Jun 01, 2023
10 Best Japanese Motorcycles On The Market
Over the years we have seen some incredible motorcycles come out of Japan, these are the best currently available The nation of islands from the Far East has been through innumerable periods of strife
Over the years we have seen some incredible motorcycles come out of Japan, these are the best currently available
The nation of islands from the Far East has been through innumerable periods of strife and struggle - geographically as well as politically. But their attitude to never give up and the ability to always bounce back - has been an inspiring lesson through time for the rest of us. This also reflects in the automotive products that come from Japan, that are blessed with the ability to just keep on going. The characteristic skill of the Japanese to take up western concepts and minimize them or simplify them further, has also been a strong point for various automotive models from Japan to be considerably successful across the world.
Quite a few Japanese motorcycles have made their mark in history, with legendary products that changed the world's perspective on how we see certain types of motorcycles. With arguably the world's first superbike, the Honda CB750, Japan literally invented the term 'superbike' - opening the floodgates for other manufacturers. Without Japan, we would not see such feats of engineering being released. Even today, Japan offers the most variety in terms of products across all segments in the motorcycling world. We look at ten such models, irrespective of type, price and segment, and talk about what makes them so great in our opinion.
We used data from sites such as MCN, Motorcycle.com and our own internal reviews of models to provide you with relevant information.
Coming from a long lineage of historic enduro machines bred by competition, the Ténéré 700 World Raid for 2023 comes with a 690cc, odd-firing parallel twin that offers higher torque and tractability, paired with a gearbox with optimized ratios to deliver that power effectively. The long-travel front suspension is fully adjustable, while the rear suspension is remotely adjustable. It also comes with a 5-inch TFT display with connectivity features, and can also accommodate a quickshifter as well (Available as an option). ABS is adjustable at 3 different levels, and that is where the electronics end. Overall weight is at 453 pounds dry, which is on the average side.
Revamped styling and design language, versatility and performance. These are the USP's that make the 2022 GSX-S1000GT a noteworthy machine on our list. We love its looks and the features it brings to the table. It also receives a slew of electronics as with the Hayabusa - Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.) technology, including electronic cruise control, traction control and a quickshifter. The optional 25.7 L side cases can be mounted on to the bike's lightweight trellis frame. It also comes with Suzuki's connectivity feature MySpin (Bosch app), enabled through a TFT display that allows for linking one's smartphone to access maps, music, contacts and calls while on the go. The nicely tuned 993cc inline-four puts out an adequate 136 horses and 76 ft-lbs of torque.
Called a "hyper-naked" by its parents, Yamaha introduced this mad bike in 2016, with a detuned version of the crossplane, 270-degree big-bang firing engine from the R1. The result is a naked streetfighter that can keep up with the best on the road, and remain safe and engaging enough for riders across all levels. The engine in this state of tune produces an adequate 163 horses and 83 ft-lbs of torque. The latest models since 2022 (SP version) come with the semi-active suspension and electronic package as the R1M. The frame used is a diamond-type frame that may seem simplistic as compared to the competition, but we trust Yamaha to know what its doing. As a result, this bike weighs just 467 pounds wet, which is rather decent for a liter-class streetfighter of its caliber.
Related: 2022 Yamaha MT-10 - Performance, Price, and Photos
The Rebel 500 remains to be one of Honda's best-selling entry-level cruisers in the U.S., and for good reason. Its fuel-sipping 471cc parallel twin that offers decent amounts of power for long cruises over expressways, elegant styling and bulletproof reliability, make it a rather enticing package for new and intermediate riders alike, looking for their first and second motorcycle respectively. Available in a 300cc version as well as a full-fat, 1100cc parallel twin version that comes with DCT as an option, the Rebel platform offers a good range of versatility and also may serve as a good project bike for people who love to customize their bikes.
Powered by the same 471cc, parallel twin as the Honda Rebel 500 and the CB500R and CB500X, the CBR500R certainly takes notes from its older sibling, the Fireblade in terms of styling at least, and delivers a sportier and exciting package overall when compared to its immediate siblings, while not sacrificing too much of comfort. The aerodynamic fairing also includes specially designed RAM-air intake ducts - A feature that was previously only available on liter-class bikes just a few years ago. Overall, a great and well-balanced entry-level sport bike from Honda.
With nearly 200 BHP of supercharger-backed power coming from the 998cc inline four, combined with a naked form factor that offers minimalism and practicality in a relatively lightweight package, the Z H2 is Kawasaki's rather spicy recipe for a naked streetfighter with a borderline personality. Also assisted by a host of electronic systems such as traction and launch control, quickshifter and a Bosch six-axis IMU to help manage it all, the Z H2 is also remarkably safer to ride, for a bike with such power figures. Electronic cruise control is also on offer, offering a bit of relief for the rider's right wrist over long rides. Three power modes also help better tame the way this bike delivers its abundance of power to the rear wheel.
The Hayabusa has been long known by enthusiasts and laypeople alike - Building a notorious reputation for absolute speed and gargantuan looks. Thankfully, the latest revision of this bike has the proportions rather subtly rethought, but still does manage to look way, way nicer than its predecessor. Powered by the same 1340cc, inline-four (That wouldn't feel out of place in a small car) now puts out a slightly tamer 190 BHP and 103 ft-lbs of torque at the crank. The new Hayabusa has been updated with the times, offering the familiar set of electronic nannies (Suzuki Intelligent Ride System (S.I.R.S.) technology, including electronic cruise control, traction control and a quickshifter) to help keep the bike on two wheels for as long as possible and not break traction unexpectedly.
Related: Suzuki Hayabusa - 25 Years Of The Most Iconic World’s Fastest Motorcycle
The KLR 650 is famous in the motorcycling world for being good at going just about anywhere, in nearly any condition. It does not complain or ask too much in return, nor does it expect to impress the rider with loads of gadgetry and power. It is a simple motorcycle at heart and appreciates a rider that is sure of what he or she wants on a fundamental level. The 2023 Adventure version is the more feature-packed version of the KLR 650 line-up, coming with side cases (a top box can be ordered as well), fog lamps, ABS, the tried-and-tested 650cc parallel-twin and raised windshield as standard, meaning that one can literally buy this off the showroom floor and set off on long journeys without too much fuss. The S version comes with lower ride height to accommodate the more compact-built riders among us.
Retro almost always means good bits lost from the past, brought back to its glory again. And Kawasaki only knows this too well. Combining its super-smooth 948cc inline-four mill with delectable old-school looks that reference it to the Z1 of the old days, this bike may be one of the best-looking motorcycles ever made. Electronics are minimal, with ABS and traction control as standard. A trick slipper clutch also helps with higher-speed downshifts, and Kawasaki says that the stock exhaust has been further tuned for a better sound. Custom-bike vibes from a production motorcycle with a factory warranty? Count us in!
Boasting MotoGP goodies on offer, the new Fireblade SP claims to be an amalgamation of Honda's learnings on the racetrack. The engine has been reworked and lightened using a more compact design for the head, and uses aluminum forged pistons and titanium connecting rods that help shave off 5% and 50% in terms of weight respectively. Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) help the rider dial in preferred settings for power delivery and engine braking while on track. Other notable features include the rather subtle winglets on either side of the side fairings that help generate additional downforce at higher speeds, Öhlin's NPX electronically controlled suspension (Available on the SP version only), and the Akrapovič co-designed titanium exhaust muffler, that uses a valve within the exhaust to alter the back-pressure as per lower or higher speeds, in order to achieve low-end torque or high-speed performance with lower restrictions as per the situation. The new exhaust is also 38% lower in internal volume and weighs a bit lesser as well.
Shravan's obsession with two wheels began in 2007, when he rode his dad's geared, two-stroke Bajaj Chethak scooter for the first time, and couldn't put down the engagement of a motorcycle riding experience since that day.Since then, he has been an avid rider, with sport touring and naked motorcycles being his preferred choices.