If you are planning on buying a motorcycle, you might find yourself spoilt for choice over which brand to choose.
When you are finally able to narrow it down to one brand you then have to decide between their hundreds of models. It can easily get overwhelming.
You could always ask your friends in the motorcycle community which to choose, but what the best brand is for someone might not be the best choice for you. Everyone’s preference and requirements are different. You want a motorcycle that is an extension of yourself.
So we have compiled a list of the most popular motorcycle brands. Hopefully this can help you narrow down the long list of motorcycles into something more manageable. We have also included some of the popular bikes from each brand for you to consider.
This is a completely objective list so you will find the brand names in alphabetical order, you don’t worry about us trying to skew your opinion towards our favourites.
Famous for its adventure bikes. This German brand is known for making some of the more comfortable bikes on the market.
Not only does BMW produce adventure bikes, but their excellent engineering also extends to street, urban, and sport bikes.
- Producing Since – 1923
- Most Popular Bikes – BMW F 850 GS, BMW R nine T, BMW K1600GTL
If you want a motorcycle that looks great and can go at fast speeds then a Ducati is a great choice.
Ducatis trademark V-twin engines provide quiet but powerful performance. All Ducatis stay true to their Italian roots by still being made there by hand.
- Producing Since – 1949
- Most Popular Bikes – Scrambler Icon, Multistrada 1200S, Monster 821
The iconic American motorcycle. Even if someone knows little about motorcycles they still know the name Harley-Davidson.
They paved the way for the chopper type of motorcycle and have accrued quite a loyal fanbase. If you’re aiming for the tough-guy look, then this brand of motorcycle is the way to go.
- Producing Since – 1903
- Most Popular Bikes – Tri Glide Ultra Classic, Sportster Forty-Eight, Heritage Classic
Our first Japanese brand on this list is Honda. Possibly the biggest motorcycle producer worldwide and also the creator of the single most sold motorcycle, the Honda Cub.
One reason for its incredible success is the range of bikes they offer. If there is a certain type of bike you’re looking for, Honda probably makes it.
Honda branded motorcycles are renowned for being reliable and low maintenance. Great for those who want a bike that will last.
- Producing Since – 1949
- Most Popular Bikes – Honda CBR600F Hurricane, Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin, Honda Super Cub
Another Japanese brand, the Kawasaki brand started off as an aircraft manufacturer and its first motorcycle engine was based on this pre-existing technology. So you know that these bikes are fast.
In particular, their Ninja range has become synonymous with speed. Painted in their iconic bright green and giving agile turning, these sports bikes have started many racing careers.
- Producing Since – 1961
- Most Popular Bikes – Kawasaki Ninja GPZ900R, Kawasaki Ninja 400, Kawazaki Ninja 650
If you’re looking for an off-road bike then there is nothing better than the Austrian KTM.
Similar to the Kawasaki Ninja green, KTM bikes have been a stand-out in the field for their iconic bright orange introduced in 1996.
Being one of the leading brands when it comes to off-road motorcycles didn’t stop KTM from expanding outwards. Nowadays they sell about equal amounts of road bikes to their famous off-road counterparts.
- Producing Since – 1957
- Most Popular Bikes – KTM 250 SX, KTM 690 SMC R, KTM 450 SMR
Like most Japanese brands, Suzuki is also praised for their reliability and durable nature. The difference is, Suzuki is particularly known for their sport bikes. In fact, a quarter of all sports bikes sold are Suzuki.
Suzuki started their business creating looms and is now known for creating grand prix-winning motorcycles. Talk about an upgrade!
- Producing Since – 1952
- Most Popular Bikes – Suzuki TL1000R, Suzuki GSX-R1100, Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5
The largest manufacturer of motorcycles in Britain, Triumph is known for being able to marry the old style with the new.
This is partially due to Triumph being one of the youngest brands on this list technically starting their manufacturing in the 1980s but being able to trace their lineage back to about 100 years before that.
Despite being young they’ve managed to make waves by offering many styles of bikes that have a classic feel to them.
- Producing Since – Can be traced back as far as 1905 but the first ‘new Triumph’ motor was in 1987
- Most Popular Bikes – 1994 Speed Triple, 2006 Triumph Daytona 675, 2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer
The last Japanese brand on this list is the conglomerate, Yamaha. Yamaha makes everything from keyboards to boats, so it only makes sense that a company this large can make quality motorcycles.
Yamaha is the second-largest motorcycle company in the world, just behind Honda, and has some of the most dedicated fans.
They have a bike available for everyone, including children. Yamaha also has extreme quality control so you know their products are well built and will last you a long time.
- Producing Since – 1954
- Most Popular Bikes – MT-09 Tracer ABS, MT-125 ABS, YZF-R1
As you can see, each brand is known for its own unique characteristics. If you want a reliable bike you may end up with a Honda, however, if you only want the fastest speeds you may be tempted by a Kawasaki.
Your best bet at picking the right bike for you is to go to your local dealership and test drive some. Who knows you might surprise yourself with which brand you prefer and might end up with one that isn’t even on this list.