Thursday, January 19, 2012

Top 10 Weird looking vintage motorcycles

1) MZ Trophy - It truly boggles the mind to consider the sort of styling perversions that were permitted behind the Berlin Wall, and above them all (an entire order of magnitude above the Trabant) lies the MZ Trophy. Where can we possibly start? The horrific huge square headlight which butts out from the front of the tank and envelops the triple clamps? The toucan beak front fender? The jerry can side covers? The patched-together chromed cannon exhaust? This is the only motorcycle ever built that's uglier than me with a hangover!

2) Harley Davidson Bobcat - So you thought that Harley only made huge V-twins, huh? In the Sixties the Hog people got into this weird partnership with Italian manufacturer Aermacchi and foisted a number of small displacement malodorous piles on the American motorcycling public. But nothing could compare to the Bobcat, with its dented tank, scrawny forks, Schwinn front fender, silly high pipe, and to top it all off, a bumpy lump of bodywork running the entire rear half of the bike that looked like it had been run over on the freeway. Did this homely design set the scene for the dreaded Bobtail in the early Seventies?

3) Sears Puch - For reasons known only to retail historians in Chicago, Sears Roebuck decided to rebadge some Puchs (not Pukes, but close) as Sears and Allstates in order to sell them to anyone insane enough to buy one. Taking the pressed steel school of motorcycle design to outrageous limits, the kyphosic scoliosis of this backbone is enough to scare off even a chiropractor. Throw in oversized fenders, chain guard, paint the whole mess fire engine red, and then prop a fat bicycle seat suspended on the back of the tank and you have a Searsaster!

4) Jawa Bizon - Drawing from the same creative well that created the MZ Trophy ugliramathon, here is another Iron Curtain siamesed tank / headlight with a triple tree running through it. The Commie Red and Siberian Snow paintjob outlines each and every disgusting line on this massive piece of junk. If anyone needed proof that command economies don't work, they could just put a poster of this aberration on their office walls.

5) Royal Enfield Diesel - I'm kinda partial to the traditional ultra-vintage styling of India's Royal Enfields, but when it came to building a diesel, they definitely were smoking that wacky tabacky. What were they thinking when they put that big lawnmower chromed sidecover on the side of a scrawny little cylinder spewing out through a thin reed of an exhaust? It looks like they forgot at least half of the top end!

6) Honda Dream - For some reason known only to Hondaphiles, it is generally considered sacrilege to diss the Dream and its "sporty" cousin the Benly, even though they are profoundly ugly bikes. If anyone ever needed a reason to never consider designing a pressed steel frame, the BenlyDream is it. The front fender would keep the rain off a Peterbilt, the chain enclosure and fork covers are a bulky mess, the sidecovers look like they belong on a Craftsman tool chest, and that horrific square headlight! Eeek!

7) BSA Rocket 3 - This original inhabitant of the Top 10 Ugliest List is just as ugly as before, but under due consideration to the six uglibikes ahead of it, I've cut it a bit of slack. Still, how can you justify the gargantuan six-slotted sidecovers, the toaster reflector shrouds, and those triple muffler tip extensions straight out of the Thunderbirds? And almost half a century later, the same Rocket 3 name is being used on a bike that's just as hideous!

8) Harley Davidson Sprint - Another Aermacchi Harley bastard son of the Sixties was a bike with every line in the wrong place. The monstrous over-finned horizontal single cylinder engine just hanging off the frame set new lows for both styling and engineering, the sidecovers were put on as an afterthought, and they weren't fooling anyone with that pseudo-Sportster fuel tank. What an Aermess!

9) Triumph 3TA - What do you get when you back a Bonneville into a bathtub? The Triumph Three T*ts & A*s! This juggeruglinaut would have scored much higher on this list had the front half not been such a beautiful classic, but what possibly possessed the Triumph stylists to come up with that twaddle of a rear end? That one piece fender thing certainly qualifies as the ugliest single motorcycle part ever built!

10) Suzuki TC - It's not entirely fair to pick only on Suzuki, as Yamaha, Kawasaki, Bridgestone and Honda all produced equally stupid looking scramblers in those days, but the TC homey tank curvature, speedo embedded headlight and atrocious nameplate on the sidecovers got a bit of an edge over the competition in the weird race !

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  1. I wouldn’t go as far as calling these bikes weird, but they certainly have some character. I definitely take a shine on Harley’s Bobcat bike. It has that vintage-classic feel and channeling its ancestor bikes. And the workmanship is quite remarkable, which makes it more appealing to me.

    To know more about these bikes, you can visit this site:


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