One of the hardest things about growing old is seeing all your friends die off, okay, acquaintances. Also, some of the motorcycles we’ve grown up with and loved. Unlike discontinued humans, at least these motorcycles will still be around for years, and some will even be great bargains. But once the dealers sell them all, that will be that. For some of them, it’s good riddance; for others, we may have to shed a little tear… But, you know there will always be other exciting new bikes sprouting up to replace them. It’s the circle, the circle of life.

Harley-Davidson Sportster

Harley built the first one in 1957, so the Sportster’s got to be one of the oldest bikes out there in continuous production. Harley’s been of course  upgrading the bike forever, and they must have produced around 5000 versions over these past 64 years – only a slight exaggeration. Most Sportsters are probably still blatting around, since these  probably have more aftermarket support than any bike on the planet. The 2021 Iron 1200 (pictured, $9,999)is among the last of the Mohicans, and after it and the Iron 883 and Forty-Eight are done, that’s it for the Sporty. But you know H-D’s got something up its sleeve to fill the gap. 

Which Harley-Davidson Models Are Getting Axed? UPDATE

What Harley-Davidson Mentioned In Its 2021 Launch, And What It Didn’t

Also defunct after they’re all sold out: Street 500, Street 750, and Street Rod. The Streets were produced beginning in 2014, but failed to gain traction in the marketplace.

 

Yamaha R6 and VMAX

The outlandish Yamaha VMAX, first introduced as the V-Max in 1985 before getting a big overhaul in 2009 that made it so bombastic its name became ALL CAPS, is finally seeing the end of the line. The OG power cruiser, the VMAX’s anime-like styling was a shock to the system in 1985, and its 1197cc V-four engine – and later the 1679cc redesigned version – was revered for its ability to rip your arms off while making excellent dragstrip sounds. The original Max came with a feature called V-Boost that imitates turbo boost by opening butterfly valves at high rpm to send a rush of fresh mixture to the combustion chambers.

The going-away of the YZF-R6 is another one that has us asking not for whom the bell tolls: It’s us geezers. Always a contender in the 600 supersport wars since its inception in 1999, and right through its radically racy 2008 redesign, it’s fitting that Yamaha will still be selling the leftovers for offroad use only, as the R6 Race.

Farewell To A Category-Defining Sportbike: An R6 Retrospective

Also leaving the building after 2021: the WR250R dual-sport and SMAX scooter. 

 

Ducati Monsters, Great and Small

797: The last of the air-cooled Monsters

Well, there is an all-new Monster with the 937 liquid-cooled L-Twin, but the monstrous Monster 1200 is already gone, and now the Monster 797 joins it in the family crypt. The 797 will be most missable, because it was the most direct descendant of the original air-cooled M900 Monster of 1994. Also MIA in the new Monster is that iconic steel trellis frame that was for decades a Ducati hallmark. Thankfully, you can still get an elemental air-cooled Ducati in the form of the 803cc Scrambler Nightshift. 

 

KTM Dukes 690 and 790

You can still get a KTM LC4 Single, but not in a Duke: This is KTM’s SMC R.

The light and powerful 690 Duke single was a fave, until it was superseded by the 790 Duke twin just two model years ago… now both have ridden to the top of the ash heap of history. Almost. The 790 Duke remains in the line-up as a 2020 model. And you can still get an awesome and powerful 690 LC4 single, but now  housed only in the 690 Enduro R, or the SMC R pictured. The mourning period will be mercifully short for the Dukes, given how good the new 890 Duke and Adventures are, and how rapid is the pace of development in Mattighofen.

Who’s Next?

These are the ones we’ll miss most, but once again, fresh green shoots are already sprouting up to take their place. Across the pond, where the ability to adapt to Euro 5 standards is critical to survival, bikes on the chopping block there, that probably will be in the same situation here in the US shortly thereafter, include the Yamaha Super Ténéré: The FJR1300 sport tourer is already gone from European markets.

Good times with the FJR1300 on the 2014 MO Heavyweight Sport Touring Shootout…

Various Euro sites are also reporting that Honda won’t be bringing any of its V-four bikes up to Euro5 spec – no more VFR800F, VFR800X Crossrunner or VFR1200X Crossrunner for Europe. For the USA, no great loss, as the Honda VFR1200X is the only one American Honda sells, and none too successfully.  

The VFR1200X: Too big to fail?

May they rest in peace. Or in pieces, on eBay. On a positive note, though Euro 5 bikes are of course cleaner than ever, nearly all the ones we’ve ridden run better, smoother, and just as powerfully as ever.