We Reveal the Biggest and Best Top Motorcycle Brands in the World?
When considering which are the most popular brands of motorcycle, we tend to cast an eye around our own country to provide us with the answer. In the USA, the sway is obviously towards Harley- Davidson.
It’s not hard to see why the Motor Company has over a century of continuous production behind it. Harley is unsurprisingly one of the most recognized trade names in the world, appearing in last year’s top 100 companies, just below FedEx, but right above Prada.
They are also always trying to break into new markets, as can be seen from the introduction of the beginner friendly Street 500 and 750 models. And let’s face it, with over a quarter of a million units sold worldwide per annum, they’d be pretty hard to ignore.
Top Motorcycle Brands: A hollow Victory
Fame is a fickle beast; you only have to look at Polaris’ sacrificial slaughter of Victory, so that Indian could rise triumphantly from the ashes. Polaris Industries, makers of both brands, introduced the Victory as an alternative to Harley.
Unfortunately, the first generation of V92 models in 1998, was nothing to write home about. By the time they introduced the Freedom engine in 2002 and updated their entire range, bikes like the Hammer, Judge, Vegas and Gunner were genuine head-turners.
The writing though, was on the wall, when Polaris acquired Indian in 2011. Being America’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, they were a marketing dream and the decision to fold Victory and put all eggs in the Indian basket, was a cynical one.
As far as the American motorcycling public goes, however, they see the beautifully crafted Indians as the long -awaited return of a once glorious brand. Even though they are an entirely new creation as of 2015, the name alone allows them to tap into instant nostalgia and enjoy top brand notoriety. Just a pity it was at the expense of Victory.
Top Motorcycle Brands: What is happening in Great Britain?
In the UK, ask any patriotic Brit, which is the most popular motorcycle brand, and they’re going to say Triumph. And why not, John Bloor, the man behind the resurrected brand, invested almost £100m in taking the fight to the dominant Japanese manufacturers. A mere ten years after the launch of the first modular 750/900 triples and fours, the company broke even.
In 2015 Triumph sold 53,812 motorcycles, 84.5% of which went to overseas markets, giving them a solidly established global footprint.
Over the years, Triumph has gradually increased their model range to include everything from class-leading dual sports to cutting edge super sports. Their recent rejuvenation of the Bonneville range has only increased their popularity.
Top Motorcycle Brands: Two of the most popular brands
No look at the European market would be complete without looking at two of the most popular motorcycle brands in the world, namely, BMW and Ducati. Interestingly, both companies have one model, in particular, to thank for their current status.
In the German manufacturer’s case, it was the go-anywhere GS. The humble looking R850G/S launched in 1980 and can genuinely claim to be the daddy of all big adventure motorcycles. Incidentally, the G/S stands for Gelande/Strasse – off road/road.
May 2009 saw the 500,000 GS roll off the production line in the guise of its latest incarnation, the GS1200. From the years 2000-2105, BMW Motorrad recorded successive record sales years, selling 136,495 units in the year 2015/16.
And what was their top selling model? Yup, you guessed it, the R1200GS, with 23,681 of the globetrotting adventure bikes leaving the showrooms.
Top Motorcycle Brands: Ducati have achieved financial success
It’s a similar story for one of Italy’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers, Ducati. In the early 1990’s, the Bologna company was in a slump, and Technical Director Massimo Bordi told his head designer Miguel Angel Galluzzi to come up with a new concept, which wasn’t a sports bike.
Bordi tied Galluzzi’s hands still further when he insisted that due to a limited budget, the new bike’s design had to take parts from existing models. In other words, a parts bin special.
With an engine from the 900 SS, a trellis frame from the 851 Superbike and forks from the 750 Supersport, the bike wasn’t an instant hit with Bordi. However, despite opposition to its radical looks, the Ducati Monster made its world debut in 1993.
In continuous production and almost constant evolution since its launch, the Monster not only turned around the company’s finances but also accounts for over half of all Ducati sales worldwide.
The story wasn’t over for Ducati either. In 2015, the company recorded the best sales performance ever, with the newly launched Scrambler landing in the top 10 of the world’s best- selling motorcycles.
Top Motorcycle Brands: Who leads the way in motorcycle sales?
But what makes a top motorcycle brand? Here is a clue, if you add the combined motorcycle output of H-D, Polaris (Victory and Indian) Triumph, BMW and Ducati, it will come to less than 5% of this company’s annual motorcycle output!
It’s obviously one of the big four Japanese manufacturers, and it probably won’t come as much of a surprise when I put you out of your misery.
Honda is the world’s top motorcycle brand, with over 15.5million motorcycles and scooters sold annually. In real terms that means that in the time it’s taken you to read this sentence, somewhere around the world, Honda has sold eight bikes. What’s more, they do this every day of the year.
Regarding the top five motorcycle brands from a global sales point of view, as previously mentioned, Honda head the pack by a considerable amount. With two other Japanese manufacturers also placed, namely Yamaha and Suzuki.
But surprisingly, the other two on the list are not so well known although both outperform Suzuki in units sold. The Hero MotoCorp is India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, dominating 46% of the humongous Indian market.
The manufacturer’s most recent figures show annual sales of over 6.1million, narrowly nudging ahead of Yamaha. While fellow Indian manufacturers, Bajaj Auto, claim to be the world’s sixth largest manufacturer of two and three wheeled motorcycles, producing around 3.8million units. Almost 1.6million more than Suzuki.
Top Motorcycle Brands: Who leads the field in the popularity stakes?
If you want the biggest and best top motorcycle brands regarding popularity, look no further than the main dealerships in your average city; Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, and Ducati to name but a few.
But if we are talking about the most popular brands regarding sales it seems that Japanese supremacy has had its day – if of course, we discount Honda’s total world domination!