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Top 100 Ugliest Motorcycles - 10 Vintage Bikes

Updated on March 20, 2011

1) MZ Trophy - It truly boggles the mind to consider the sort of styling perversions that were permitted behind the Berlin Wall, and above them all (an entire order of magnitude above the Trabant) lies the MZ Trophy. Where can we possibly start? The horrific huge square headlight which butts out from the front of the tank and envelops the triple clamps? The toucan beak front fender? The jerry can side covers? The patched-together chromed cannon exhaust? This is the only motorcycle ever built that's uglier than me with a hangover!

2) Harley Davidson Bobcat - So you thought that Harley only made huge V-twins, huh? In the Sixties the Hog people got into this weird partnership with Italian manufacturer Aermacchi and foisted a number of small displacement malodorous piles on the American motorcycling public. But nothing could compare to the Bobcat, with its dented tank, scrawny forks, Schwinn front fender, silly high pipe, and to top it all off, a bumpy lump of bodywork running the entire rear half of the bike that looked like it had been run over on the freeway. Did this homely design set the scene for the dreaded Bobtail in the early Seventies?

3) Sears Puch - For reasons known only to retail historians in Chicago, Sears Roebuck decided to rebadge some Puchs (not Pukes, but close) as Sears and Allstates in order to sell them to anyone insane enough to buy one. Taking the pressed steel school of motorcycle design to outrageous limits, the kyphosic scoliosis of this backbone is enough to scare off even a chiropractor. Throw in oversized fenders, chain guard, paint the whole mess fire engine red, and then prop a fat bicycle seat suspended on the back of the tank and you have a Searsaster!

4) Jawa Bizon - Drawing from the same creative well that created the MZ Trophy ugliramathon, here is another Iron Curtain siamesed tank / headlight with a triple tree running through it. The Commie Red and Siberian Snow paintjob outlines each and every disgusting line on this massive piece of junk. If anyone needed proof that command economies don't work, they could just put a poster of this aberration on their office walls.

5) Royal Enfield Diesel - I'm kinda partial to the traditional ultra-vintage styling of India's Royal Enfields, but when it came to building a diesel, they definitely were smoking that wacky tabacky. What were they thinking when they put that big lawnmower chromed sidecover on the side of a scrawny little cylinder spewing out through a thin reed of an exhaust? It looks like they forgot at least half of the top end!

6) Honda Dream - For some reason known only to Hondaphiles, it is generally considered sacrilege to diss the Dream and its "sporty" cousin the Benly, even though they are profoundly ugly bikes. If anyone ever needed a reason to never consider designing a pressed steel frame, the BenlyDream is it. The front fender would keep the rain off a Peterbilt, the chain enclosure and fork covers are a bulky mess, the sidecovers look like they belong on a Craftsman tool chest, and that horrific square headlight! Eeek!

7) BSA Rocket 3 - This original inhabitant of the Top 10 Ugliest List is just as ugly as before, but under due consideration to the six uglibikes ahead of it, I've cut it a bit of slack. Still, how can you justify the gargantuan six-slotted sidecovers, the toaster reflector shrouds, and those triple muffler tip extensions straight out of the Thunderbirds? And almost half a century later, the same Rocket 3 name is being used on a bike that's just as hideous!

8) Harley Davidson Sprint - Another Aermacchi Harley bastard son of the Sixties was a bike with every line in the wrong place. The monstrous over-finned horizontal single cylinder engine just hanging off the frame set new lows for both styling and engineering, the sidecovers were put on as an afterthought, and they weren't fooling anyone with that pseudo-Sportster fuel tank. What an Aermess!

9) Triumph 3TA - What do you get when you back a Bonneville into a bathtub? The Triumph Three T*ts & A*s! This juggeruglinaut would have scored much higher on this list had the front half not been such a beautiful classic, but what possibly possessed the Triumph stylists to come up with that twaddle of a rear end? That one piece fender thing certainly qualifies as the ugliest single motorcycle part ever built!

10) Suzuki TC - It's not entirely fair to pick only on Suzuki, as Yamaha, Kawasaki, Bridgestone and Honda all produced equally stupid looking scramblers in those days, but the TC homey tank curvature, speedo embedded headlight and atrocious nameplate on the sidecovers got a bit of an edge over the competition in the uglirace!

 

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    • profile image

      Garry Croker 

      6 years ago

      I dont know about these but certainly the Harley range beats them all

      They should be at the top of any list.

      Garry

    • profile image

      krystal 

      6 years ago

      hey Flooze101 i get the feeling you are from south africa. i looked at your posts on hubpages and see you also said you ride a Suzuki Katana 1100...what exactly do you do if it gets laid over, it's about 500lbs. I'm asking cos I know your a girl.

    • profile image

      Bob Rose 

      6 years ago

      sorry a slip of the pen I meant 1931.

    • profile image

      Bob Rose 

      6 years ago

      don't you mean classic? None of these bikes are Vintage, (ie pre january the first 1930).

    • profile image

      Flooze101 

      7 years ago

      TOTALLY agree with you on all these bikes. :)

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      I don't understand, why the MZ Trophy is de ugliest. That bike is a fucking good machine. The frame, the undercarriage are very heavy-duty, and the engine is a simple, air cooling, two stroke engine, witch most powerful, than the another 250 ccm bike.

      The MZ Trophy 250 is indestructible!!!:)

    • profile image

      7 years ago

      The H-D bobcat is very ugly.

    • profile image

      fiddle mike 

      7 years ago

      Could have been a good article if written be someone with adult mentality who knew about, or even liked, motorcycles.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks! I worked with a guy who drove an Edsel. It looked like it had just left the showroom. There was really absolutely nothing about that car that was fundamentally different than any of the other cars of that age. I love that era, and the Edsel is just fine by me too! :)

    • ab420 profile image

      ab420 

      8 years ago from MA, USA

      Hal, you really have some great hubs, and this one is no exception. I have to admit... I'm a big fan of ugly motorcycles (ugly cars too). Some of these bikes are just so ugly and quirky... that they are actually cool (almost!) It's like those Edsel cars, they are ugly as sin, but I'd still love to cruise around in one!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Well... MZs are good bikes mechanically if you subscribe to the Soviet Pot Metal school of engineering! :)

    • profile image

      bsa 650 

      9 years ago

      i was probably getting bored of swearing by the time i wrote this, and after just republishing my last comment (cleaned up) i am starting to see the humour behind all this, and it must be a long ongoing period of time, and people will still get rawled up over your comments...

      i do agree on the MZ (even though a friend has several) good bikes mechanically though - just ugly.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      See, BSA 650, if you could have restrained your language I could have published all your comments! :)

    • profile image

      Bsa 650 

      9 years ago

      fyi, the 3ta bathtub (and bikini as fitted to the tiger cub), was designed for one reason only - getting women onto the back of bikes,

      without the danger of getting their skirt mucky or worst still having it caught in the spokes and having it ripped off, if you look closely at the front end the lines follow to the back section neatly

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      This was definitely a category where there is an embarassment of riches. So many ugly bikes, and only 10 spots! :)

    • profile image

      dnm63@hotmail.com 

      9 years ago

      I know this is a subjective list, but there are plenty of uglier bikes out there in the vintage realm if you dig a bit deeper! Belguim and France had some that may have even beat the MZ, but I admit, it is pretty bad! :-)

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Ah, the 76 XS500... brings back such memories! With that original TX engine that for some reason never really got popular, as it lived in the shadow of that lovely 650 Bonnie-clone... I loved my XS650 and thought it was one of the most gorgeous bikes around. The 76 XS500 wasn't too bad styling-wise. I could even live with the stirated stripes on the tank. The only thing that needed to be smashed to bits with a 9 pound sledge was the tailsection. Now THAT was ugly! :)

    • jenandtheart profile image

      jenandtheart 

      9 years ago

      I am glad you didn't knock on Yamahas XS line in this list. My girlfriend and I are taking a 76 xs500 to Tierra del Fuego, bottom of South America, this year. I have never considered our bike beautiful, as it is normally the sore thumb in most motorcyle crowds, but your list takes the cake. check out ourblog http://jenandtheartofmotorcyclemaintenance.blogspo... or our Hub page https://hubpages.com/@jenandtheart

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      joyfulpraise, yes, there are thousands of other vintage bikes out there and all have their very unique features.

      JD66, I dunno... I'd take the Puch over the MZ Trophy.

      Jimmy Williams, the Norton Commando is on my list of the most beautiful motorcycles ever built, on the main page of this series of Hubs. It's one bike I'd love to have in my collection!

    • Jimmy Williams profile image

      Jimmy Williams 

      9 years ago from Thousand Oaks, California

      I don't know what it is, but I really love these ugly ducklings.I restored a Norton Commando that someone had turned into a piece of sh__ rat bike. By the time it was done, it was a beauty. Personally I like the Honda Dream and the Triumph 3TA. I owned a Suzuki X6 Hustler that was very similar to your TC. It was a fun bike to ride. There is a picture of the Norton at https://hubpages.com/misc/Norton-Commando-Restorat...

    • JD66 profile image

      JD66 

      9 years ago from California

      Ok, the Puch is hideous. Some of the others didn't seem so bad.

    • joyfulpraise profile image

      joyfulpraise 

      9 years ago

      WOW! I never realized there were so many styles! cool!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      sabreblade, thank you.

      earnestshub, yes most definitely, but this is yet another category where it could have been easy to come up with a Top 100 Ugliest List with very little difficulty. There certainly were some stinkers built in the Vintage age!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      You got me too, although the LE Velocet needs a mention!

    • sabrebIade profile image

      sabrebIade 

      9 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Okay, NOW I do have to agree with you on all ten.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      I wonder if the Suzuki B-King designers were inspired by the MZ Trophy! :)

    • profile image

      Mark on a Max 

      9 years ago

      WOW, cant dispute your choice of the MZ Trophy as the ugliest. You know I like my bikes to be different but even I wouldn't ride that thing. The Royal Enfield Deisel however, yes its pug ugly but unique enough to catch my attention even though it looks like it's powered by Briggs and Stratton.

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