Say Konichiwa, Wave Sayonara | Top 10 Japanese motorcycles we don’t get in UK

Whether it's emissions regulations or sliding sales in certain markets, here are the top ten motorcycles found in Japan that we aren’t allowed to buy.

Honda CBR600RR

IT should be a fairly easy task to flog motorcycles to Brits that are only available in Japan and Asian markets.

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Both countries have a deep-rooted love of all things two-wheeled. Both have congested cities and both drive on the left, meaning headlights need no alteration before going on sale.

Sadly though, there is a swathe of bikes that are not homologated for sale in the UK or mainland Europe.

And it’s a real shame because as you are about to see, there are some absolute gems out there!

Honda CB1300 Super Four and CB1300 Super Four Bol D’Or

The Honda CB1300 Super Four is a model that most of you will recognise, it sold in the UK from 2003 through to 2013. Sadly though, it was dropped from the Honda line up along with its Bol D’Or sibling.

Despite being brought into line with Japanese emissions regs at the time, which was not far off the incoming Euro4 targets, Honda still opted to drop the bike from sale and it remains a Japan-only model.

Yamaha SR400

Another machine that was once available in the UK is the Yamaha SR400. The SR400 was a good seller for Yamaha in the mid-80s when the call for cheap, convenient and good looking transport helped make it a common sight on UK roads.

Discontinued in 2018, the SR400 remains on sale to Japanese retro motorcycle fans, in pretty much the same specification as it did when it was introduced in 1978.

Honda CBR250RR

With the rise of the A2 motorcycle comes a need for sportier, less computer-based offerings. Enter, from the red corner the Honda CBR250RR.

Built around a 250cc, 9-valve parallel twin-cylinder engine, the CBR250RR produces around 40bhp, features sporty styling and a set of blingy-looking USD forks.

The fact we don’t get it in the UK is an absolute sucker punch to those looking for a superlight sporty 250.

That makes us very sad.

Yamaha Tricker

Built to help get more teenage bums on Yamaha seats, the Tricker was an urban commuter with an edgy, smoking behind the bike sheds vibe to it. The Tricker 250 was a 19bhp injection of teenage freedom that sadly missed the mark a bit.

Held back by a tiddly six-litre tank and even tiddlier seat, the Tricker was not so good at tricks and more at riding travelling short distances.

Very short distances!

Suzuki Gixxer 250

The Gixxer 250 (yes Suzuki have really called it that) is a mega-seller for Suzuki in both Japan and other Asian markets.

It’s based on the Inazuma 250 naked and produces around 24hp which is probably enough to bring a smile to your face but not get a new rider into too much trouble.

Kawasaki ZX25-R         

Alas, it’s been confirmed by Kawasaki that the screaming ZX25-R will not be homologated for use in the UK and Europe.

And that makes us sad, because the ZX25-R was a bike that it seemed the whole of the UK was longing for.

For those looking to explore the bike’s rabid 17,000rpm redline, you could look at importing one, although you’ll probably just have to jump through so many hoops, it just won’t be worth it.

Get on eBay and get yourself a mid-90s 250 or 400cc grey import bike – all the hard work has been done for you then!

Honda CB400 Super Four and CB400 Super Four Bol D’Or

No this isn’t the bike at the top of the page – this is its 400cc younger, slimmer and lighter sibling.

The love for a 400cc machine in Japan has never waned, and while we got to experience these four-pot pocket rockets for a few official years in a time gone by, now the chance we’ll get is by relocating to Japan.

Yamaha Serow 250 Final Edition

Another bike that was available in the UK in years gone by, the Serow was a strong favourite with the green lane crew and those who like to ride gently off-road.

The Serow was also a solid commuter, with easy-going handling and fairly bulletproof engine that would sip fuel and slip through traffic like few bikes could.

Kawasaki Z125 Pro

The Kawasaki Z125 Pro is Kawasaki’s answer to the Honda Grom, and it was available in the UK for just a few fleeting years.

It’s a shame the bike didn’t get more of a chance in the UK, with Kawasaki pulling the plug on the bike in favour of its newer, better equipped and more conventional-looking Z125, full-sized naked machine.

Kawasaki KLX230

Another bike that, if still sold over here, would be just right for the green lane massive is the KLX230.

We are no strangers to the KLX name in the UK, although sadly in 2020 the Kawasaki dirt bike range only extends to off-road machines that are tricky to convert to road-legal use.