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MV AGusta 600 tourismo

Ugly Motorcycles - reader nominations

(May-June 2020)

by Guy 'Guido' Allen

More motorcycles hit with the proverbial ugly stick

It seems our 10 Ugly Motorcycles feature from the other day hit a string of nerves, with several readers chiipping in their nominations. See the original feature here.

BMW K1

A few people, including Ian Lihou and Colin Jay, nominated MV Agusta's 600 Tourismo (top pic) of the sixties. Clearly it made an impression to be remembered over 50 years later! BMW's K1 (above) was also a popular nomination.

Others were a little appalled at some of the nominations in the original story, with PK Farrell offering: "Oh dear. Some of my most sought-after bikes are on this list. Munch springs to mind. Spent hours drooling over one in Elizabeth st back in the late 80s in Cycle Gear's window. The Moto 6.5 I wanted. There are more on the list but I best stop!"

Munch Mammut

Funny thing is, the fact a bike made it to the list doesn't mean I wouldn't own one. The Munch (above) is a great example.

Others were somewhat less charitable and wanted to see the list extended - by a lot! Phil Pilgrim was a good example: "Ducati 860 GTE, followed by Suzuki 750 water bottle with 'salad roll' dash, same on Suzuki rotary which is also ugly as a hatful of arse holes, BMW K series brick or the 750 brick bat, any Victory with Arlen Ness styling, Suzuki Ram Air models, Phil Reid Honda GB to name a few...

"I almost forgot Dneiper, Cossack, Ural..."

Meanwhile Mr G added this thoughtful list:

BMW Montauk

1    BMW R1200C Montauk
Great motorcycles are usually named after racetracks or mythical beasts. Montauk is an obscure little island off the US coast. Its only claim to fame is as the location of Andy Warhol's beach house. So its fitting that the bike designed by the work experience kid at BMW should have a fugly name to match its hideousness. Even an appearance in a James Bond movie couldn't make it sexy. Its awful. Almost as awful as the...

BMW Scarver


2    BMW Scarver
Once again the work experience kid got to flex his creative muscles, this time taking the equally stupidly named ‘Funduro’ and creating a road version. And what does Scarver mean, anyway? This abomination of a motorcycle thankfully sold in such small numbers as to not pollute the visual environment.
But the Italians are no strangers to applying the ugly stick either, case in point...

Moto Guzzi Centauro


3 Moto Guzzi Centauro
In the early 1990s, Moto Guzzi decided to finally enter the 20th century with a fuel injected OHC 8 valve fire breather, assisted ably by Yank racer Dr John. The result was a beautifully clothed masterpiece, the Daytona. Not being a company to rest on their laurels, Guzzi decided to make the most of the superb engine and chassis and strip all the pretty bits off and douse the whole thing in molten plastic. To add a further insult, the resultant blob, the Centauro, was painted a garish purple and silver, or black and yellow. Great bike, ugly as a dugong in a clown suit.

Ducati 600TL


4    Ducati 600TL
In the late 1970s Ducati came up with a new motor, a belt drive OHC version of their v twin which still powers the modern Scrambler. So impressed were they that they clothed the motor in one of the prettiest bikes ever, the Pantah. The Pantah is the most underrated of all classic Ducatis, nimble and sharp as a tack. Who’s idea was it then to make a touring version, the TL? They took a Pantah and applied all of the ugliest bits of plastic they could find, and then put a seat on it that would accommodate three fat people. Then applied some graphics. like that would fix it.
Finally...

Victory Vision


5    Victory Vision
A prize winner in the ‘what were they thinking?’ hall of fame, the Victory Vision looks like George Barris’ nightmare. I have never seen one in the flesh, I imagine anyone who bought one would be embarrassed to ride it in public. Flash Gordon’s motorcycle? I particularly loathed the big V shaped taillight. Thankfully Victory is no more. If the Vision is the future of motorcycles, I want no part.

My response: Some interesting nominations there. BMW just completely lost the plot there, particularly with the whole cruiser series of that era. I’d also forgotten the Scarver, which was a shocker.


Moto Guzzi Centauro I was always a bit torn by…ugly but I kinda like the confronting nature. Weird thing to ride.


Ducati 600TL…did any escape being converted to Pantahs? I suspect not, since it was a way of instantly doubling its value.


Victory Vision - utterly, utterly out there. Surprisingly though, it was very good at what it was intended for.

Right, having upset owners across myriad brands and nations, we're going to retire to our bunker...

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