What do Motorcycle Names Mean? (Part 2)

  • Motorcycle names can be as interesting as the bikes themselves.

  • There are ones which made you wonder what they mean.

  • There are just too many, thus we’ll break them into parts.

Motorcycle names can be as interesting as the bikes themselves. Manufacturers usually choose them based on heritage, branding, range or the kind of emotions they allude to.

There are too many to think about, so we’ll put in what comes to mind. Here’s Part 2.

7. Harley-Davidson Softail

Harley-Davidson Softail Breakout

It’s named Softail because the rear part of the frame performs the role of a swingarm. Traditional (vintage) bikes were “hardtails” without swingarms. The Softail takes on the look of the hardtail, but shock absorbers sit horizontally underneath the frame to provide damping.

8. Honda Valkyrie

The Honda Valkyrie was a cruiser based on the Gold Wing’s flat-Six engine. If you’re a fan of the Marvel Universe, you’ll know what a Valkyrie is. According to Norse mythology (which includes Thor), Valkyries are female, horse riding warriors.

9. Honda Varadero

The Varadero was the successor to the Africa Twin in 2001. It’s supposed to set the dual-sport market on fire, what with the VTR1000 superbike derived engine. But it was just too heavy. Anyway, Varadero is a resort beach in Cuba. That’s rather far from the Sahara…

10. Kawasaki Ninja

The Ninja name is now a trademark of Kawasaki sportbikes and sport-tourers. The ninja were mercenaries and assassins during the feudal period in Japan. Ninjas operated in stealth and speed.

11. Bimota

Let’s include a number of manufacturer’s names while we’re at it. Bimota is a mix of the names of her founders, namely Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri and Massimo Tamburini. Using the first two letters of the last names resulted in the famous marque i.e. BIachi MOrri TAmburini.

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

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