What Are the Most Fun Motorcycles?
As previously stated, designating a motorcycle as "the most fun" isn't an easy task, so we've decided to introduce three bikes, each considered the coolest and most fun in its own respective category. Here they are:
Triumph Bonneville T120 — a Modern Classic
The Bonneville T120 is a classic for a reason, as it's easy to ride, easy on the eyes, and usually not too expensive. It's one of the coolest and most fun motorcycles ever, and if you ever ask anyone to draw you a bike, you'll probably end up with a rough sketch of Triumph Bonneville — it's so iconic.
It's a sister bike to Bonneville T100, which has a smaller displacement, and a nod towards the classic Bonneville T120 Triumph used to produce between 1959 and 1975 when the model was discontinued in favor of a heavier T140. Luckily, the model was revived in 2016 on a new platform and equipped with a larger engine and updated specifications.
When it comes to riding quality, the T120 uses a tubular steel cradle frame that's used across the Triumph's entire Bonneville and Bonneville-based lineups. In its upright position, easy-to-reach handlebars, and somewhat heftier build, the new T120 feels much more substantial than the previously-discontinued 865cc Bonneville generations.
This increase in size and weight took a leap from retro bikes to larger adventure types while retaining the classical look of a Bonneville motorbike. The low-speed touring on this bike is an absolutely blissful thing to experience, thanks to the bike's lower center of mass, which also facilitate easier controls. Put simply, the T120 feels stable, secured, and relaxed on the road.
The stability can be further enhanced by equipping the bike with street-biased tires, like Pirelli Scorpion Trail II Dual Sport Tires, or Metzeler Roadtec 01 Tires, both of which can be purchased at Revzilla. However, there's more to be added about the Bonneville T120, which is also a really good bike for some off-road adventuring, provided that you've fitted an appropriate set of tires, like Heidenau K60 Scout Tires or Bridgestone Battalax Adventurecross AX41.
And though its name originates from the company's land speed record set in the 1950s, the bike is actually designed for relaxed cruising or perhaps some light off-roading in muddy terrain. This laid-back performer offers plenty of gentle charm and just a smidge of the raw power its predecessor had to output. And that's not a bad thing — quite the contrary, actually, as it allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable ride.
To round things out, Bonneville T120 comes with plenty of additional equipment, including ABS, daytime running lights, traction control, throttle-by-wire, and several riding modes. Triumph topped that off by offering additional 116 accessories for riders to customize the British icon.
- Ride-friendly performance
- Attractive period design
- Appealing feel
- Competitively priced, but not quite cheap
The vehicular history has only a handful of machines that have transcended their respective markets and become a recognized part of pop culture. That list includes soon-to-be-discontinued Boeing 747, Aston Martin DB5 (the one featured in seven James Bond films), and the Ducati 916, the focus of our article.
Before we continue, for those that are still to accumulate miles in the motorcycling world, Ducati 916 was discontinued in 1998, and its most recent successors are the Ducati 1299 Panigale and the Ducati Panigale V4. But despite being more than a quarter of a century old and deserving of historic license plates, there's a good reason why Ducati 916 made it on this list.
Put simply, the bike is an iconic piece, a poster bike of the golden era of sports motorbiking, when track days were in their beginning and modern tire compounds just made knee downs possible. Sure, speed cameras and GoPros weren't around back then to film all the action, but that doesn't mean that the motorcycling world has forgotten what Ducati 916 was capable of.
Before we dive into what makes this bike so much fun, it's important to acknowledge its historical value. The bike was designed by Massimo Tamburini, aka the Michelangelo of motorbike design. Tamburini stepped away from the Japanese-dominant design of the '80s and '90s, which included bulky fairings, square headlights, twin-swing arms, and side-mounted exhausts, and introduced something "curvier."
The Ducati 916's design was so impressive and unprecedented that it instantly became a timeless icon that now represents the golden era of motorbiking. It even received recognition from the art world, as the Guggenheim Museum officially recognized it as a vital part of motorbike history, and one unit is even displayed in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
However, a bike is much more than just aesthetics, and the visual success of the Ducati 916 would've been for naught if it didn't perform on the track. In fact, it performed so well that it won nearly all domestic and international championships during its production period. Its lazy desmo engine delivers a wonderful riding experience accompanied by that beautiful V-twin sound, which, unlike other '90s machines, actually exhilarates the rider.
The downside of this icon is the costly ownership and maintenance, which is to be expected from an exotic piece such as Ducati 916 and includes servicing every 4,000 miles. However, the fun factor of this bike is its historical value and its "iconique" status since it's considered one of the most beautifully built bikes to this day.
- A true piece of motorcycle history
- Great performer
- Maintenance every 4,000 miles
BMW R1150GS Adventure
The BMW R1150GS Adventure is heavy, pricey, relatively slow, and jokingly called "Agriculture" instead of Adventure as its durability matches that of a Porsche-Diesel Super — you know, the legendary Porsche-made tractor that, once bought, only required the most basic maintenance to run forever.
Basically, the R1150GS Adventure is a bigger, jacked-up, heavy-duty version of an already extremely durable R1150GS and is considered the Hummer of the motorbike world — which makes it awesome in every way and incredibly fun for those looking to ride an ultimate round-the-world bike. In other words, just like the aforementioned tractor, it will last you a lifetime.
Finding a bike that's as rugged and reliable as R1150GS Adventure is a real challenge since nearly everything on this bike is made to outlast the competition and perhaps even allow the owner to leave it as an inheritance to someone. It's a well-made bike with hard-wearing metal finishes specifically built for high mileage — as implied by its massive tank range of 205 miles.
When it comes to performance, the bike handles brilliantly, and the wide bars give riders complete control over the bike in bends and turns. Its OEM tires grip like drowning men but considering that the bike was discontinued some time ago, you're likely to buy it used with plenty of miles on it. High mileage shouldn't concern you, as these machines are built for that kind of use and only require an engine rebuilt every 300,000 miles.
Annual mileage varies from 4500 to 7200 miles on average, but even if we double that and round it at 15,000 miles per year, you'll still get 20 years between engine rebuilds. That's an impressive number. But you'll still need to change tires every now and then — more now than then, to be honest — so just mount street-biased Bridgestone Battle Wing BW501/BW502 Radial Tires or dirt-biased Shinko 804 / 805 Big Block Adventure Touring Tires, and the bike is ready for the road.
To be entirely honest, its engine isn't on the super-powerful side, but it's more than able, reliable, and according to users, perhaps even bulletproof. With everything said, owners really like their R1150GS Adventures, and most of them take really good care of a very grateful machine. Add in the cult-following this bike had amassed over the years, and you'll understand why these machines still command such high prices.
Ultimately, equipped with the right set of tires, the BMW R1150GS Adventure is a fantastic bike that will serve you well for years to come, regardless of the terrain — it handles both the pavement and the dirt/mud really well.
- Extremely durable
- Superb handling
- Nearly indestructible engine
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley