Top ten most underrated bikes you can buy today

Are you the kind of rider who follows the best-seller trends, or do you prefer to go your own way when selecting your steed?

TO me, the motorcycle will always be an unsung hero. The star of my very own B-movie, the mode of transport that brings me more joy than any other. 

Now, obviously, there are some bikes that succeed in bringing more joy than others. Be it the speed of them, the sound, or even the sight of them - some two-wheeled machines just have a certain vavavoom that is hard to deny.

This top-two isn't about those bikes. It's not about the bikes that make jaws drop at bike shows across the globe. This is about the unsung heroes of the motorcycle world, the lesser models that are all-to frequently overlooked in favour of bigger, faster, and sometimes not quite so good stablemates.

Top ten most underrated motorcycles of 2020 

These are the top-ten most underrated motorcycles of 2020.

10. BMW R1250R (from £11,520)

Now with 134bhp it has all the real-world performance most need; it's sharper-looking,  is comfortable, and reasonably practical. Plus there is a treasure trove of - admittedly pricey - options and specs to make it very much your own model.

With prices starting at just over £11,500,  as an entry into BMW R1250 ownership, have a hard think next time if you reeeeeally need a GS or RT...

9. Triumph Bonneville T100 (from £8999)

Yes the 900cc engine is smaller, yes it has slightly softer performance, but that barely matters for this type of machine, nor does the single disc, while all-round proportions are exactly the same. 

But at £1600 or more cheaper, look at it this way, why not use those savings personalise it with accessories so you’ve got a truly unique retro that has been specc’d up your way.

8. Kawasaki Z900 (from £8549)

First introduced in 2017 and updated again for 2020, there is a decent amount of power, while a fancy new dash and some generous kit levels help it stand out.

The result is an excellent, all-around naked that’s also pretty good value. On the downside, being based on a sleeved-down Z1000 motor doesn’t help distinguish it from its bigger brother, while the less informed of you may struggle to tell it apart from its sibling from a distance.

7. Yamaha MT09 SP (from £9747)

While the base 113bhp triple roadster, which kicked off Yamaha’s MT revolution in 2013, was already a popular success story, Yamaha addressed those criticisms in 2018 with this SP version which got a fully adjustable Ohlins shock at the rear, new, now fully-adjustable KYB forks at the front and a tweaked paint job. 

And the result, for still under £10K, or less than a grand more than the standard version it elevates the MT-09 from being ‘merely’ a lively, entertaining, punchy, reasonably practical and affordable roadster, into one with a touch more class.

6. Harley-Davidson Street Rod (from £6895)

It’s fair to say that Harley’s all-new, entry-level, affordable V-twins have had a slightly rough ride since the introduction of the original, Street 750, back in 2015, with criticism of, pretty much all of it!

And because it’s a Harley, everyone - and I mean EVERYONE - has an opinion on it… whether it’s the lack of power, iffy build quality, high prices… we could go on but I’m sure someone else will for us.

It represents a decent, entry-level Harley at still affordable money, even if - as we say - build quality isn’t what it should be. 

Of course, the trouble with that is that most layman probably hasn’t even noticed – even the name is a little different. But, for those that do, it’s a decent bike, at a decent price and you just know you’ll make a statement wherever you go.

5. Suzuki GSX-R125 (from £3899)

Its regulation 15bhp is no less than the class-leading Yamaha’s R125 and has a smooth, novice-friendly delivery. Its suspension may be more basic but it offers a decent ride and it’s fairly good quality.

To put it another way: if you’re young and ready to strike out on two wheels, the Suzuki isn’t a poor relation to the Yamaha when it comes to earning your skidmarks

Besides, after a year you’ll want something bigger and that £1000 could well come in handy come upgrade time..

4. Honda CB650R (from £7199)

You aren’t short of choice when it comes to a Honda but it means various variants of the same platform means there is always a runt of the litter… in middleweight terms, this is the Honda CB650R.

Not only is the Honda unique in being the only Japanese four-cylinder offering in the class, thus making it meatier and more substantial for larger riders.

It’s also a great stepping stone to larger capacity fours and a great bike in its own right. 

With its Neo Cafe styling - the jury is still out on what that exactly means - it’s still a smart looker, has all that Honda versatility (both in terms of riding and ownership) and has a fair bit of oomph from its 92bhp engine

If you’re after a four-cylinder, look closely at this because - best of all -  it’s great value, too.

3. Ducati Multistrada 950 (from £11,895)

Entry-level models at the premium end of the motorcycle scale often have it tough.

In the Ducati Multistrada’s case, that means the base 950 is often overlooked in favour of its bigger engined brothers. After all, if you’re spending £11,000 plus, why not just go the whole hog…

But that doesn’t make the Ducati Multistrada 950 any less capable, save for a few horses that frankly you won’t really notice day today.

The 950 arrived in 2017, by which time the 1200 and 1260 models had already established themselves as the high-tech, big power, agile handling, practical sports=-tourers of the Ducati range.

This is a shame as the 950, using the Hypermotard’s 113bhp V-twin, has more than enough performance for most, still looks classy and - best of all - does it for a full three grand less. 

With the V4 waiting in the wings to ramp up the Multistrada’s flagship range, further the 950 risks being forgotten altogether when it really doesn’t deserve to.

2. Indian FTR1200 (from £11,899)

This is truly one of the great, under-appreciated bikes currently on the market. 

With Polaris controlling the pursestrings, revived American brand Indian Motorcycles have blasted back into the public conscience with some very convincing machinery that has set it on a collision course with Harley when it comes to luring customers onto its revived cruisers.

However, in what could be described as a cheeky antithesis of the electric Livewire, Indian has launched this, the FTR 1200.

Tapping into that flat track heritage, while this style of racing perhaps isn’t quite so popularised on this side of the Atlantic, the premise of putting a lively 118bhp 1200cc motor from the scout into a nimble, understated Monster-rivalling sporty chassis makes this VERY engaging.

1. KTM 1290 Super Duke GT (from £17,199)

We’ve saved the best for last and, in case you hadn’t heard (and many, still, haven’t) the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is definitely the best: Sports-tourer that is. 

The first version, launched in 2016 and based on the now previous-generation Super Duke super naked, taming the original beast into something that was more comfortable and practical, but still retaining a little bit of the wild side if you wanted to juuuuuuust open up the throttle a touch.

KTM treats this as its premium model and being a whizz at all things mechanical means you’ve got all sorts of electronics to make the ride easier, while it’s lavished with loads of kit, a lovely full colour TFT dash, and makes good use of that 175bhp engine

The downside? It’s a KTM, so in the UK at least many – still – aren’t as aware of them because dealers can be a little scarce.

Many may make a beeline for the Multistrada 1260 but we reckon this will convert you to KTM…

 

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