Motorcycle designers from across the big pond have sculpted some of the most beautiful motorcycles in the world – with one glaring exception. European manufacturers consistently miss the boat when delving into the cruiser niche. Most Euro-cruisers are just plain…well, ugly!
There is little doubt why the European manufacturers occasionally dabble in the cruiser genre. They eye the market share enjoyed by Harley-Davidson with more than a little envy. While the Japanese have had some limited success in the imitation, it just seems that European flair does not translate well to the very American phenomenon of the cruiser.
Let’s take a look at some of the most glaring examples of these European eye-sores.
The Ducati Indiana
We are going back in time here (like 30 years), but no discussion on the ugly Euro-cruiser would be complete without a look at this Italian monstrosity. Even the attempt to appeal to middle-America with its name is sadly forced. It had a cool, desmodromic L-twin engine; but that 650cc motor could not save the terminally ugly bike. It's so bad I had to make it the lead photo in this piece.
The Moto Guzzi California
Do you see the trend here? Another Italian offering employed an Americanized name - the California. It is not as obvious what is wrong with the looks of the California. Maybe it’s the overly rounded motif, or maybe it’s the fact that the otherwise cool Guzzi power-plant looks fatally out of place in the cruiser attempt.
The BMW R1200C
It is much clearer what doesn’t work in the styling of the R1200C. Even a high-profile appearance in a James Bond movie, couldn’t override the ugly that envelops this German cruiser offering. The bike is an uncomfortable mix of German engineering and pseudo-American cruiserdom.
Triumph has developed arguably the coolest non-American cruiser in the world. The Triumph Rocket has taken Euro-cruiser styling (not to mention performance) to a new level. Maybe there is a hope for the European cruiser market after all.