There are absolutely cracking bikes about today, but some bikes in the past were scuppered by being overpriced, marketed to the wrong audience, released at the same time as a more exciting model or simply when not in fashion.
These are my top underrated bikes;
-BMW R1100s (hybrid cam assy, modern & old skool design working well together)
-Honda AX-1 (modern 4 stroke 250's aren't much better in power or weight than this late 80s design!?!)
-Aprilia Futura RST1000 (dry sump, twin balance shafts, looks, genuine vfr beater)
-Sachs Roadster 800 (jap cruiser engine with great handling & timeless looks. Could be a poor man's Diavel)
-Cagiva navigator 1000 (TL1000 engine in an adventure bike chassis)
-Yamaha TRX850 (a "bitsa" bike that is greater than the sum of its parts)
-Yamaha szr660 (unique combo of a single cyl engine in a genuine sports chassis)
What are your favourite underrated bikes & why?
I'm riding a TDM900a that replaced my VFR750FL and is an easy match for it with a better riding position. I love it even though it is a bit tall for my 5'9".
A bike I always fancied for its spec was the suzuki VX800 V twin shaft drive,a modern version would surely be a winner these days especially if it had an enlarged Gladius engine.
Going back a bit, the CX500.
Everybody slagged them off, especially in the press, and yet (almost) every professional dispatch rider rode one, I did.
Genuine all day rider comfort with a seat that has yet to be bettered.
Dead cheap to run.
For the price especialy, reliability was outstanding (once the traditional Honda cam-chain issues were sorted). I knocked up 45,000 miles on mine without any breakdowns, with only normal sevicing, and much of that was round London. They also ran faultlessly in torrential rain at a time when many/most bikes simply didn't. I fell in love with mine after a memorable 25 hour stint at work, including 2 trips from Basingstoke to London, one to Southampton and an overnight trip to Livingston in Scotland. It rained much of the day and all night, but the bike ran without fault - and I could walk at the end of it all.
Mine survived numerous minor offs in snow/ice/diesel/taxi's etc... without drama or expense.
Despite 'jap crap won't last' taunts from the brit bike owners, many are still in use as hacks to this day.
Truly an unsung hero IMO.
TRX, TDM are good calls. The plastic maggot (CX500) was always well rated by courier dispatch riders!
I'd add R1200R, GSX1100FJ, Deauxville, Buell X1, Diversion 600.
Agree with you on the R1100s. They seem to be sneered at by people who have never ridden one, but they are very capable bikes. Add to that my R1200s. Great bike, loved by most journalists but unloved by the buying public.
I have to agree with Captain Scarlett on the Deauville (i'm biased as I own one)as it is an excellent commuter during the week and can be used as a tourer at the week-ends. As one magazine said this month if you were designing a bike for winter use it would be the Deauville 700.
I would also like to add the Honda CBF1000 & 600 to the list
Another bike that was treated as good only for commuting is the Suzuki SV650s how that bike has made those reporters eat their words ans they now praise it as an all rounder especially in the guise of the DL650 and the Gladius. I had a 2002 model and really loved it and only sold it to my step son after a lot of pressure from him. It took me round France twice in the company of larger bikes and it held its own well. One long stint coming home covered 530 miles and I felt great the next day and I was 66 at the time.
My Kawasaki ZR-7s which I bought in 2001 was a bit of an unsung hero for me. An old-school engine in a modern (Albeit low tech) chassis plus an all-day comfy riding position, nice looking half fairing and cracking fuel economy.
This bike was given a good old beating by the press at the time but I really enjoyed mine. Should have kept it really...
A bike I always fancied for its spec was the suzuki VX800 V twin shaft drive,a modern version would surely be a winner these days...
Exactly! The Sachs Roadster 800 is exactly that. It uses the same engine & drive shaft as the VX800 but adds upside down forks & twin disc brembo brakes (iirk)
Correction. The Sachs 800 roadster has grimeca brakes. How can I be sure?... I've just bought one !!! :) :) :)
I ride a 96 yzf 600r and its starting to show its age. Alot of riders keep telling me to update and that im to tall for it, maybe so but its my daily ride,weekend blast up the twisties and the occasional track day at eastern crk. I have been looking for a bike to upgrade to but aussie roads are pretty rough and you want a reliable machine. So far I havent found anything outstanding thats as reliable as the yamaha. Feel free to let me know of your ideas on possible bikes for taller riders cheers Dave.
twinrivers, what sort of budget and age? For instance, a TDM900 or Tiger 1050 might be worth trying?
Other bikes a little 'under'-rated (even if liked/rated a little), probably include: Thundercat 600, GSX600F, Fazer 600 MK1, NC30, K75C, CB1000R (big one), FJ1200, ZZR11D, and from the current models: Wide Glide, Bonneville, K1300S and VFR12.
I'll second the thundercat. Also, I'm 6'2" & had lots of room on an SV1000s, which the prolific sv650s has pushed into the underrated box
I would also like to add the Honda CBF1000 & 600 to the list
I agree to the that. The CBF1000 may be a no-frill machine, but I have the impression it will last forever. Had it had a shaft drive (one of my obsessions - I live at the end of a graveled road and try to drive most of the year) I would go and buy one right away as a replacement for my still running but tired XJ900F. Insisting on a shaft, you tend to end up in the more expensive adventure marked these days.
y wife is on her 3rd CBF100 which is the latest FA modek and she loves them. When trading in my VFR1200DCT is hard choice between the CBF1000 & the bike that I finally chose which was a Crossrunner. This was mainly because we didn't want to do the "his & hers" thing
I know what you mean about shaft although I have traded my "every day transport" bike which was a Deauville (my 3rd) for the NC700X which has a chain
Donate to the Kevin Ash Fund
Kevin's funeral was held on Thursday 28th February 2013 and was well attended by family, friends and colleagues.
The Telegraph has very kindly established The Telegraph Kevin Ash Fund to assist with the education of Kevin's three daughters.
If you'd like to make a donation then you can use the PayPal 'Donate' button below which will allow you to donate from your PayPal account, or via credit or debit card. A small percentage (about 3.4%) will be retained by PayPal for the service.
Kevin's family have been touched by the generosity and messages of support from people using the website and would like to express their gratitude to those who have contributed in any way.
The donations keep coming in, thank you so much, and the family especially like it when you leave a message.