Ten Worst Motorcycles of the Modern Era

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By John Burns

Right, this is my list. Okay, my list with quite a bit of input courtesy of a little social media crowdsourcing and consultation with my Motorcycle.com brethren. Some things to bear in mind include that as motojournalists, we never lived with any of these for more than a few months at most, so the list isn’t about long-term reliability or cost of ownership. It’s more like dislike at first ride that gets no better with time. Most of the things that relegate a bike to Ten Worst of the Modern Era might be remediated, given enough time and money: Every worst bike here, with the proper amount of love, money, and squinting, could be transformed into someone’s else’s dream bike – just not mine. If one of the bikes on my worst list is your baby, I humbly apologize in advance. Post pics in the Comments at the end to prove I’m a MOron.

Also, I’m going to define “modern era” as when I came to work in the “industry,” circa 1988, because it’s my article. In that ⅓ of a century, it was harder than I thought it would be to come up with ten bikes we can mostly all get behind truly detesting. Also, we’re only picking on motorcycles from major manufacturers.

Shall we arrange them from oldest to newest?

Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster, pre-1991

I’m not a Sportster hater, dammit, I’m not I’m not I’m not. Not after they gave it a five-speed transmission in 1991, at least. Before that, the old four-speed 883 engine was turning as hard as it could to propel you along at 80 mph, and you didn’t mind at all that the 2.1-gallon tank was dry after only 80 miles because the vibration was so bad you had to get off and have a smoke …read more

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