used more crome and had less things sticking out. But as Shelby said, it was a muscle bike and had a ton of power, so there was a lot of stuff that needed to go on that engine. You have obviously never ridden one (or any bike?). I have an '84 v45 and it still runs perfectly, and i get a TON of compliments on it from people who know the history of the bike, and what a ground breaking bike it was.

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