Motorcycle Trends, What's The Most Popular? Trends Over Time

Feb 12, 2024

Tags:motorcycle trendsmost popularguide

group of motorcycle riders driving on a twisty road motorcycle trends over time most popular

Before we get started, we wanted to mention that this isn’t an inclusive list. Otherwise, this would probably be one of the longest blogs you’ve ever read. We hope to shed some light on motorcycle trends over the years, and some of the most popular motorcycle models by type across many loved manufacturers. 

Most popular motorcycle? Ha! That's like asking which star shines brightest! Trends come and go fast, but one thing's for sure: motorcycles are as thrilling as ever. Dive with us into the dynamic world of two-wheeled trends, from vintage roadsters to futuristic beasts, and meet some of the most beloved models from iconic manufacturers. This isn’t your Grandpa's biker bar chat - it's a high-octane journey through the ever-evolving landscape of motorcycles!

What you’ll find in this blog if you keep reading:

What’s the most popular motorcycle of all time?

Determining the single most popular motorcycle of all time is a bit tricky, as popularity can be measured in different ways:

Sales: In terms of pure sales numbers, the clear winner is the Honda SuperCub. With over 100 million units sold since its 1958 debut, it's the best-selling motorcycle ever made. Its reliability, affordability, and ease of use have made it a global phenomenon.

Cultural Impact: Looking at cultural impact, bikes like the Harley-Davidson with its American biker image or the Triumph Bonneville with its iconic British cafe racer style come to mind. They've transcended mere transportation, becoming symbols of freedom, rebellion, and individuality.

Historical Significance: For historical significance, bikes like the BMW R 1250 GS or the Honda Africa Twin are recognized pioneers in the adventure motorcycle category. They opened the world of off-road exploration and long-distance touring for countless riders.

Ultimately, declaring a single "most popular" motorcycle depends on how you define popularity. Different bikes claim the top spot depending on the criteria, whether it's sheer sales figures, cultural influence, or historical impact.

Motorcycle Trends Over the Years

Early days (1900s - 1950s):

picture of a indian motorcycle early 20th century motorcycle trends of the years most popular

  • Birth of the modern motorcycle: From humble beginnings with clunky engines and rudimentary frames, motorcycles evolved into powerful machines capable of speed and distance.
  • Emphasis on practicality: Motorcycles served essential roles as personal and utilitarian vehicles used for transportation, work, and even warfare.
  • Iconic classics emerge: Models like the Harley-Davidson flathead and the Triumph Bonneville establish enduring legacies, shaping the look and feel of motorcycles for decades.

Post-war boom (1950s - 1970s):

picture of a 1960s triumph triton cafe racer motorcycle trends over the years most popular

  • Rise of performance: Technological advancements unleash a horsepower race, with manufacturers pushing the limits of speed and handling.
  • Birth of cafe racers: A DIY culture in Britain transforms used bikes into stripped-down, performance-focused machines.
  • Japanese manufacturers: Japanese manufacturers enter the fray, offering reliable and affordable bikes that challenge European dominance. 

Diversification and specialization (1970s - 1990s):

picture of a 1980s kawasaki motorcycle motorcycle trends over the years most popular

  • Advent of niche categories: Adventure bikes, cruisers, sport-touring models, and off-road specialists cater to diverse riding styles and terrains.
  • Focus on comfort and technology: Features like electronic ignition, suspension improvements, and wind protection enhance rider comfort and safety.
  • Environmental concerns: The rise of emissions regulations leads to cleaner engines and fuel efficiency improvements.

Modern era (2000s - present):

  • Sustainability in the spotlight: Electric motorcycles and hybrid options emerge, offering eco-friendly alternatives.
  • Connected motorcycles: Advanced technology like rider aids, GPS navigation, and smartphone integration become commonplace.
  • Personalization trend: Emphasis on customization, with aftermarket parts and accessories allowing riders to tailor their bikes to their unique preferences.

Looking ahead:

picture of an electric motorcycle motorcycle trends most popular

  • Continued diversification: New niches like electric adventure bikes and urban mobility scooters will likely emerge.
  • Focus on safety and technology: Advanced rider assistance systems and autonomous features might become more prevalent.
  • Sustainable solutions: The development of cleaner electric and hybrid powertrains will gain importance

Popular Chopper Motorcycles

picture of a custom chopper motorcycle most popular motorcycle trends

Choppers, with their extended forks and laid-back attitude, have captivated riders for decades. Harley-Davidson is a mainstay, but brands like Big Bear and Big Dog built wild custom choppers, while Honda's Fury proved factory-built choppers could be cool. Customization has always been key, from chopped fenders to intricate chrome. Popular models include Harley's Fat Boy, Big Bear's Athena, and Honda's Fury.

For more information on the best choppers, visit HERE

Popular Cruiser Motorcycles

stock photo of a honda rebel 500 most popular motorcycle trends

  • Honda Rebel 300 & 500
  • Kawasaki Vulcan
  • Honda Shadow
  • Diavel V4
  • Triumph Speedmaster
  • Suzuki Boulevard
  • Yamaha V Star
  • Yamaha Star Bolt
  • BMW R18 
  • Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

For more information on the best cruisers, visit HERE

Popular Bobber Motorcycles

stock photo of a harley davidson fat bob motorcycle trends most popular

  • Indian Scout Bobber Sixty
  • Triumph Bonneville Bobber
  • Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114
  • Harley-Davidson Fat Bob
  • Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse

Popular Touring Motorcycles

stock photo of a kawasaki ninja h2 sx se lime green motorcycle trends most popular

  • Harley-Davidson Road Glide
  • Harley-Davidson Street Glide
  • Honda Gold Wing
  • Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited CVO
  • BMW k1600gt
  • Indian Pursuit Limited
  • Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE
  • BMW R 1250 RT
  • Ducati Multistrada V4

For more information on the best touring motorcycles, visit HERE.

Popular Sportbikes

stock photo of a suzuki gsx r750 sport bike motorcycle trends most popular

  • Ducati Panigale V4
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 / R3
  • Honda CBR600RR
  • Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R or Ninja 400
  • Suzuki GSX-R750
  • Aprilia RS 660
  • KTM RC8C
  • BMW S 1000 XR

Popular Adventure Motorcycles

stock photo of a royal enfield himalayan adventure motorcycle most popular motorcycle trends

  • Honda CRF300L Rally
  • Royal Enfield Himalayan
  • Yamaha Tenere 700
  • Suzuki V-Strom 650XT
  • KTM 890 Adventure R
  • BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
  • Honda Africa Twin

Popular Café Racers

stock picture of a husqvarna vitpilen 401 cafe racer motorcycle trends most popular

  • Triumph Thruxton 1200 RS
  • Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
  • Yamaha XSR900
  • MV Agusta Superveloce 800
  • Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport PRO
  • Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer
  • Husqvarna Vitpilen 701/401
  • Honda CB650R

For more information on the best cafe racers, visit HERE. 

Popular Three-Wheel Motorcycles

stock picture of a can-am spyder f3 motorcycle trends most popular

  • Can-Am Spyder F3
  • Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
  • Polaris Slingshot
  • Piaggio MP3 Yourban/500
  • Honda Gold Wing Trike
  • Morgan Three Wheeler Super 3
  • Campagna T-Rex RR

For more information on the best three-wheeled motorcycles, visit HERE

Popular Custom Motorcycle Builders of Our Generation

  • Roland Sands: A legend in the industry, Sands' designs are known for their clean lines, performance focus, and timeless appeal. He has built bikes for celebrities like Keanu Reeves and Brad Pitt.
  • GRID Cycles/Purpose Built Moto: This Austin, Texas-based shop is known for its minimalist, modern cafe racers and scramblers. Their bikes are often featured in magazines and have won numerous awards.
  • Kott Motorcycles: Based in Portland, Oregon, Kott specializes in transforming vintage bikes into stunning cafe racers and bobbers. Their work is known for its attention to detail and unique touches.
  • Revival Cycles: This Austin, Texas, shop is known for its high-quality restorations and custom builds. They specialize in British bikes like Triumphs and Nortons.
  • NYC Norton: As the name suggests, this New York City shop specializes in restoring and customizing Norton motorcycles. Their work is known for its precision and historical accuracy.
  • Deus Ex Machina: This Australian-born brand has shops worldwide, including Venice, Milan, and Bali. They are known for their laid-back, surf-inspired aesthetic and their high-quality custom builds.
  • Auto Fabrica: This Spanish shop is known for its futuristic and innovative designs. They often use cutting-edge materials and technologies in their builds.
  • Thornton Hundred Motorcycles: This British shop specializes in building high-performance cafe racers and scramblers. Their bikes are known for their clean lines and attention to detail.
  • Rough Crafts: This Japanese shop is known for its wild and creative designs. They often push the boundaries of what a motorcycle can be.
  • Death Machines of London: This British shop builds dark and brooding custom choppers. Their bikes are often works of art, with intricate details and unique finishes.

Rent the Most Popular Motorcycles on Riders Share

Riders Share is the ultimate platform for motorcycle riders to rent and experience the most sought-after bikes. Whether you're a seasoned rider craving the exhilarating power of a Ducati Panigale V4 (insert image of Ducati Panigale V4) or a curious newcomer eager to cruise down the coast on a Harley-Davidson Road Glide (insert image of Harley-Davidson Road Glide), Riders Share has the perfect ride for you.

With an extensive selection of motorcycles from top brands like Harley, Honda, Yamaha, BMW, and Triumph, you can find a bike that matches your style and budget. Plus, Riders Share's transparent pricing and flexible booking options make it easy to plan your dream motorcycle adventure. So ditch the four wheels and hit the open road on two – the perfect motorcycle adventure awaits on Riders Share.

Conclusion

Whether you're a seasoned rider with miles or a curious newcomer drawn to the thrill of two wheels, this blog has hopefully ignited your passion for motorcycles. We've traversed the bustling highways of motorcycle history, peeked into the garages of iconic manufacturers, and explored the diverse avenues of this dynamic world.

Remember, there's no single "most popular" motorcycle. That crown depends on your definition of popularity - raw sales figures, cultural impact, historical significance, or personal preference. Each bike, from the humble SuperCub to the roaring Panigale V4, tells a story, embodies a spirit, and offers a unique riding experience.

As we look to the future, the motorcycle landscape continues to evolve, embracing sustainability, technology, and personalization. Electric machines will likely carve new paths, while connected features and advanced rider aids will enhance safety and comfort. But one thing remains constant: the thrill of the open road, the wind in your hair, and the sense of freedom that only a motorcycle can offer.

So, buckle up, choose your poison, and hit the asphalt. The world is your oyster - or should we say, your highway. Explore, experiment, and discover your own definition of "most popular" motorcycle. After all, the journey is just as important as the destination.