The 10 Biggest Biking Blunders

Every now and then we all drop a clanger. But for some the effects are more acute than just a red face and the mother-in-law refusing to speak to you for a few years. Here is the definitive list of biking’s biggest blunders

Posted: 17 November 2010
by Visordown

 1 of 10 

Sorry, who are you again?

In May 2003 KTM were approached by a TV production company called Elixir Films blathering on about how they had two actors (well one actor and his posh mate) who wanted to ride around the world on motorbikes. Could KTM supply two 950 Adventures and all the necessary backup to support the trip? KTM weren’t convinced by the pitch and chose not to get involved, deciding that they simply didn’t have the infrastructure to help out with such an ambitious project, so the production company approached BMW instead. The Long Way Round TV series promptly became a global smash hit, a marketing company’s dream and subsequently had enormous impact on the worldwide sales of BMW’s GS range of bikes.

“In an ideal world we would have loved to have supported them, but at the time we decided against it,” said a tight-lipped KTM spokesman. At least they didn’t have to put up with the Boorman turning up at the opening of every envelope afterwards...

Next page

Previous article
Top 10 tips for pillion success
Next page
Bimota Vdue 500

biking, blunders, mistakes, controversy, gaffes

Discuss this story



Haven't you forgotten the BMW 650 Scarver?

Posted: 18/11/2010 at 14:49

Yamaha GTS 1000, Bimota V Due (sadly)

Posted: 18/11/2010 at 17:23

As a long-term 749 owner you can imagine I'm always disappointed to hear its design described as 'Ducati's great mistake'. I'm with Terblanche, it was a design that was ahead of its time. Look at the KTM RC8 and recent Bimotas to support that view.     The 916-shape was a landmark design for the 1990s, and unquestionably a thing of beauty. But having also ridden a 748 I can tell you from direct experience that the 749 was a massive step forward in both comfort, performance and riding dynamics over the previous model. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the 999/749 models remain among the best real-world sportsbikes from the last decade. More recently I road tested an 1198 and, certainly in terms of its overall ergonomics, I wasn't sorry to get back on my 749 afterwards.  I know you can't really argue with the sales figures, and in the end that's where any defence of Terblanche's styling is always going to fall down, but to dismiss these bikes as a design failure seems tragically unjust. Throughout the five years I've owned my 749 it has never failed to draw positive responses - at least from the non-biking public. People will routinely stop and remark that it's a beautiful bike, and I'm not exaggerating to say that more than once I've come back to it when parked up to find a small crowd around it taking photos on their phones. There's no doubt that it has that special presence of Italian exotica. 

If you ever find yourself standing beside one take a few moments to walk around it. There are many gorgeous details and styling features, and a clear and thoughtful continuity with Ducati's design heritage. If, after that, you still really think it's ugly, well at least you'll have given it a proper chance!

Posted: 20/11/2010 at 13:23

I agree that the 749 has its own appeal, but for me its not the details but the stance that does it for me. It doesn't have that head down ass up stance of the 748 and 1098, otherwise I really like it. 

One can make the argument that the 916 was innovative, and the 999 was also equally innovative design-wise.

 The 1098, while quite pretty arguably has a derivative design (back end off the MV, front end like the last gen R1, itself a version of the 916). I realize that bike design doesn't  have to always be innovative but methinks the 1098 is poaching its own (and others') heritage. 

That being said its one of the top 5 best looking bikes available today, if not THE best, but one wonders what the 1198 replacement will look like as it seems a bit stagnant now to keep making it more thin and more pointy.

I think bike design in general is progressing that way (witness the new ZX10R) but I'm not sure how far it can go. Certainly the once-epitome of pointiness: the MV Agusta, that ultimately set the standard for how 2000s superbikes would look, now has created the new F4 1000 and the F3 675 that look 99% like the old F4 750.

Perhaps the true innovations in bike design lie in emerging genres like big trailies, or muscle/power-cruisers like the Diavel.   

Posted: 22/11/2010 at 04:00

GTS? I guess you have never ridden one then. The only blunder is that Yamaha haven't reintroduced it with the long bang R1 motor. And, hats off to Yamaha for having the balls to produce such an innovative bike. The V-Due was sold before it was developed fully - blunder bike perhaps but not the GTS. 

Posted: 22/11/2010 at 08:44

The 999 looks far less generic than the 1098.

Posted: 26/12/2010 at 19:42

Long Way Round? Never watched it. KTM didn't make a mistake. I wouldn't have wanted my bikes associated with a pair of wankers like that either. Now if it had been Rossi and Foggy or a couple of top Paris-Dakar riders that might have been worth watching.

Posted: 21/06/2011 at 15:23

How could the museum even open without sprinklers? And why leave flammable rubbish in a pile where smokers might be. I have no sympathy. A lot of people could have been killed by their negligence.

Posted: 21/06/2011 at 15:30

Er, Just to stop you perpetuating the myth
"Following a series of high-profile accidents, not to mention a fatality due to the TL getting into tank-slappers,"

Really? The police report of the accident made NO SUGGESTION whatsoever of a tankslapper, nor was their any evidence of such, witness, technical or otherwise. The rider died because he was slowing from how shall we put this: "friend-leaving speeds" in the country to a 30 mph limit, slid off and hit his head on a rock. A standard, silly but so sad fatal accident.
If you would like to know the REAL story behind that [deliberate] falsehood, then contact me privately - the one journalist in the country who actually INVESTIGATED it rather than rehashing reportage.
I saw the police report. Did you?

What is it with lazy journalists these days..? Sheesh!

Posted: 24/09/2015 at 13:55

And lets not forget the scooter clanger to end all scooter clangers - the Aprilia / Spice Girls farce...

Shit loads of wonga thrown at the prancing talentless bints by `Prilia, desperate to emulate the fashion icon status of a.n. other Italian scooter brand (modesty forbids...). Sponsorship spend heading for the million quid mark, and a video shoot featuring the Scoot Girls for their sell-out European tour.

On paper looked like a surefire winner... until Ginger farked off pre-tour, rendering the video useless. Then it transpired that Shit Girls management KNEW the ginger minger was leaving even before they inked the deal ! Cue lots of lawyers getting rich tryin' to recover Aprilia cash...

Posted: 24/09/2015 at 14:11

Talkback: The 10 Biggest Biking Blunders

Busiest motorcycle review conversations