Top 10 Best-Selling Motorcycle Brands

In addition to the Japanese Big Four (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha), the list of top-selling motorcycle manufacturers includes companies based in Italy, the U.S., Austria, and the UK.

Honda

Honda’s motorcycle division sells more than 15 million motorcycles annually, which makes it world’s leading manufacturer. One of the factors driving the company’s sales is its popularity in Asian markets. Yet Honda also dominates in North America.

Ducati

The Italian brand headquartered in Bologna manufactures motorcycles since 1935. Ducati is known for its powerful sport bikes. The company has a long and successful racing history, which started in 1951. Today it spends over 7% of its revenues on racing business. The brand belongs to Audi through its subsidiary Lamborghini.

Harley-Davidson

Great 20th-21st century history and exhilarating riding experience give Harley-Davidson the status of the legend bike company. This brand is familiar almost to everybody, even those who have never ridden a bike in their lives.

Yamaha

Yamaha bikes are known for excellent performance, ride quality and comparatively easy handling. Yamaha is almost as successful as another famous Japanese manufacturer, Honda. Moreover, the number of dirt bikes it sells exceeds Honda and Yamaha combined.

Kawasaki

The Motorcycle & Engine division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries gained recognition as a manufacturer of a wide range of bikes, from very small to sport ones. These motorcycles are loved all over the world for their powerful and reliable engines, capable of developing great speed. There are production sites in Japan, North America, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Suzuki

One more representative of the Japanese Big Four. The GSXR 750 and the DR 400 are among the most popular Suzuki motorcycles. The company has over 35 production facilities in more than 20 countries.

KTM

During its first years the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer specialized in 2-stroke and 4-stroke off-road motorcycles, but in the course of time its product range grew wider. In addition to dirt bikes, it now includes street motorcycles and sports cars. The brand belongs to CROSS Industries AG and Bajaj Auto Limited.

BMW Motorrad

BMW is one of the oldest motorcycles manufacturers. The company’s first bike was made in 1923. BMW Motorrad is famous for its road bikes, sports-touring bikes and sport bikes. Some of the most well-known models are the GS Adventure, the S 1000 REFRIGERATORS, and the K1600.

Triumph

The largest motorcycle maker in the UK, Triumph specializes in road bikes that belong to the cruiser, naked, and sport classes. The Triumph brand is owned by BMW.

Victory

Victory is a comparatively new brand, it started production of motorcycles in 1998. Its large-displacement cruisers are famous all over the world. The company based in the U.S. has its final assembly facility in Iowa.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – From Box to Blacktop

There are more than a few people who love motorcycles, and indeed, these people tend to form clubs, celebrating their admiration for the machines and love for the thrill of the ride. So why do they package these motorcycles into complete motorcycle kits like some geek or nerd’s toy? Well, you have to admit that there is a visceral appeal, a deep-down feeling of wanting to build something from the ground up. “From box to blacktop” probably makes more sense since it is a vehicle to be constructed. Of course, building from total scratch is not achievable for most of us, since motorcycles are precision products. Imagine having to melt metals, make casts, and build a motorcycle engine on your own. No, these kits take the hardest parts out of the deal, and leave you with something that is challenging but not too hard, but will still give you a sense of satisfaction when you finish. This may not appeal to everyone, but there are those that feel best using something they built with their own hands. Perhaps a little background on the whole thing would help to explain why packing the motorcycle in pieces makes a certain sense.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – Fade In

Complete motorcycle kits are a result of several technological advances and innovations, as well as a few historical milestones. The need for cheap, personal transportation led to the invention of the bicycle. It was quiet, required no power other than what the rider would provide, and cost far less than a car. They just did not go very fast, and people got weary of having to push their own pedals. Next, someone thought of attaching an engine to the drive train. Eventually, these motorized bicycles developed into motorcycles. At that point though, the vehicles were still constructed in factories and sold as-is. The great revolution of mass production led to the creation of parts on parallel lines. Soon, someone thought that transporting these parts in boxes with the right number of parts for whole vehicles made sense. Disassembled motorcycles packed into kits consumed less space than the whole vehicles, so that meant the companies could save on transport and storage. They then shipped the kits to dealers who would construct the vehicles on-site. The next step probably came when someone asked if they could buy a motorcycle, but build it on their own, in the spirit of do it yourself. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and so motorcycles in disassembled kit form became available. So now you know more or less what led up to these great rides in packages.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – Nuts and Bolts

Not everyone has the capacity to construct motorcycles on their own, so in addition to all the big and small pieces, manuals and instruction booklets come with these complete motorcycle kits. Even if you are the type who would rather not have to wade through a lengthy set of instructions, you must painstakingly follow these ones. These ensure you build your ride as the kit makers wanted it, so you will not miss any vital or even minor parts. Imagine missing a nut here or a bolt there, and you can then imagine the motorcycle falling apart like in one of those cartoons. Worse, imagine a breakdown at high speed. You could damage the parts of your vehicle, or yourself for that matter. The kits may be easier than building from zero, but they are still far from being easy. Of course, this challenge is what attracts people in the first place. There is just something about making something with your own hands, a feeling of being able to trust it more. There is also that feeling of being tired but happy upon completing your project, and making something that you love makes it even better. It will also feel more like a companion rather than a tool when you go on runs around town or even across the country on riding tours. The feel of the wind in your face and hair, and facial hair if you have it, will justify the time and energy you put into it. It will also justify any nerdy feelings that may have cropped up from building something from a kit.

Complete Motorcycle Kits – Choices and More

Complete motorcycle kits are rarely, if ever, offered by large manufacturing companies. These big timers are not as concerned with the talk on the street as small companies. The smaller companies on the other hand, have their ears on the ground, and know what people want. Thus, they are the ones who cater to the kit vehicle crowd. Another great thing about these is that they carry aesthetic details that reflect the wants of the community on the whole. Kit motorcycles may not go as fast as some mass-produced models, but they look cool in their measured pace. Plus, the lower speed gives people around more time to appreciate the beauty of these vehicles.

Speaking of beauty, there is no reason why cannot take the custom nature even further. The great thing about building a ride from the kit is that you will want to customize it, to give it that look that you feel is perfect. Maybe some spinners or a few decals, or maybe some performance upgrades with better brakes or electrical system for example. The do it yourself nature of these rides means you can choose parts to switch in and out.

The same companies that offer these boxed kits also offer separate parts for custom looks, and some may even offer fabrication services, for those unique pieces that you always dreamed of. These customization potential make the ride even more personal, and reflect your design sense. An interesting side effect to all this customization is that the owner becomes more inclined to take care of their vehicle rather than with a mass-produced model. It is probably because they do not want something they made with their own hands to break, as a matter of pride and passion. Remember, ride prudently and safely.

Love Motorcycles? Career Ideas for Motorcycle Enthusiasts

While many people think of motorcyclists as those who love to ride as a hobby or only in their spare-time, there are some individuals who are lucky enough to be able to use their motorcycle as part of their job. Just like a moving company has a truck, some people have motorcycles that are essential to their jobs. If you’ve ever considered using your bike as part of your career, here are a few job ideas to get you started!

Racing and Stunt Driving

Obviously, you can use your motorcycle to start a career as a stunt driver or motorcycle racer. This may require a top-of-the-line bike and some hefty health insurance coverage, but can definitely be worthwhile if you’ve got the skills to prove your worth! And if you’re feeling really risky, it may be time to hit road and pull your stunt skills full-time with a daredevil carnival act!

Police Office or Security Guard

If you have a security background or training and enjoy spending time on your bike, certain careers in the security industry may allow you to combine both work and play. As a security guard or police officer, you can help others and patrol grounds while doing it in style! Security guards and police officers oftentimes take advantage of a motorcycle’s mobility to work carnivals, parades, and other large events.

Test Driver

Motorcycle companies will lend out their bikes to test drivers to try out and write reviews for national magazines and online motorcyclist websites. If you’re knowledgeable about motorcycles and enjoy trying out bikes that haven’t even hit the market yet, this may be a great way to combine what you know and love into a fulfilling career!

Motorcycle Courier

While delivering pizzas on a bike may be difficult unless you have really wide saddlebags, there are things that you can deliver and transport on a motorcycle. Motorcycle couriers are individuals who deliver or transport things to and from locations. Time sensitive court documents and paperwork are some items delivered by motorcycle couriers who can navigate through busy cities and traffic better than larger vehicles.

Travel Writer and Photographer

What better way to hit the road than with a quality camera and some portable technology. For those with a traveling spirit and an eye for great landscape shots, motorcyclists who have the time and energy to travel the world may enjoy doing so from the seat of their bike! Travel to exotic and unknown places on your bike, snap some photos and write about the area. Sell your work as freelance or start up your own online blog or website to share your adventures with the world!

Mechanic

If you’re more the hands-on, “behind the scenes” type and enjoy the mechanics of a motorcycle, you could always consider a mechanic job focusing on improving and fixing motorcycles for others. Knowledge of how a bike works is required for this technical kind of position, but can be extremely rewarding and fun for those who like a challenge and don’t mind getting their hands dirty!

Motorcycle Sales

For those of you that love motorcycles and have a knack for selling, a motorcycle salesman may be the ultimate job. An added bonus about this career path is that you’re more likely to be successful if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about the items you are selling. Helping other motorcycle enthusiasts gear up with the right equipment is also another great job for those that can’t get motorcycling off the brain. Biker clothing and apparel is becoming a booming business with the growing number of men and women getting into motorcycling for the first time.

6 Things You Must Consider Before a Canadian Motorcycle Ride

If you plan to cruise the highways and drive a motorcycle in Canada the following information will be useful to consider both for your own safety, and for your own piece of mind.

Canadian Highways and Rural Roadways

Whether you decide to rent a motorcycle or drive your own, Canada has a massive system of well managed city streets and highways which will bring you just about anywhere you want to go.

The main highway throughout Canada is the Trans-Canada Highway, which goes coast to coast. The distance from the east coast to the west coast is about 8000 km or around 4,900 miles. You could go on a Canadian motorcycle ride for weeks and never get to see everything.

Motorcycle Rentals

Renting a motorcycle in Canada may be something you want to consider. Canada has several motorcycle rental companies found near the major cities and towns. Rates vary depending on the season, type of motorcycle and length of rental. The minimum age to rent a vehicle in Canada is usually anywhere from 21-25 years old. If you plan to travel through the western provinces on your motorcycle you might want to look into the many popular tourist attractions, and the great roads to travel.

In order to rent in most cases you will need to have a major credit card. Requirements may vary from each province. Be sure to reserve your motorcycle ahead of time during peak travel times, which are usually from mid May to November.

Camping With Your Motorcycle

Most Canadian provincial and national parks, private campgrounds and other conservation areas allow you to camp with your motorcycle.

All of the Canadian provinces have a government agency that is responsible for tourism. You should check their websites or call for information to get get maps, and possible promotional offers, and maybe even some more Canadian motorcycle information. If you plan to stay in a campground near a popular park like Banff, Whistler, and Fundy National Park you should book in advance.

Driving Laws- Canadian Motorcycle Driving

In Canada the road laws are very similar to the rules in most US states. Most road safety laws and regulations are determined at the provincial and territorial level, so make sure you know the particular rules for the province you plan to be visiting. One rule for motorcyclists throughout all Canadian Provinces is that you must wear a motorcycle helmet if you are driving a motorcycle in Canada.

Other things to consider while driving throughout all the Canadian provinces on a motorcycle are that you are allowed to make a right turn on red lights in most cities throughout the country after coming to a complete stop. Be careful though because in some areas of Quebec you are not allowed to do this. For more information, check with the Government of Quebec’s website.

In all Canadian provinces pedestrians have the right-of-way and you must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. The speed limit on the most rural highways is usually around 90-100 km/hr or about 55-65 mph. Speed limits are enforced mainly by the RCMP in rural areas, and municipal police in most major cities throughout Canada.

If you are pulled over by a police officer you must provide proof of insurance, driver’s license and registration.

Weather

Many people who are not from Canada picture the country as having vast piles of snow and snowmobiles as the main mode of transportation. Nothing could be more false. In most provinces you can ride a motorcycle 8-9 months out of the year. In Vancouver British Columbia and other western cities and towns, people drive year round. The summer months can get very humid in Canada, and there are many Canadian motorcycle events held across the country on an annual basis.

Motorcycle Insurance Canada, Driver’s License and Permit

If you plan a ride a motorcycle through Canada and you are from the United States., your driver’s license is valid in Canada. Be sure to bring proof of motorcycle insurance by talking to your insurance company for a free Non-resident Inter Provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card before you leave, or carry your policy itself.

If you’re driving a borrowed motorcycle, you should bring a letter signed by the owner that says you are allowed. Also for a rented motorcycle, carry a copy of the rental contract.