With so many motorcycle brands already in the country, and even a brand doing well in the market, we riders have a lot to be thankful for. Nonetheless, there are still a few bikes we wish were sold here.
Despite the broad range of Yamaha scooters already available locally, there are avid fans of the Q-bix and Lexi that would like to see those models on our shores. As for Honda, there’s quite a large clamor for the larger CRFs like the 450 to be offered locally. There are several more exotic European and American boutique motorcycles we wish were here.
The writers of MotoPinas have put together our little wishlist of models we wish we could get locally. If the local distributors are listening, here are some bikes we wish were sold here.
Naturally, I would take the “road to off-road”. The five motorcycles below are what I think would make a lot of off-roaders happy, particularly those riders like me who long for the mountain trails and backroads that make a good adventure ride.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Honda's XR200 line of motorcycles. Well, this is its "big brother”. Introduced in 1992 or almost 30 years ago, the street-legal Honda XR650L has remained largely unchanged until now. It is powered by an air-cooled, 644cc, single-cylinder RFVC engine borrowed from the NX650 Dominator. It is a proven motorcycle, with many riders choosing it over the newer adventure bikes due to its reliability. It is also simple to maintain, less moving parts, the easier to fix, especially in remote regions where this bike is mostly ridden.
The Honda CRF230F is a “basic” off-road motorcycle built for off-road enthusiasts. Due to its simplicity, the CRF230F makes a good trail bike not only to beginners but also to advanced riders. It is powered by a 223cc single-cylinder air-cooled, four-stroke engine mated to a six-speed gearbox. A lot of trail riders here in the Philippines, including our friends from EnduroPH have chosen this bike over the more powerful production bikes when tackling the more technical trails due to its linear power delivery and weight of only 113 kilograms. Additionally, its rake angle of only 27.3° makes the CRF230F highly maneuverable in tight mountain trails.
First introduced in 2005, the DRZ-400SM is Suzuki's answer to the growing popularity of supermoto bikes at the time. It is a variant of the DRZ-400 dual-sport motorcycle introduced by Suzuki in 2000. the DRZ-400SM is powered by a potent 398cc single-cylinder, DOHC engine, upside-down forks, and 17-inch wheels. Perhaps, if Suzuki Philippines would offer this in the country with a very competitive pricing structure, supermotos could be a common sight here in the metro, as well in Marilaque.
Like the CRF230F, the Yamaha TT-R230 is a simple but tough motorcycle built for the trails. Its low seat height of only 871mm coupled with its weight of only 114 kilograms makes the TT-R230 a highly-sought-after gray-import trail bike by enthusiasts.
It is powered by an air-cooled, 223cc SOHC engine mated to a six-speed transmission that delivers excellent crawling power, especially in tight and technical mountain trails.
KTM 450 Rally Replica
This is probably the only motorcycle that would make an avid adventure rider pee his pants: a race-replica KTM 450 Rally bike. Originally introduced in 2014, the KTM 450 Rally Replica is the closest you'll come to getting your hands on a Dakar race bike.
This bike boasts a slim body shape with a better seating position, front and rear fuel-pump system with multiple tanks and all the bells and whistles of a true rally-spec bike. Though intended for privateers who are serious about their rally race goals, this could be a nice addition to Pinoy riders who are into prolonged long-distance rides, that could involve some serious off-roading on the sides. Just a few modifications and it will be a road-legal bike here in the country.
It’s one of the most popular and beloved adventure bikes in the world. The rugged dualsport is powered by a 651 cc thumper while it’s large 23 L fuel tank allows it go the distance. It’s been around forever, hasn’t been updated since 2018, and is still being sold and traded abroad. Almost every “tacticool” person I know has imagined what it’d be like to own one. The US military M1030M1 version can even run on diesel, kerosene, and jet fuel. As a durable, simple, utilitarian motorcycle people know they can use, abuse, and customize the thing without any guilt.
Honda Super Fours (CB400SF & CB1300SF)
I don’t know why Honda doesn’t sell these here when importers already make a killing offering them to the gray market. The Super Four is peak UJM with its four-banger technology, performance, JDM DNA, and the right looks. Honda’s motorcycle division pioneered HYPER VTEC for bikes before it even made it into cars, and the CB400SF has had HYPER VTEC Revo tech for a while now. Meanwhile, the CB1300SF is like a badass Japanese muscle bike that sounds like a dragon. These motorcycles are sporty, comfy, and have low seats…
Plus the BOL D’OR versions with their menacing fairings will make you feel like a henshin, kamen rider, or shirobai. The current high-spec CB1300SF SP is sick!
Speaking of HYPER VTEC, these sport tourers are equipped with that stuff. You can trace the current VFRs back to the RC30 race bike which branched out to the RC45 — a separate beast entirely, unrelated to the civilian sport tourers for us mere mortals. Once again, the VFR is a globally beloved motorcycle having made so many people happy with long-term ownership. Oh, and it’s got a V4… A Honda V4. The US may not have access to the new one, but I've been told that some dealerships over there still stock the 2016 version with desirable pricing. There are also ADV versions called the VFR800X and VFR1200X but they just don’t have the same emotional draw, reputation, and sex appeal that the Interceptor does.
Honda Super Cub 125 / Monkey 125
You meet the friendliest people on these things, right? Well at least you do on the Cub. The Monkeys are for mischief makers (they’re like the OG Groms after all). They’re already available abroad, I don’t know what’s taking the Philippines so long. We want these contemporary nostalgic creations to fulfill our fantasies of having it all: classic style, modern tech, and unbridled joy. These new, adorable runabouts connect people directly to two lines of the most successful, iconic Japanese machines in the history of mankind. When the CT125 Hunter Cub is globally released, we need all three launched locally.
Yamaha XG250 Tricker
This thing looks fun as hell. It was designed to appeal to Japan’s market of young, school-aged adventure seekers. Its low seat, lightness, and slim body make the Tricker extremely beginner friendly. Yamaha even uses it to teach its own beginner riding courses. The Tricker is part trial, part trail bike — part urban hooligan, part dual sport… It shares a platform with the XT250 Serow after all. You can tell that it’s a really fun bike by just looking at it. It also looks easy to park and haul anywhere.
Call me nostalgic but a number of models on my list are no longer available. Still it would have been nice if they were offered locally, making for much more diverse choice for the buyer.
I first saw this motorcycle at the headquarters of Honda in Tokyo, Japan. This unique model is a feet-forward style cruiser. It’s styling is almost reminiscent of Kaneda’s bike from the anime, Akira. While it looks like a sport bike, it’s really just a stylized maxi-scooter. Nonetheless it has a 670cc parallel twin engine and is paired to a 6-speed dual clutch transmission. It was only sold in the US.
Offered by BMW in Europe from 2000-2002, the C1 wasn’t available for very long. It’s likely because the idea of a motorcycle with its own roof seems ridiculous even to this day. Still, for tropical countries like the Philippines where torrential rains are frequent, this just might be a good idea. It even comes with a windshield and wiper. Its seat features a 4-point seatbelt for the rider. It came in 125 and 200cc, but it’s pretty obvious this is too much for a tiny 125cc to haul. Still, these days, we see e-bikes with that flimsy purple plastic foldable roof, so the C1 may have just been ahead of its time.
I’m a big fan of boxy designs. The Q-Bix is as boxy a it gets. Some may point out that we have a comparable model, the Honda Zoomer X. Yet the Q-Bix offers a completely sealed underseat storage, full-LED lighting, and even remote engine start. Plus, there’s likely quite a lot of parts that can be bought to customize it further. I wouldn’t mind using this for short rides around town.
If you’re into cars, you might have heard of the British carmaker, Ariel. Ariel makes the Atom, which is a tubeframe track car powered by a supercharged Honda K20 engine. They’ve finally gotten around to making a motorcycle: the Ariel Ace. Like the car, the Ace features the familiar tube-frame trellis frame. The Ace can also be ordered with a girder front fork. Powering it is a 1,237cc V4 engine from a Honda VFR, which drives the rear wheels with a shaft drive. If BMW and Ducati ever were to merge, the Ariel Ace would probably be the strange love child. That’s what makes it so amazing.
What would you get?
These are just a few of the bikes we wish we could get our hands on locally, preferably from the official distributors. Are there any we missed? What would your top 5 be?