10 of the best bikes for different types

Are you the sort that likes to be different and doesn't follow the pack. Want something that isn't necessarily the best but oozes character and stands out from the crowd?

Posted: 22 August 2012
by Ben Cope

BMW HP2 Sport

The essentials: 1,170cc, air-cooled, 8-valve boxer twin, 128bhp, 84ftlb, 178kg, 160mph

Why is it different: It's arguably BMW's first proper sportsbike. Only 150 were brought into the UK. Don't be fooled by the flat-twin engine, this isn't a tweaked R1200S. The HP2 Sport is what happens when BMW gave their technical boffins in the R&D department carte blanche and an open cheque book. Based on BMW's 24-Hour Endurance Racer; a higher compression ratio, forged pistons, a quickshifter and close ratio gearbox are just the start. The HP2 Sport is dripping with techno-porn; carbon fibre fairings, self-supporting seat unit, milled aluminium calipers and forged alloy wheels. It was the bike that paved the way for the S1000RR and is as exotic as a Brazilian lap-dancer sipping a Pisco Sour on a zebra-skin rug on the deck of your solar-powered catamaran.

Definitely buy one if: You're a speed junkie who can speak fluent latin.

Price: £14,495 new. From around £11,500 second hand.

Read BMW HP2 Sport review

Track T-800 CDI

The essentials: Three cylinder, 800cc turbo-charged diesel, 50bhp, 80ftlb, 214kg, 110mph

Why is it different: It's a diesel motorcycle and that, should just about be that. But it's not. The Track is Dutch-made, so that's another tick for your individual list. It's shaft-drive and uses a CVT, automatic gearbox - no clutch levers here. Track claim the T800 can deliver 140mpg. The only counter to that is the asking price.

Definitely buy one if: You'd rather put on another jumper than turn the heating on.

Price: £15,995

Brammo Empulse

The essentials: Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) - Water Cooled, 270A, 47ftlb, 213kg, 100mph

Why is it different: It's an electric motorcycle, which means you're already different to 99.9% of other bikers, but you'll also be different to most other electric motorcycle owners too, as the Empulse is the first electric motorcycle to feature a water-cooled power train. The mechatronic propulsion unit has been designed to emulate the feeling and performance of a traditional internal combustion engine and it's not automatic either; it has a clutch and six gears. It'll cover 120 miles in the city or 56 miles flat-out before the battery needs charging and the juice costs around 1p per mile.

Definitely buy one if: You sort your rubbish into at least 5 different bins.

Price: £11,000 new

Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 8v

The essentials: 1,151cc eight-valve v-twin, 100bhp, 80ftb, 214kg, 140mph

Why is it different: It's Guzzi's answer to the GS but really it's the GS for people who don't want a GS. The Stelvio comes in two flavours, the 1200 8v and the Stelvio NTX. The NTX is more of a GS rival, with wire wheels and the whole adventure look. The 1200 8V is actually closer to a Tiger 1050, with its off-roady looks but road rims. The Stelvio features build quality to rival the Germans but the Stelvio makes the GS - and most other bikes of this ilk - look about as exciting as a tax return. It isn't trying to be cutting edge, it just does what it does. It's got masses of old-school charm and you can't buy that in a BMW showroom.

Definitely buy one if: Your CD collection contains: Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, St. Germain and Erykah Badu.

Price: £10,549 new. From £9,000 second hand.

Read Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 8V review

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Discuss this story

Yamaha MT-01. It just makes everyday feel like Christmas morning when you look out the window and see it parked in your driveway. And when you turn the key you know you're in for another grin inducing ride :D You love or hate the looks, maintenance is unnecessarily complex (every time you need to access a part, you need to remove 10 other parts) but that huge V-Twin just has so much character and a heart beat of it's own, it's impossible to resist. Makes heads turn, generates a lot of conversations. Most importantly it makes every ride FUN, without having to put your drivers license on the line every time...though you can if you feel like it :)

Posted: 23/08/2012 at 12:53

You missed the MG Griso 1200. A very different bike that holds a lot of character, decent performance and great looks. Not everybody's cup of tea which adds to its appeal.

Posted: 23/08/2012 at 13:56

BMW Rockster? Not many about, "individual" looks!


(lots of BMWs on this list!)

Posted: 23/08/2012 at 14:23

Would be cool to see more Diesel bikes, they make sens for the globe trotters and commuters.

Posted: 23/08/2012 at 19:15

Second the Griso 1200... even more so in Tenni Green SE guise.

Posted: 23/08/2012 at 22:23

I think the KTM RC8 is missing.

Posted: 24/08/2012 at 09:12

Love that Benelli. Didn't realise how cheap they were getting...

Posted: 24/08/2012 at 12:51


bim
Try finding one for that price ! No chance .

Posted: 24/08/2012 at 23:11

Royal Enfield Bullet. People will walk past a sea of exotic sportbikes to get a closer look at it.

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 14:21

Why not modify your own? I streetfightered my R6 and it's a blast, plus I get lots of people staring trying to figure out what it is....

Posted: 29/08/2012 at 02:54

Talkback: 10 of the best bikes for different types