ANY manufacturer in any industry will have its highs and lows. For every sales smash there’s a flop. For every iPhone there’s a Pippin (what do you mean you don’t remember Apple’s short-lived games console?)
So we’re taking a look at some of the bikes that simply never caught on. It might be due to design deficiencies, to fickle consumers, to off-putting prices or simply bad luck, but none of these achieved the heights that their manufacturers surely envisioned.
We’re steering clear of obviously limited-edition, low-volume bikes here, at least on the whole. If only a handful of bikes are intentionally made to increase their allure, they can’t be accused of falling short on sales.
Judging poor sales also varies based on the production capabilities of each machine’s maker. A firm like Bimota, hand-making a trickle of new machines each year, might see 500 unit sales as a record-breaking success, while the same number would be a disaster for Honda.
We’re also steering clear of machines that were never likely to sell well from tiny brands that few people have heard of, or those that folded before they even got established. All these are bikes that got significant press coverage when they were new but never achieved the sales that such coverage would normally result in.
But one thing’s for sure; you’re unlikely to see many of these machines on the road…
10: Aprilia RXV/SXV 4.5 and 5.5
Ok, so Aprlia’s 450cc (and later 550cc) V-twin off-roader and supermoto was never intended to be a huge, mass-market seller. But given the sheer effort that went into developing a completely new V-twin engine to compete in a category universally filled with singles should have been rewarded with more sales success. They were good bikes, but with two big drawbacks. One was the high prices required to get them, the other was the short service intervals of the competition-derived engine. New pistons and rings at 6000km might be fine for a pure racer or a two-stroke, but for a road-legal four-stroke it was seriously off-putting for many. Although several different versions were sold over the years, few ever reached double figures in UK registrations. A quick check online even revealed that you can buy a 2006 new old stock bike with 0 miles on the clock.