If you are looking for a motorcycle you’ll find that they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You can be short or tall and the ride can be fast like a rocket or slow like a turtle but there will be a bike for you. Most the time, motorcycles are quite affordable but then there are the very few that can cost you literally an arm and a leg. Most of the time more money equals better performance but don’t open that checkbook just yet. Even if you have the money to burn here are a few bikes we think you should avoid at all costs.
Suzuki AEM Carbon Fiber Hayabusa
The Suzuki Hayabusa was released in 1999 and immediately claimed the title of the world’s fastest production motorcycle, reaching speeds of over 188 miles per hour, a distinction it still holds to this day. And in spite of the tire-shredding speeds it’s capable of, it’s still reported to be a well-behaved road bike. But for some people, the words “well-behaved” means that Suzuki left something on the production floor, and those people won’t stop till they get more. Which is where the AEM Carbon Fiber Hayabusa comes in. The carbon fiber Hayabusa is just that: a Hayabusa where as many parts as possible have been made with carbon fiber. This reduces weight significantly, but adds to the price even more. Where a regular Hayabusa can be had for just over $15,000 new, the carbon fiber Hayabusa will set you back over $160,000…which is about $150,000 more performance than most people will ever need.
MV Agusta F4 CC
The F4 CC is a limited edition 200 horsepower Italian superbike that retails at $120,000. It is just one of a whole stable of F4 bikes made by MV Agusta since 1999, all of which are beautiful visions on two wheels. Designed to not only look good, but also race, the F4s can tear up the track with the best of them. But don’t think the F4 CC is representative of the group. While the CC outclasses the earlier models considerably, the later production models have almost identical stats, but with a much healthier price tag. The 2011 RR model, for example, retails for just over $26,000, actually offers slightly more horsepower, and makes the F4 CC look like a good way to waste money.
Confederate B120 Wraith
The B120 Wraith is extolled for its unique design and construction, which incorporates carbon fiber and other materials in new and unusual ways. But there’s only one catch: it’s really ugly. A creation of Confederate Motorcycles, the Wraith is an attempt to redefine what a motorcycle should be, and that’s to be applauded. Unfortunately while the design innovation is no doubt unique, it is also totally graceless. Looking more like a collection of distracted doodles than a finished design, the circles, curves, and other shapes don’t so much compliment, as just kinda hang out near each other. And the back end appears to have been completely forgotten after the rear wheel was sketched in. Appearance aside, the Wraith has other issues, not least a 1966 cc engine that generates a slightly pathetic 125 horsepower. That’s a huge engine for a motorcycle, but they must have chosen it for how it looked on the bike, because it’s certainly not doing much work. Confederate Motorcycles were asking $92,000 for the B120 Wraith, and at that price, you’d think they would throw in a windscreen and a couple of fairings.
Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship
Good reasons for a high price tag on a motorcycle are high quality, great performance, and amazing design. A bad reason is that some guy painted all over it. But that’s what happened to one poor Harley Davidson V-rod that may never allow itself to appear in public again. So-called artist Jack Armstrong, a self described “Cosmic Extensionalist,” painted the hog in a garish yellow and red color scheme, then slapped a $1 million price tag on it. A V-rod normally retails for around $16,000, so that unnecessary layer of casually applied paint costs $984,000. Surely if anyone is a fan of both Harley Davidson motorcycles and Jack Armstrong paintings, they could just buy the bike and the painting separately. Then they can have the pleasure of owning both a classic American work of art, and an incentive to get out of the house and ride it as much as possible.
Ecosse Spirit ES1
The exotically named Ecosse Spirit was the brainchild of McLaren F1 designer Dick Glover, who with the help of Farrari F1 designer Andy le Fleming aimed to revolutionize the development of high performance motorbikes by incorporating F1 design methodologies. The aim was to achieve significant aerodynamic improvements by repackaging the internal layout to allow the bike and rider to fit together in a narrower aerodynamic profile. The project was announced with great fanfare in 2007 and promised to slash lap times by reducing weight and drag. But despite initial excitement and interest, after several years the only bike the team had produced was a non-functioning wind tunnel test model. And while it’s a bit of a tragedy that such an awesome concept never really saw the light of day, at a projected price of $3.6 million, it would have been a complete waste of money.
MTT Y2K Turbine Streetfighter
There are two ways to make a motorcycle faster: make it as light and as aerodynamic as possible…or forget that and put a jet engine in it. Which is what Marine Turbine Technologies decided to do when they built the Y2K. MTT initially used a rebuilt Rolls Royce-Allison model 250-C18 gas turbine engines producing 320 horsepower, before upgrading to a 420 horsepower version in the next generation Streetfighter model. Unlike previous jet powered bikes, the Y2K doesn’t have the ability to burn holes in nearby vehicles, because the power is routed through a conventional two speed gearbox to the rear wheel like an ordinary bike. So apart from a very loud and distinctive wail, the Y2K is otherwise fairly normal…if you think of a road legal bike hitting 227 miles per hour as “normal.” The price tag of $175,000 is somewhat mitigated by the Streetfighter’s unusual ability to consume whatever fuel you happen to have lying around. But if you’re able to spend the cash equivalent of a new house on a two wheeled crotch rocket, fuel prices probably aren’t your first concern.
The Dodge Tomahawk is a concept motorcycle that saw limited production, but was never actually street legal, and that’s a really good thing. Because the Tomahawk is to motorcycles what the screaming four year old in the supermarket is to well behaved kids: a very annoying and pointless cry for attention. The bike is a mashup of ideas that belong on a car, including the V10 engine from a Dodge Viper, two wheels instead of one at the front and back, and a literally impossible claimed top speed of 420 miles per hour on a bike with no screen, or any actual aerodynamic considerations to speak of. Thees are all features that can be explained by the fact that Dodge doesn’t make bikes, and the only way they can is by designing a car then making it narrower. This bike was originally built as a concept vehicle for publicity purposes, but replicas were eventually made and sold for $555,000 each. According to Forbes, up to ten replicas were intended to be sold. But how many actually left the factory is unknown. There can’t be that many prepubescent boys with half a million dollars to burn.