10 motorcycles that have failed miserably… but they deserve a second chance

The history of motorcycling is full of ups and downs, as some companies were hugely successful, while others failed from the start. You’re probably already familiar with successful motorcycles like the Honda Super Cub, Kawasaki Ninja and Harley-Davidson Fat Boy, but what about the ones that did a lot of things right but still failed in terms of sales, what led to their stop?

For some of these flops, the problem is that they didn’t enter the market at the right time and couldn’t find the right audience. Other reasons these bikes fail despite having the right specs to succeed have to do with their price tags. But whatever the reason these bikes failed, we think they deserve a second chance.

Related: 8 of the biggest motorcycle flops of all time

ten Ducati Sport Classic

The Ducati Sport 1000 was one of the retro-styled motorcycles that make up the Sport Classic line. Although it had all the recipes for success, including a V-twin engine, it somehow failed badly, from 2006 to 2009. Since the Ducati Sport 1000 is inspired by the 1973 Ducati 750 Sport, with cafe racer looks, there is no doubt about its maneuverability, agility and speed.

The Ducati Sport 1000 was short-lived due to poor sales. It seems that the global economic crisis of 2008 also played a role in the demise of the Ducati Sport 1000. Apart from that, the Ducati Sport 1000 was ahead of its time and not really comfortable for long rides.


The KTM RC8 is a road-legal superbike that lacked neither performance nor style, but the manufacturer had to take it out of production in 2015. Producing up to 170 hp and 91 lb-ft of torque, the RC8 never is not supposed to be on the street.

Government restrictions also forced production of the supersport flagship KTM RC8 to cease, as it was too fast for European roads. But given the RC8’s stellar performance specs, we’d love to see it back in production, even if it’s just for track use.

8 Honda CB1000

At first glance, you might confuse the Honda CB1000, launched over 30 years ago, with the Japanese manufacturer’s latest retro motorcycle, the CB1100. Honda introduced the CB1000 dubbed the “Project Big One” to rival the likes of the Kawasaki ZR1100 and Suzuki GSX1100, which offered motorcycle fairings.

However, offering motorcycle fairings to meet the needs of riders who want to reduce air drag and deflect wind means Honda has to increase the cost of production and invariably the price. Due to declining sales following this decision, Honda had to discontinue the CB1000 in 1996.

Related: This is what we love about the Honda CB 500 X

seven Yamaha MT-01

The Yamaha MT-01 was unveiled as a concept bike at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1999, instantly winning the hearts of the public, but it wasn’t until 2005 that the production model was launched. Starting off on a high note, the Yamaha MT-01 won the open category award at the annual motorcycle design awards in 2004.

With its cruiser-style 1670cc OHV V-Twin engine, the Yamaha MT-01 develops 88.9 hp and 110.9 lb-ft. The “Masters of Torque” machine has a complete roadster chassis with multi-adjustable suspension and radial brakes. However, customers describe it as excessively heavy and expensive, so sales declined until production ceased in 2012.

6 Buell XB12X Ulysses

The Buell XB12X Ulysse offers a lively and rewarding driving experience and is particularly ideal for pulling monos and stoppies. Rated 102 hp from a big Harley V-twin engine and weighing 421 pounds, the Buell XB12X Ulysse is more powerful and lighter than the Ducati Multistrada and BMW GS bikes.

With the textured V-Twin and 17-inch large torque reserves, the Buell XB12X Ulysses has better cornering ability than many sportbikes. However, it never really hit the mainstream as it couldn’t find the right audience, forcing Harley-Davidson to shut it down in 2009.

5 Aprilia RST 1000 Futura

With the launch of the RST 1000 Futura in 2001, it looks like Aprilia could finally compete with the Honda VFR sports tourer. The Aprilia RST 1000 Futura gets its power from a detuned version of the Rotax-built 60-degree V-twin engine. When it comes to ride quality, the Italian sport-touring bike is smooth and comfortable.

However, it won’t be an exaggeration to describe the styling of the RST 1000 Futura as quirky, even though it’s roomy with plenty of luggage space. Being a total flop in terms of sales, Aprilia pulled the plug in 2003 just after two years of production.

4 Motorbike Morini 1200 Granpasso

After breaking up due to financial difficulties, Motorbike Morini was revived in 1996 and released several new bikes, including the 1200 Granpasso. The Moto Morini 1200 Granpasso isn’t exactly the sleekest sports bike, with its muscular front fork and massive windshield, but you can’t deny its adventurous nature.

The Granpasso 1200 is powered by a 1,187 cc engine that develops up to 116 hp and 76 lb-ft of torque. However, with adventure sport bikes like the Triumph Explorer XC and BMW R 1200 Adventure selling at a lower price, the Moto Morini Granpasso couldn’t stay on the market for long.

Related: Here’s everything we know about the Moto Morini X-Cape

3 Yamaha GTS1000

The GTS 1000 is Yamaha’s replacement for the FJ1200, with significant upgrades following the introduction of RADD forkless monoshock front suspension. As Yamaha’s first sport-tourer, expectations were high for the GTS 1000, which arrived in 1993.

The 1002cc DOHC, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, inline-4 engine, which runs with a 5-speed transmission, develops 100 hp. Despite impressive stability and braking, customers think the GTS 1000 is a bit too heavy and expensive. Without a major advantage over the more affordable Honda ST1100 Pan European, settling for the GTS 1000 wasn’t exactly a wise move.

2 MV Agusta Brutale 920

The MV Agusta Brutale 920 is an aesthetically pleasing naked bike with raw performance. The 921 cc four-cylinder engine produces up to 129 hp. Weighing around 403 pounds with a length of 80 inches, the MV Agusta Brutale 920 is one of the most compact and lightweight naked bikes.

Despite the aggressive styling, dynamic engine performance and impressive driving experience, MV Agusta failed to properly market and distribute the Brutale 920, so it was short-lived.

1 BMW F650CS

Aiming for a standard motorcycle for urban commuters, BMW Motorrad offered the F650CS from 2001 to 2005. Its quirky styling is quite appealing, especially due to unique features such as the single-sided swingarm, modular soft case and a toothed belt drive.

Producing just 44.2 hp and 44.2 lb-ft of torque from the single-cylinder Rotax engine, the BMW F650CS couldn’t compete with more powerful liter-class superbikes that go for a similar price range. Just a year after its launch, sales of the BMW F650CS plummeted and by 2005 it was gone, but hopefully that’s not for good.

About Todd Wurtsbach

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