What’s not to like? An air-cooled 904cc Ducati V-Twin from the 900SS hijacked into the steel frame of the Paris-Dakar-winning and dearly departed Cagiva Elefant – a bike that pretty much predicted the current ADV boom at a time when most of us were constantly addled by the jiggling flesh of an out-of-control high-power sportbike orgy. Cooler heads appreciated the Gran Canyon then and current ones who poopoo electronics and social media still love their Pierre Terblanche-designed Gran Canyons.

  • mikstr

    Well, Harley ownership being akin to belonging to a cult, it makes sense that a Hog would top the list, lol

    As for the rest of the list, I had access to a first-year RC8 for a couple of weeks and loved it for the same reasons noted: sporty but real-world useful and comfortable.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The FXR is a cult bike, preferred by all the MCs. The RC8 engine was toned down for use in the KTM 1190 Adventure R I have, but it is still crazy.


    I more often than not wonder why the F¥€£ would anybody buy that bike. To each his own. It doesn’t matter. Buy what you like. I have ridden a Ulysses a time or two. I know why that bike has a following. Same with some of the others on list. I’d like to try the Hayabusa.

  • Dave Brumley

    I had a KLR, and still have a Hawk GT. My brother has an SRX. Three out of 11 ain’t too bad! I gave long thought to getting a PC, but its weight scared me off. It does seem to be an ideal commuter/tourer, what with the storage capacity, shaft drive, and Honda quality. Oh, and my brother and I briefly had an SR500, which didn’t make the list, but had all of the same “attributes” of the SRX. It was a bit plain looking compared to the SRX, but had character, although we had problems with the fuel delivery, and could never get it to run right. I also owned a ’72 R75/5, and a ’74 Norton Commando. Later would come a 2004 Ducati MultiStrada. I have to say that my mechanical “skills” were not up to the demands of the European bikes after so many Japanese machines. My first bike was a 1969 CB450. Wish I still had that one. My brother owned a GL1000, a “naked” model, bright yellow. I still have a Honda 599, a fun bike that could have possibly make this list.

    • Mahatma

      Have the hawk too.Have had two of them.Lovely little machines which are somehow more than the sum of its parts.

  • José Rodrigues

    Wouldn’t the Big Bandito belong to the list? The blokes across the pond, at VisorDown.com started a road test of the Bandit with the following: “With a cult following that makes Scientology look like a small book club gathering, Suzuki’s Bandit 1200 has brought big-bore grunt to the biking masses”, and I have that feeling too.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      I just bought a 2007 Bandit 1250S in pristine condition and it has spoiled me for my other bikes. There is a shop in Yerington, NV (Holeshot Performance) owned by former racer Dale Walker that specializes in Bandit hop-up parts. Bandit owners are called Banditos.

      • José Rodrigues

        Mine is an arguably more modern version: the GSX 1250 FA, 2016 (they are still manufactured here), and I agree with you: they spoil you for other bikes. Maybe I’m part of the cult, but I just can’t think of a better value, or more versatile, motorcycle.

        I’ve visited the Holeshot website and talked to Dale by e-mail. Great guy.

    • I’ve had an ’89 softail springer, a 2014 fz09 and now have a ’98 bandit 1200 and it’s the most fun bike I’ve owned. I love that the performance is way better than the harley and it’s way simpler to work on than the fz09 while being more comfortable than both of them. The fact that they’re indestructible and cheap as hell doesn’t hurt either.

  • vastickel@gmail.com

    I note the SRX, but no SR500?

    • John A. Stockman

      I had an SR500 that I used for about 15 years in local club racing. A friend helped me locate one, then we made it track-friendly with the usual removal of the street bits and what was needed for tech/rules requirements. Pretty simple to convert, slim, light, complete blast for that type of racing. Incredibly reliable, only regular maintenance. Some of my best memories were racing that bike on the few tracks we had in the Northwest, the old SIR (Pacific Raceways now), PIR, and Bremerton, which was nothing more than a 1/4 mile drag strip, return road and some other asphalt that tied them together. Now there’s The Ridge in Shelton, WA, which is an amazing facility; sadly when I was still racing, only a dream in the minds of a group of very dedicated individuals that became a reality. Now NW enthusiasts have a purpose-built venue that has been embraced by the local club orgs, OEMs, and various track day and training companies.

  • mog

    Interesting that the man Erik Buell (most responsible for saving H-D’s ass) with the top cult FXR, was the same fella who created the Buell XB12X Ulysses.


    Just as Peter Egan, I will not part with that XB12X steed. Great for two up riding with the missus and alone on the trail and back onto the road…. or some road course.

    Lastly, you are so right, that the XB9S/XB12S Lightning (pictured here) is light, very nimble, slices & dices the turns with the best bikes and all with an air cooled, no valve adjustment, belt drive, V twin. At a 52 inch wheel base the only folks who crave them, are akin to privateer pilots.

  • Biker Dash

    I used to own a V-Max (an 03) and I have to say that there is no other bike like it. There is a reason it has the nickname, “The Widowmaker”

    • Marshall Goodman

      did we forget the V65 Sabre ?

    • Randy1966

      the widowmaker was the Kawasaki 750 H2…I own an 85 vmax but gotta give the widowmaker her credit (I’ve own 2…they are NASTY but I enjoy my max!)

  • No BMW’s?

    • TC

      The R100RS, R90S, and R100GS are all cult bikes. Don’t tell anyone or the prices will double again.

  • W.Wilkins

    My vote is for the little V-Strom. Looking through a Freudian lens, the Cult of Harley can be explained. But, what explains the mass of devoted riders to a bike that has a face only a mother could love? Yep, the Wee is a bike that plain works and people around the globe are discovering that ain’t a bad thing at all . . .

    • Goose

      Sorry, the Wee-Strom is way too popular to a cult. That would be a religion.

  • Buzz

    The best description for Cult is what Burns alluded to regarding the Hawk. Outsized performance claims that never seem to fade. The Max fits that bill also. 115 HP was mind-boggling in the 80s. Not so much in the modern era.

    2007 Power Cruisers. Your esteemed guest tester had a sidebar on page 4.


    • JMDGT

      I never got the Power Cruiser concept. I got the cruiser part. I didn’t get the power part. It wasn’t until the Diavel was a reality that I got it. It probably had more to do with the aesthetic appeal of that bike than anything else. Up until then I thought the VRod was what a power cruiser was supposed to be. They were never on my radar.

  • Walter

    If you have the Hawk & Pacific Coast– you have to add the Transalp (at least in America) for a several year cult. Three similar engine designs in bikes that the market didn’t quite understand and with close to premium prices. They were bikes that were excellent examples of providing a level of performance and owner satisfaction way beyond what the spec sheet suggested.

    • JMDGT

      Transalp. Highly desired most wanted.

      • John A. Stockman

        My female cousin has owned her Transalp since new. Being 5’11”, it fits her and she loves it. She and her husband go on long trips, the only thing she changed was the stock seat to an aftermarket one. I don’t know which seat company she went with, but she’s put a lot of miles on that bike and continues to do so.

  • Gary

    I owned a Pacific Coast for a few years. One of the most practical bikes I’ve ever owned. Great for commuting. Here’s the one Great Attribute of this bike. It is completely shrowded by plastic. So when you toss it down the road at 60 mph, it glides across the tarmac, frictionlessly, for a long, long time, behaving precisely like 600 pounds of tupperware.

  • Steve C

    At one time or another i wanted a SRX, Hawk, Grand Canyon, i owned a KLR for a few years sold it when i bought the Uly which after 9 years of ownership I never get tired with riding it. I also in the past owned a RZ350 which is pretty much a cult bike. If its different I’m attracted to it like a magnet. Right now Zeros really charge me up. Did I mention Guzzi’s?

  • TC

    The Cagiva is too much a unicorn bike to have any cult following, might as well toss in Motus and Confederate Cycles. Or maybe the Boss Hog.

  • SRMark

    I’ve owned a few of these. There are a few I’d love to own. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • LOL “…a few years ago…”

    Thanks for this list Johnny, but for God’s sake, where’s the SV650 you monster?

  • sgray44444

    I know it has gone somewhat out of favor in the last 10 years, but the Nighthawk could be on this list. Also the Silverwing (ugly V-twin small touring motorcycle, no scooter). As a V-strom rider, I do believe they are not just a cult, but a counter-motorcycle-culture bike. You just have to be a tall engineering or computer type to get it.

  • Slartibartfast

    Surely the Yamaha TRX850 deserves a mention…

  • Knute Dunrvnyet

    I. Shouldv’e. Never. Sold. My. ’90 Tengai! 70 mph on the Beltway into DC; ‘hero’ woods sections at the Blackwater DS Nat’ls; Webster Pass and Radical Hill in CO. The ONLY mod: a robust, aluminum Dakar-style skidplate/bellypan. <3

  • Michael J Studer

    In October of 1988 I was driving a large box truck on the Pacific Coast Highway, somewhere between Santa Cruz and Pacifica, when I saw this white, odd looking motorcycle pass me. There was this special look about the wide rear plastic and the brake light that was about 2 feet wide and the way it moved down the road. Found out later it was a Honda Pacific Coast PC800. They must of been doing some type of test ride/filming as it wasn’t released until early 89.

    Fast forward to 2007 and I bought two salvaged PC’s and rebuilt into one and repainted it. Finally together, I started and rode it and that same week made plans for my first long distance ride, covering over 9,300 miles of 14 Western states. Something I would of never considered on my 76 R75/6 BMW. The PC gave me the confidence to know this machine would take me anywhere.

    Since then I’ve ridden the PC 800 on many Iron Butt challenge rides, the ultimate being a 40/10 in 2014. With a few tweaks: tall Clearview windshield, Bead Rider, Mick-O-Pegs, Throttle meister throttle lock, Progressive Springs, BF Goodrich TA darkside tire, the PC is the most comfortable motorcycle I’ve ever sat on. I’ve ridden several 1000 mile days, the most recent one being from Paris TX to Minneapolis.

    In the PC circle there are two legendary PC riders, Leland Shepard, who’s owned 5 PC 800’s and just celebrated turning over a 1,000,000 miles on all of them, and Tim Davies who owns a 98 PC and just replaced the engine after putting 219,000 on it.

    There’s a reason the PC 800 is a wonderful motorcycle. Besides it’s already mentioned comfort and “bullet proof” engine, it’s ease of maintenance, basically changed the fluids and get out and ride, minimal electronics, ride handling capability (it can be a canyon carver as well as a touring/cruiser) make for a motorcycle that, once you get to know what it can do, any rider will fall in love with it.

    If you’re interested in following a great riding community go to Yahoo Groups and find IPCRC. The group is almost 20 years old and any and everything you’ll ever need to know about the PC has been archived by that group. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ipcrc/info


  • Auphliam

    You need a bigger list…and talk to anybody that owns one and you’ll quickly learn that the Victory Vision needs to be on it.

  • Craig Hoffman

    There entire Buell line from beginning to end qualifies for cult status.

    The KLR is far too common to be a cult bike. For sure a lot of fanatics own them, but there are a lot of them, enough to form an entire KLR mounted zombie apocalypse response team.

    • TC

      I had two Buells, a Thunderbolt S3 and a Ulysses. Will they be as collectable as a Vincent in 50 years? Luckily for me, I’ll be dead by then and won’t have to grow a third knee so I can kick myself in the butt for selling them.

  • allworld

    I’m sort of surprised Moto Guzzi didn’t make the list, just about all of their bikes have a cult following. It is sort of a cult brand. Going out of business since 1921

  • Clayton Bigsby III

    Want a cult bike? Suzuki RG 500 gamma. We’ve got Brits and Italians still making performance parts for it. The bike was the epitome of gray market exotica that had some semblance of ongoing support. No shops in the United States could service it, but Canadian and European online parts suppliers kept spares in hand that were easily accessible. Now it’s a past her prime diva, able to hit a high note now and then and halt all squidly banter at the get togethers when you give it a healthy blip or two on the throttle. Never mind the fouled plugs…


    I had never owned a motorcycle but had always wanted one. One day, I take my lawnmower (Honda) to the local Honda motorcycle dealer to get my blades sharpened. While they worked on the mower, I perused the sales floor. Came across the Pacific Coast. Alwazys thought it was an interesting bike, but a little expensive at nearly $9,000 suggested retail. Honda decided to close the model out and remaining units sold for $6,700!!! All of a sudden, it was the best value on the sales floor. Despite not even having a license or knowing how to ride the bike, I brought it! I had them deliver it to my home and it stayed in my garage until I took the MSF course. I admit to sneaking it out a couple of times with my permit, just riding on the local streets in my subdivision, learning how to use a bike’s clutch. I learned to use neutral, 1st and 2nd on my own. By the time I took the MSF course, I was the only one in my class to pass with a PERFECT SCORE.

    I loved that PC-800. It was heavy, and dudes made fun of it, but I liked it. It was comfortable to ride on the NJ Turnpike and into Manhattan. I wish I still had it!

    PS: If they would bring back just one bike from this list though, I’d have to go with the Hawk GT!

  • John Priest

    I miss my overgrown Moped, aka the Pacific Coast 800…the trips I’d take from Dayton to Columbus, Ohio and back (even one time up to Cedar Point) Sporty,futuristic, it was a nice city cruiser and a not too shabby interstate bike.

  • TheMarvelous1310
  • Kevin Diamond

    Air cooled (2010-12) Ducati Hypermotard 1100’s
    C’mon guys

  • vastickel@gmail.com

    One comment suggested Eric Buell saved HD? My guess is that it was the tariffs put in place in addition to family buying them back. The bowling ball concept didn’t seem to pan out.

  • Robert Webster

    I cannot believe you left off the Triumph Bonnieville off the list! If ever there was a cult bike, its the Bonnieville.