25 Truly Awful Motorcycle Names

Hell For Leather, HFL -

By

king-dick-motorcycle

Many of today’s motorcycle manufacturers spend a lot of time, money and effort researching names for their new bikes. There are consumer groups and market evaluation and demographic studies all created to ensure that whatever the final version is called, it reflects the brand, offends nobody and is easily understood. Here’s some that didn’t work out so well.

In return we get some pretty average motorcycle names or, in most cases, just numbers on a new bike, as we now live in a carefully manipulated, homogenous world where conformity is everything. There just doesn’t seem to be much room anymore for eccentricity in bike names.

That I think is a real shame as there have been some truly tremendous motorcycle names that are so off the wall, either because the marketing men were taking something highly illegal in the creative process, or there was a real naivety on their part as to what they were doing. I like to think it was probably a combination of both.

You can’t just point the finger at the Japanese or Asian manufacturers for coming up with weird names, because here in the U.S. and in Europe there were some truly mind-boggling names for bike companies with some of them calling their motorcycles very, very strange things.

My all time favorite is Abingdon Motorcycles, a British concern, which produced in the early 1900s a series of really innovative and well-engineered bikes, developed telescopic suspension and supplied big four-stroke engines to the likes of Invicta and Ariel.

But, in 1926, some bright spark decided to re-name the company and all of its bikes. So, for the next seven years you could buy a selection of 147cc to 350cc motorcycles called the “Abingdon King Dick.”

I am not sure, but in ultra-conservative 1930s England, going around telling everyone you had a King Dick was probably not considered good form.

Unfortunately, like all good things, King Dick motorcycles came to halt and the firm, which is still in business today, sadly went back to just machining and manufacturing what it felt it was best at, “King Dick Tools.”

Then there are some names that make me scratch my head and ask what on earth where they thinking? Hodaka Motorcycles of the 1960s was a joint Japanese and U.S. business concern that cashed in on the then new off-road motorcycle craze. By all accounts it made some pretty decent bikes that are still much prized today.

Back then in the late 1960s, if you were prepared to hand over your money, you got to choose from the Super Rat, the Road Toad, the Thunderdog, the Dirt Squirt, the Wombat, the Combat Wombat and the Super Combat.

I am not sure of the differences between any of them but they all sound simply terrific. But precisely who in the Hodaka marketing department came up with these names and why and more importantly I want to know who signed them all off as great ideas?

cagiva elefant

The Italians surprisingly have played it pretty straight-laced with the names of their bikes over the years, but they did go down the route of trying to attract the American market and we ended up with the Ducati Indiana, the Aprilia Shiver in 2009 and the Cagiva Elefant Lucky Strike. I’m still looking for an alleged Bimota Midwesterner that a friend of mine swears exists.

Who can forget the Suzuki Tempter? This was the launched in 1983 as the GR650 but for some inexplicable reason the Japanese decided to rechristen it the Tempter just for the U.S. market. Honda as always has played it safe. There was though the DN01, an automatic big tourer that was not hugely popular and which some wags swiftly christened the “Don’t Own One.”

At the turn of the century in the U.S. you could buy a Thor motorcycle, which I think is a great name for a bike. The company originally supplied engine parts to Indian motorcycle before going into making its own bikes and then rapidly going bust. Flying Merkel was another that started out well and was considered a serious alternative to Harley-Davidson in the early pioneering years of motorcycling. Fast, strong and very well built but unfortunately it went the way of Thor as well.

You used to be able to buy a Genial-Lucifer in France in the 1920s and there was also a French brand known as the New Motorcycle, which I am sure caused problems when people asked you what bike you rode. Over in Germany you once had the choice of a Snob, an Anker or a Stahl. Sadly all gone now. As too has the Satan Motorcycle Company in Czechoslovakia along with Belgium’s Lady motorcycle.

Perhaps all of these names disappearing form motorcycles is a good thing. Some of them today do sound pretty ludicrous. Suzuki found this out no so long ago when it launched the Gladius SVF650 and then realized as a name it was never going to take off and this year reverted back to calling it the plain SVF650.

However, I’m told there is a scooter somewhere out there called the Smash – but just available in Asian markets – along with another that’s called the Giggle. Now those are two on my list of weird motorcycle names that I am definitely going to have to find.

  • Clint Keener

    People scooters.

  • Richard Gozinya

    I’ve always found V-Rod Muscle to be far too phallic. Though I suppose Monster could also apply to that, at least the Monster’s name is honest.

    • BigRooster69

      I think HD uses rejected condom names for their bikes: Fatbob, Nightrod, WideGlide, ElectraGlide

      • Richard Gozinya

        They actually really missed out on the fun with the Muscle. All the other V-Rods have Rod in the name. V-Rod, Street Rod, Night Rod, Night Rod Special. Then all the sudden the Muscle comes along, and it’s just a muscle, without a rod. Sure, it’s already a pretty blatantly phallic thing, but once you go that far, is calling it the Muscle Rod really going too far?

      • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

        The “Low” jokes write themselves.

  • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

    The Genuine Buddy is sold elsewhere in the world as the PGO Bubu.

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    Still some wacky names today. Sachs MadAss, for instance.

    • BigRooster69

      GasGas always seemed like a goofy name to me.

  • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

    I wish there were more names on Japanese bikes. As dumb as it may be, the alphabet soup of letters and numbers just doesn’t mean much to me on bikes from the Big 4 and I think it’s part of the reason they get accused of being “cookie cutter”. (Likely from guys who’ve never ridden them.) The first bike I ever fell in love with as a kid was the Honda Hurricane 1000, and it was moving. Later, the Valkyrie and Super Blackbird XX. Reading alphanumerics that may as well be random characters on license plates just doesn’t excite me.

    • BryonCLewis

      Suzuki B(urger)-King

      • http://ericrshelton.com/ Eric R. Shelton

        LOL! I must be one of the only people who actually like that bike. I think it looks like an Autobot.

        • BryonCLewis

          I’m allowed to make fun of it:

          • thepierced

            I’ve always thought this beast was just awesome. Only those who know what’s beneath the ugly-stick exterior would really appreciate it.

      • Scottie Ray Smith

        Just sold mine. It was an awesome ride.

    • thepierced

      I agree wholeheartedly. Perhaps this why many riders give their bikes personalized names? That certainly played into the naming of my first bike, a 1976 CJ360T that I call “Vanity”.

      I like my Suzuki Bandit (2007 GSF1250SA).

      Kind of a shame that the newer GSX1250FA didn’t continue with the name. It’s the same bike with slightly modified fairings, headlights, and instrument cluster. Some bean counter/marketing guru must have figured out that they could sell more if it didn’t have a soul.

    • Damo Von Vinland

      Don’t forget

      CBR1000rr = Fireblade
      Honda VTR1000F Superhawk = Firestorm

  • Walter Sims

    I used to have an Austrian bike that had ‘White Power’ shocks.

    • appliance5000

      Those are the WPs used on KTMs. Bad name for an Austrian company.

      • Walter Sims

        Yup. In 1999, if you looked hard, you could find the small print on the manual that said, ‘White Power’.
        Clearly, they knew to play it down and eventually they changed the name to WP.

        • Jimboecv

          White Power. In the ’80′s they were imported by a company called White Brothers. Twin brothers ran the company and their last name is White. I bought a tee-shirt that actually said white power under the logo, crazy.
          I think they make mountain bike stuff now but I could be wrong on that.

  • uberbox

    I do miss some of the cool naming stuff from Honda. Why won’t Honda call the CBR1000RRRRC-ABS the Fireblade here in the USA? Bikes like the (as mentioned) Super Blackbird XX, Hurricane, and the Superhawk–those were evocative names that meant something. True they sounded a bit like a middle-school aged boy dreamt them up but they had an much stronger identity amongst non-motorcyclist and riders alike.

    Kawasaki has the name game going pretty well still. The Ninja family has become so ubiquitous that many casual observers of this industry use it to refer to sport-bikes the way Kleenex refers to facial tissues. The Versys and Concours are also brilliant names because they also evoke notions of something they are or do. Sorry but NC700X just sounds like a budget Laptop from Lenovo.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      First sport bike I fell in love with was the Hurricane. And the Blackbird remains a gentlemen’s rocket. Time to go spend some time with Craigslist.

    • Piglet2010

      I am disappointed that Honda dropped the Deauville name when they briefly imported the NT700V (and yes, I am one of 17 people in North America that bought a “Dullsville”).

  • John

    V-Strom. Bloody AWFUL name.

    V-STORM? Not bad. It’s actually how I read it for awhile.

    • Mykola

      Imagine an alternate reality where Suzuki’s PR team never misspelled V-Storm as V-Strom. More people realize it is the greatest bike in the universe, BMW’s GS models never really take off, the 90-degree water-cooled V-twin becomes the American way, etc. etc.

      • Piglet2010

        I cringed when a local dealer listed a “Suzuki V-Storm” (sic) on their website.

  • John

    Wait, wait I think I have the winner. Not kidding.

    The Honda CB Unicorn Dazzler.

    http://allaboutbikes.in/honda-india-removes-cb-unicorn-dazzler-from-market/

  • kinscore

    For sale: New Motorcycle. Used.

    There were also, it seems, both a motorcycle and a car called New Map Baby.

    http://buyvintage1.wordpress.com/page-163-1955-lambretta-ld-125cc/

    http://www.microcar.org/carspecs/newmapbaby.html

  • Robert Horn

    The concept bike had a supercharger, hence “Boost King”.

    It should have kept the supercharger rather than the name.

    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/suzu/suzuki_boost_king.htm

    • MichaelEhrgott

      Ah. Good to know. That always bugged me for some reason. Thanks!

    • Kr Tong

      I always figured it was ‘Busa-King

  • Chester

    Here in Japan you can get a Yamaha BJ, the Cute, the bobby or the Mint. The Honda Humming, the Topic or the Naughty Dax. The Suzuki Hi or Love.

  • gregory

    Here in Korea, from Daelim
    you get the Roadwin (sport bike), the Daystar (cruiser), the S1, S2 and
    the S3 (maxi-scooters), the Besbi (traditional Vespa knock-off), the
    Citi Ace (a Honda Cub knock-off) and the B-Bone (off road scooter).

    From S&T Motors (formerly Hyosung) you get the ST7 and the
    Mirage (cruisers), the Comet (sports bike), the RT and the RX (off road
    and super moto), the MegaJet (maxi-scooter), the REV, the Viva, the
    Tini, the New Tini (all various scooters), the Escort (a Honda Cub knock-off) and the Wow (a quad).

    The names are the same in Korean as well as in English, and, no, the words don’t mean anything in Korean, either.

    -g

  • Faysal Itani

    Funduro, anyone? Love the bike (I ride one), but the name…

  • Larry
    • Sean Tempère

      Or the Dink Street, or the Grand Dink.
      Dinks for everyone!

  • Daniel

    I always thought the Kawasaki “Eliminator” was a funny name.

    • Blixa

      I rode a horribly dented Eliminator 125 in my MSF class. The name is definitely not encouraging.

      • Piglet2010

        The motorcycle designed to eliminate fun!

  • Ian W

    India is the place to go for bike names. Winner has to be the Honda ‘Unicorn Dazzler’
    http://www.honda2wheelersindia.com/dazzler/

    Not masculine enough for you? How about a Hero Hunk?
    http://www.heromotocorp.com/en-in/the-bike/hunk-42.html

    Something with a bit more character? You must be looking for a Hero Karizma!
    http://www.heromotocorp.com/en-in/the-bike/karizma-43.html

    Or a Super Splendor?
    http://www.heromotocorp.com/en-in/the-bike/super-splendor-57.html

    Or a ‘Glamour’?, ‘Passion Pro’? In fact most of the Hero range is… errr…..different

    • Mykola

      Trying to browse Indian Honda’s page reminds me of 56k dial-up. The little (excuse me if I’m wrong) flash-animated shimmers and such is charming; the load times are not.

  • http://www.twowheelsplus.com/ Anders

    I’ve always had a problem with the Intruder

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      I’ve got some Teknic Violator boots that I feel the same way about.

  • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

    Burger King.
    Boulevard King.
    BRO-KING?

  • Ray

    Nobody has yet mentioned Hodaka?

    • Tim Watson

      i did in the column…

      • Ray

        You did. My bad, dunno how I missed it. Over-eager scrolling?

  • james sybert

    suzuki savage…bad name for a sub-30 hp cruiser imo.

  • luxlamf

    Even though I love my bike I do find the name of it Horrid and stupid, VROD appears to be a name created when someone lost a bet and I cringe to this day when people ask “What is that bike called?” I usually answer “Unfortunately its called a VROD but I call it Frankenstein” and find it quite funny how many people drape themselves in clothing and patches and other nonsense with big “V”s on them or jackets that actually say VROD on them 6-7 times. Apparently they are not aware of the David Puddy character on Seinfeld that described these type of people to a tee.

  • Mister X

    HODAKA’s rock! My first bike was a ’69 Ace 100B I rode in high school (’70) until it was stolen and I got the basket case X-6 Suzook that I built into a cafe racer.

    And I had a buddy in high school who motocrossed a Hodaka Super Rat and later a new Combat Wombat (circa 1971/72).

    Today I was just visiting a buddy who has 2 Hodaka’s and his cousin was visiting and he brought his vintage original condition lime green, Road Toad.

    While Hodaka is a strange name, I always thought that Bultaco was a funnier name for a motorcycle company.

  • HammSammich

    Doesn’t Kymco make a scooter called the People? It’s like the soylent green of motor-vehicles…”It’s people!!! You’re riding people!!!!!!”

  • Kevin Philippines

    How about the Honda Scoopy? http://www.hondaph.com/showcase/scoopy