With hundreds, even thousands of models available on the market, it is easy to get lost in the mass. We will make a (non-exhaustive) list of manufacturers and their most popular models currently available so that you can get a first glimpse of the variety of the offer, and why not, help you orient yourself.
Here we go for an overview of the different brands and their specificities.
HERE IS THE LIST OF MANUFACTURERS, CLASSIFIED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
This 100% Italian brand, which is now part of the Italian Piaggio SpA group, was founded at the end of the Second World War.
Since the 1990s, the brand has been able to win in competition, particularly in motocross and motoGP. Aprilia has many legendary models such as the RS 125 (sports), the Tuono (sports roadster) or the RSV4 (supersport).
With nearly 300 victories and nearly 40 world championship titles in all categories, Aprilia is renowned for producing genuine Italian thoroughbreds.
We could compare Aprilia to Ferrari in the automotive world.
Originally an aircraft engine manufacturer (hence the propeller-shaped logo), BMW quickly turned to the production of motorcycle engines after the end of the First World War.
Thereafter, BMW will continue to innovate and offer ever more technologically advanced motorcycles.
Despite their reputation for being expensive, the Bavarian manufacturer's motorcycles are of excellent quality, both in terms of performance, look and reliability. They are therefore quite expensive to buy (especially with options) but often discount much slower than other brands' motorcycles. Among the most popular models are the famous 1988 BMW K1 (revolutionary at the time), the R1200GS Adventure (for trails) or the S 1000 RR (hypersport).
When you drive a Ducati, you feel all the know-how and passion of the Italians. Racy, monstrous, powerful, with stunning sounds, the Ducati are death machines that attract anyone who wants extreme sensations.
The Ducati Desmosedici RR was the first road bike derived from a prototype for racing. The brand has also been bought by a certain group that may tell you something: Lamborghini Automobili SpA.
The Bolognese manufacturer is also famous in the field of trails with the Multistrada, racing with the 939 SuperSport and even neo-retro roadsters with the Ducati Scrambler. What do all Ducati cars have in common? They are made for competition.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON (UNITED STATES)
Who doesn't know Harley-Davidson? You've probably seen one before or seen one on TV. Born in 1903 in Milwaukee, USA, the brand founded by William Harley and Arthur Davidson is now a real myth. Symbol of the American dream, the brand has a good number of afficionados all over the world.
The official Harley fan club (the Harley Owners Group or HOG) is now the largest community of enthusiasts in the world with more than one million members.
All Harleys are easily recognizable by their unique style and American sound. Owning a Harley-Davidson is certainly owning a machine that is recognizable at first glance, but it is also part of a large family of bikers from all over the world. -
The adjective that best characterizes Honda is undoubtedly reliability. Most of the machines built by Honda are known to be robust, solid and easy to maintain. It must be said that the Japanese brand has accumulated experience: Honda has 30,000 million vehicles per year worldwide, including more than 18 million motorcycles (plus engines for boats and planes).
Honda is also about safety, with the widespread use of ABS on entry-level and mid-range models, but also competition with more than 500 victories in MotoGP.
Among the most famous models, we find of course the Honda Goldwing 1800, a real asphalt cruiser, the Africa Twin (very popular trail) or the CBR 1000 RR among supersporters.
While Kawasaki was founded in 1878 with the production of machines for the army, it was in the 1950s that the Japanese brand began producing civilian motorcycles. Then, the manufacturer will specialize in this field and Kawasaki motorcycles will be among the fastest and most incredible, thanks to their performance but also to their great look.
Whether in the cross, roadster, trail, sport or hypersport category, Kawasaki has made people dream and continues to make people dream for generations.
Kawasaki (or "Kawa") are often painted green, a colour that is also a distinctive sign and part of the brand identity. The latest monster to date: the Kawasaki Ninja H2, with an absolutely extraordinary look and unique innovations such as a self-repairing paint; or in addition "reasonable", the Ninja 1000.
KTM's history began in 1934 in Mattighoffen, Austria. The small repair shop quickly became a success and it was in 1953 that KTM presented its first light motorcycle at the Spring Motor Show in Vienna. But it is in the world of cross country and enduro that the orange brand will really stand out since barely 7 years after its entry into the championship, KTM wins the world champion title (the first of a long series).
Thanks to its numerous titles (notably in the Paris-Dakar), the brand quickly established itself as a serious challenger and offers machines that always push back a little more the limits set previously. With the "Duke" series, KTM offers motorcyclists machines that combine performance, agility, versatility, design and state-of-the-art equipment, from 125 cm3 to over 1000 cm3.
Michio Suzuki was born in 1887. At only 22 years old, he founded a loom factory, "Suzuki Loom Works". The first motorcycle engine prototype built by Suzuki was built in 1937, but it was in the 1950s, after the war ended, that the Japanese company marketed its first moped and then its first motorcycle in 1945.
From the end of the 1970s, the manufacturer enjoyed a series of commercial successes: the GS-1000 was praised by the public, particularly for the quality of its transmission. The GSX-1100S Katana and GSX-R750 (one of the first machines to inaugurate the "hypersport" category) were also a real hit. We cannot fail to mention the Bandit, which was quickly a best-seller in France, as well as the GSX-1300R Hayabusa (named after the peregrine falcon, the fastest reputed bird in the world), a true technological digest and easily exceeding 300 km/h. The Hayabusa was also voted "Motorcycle of the Year", and is now one of the legends of the motorcycle world.
Although the Triumph brand was created in England, it was actually founded by two Germans. Paradoxical when we know that the brand will equip the British army with 3000 motorcycles during the war. In 1956, John Allen set the world speed record by reaching 345 km/h on his Triumph T 110 on Lake Bonneville. It is from this episode that today's Bonneville takes its name.
Despite fierce Japanese competition, the brand enjoyed some success in the 1960s and 1970s and, after a rather difficult period, rose from the ashes in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, Triumph motorcycles are acclaimed by many for their style and efficiency: Street Triple and Speed Triple among modern roadsters, Daytona, a sports car with a hell of precision and a strong character, and Thruxton, Bonneville and Bobber (among others) in Triumph's favourite category, neo-retro customs.
Yamaha Organ Manufacturing, founded in 1887 in Japan, is first and foremost a manufacturer of musical instruments. The Second World War saw the appearance of military equipment on Yamaha's production lines, which then temporarily stopped the manufacture of instruments.
As soon as the world war ended, the Japanese brand successfully started producing motorcycles: in the 1960s, the company went from success in competition to commercial success. Since then and until today, Yamaha has been able to win in all categories, with the YZF-R1 in 1998, for example, in supersport, which revolutionized the genre at the time.
More recently, Yamaha has awarded us the MT-07, which has become the best-selling motorcycle in France: a high-performance, economical and devastating design roadster, it is the one many motorcycle schools have chosen to teach young and novice riders how to ride and balance.
Of course, the above list only presents a few brands and many are missing, but it would be impossible to list them all in this article.
If you are more interested in scooters or if you are simply curious, do not hesitate to consult our article on the different brands of scooters by clicking here