Can You Identify These Motorcycle Brands You’ll See at the North American Motorcross Show?
By: Ian Fortey
Image: Pexels by Pixabay
About This Quiz
Everyone and their uncle can get around on four wheels, but you know the true adventure is found on two alone. From dirt bike racing to touring, superbikes, adventure bikes and more, if it's on two wheels you're going to find it at the North American International Motorcycle Supershow. It's the perfect mix of hobby, relaxation and sport with the latest in cool technology, the hottest new models and all the brands you've come to know and love. Whether you dig old school power like Harley-Davidson or new school like Boss Hoss, if you're into dirt bikes like TaoTao or a range of everything and then some like you'll get from Husqvarna and Yamaha, this is the place for you. And you know there's going to be representation from all over. The best Italian makers like Benelli, the newest from Japan with Suzuki and even plenty from North America like Can Am and Arch Motorcycles.
If you're into bikes, either offroad or on, this is the place for you. Now let's just see how many of the brands you'll be able to recognize even before you get out to see this year's show. Take the quiz and show your stuff.
Kawasaki has been making Ninjas since 1984. The 4-cylinder Ninja H2 SX has been available since 2017 but the original was the GPZ900R, better known as the Ninja 900. This is the bike that set the bar for most modern sport bikes and has been closely emulated across the board for years.
Do you know which company has been around since 1904?
Beta is an Italian brand that's over 100 years old at this point. It covers an impressive range of bikes including minibikes, trial, alp, motard and enduro. Beta riders have taken home the last three Enduro World Championship titles.
The first bike produced by Yamaha was the YA-1, a copy of a German bike. By 1998, Yamaha was producing the YZ400F, the first mass-produced four-stroke bike for motocross racing. In 2006, it was the first model with titanium suspension springs as well.
Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna makes bikes for pretty much any need, from street bikes to offroad and motocross to minibikes. It's had a presence in racing since the 1930s and Husqvarna riders have taken home more than 70 World Championships over the years.
In the 1990s, which of these companies expanded from racing into street bikes as well?
KTM was officially founded in 1992 but gets its name from Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, the shop run by Austrian engineer Hans Trunkenpolz back in the 1930s. It was the first company to sell competition-ready supermoto bikes.
Pulsar, Avenger and Discover are bikes made by which of these companies?
Indian manufacturer Bajaj produces a fairly extensive line of bikes, though the Pulsar is its flagship model. Manufactured since 2001 you can get about 8 variants of the Pulsar ranging from a 125 cc engine up to a 220 cc.
Honda has been a dominating force in motorcycle production for decades. There was a time when this company was selling over 3 million bikes per year around the world. It still sets the standard in the market both for racing bikes and street bikes. The CRF1000L Africa Twin is considered one of the best bikes ever made.
Which Spanish bike maker closed in 1983 then reopened in 2015?
Bultaco had been manufacturing motorcycles since 1958 but eventually had to close up shop in the late '70s before going out of business entirely in 1983. Then in 2015, it was resurrected, this time as a maker of electric bikes. It currently offers a range of performance electric motorcycles for on- and off-road riding.
Do you know which company won its first Grand Prix in 1962?
Suzuki has been one of the biggest names in motorcycles for over 50 years now. Its bike range covers everything from scooters for a casual drive to adventure bikes, motocross and cruisers. Recent times have seen some issues for the company, like a 2013 recall of over 200,000 bikes for brake light issues.
This company's first bike was a moped built in 1945. What is it?
Spanish company Rieju first competed in an Enduro Championship back in 1978 and since then it's taken 12 titles. By 1979, it had split its focus from mopeds and scooters to also focus heavily on offroad bikes with its Marathon series.
Which of these companies is most famous for its trial bikes?
Sherco was a merging of Sherpa and Bultaco, French and Spanish manufacturers. Founded back in 1998 it took another year to roll out the first bikes and by 2019 it was producing 20th-anniversary editions of the Sherco ST
Do you know which company is actually a Spanish subsidiary of Honda?
Montesa was formed in 1944 in part by Francisco Bulto, the same man behind Bultaco motorcycles. The Montesa Cota 4Ride is the company's most advanced current offering which is exported across Europe and North America.
The EC Ranger 2020 is an enduro bike from which of these companies?
Gas Gas is another company to be born from Bultaco in the 1980s. Known for its trial and enduro bikes, Gas Gas made one of only two bikes to finish the 2006 Red Bull Last Man Standing Event. For some perspective, there were 126 riders who never made it to the end.
Vintage bikes from which of these companies are always in high demand?
Vintage '70s and '80s Maicos are highly sought after by collectors and restoration enthusiasts, as Maico was producing arguably some of the best bikes in the world during those decades. "Motocross Action" called the 1981 Maico Mega 2 the "greatest of all time." The company was resurrected in 2013 and current models include the 685 Supermoto Racing 18 and 500 Cross 18.
This company went bankrupt and then was bought by Sherco. What is it?
French bike maker Scorpa is based in the tiny town of Saint-Martin-de-Valgalgues and produces 2- and 4-stroke trial bikes which are continuing to perform at events around the world, like winning the 2015 Trial World Championship.
Do you know which company makes the Caballero Scrambler?
Italian manufacturer Fantic has been making bikes since 1968. It rose to prominence in the UK especially when the government enacted what was known as the "sixteener law" which prevented teens from riding more powerful 250cc bikes. Fantic was able to sell its lightweight below-50-cc models and carve a niche for itself.
No other brand is more associated with bikers than which of these?
Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle icon, arguably the most well-known bike maker in North America and synonymous not with racing but with biker culture and, of course, gangs. Along with Indian, it's one of only two bike makers to survive the Great Depression in America.
Polaris Industries bought which of these classic companies in 2011?
Indian Motorcycles dates back to 1901. The company has changed hands more than once since then and the brand was resurrected in 2011 by Polaris, the company behind Victory motorcycles. Its current range goes from the $9000 Scout Sixty to the $37,000 Roadmaster Elite.
Which company made its two-millionth bike in 2011?
BMW has been selling bikes under its BMW Motorrad label for years, since 1923 in fact. Its very first bike, the R32 from 1923, featured a flat-twin boxer engine which is still an engine configuration the company uses to this day.
The Panigale V4 is made by which of these companies?
Ducati has been making bikes since 1926 and its newest model is the 202 Panigale V4 featuring a 1103 cc engine with 214 horsepower. The name of the bike, Panigale, comes from Borgo Panigale, a small town in Italy.
Do you know which company was founded by two friends in 1977?
Italian bike manufacturer TM Racing was named after the sons of both of the founders who took an initial from each child's name — Thomas and Mirko. It's more of a boutique manufacturer and its bikes are known for their attention to detail.
Do you know which company is famous for mini-motocross bikes?
Babies crawl before they walk and little racers should start with a Cobra. These incredibly popular bikes have won over 300 US and international championships as well as over 500 regional championships. They're that good.
Back in 1945, Aprilia was a manufacturer of bicycles. Eventually, it eased into the scooter market and now you can get one of its flagship superbikes, the RSV4, which has been showing strongly at races since 2009.
This British company dates back to 1898. Do you know it?
Norton Motorcycles was just a parts company back in 1898 but began manufacturing bikes by 1902. The company was restarted in 2008 and is most famous for its Commando bikes including the 961 Cafe Racer Mk II and the Sport Mk II.
This Canadian company has been in business since 1971. Do you know it?
Can Am is a division of Bombardier Recreational Projects and currently makes 2-, 3- and 4-wheelers for all your off-road and on-road needs. The Can Am Spyder is its three-wheel bike that's been in production since 2007.
Six brothers started which of these companies back in 1911?
After the death of her husband. Teresa Benelli invested in a business for her six sons to keep the family afloat. They originally repaired bikes before they started building their own. Today, some of their most popular models are the TNT line.
Who makes the California, the Eldorado and the Audace?
Moto Guzzi is the oldest bike manufacturer in Europe in continuous production. It's long been innovators in the bike world creating the first motorcycle center stand, and the first motorcycle 8-cylinder engine. It also developed the first motorcycle wind tunnel.
TVS is an Indian company and the third-largest in the country. In terms of racing, the company is nearly unparalleled. In over three decades of participation, it's won 90% of the races it's participated in.
This company actually produces bikes under 7 brand names. Do you know it?
Piaggio has been in business since 1884 and currently produces bikes not just in its own name but under the names Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi and Scarabeo. Much of what is branded Piaggio is in the scooter segment.
Which company introduced the Interceptor 650 in 2018?
Royal Enfield started life as a British company in 1901 but it was out of business by 1971. The name was licensed by an Indian manufacturer which has stayed in production since 1955 and the Interceptor 650 is the first modern twin-cylinder bike made by the company.
Hyosung, also known as KR Motors, makes the Comet sport bike as well as cruisers like the Mirage and the Aquila. Most of the company's history was devoted to commuter bikes, but it's only recently gone into recreational and racing bikes.
Who made a splash with its Slingshot three-wheeled bikes in 2014?
The Slingshot is made by Polaris and comes in three different models, the SL, the SLR and the Grand Touring model. It comes with side-by-side seats like a car but lacks a roof or doors and is entirely waterproof so you can hose it off when it needs a cleaning.
Do you know which company is the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the UK?
Triumph has been making bikes since 1983 including the popular Street Triple model. The company uses a lot of old school celebrity endorsements from those who have owned Triumphs in the past including Bob Dylan and Marlon Brando. It even named a bike after Steve McQueen.
This company is actually the largest manufacturer of bikes in the world. What is it?
Hero actually started as a joint venture between Hero and Honda, but Honda sold its half back to Hero in 2010. It produces bikes like the XPulse and XTrreme. The company is based in India and accounts for nearly half of all bike sales in the country.
Which company had decades of Grand Prix wins between the '50s and the '70s?
MV Augusta was built on a tradition of performance. From 1952 until 1974, MV Augusta bikes won championships in 20 different years, often numerous ones in the same year across different classes. From 1958 to 1960, it took the top spot in 125 cc, 250 cc, 350cc and 500cc.
Which company is famous for its electric motorcycles?
Zero was founded in 2006 by a former NASA engineer. Its lineup includes the Zero S, the SR, FXS and FX for motocross and its latest model the 2020 SR/F. It produces electric models for fleet use as will in police and military.
Do you know which company was founded by Keanu Reeves?
Arch Motorcycles was founded in 2011 by Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger. The two met in 2007 and shared a passion for bikes — Reeves is an avid rider and Hollinger made custom bikes. The company has produced three models to date which are all customizable.
With a name like Boss Hoss, you have to expect it's making some powerful bikes, and it is. The company is known for Big Block engines and trikes that are modeled to look like classic cars like the Chevy Corvette.
Apollo dirt bikes and pit bikes are sold all over and are some of the most popular on the market. Part of the popularity comes from the fact they're also remarkably affordable, as in just a few hundred dollars for some of the more affordable models.
This company makes dirt bikes, ATVs and scooters. Do you know it?
TaoTao makes a big range of dirt bikes like the Invader and the DB line. It also produces some fun side projects like go-karts and scooters as well and a pretty extensive lineup of ATVs for kids and adults.