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What is the perfect motorbike?

A question that all those serious about motorbikes have asked at some point or other.

Published : 12 January 2019

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A question that all those serious about motorbikes have asked at some point or other.

One man's perfect motorbike may appear to be another man's idea of a terrible motorbike. However the question really is, what is the perfect motorbike to ride in the UK, year round, in all weather, on all road conditions and in all traffic situations?

Too many words, skip to the end.


Harley Davidson, expensive to buy, lovely to cruise on, but only on nice days.

Harley Davidson, expensive to buy, lovely to cruise on, but only on nice days.

Set at an affordable price point, with reliability, economy, safety, service ability, comfort all kept in mind, something every biker could afford to have as their one and only perfect motorbike, that they could use all year, whether it be to nip out for a loaf of bread, or go on a road trip across Europe, should the notion take them; In the full knowledge that it would get them wherever they wanted to go, whilst delivering on economy, comfort and dealing with all road conditions they may be likely to encounter.

A perfect motorbike is something capable of 100,000 miles, 50mpg upwards, wet or dry riding, tarmac, dirt and potholes, comfortable enough to cover 500 miles a day, with good fuel range and not requiring servicing until 6000 mile intervals at minimum. Light enough to buzz through congestion in the town, lift, should you be unlucky enough to drop it, yet powerful enough to cruise at at least 70 mph in the UK and 80 mph in Europe, all day long without blowing up, or screaming the death out of. Air cooled versus liquid cooled? Both have there plus and minus points, but which covers all bases best?



Randomly picking a mid-range motorbike and saying, "yeah 500cc will be ideal", is like motorbike lottery, as the variation in motorbikes of the same cubic capacity is mind blowing. Really the question is, what type and style of engine is the best all rounder, the ability to clock up high mileage, without breakdowns, long service intervals, good economy, ease of maintainability, that is equally as happy and at home, stuck in city centre traffic on a hot summers day, as it is cruising at 70/80 mph on motorways or autobahns, on a grim, damp day.

Suzuki, fun, fast but no use unless the roads are bone dry and warm.

Suzuki, fun, fast but no use unless the roads are bone dry and warm.

The perfect motorbike is one that does it all, does it well, never lets you down, and inspires faith in it to go anywhere at anytime in spite of the weather or the terrain to be covered, and that you can afford to do it on, with the fuel range to do it.

As someone who has been riding motorbikes for 20 years plus, and owns and runs three motorbikes, I can honestly say I am no closer to putting my finger on, or getting a definite answer to this question, I instead opted for the, 'a motorbike for every occasion', solution rather than one perfect motorbike for every occasion, knowing full well that is not the most sensible approach, however knowing I can go outside look at the road and sky and pick the best of my motorbikes for the day. However I'd rather go out and just know I had the only motorbike I ever needed, the perfect motorbike, regardless of what the weatherman is saying to it.

Honda, great for a winter run about<i>, </i>or commuter but underpowered and lacks comfort for long haul journeys.

Honda, great for a winter run about, or commuter but underpowered and lacks comfort for long haul journeys.

So there we have it, no closer to an answer but the cogs turning and the discussion started, what is the best motorbike to own and run, the perfect all round go to, all weather reliable, affordable multi purpose perfect motorbike? Not a heart ruling head choice, not a oh that's the prettiest, but a purely based on the facts choice, ruled by the head only, meeting all the criteria set out.

  • Affordability to buy.
  • Affordability to maintain and run.
  • Service intervals.
  • Fuel range and economy.
  • Ability to be as happy on any road surface, from motorway to dirt track, dry days or wet.
  • Inspires confidence on reliability.
  • Copes with city driving on hot days as well as motorway driving on damp days.
  • Comfortable whether going to the shop down the road or doing a 500 mile a day road trip.
  • Can carry a pillion in comfort.
  • Confirms that you made the right choice every time you start it and go off on your next journey, that you indeed did buy and do own the perfect motorbike.

TL;DR - Conclusion.


All that remains now is for you to come up with your own list, but remembering it must meet all the criteria above. The perfect motorbike for any occasion, not perfect only for one or two reasons, or simply because you like it.
All comments or opinions welcome. As I set out at the start, there may well be no definitive answer to the question, maybe the perfect motorbike is a mythical beast like a unicorn, maybe motor-biking is so personal that no two bikers could ever agree as to which is truly the perfect motorbike, but at least by narrowing it down to a few, it would be a start, its motorbike top trumps, and which one should own the crown of the perfect motorcycle.

The author of this peice has chosen to remain anonymous. If you would like to send me six or so paragraphs on something you would like to say, either as you, or anonymously, you too could be published on the world wide web. Providing of course I can publish your opinion without getting arrested and ending up in jail ;)
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