Wielding the axe: The motorcycles set to be killed off by Euro5 measures

As we look forward to a raft of new machinery in the coming months, the introduction of Euro5 means the axe is being held over a number of older models...

Yamaha R6 taking a corner

They say the New Year is a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ and when it comes to new motorcycles it’s truer than ever for 2021 courtesy of Euro5 regulations that come into full force this year.

Indeed, while the UK has just left the European Union, it was long decided the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers – ACEM – has already agreed that UK bikes will continue to adhere to EU regulations.

From Jan 1 new bikes sold in the UK have to comply with Euro5 – not just the new models the regulations applied to from Jan 1 2020. That’s essentially why so many models have been updated for 2021, notable examples being Yamaha’s new enlarged MT-09 family and BMW’s R nineTs. But it also means some models have been ‘killed off’ as it was either not possible or not viable to make them compatible.

So as we toast in the New Year, we must also take a moment to remember those we’ve lost (or are about to lose) with the customary obituary reel of motorcycles that didn’t make the cut.

*NB: There is also a significant caveat to all this. Although non-Euro5 bikes will no longer be made, an agreement called ‘end of series’ rules gives manufacturers up to two years to clear unsold stock, which complicates things further as some manufacturers still advertise ‘2020 model’ and suchlike.


Although Honda has furiously updated to Euro5 spec many of its most popular bikes - prompting a rash of unveilings over the last couple of months ranging from big overhauls to minor tweaks - the CB500 family, NC750X, Africa Twin and so on, there are some notable exceptions.

It’s already been reported elsewhere that Honda’s aging V4 models, the VFR800F, Crossrunner and 1200 Crosstourer won’t be updated to Euro5, partly due to expense, partly due to fairly small sales, although they’ll remain available while stocks last.

There’s also a big question mark against the CB1100RS and CB1100EX retro roadsters, which again, are small sellers, and their air-cooled design makes any update difficult.


Despite a similar flurry of Euro5-driven model updates to the likes of the MT-09, 2021 also sees some notable Yamaha casualties, not least the R6 supersport, which will now only be available in track spec. The ageing FJR1300 sports-tourer is another victim, as was given the ‘heads up’ last year when it appeared in ‘Ultimate Edition’ form.

Other Yamahas reaching the end of the road are the XT1200Z Super Tenere, XV950R cruiser and scrambler-style SCR950. All three use engines which date back over a decade and relatively small European sales means it’s not viable to update them, although they may live on in non-EU markets.


Updates to the aging ‘pre-LC’ engine used in the R nineT means BMW’s popular retro roadsters live on, although the range has been rationalised and no longer includes the faired ‘Racer’ version. Its small-selling C650 super scooters have also fallen by the wayside, replaced in part by its recently introduced, more modern 400s.


Ducati’s all new, alloy framed, 937cc 2021 Monster and Monster+ has already replaced the old trellis-framed 797 and 821 versions. While the new V4 Multistrada sees the end of the old 1260 V-twins – although the 950 and 1260 Enduro live on. For now.


Much of the British firm’s line-up is already Euro5 compliant following a raft of updates to its 900 and 1200 Tigers, Bonnevilles and more but there remains a question mark around its popular, but slightly aging Speed Triple 1050 and especially the Tiger Sport 1050. Rumours have suggested new versions of both will appear during 2021 using a new 1160cc engine but these have yet to be confirmed.


Another marque that’s both keeping its post Euro5 model plans close to its chest and is also conspicuously advertising only 2020 versions of some of its vulnerable models, such as the Ninja ZX-6R and Ninja 400, ZZR1400, plus also the W800 retro, Z1000 R naked and its small-selling J300 and J125 scooters.


The Indian firm has already announced that its long-lived, erstwhile air-cooled 500 Bullet family has got to the end of the road, although the 410cc Himalayan lives on and it has also recently announced a new 350cc single, the Meteor, to go along with its popular 650 twins.


As we write, the US legend has yet to officially confirm its 2021 UK/EU model line-up, that’s likely later in January/February when the all-new Pan America adventure bike is formally unveiled. However we understand – and it’s also been widely reported elsewhere – that its entry-level Street 750 plus the entire 883/1200 Sportster family is likely to be dropped, although, the aforementioned two-year rule is likely to mean they’ll still be available for a while.


Finally, with the long-anticipated new Hayabusa yet to be officially confirmed (despite the rumour mill’s best efforts), the original hyper-bike has been given an update that allows it to scrape Euro5 eligibility for a stay of execution. The same can be said of the 650 V-twins, which are expected to be replaced anyway in 2021, while the slow-selling VStrom 250 and GSX250R are set to be dropped too.