Brands of Motorcycles Like Harley-Davidson: Top Alternatives to Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Are you wondering if there are reliable brands of motorcycles like Harley-Davidson? Well, there are lots of them, and we’ll share them with you shortly.

According to Consumer Reports, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have a 29% failure rate, meaning they are 71% reliable, which is an impressive score in the world of motorcycles.

While Harley-Davidson’s reliability is undeniable, the iconic motorcycle brand is more than that. Harley-Davidson is deep-rooted in American history, having been founded in 1903. It remains one of the oldest operational motorcycle brands.

Harley-Davidson fans are driven by the thirst for a sense of American belonging, and the motorcycle brand offers them that and some more.

Harley motorcycles are highly customized and strongly built, making them good tourers. There is also the Hollywood aspect—where they are marketed in movies as the coolest vintage rides.

But as good as Harley-Davidson is, some other motorcycle brands are as good or even more reliable than Harley-Davidson motorcycles, claims Consumer Reports.

Let’s talk about these other motorcycle brands next.

8 Motorcycles Like Harley-Davidson

Here are eight brands of motorcycles that look like Harley-Davidson in speed, performance, reliability, safety, and even design sometimes.

1. Honda

Honda Official Website

Honda motorcycles date back to World War II. Even though bike production was ravaged by the war and forced its founder Soichiro Honda to sell it off at a bargain, that didn’t stop the visionary engineer from continuing his dream. He founded Honda Motor Company with the proceeds of the sale.

Today, Honda is the biggest motorcycle manufacturer globally, having sold over 300 million units since its launch and offering motorcycle financing solutions, which deeply endear it massively to motorcycle riding fans. 

Honda makes everything from luxurious to day-to-day commuters, and they all promise reliability, low maintenance, and speed.

The Japanese engine manufacturer doesn’t shy away from asserting its position among the fastest motorcycles. A Honda motorcycle like the CBR1100XX of 1996 to 2007 continues to set the bar in speed by hitting 312km/h (94mph) under perfect racing conditions.

2. Yamaha

Yamaha Official Website

Production-wise, Yamaha is the second-largest producer of motorcycles globally, after Honda. Like Honda, Yamaha motorcycles cater to riders across all spectrums—kids, adults, commuters, pro racers, you name it.

The Japanese brand began as a piano manufacturer before branching off and establishing a motorcycle line in 1955.

In the MotoGP world, the legendary 9-time Grand Prix champion Valentino Rossi represented Yamaha well between 2004 and 2012.

Yamaha delivers some of the world’s speediest and most reliable cruiser motorcycles. The Yamaha Harley look-alike, Yamaha YZF-R1, for example, averages a top speed of 293km/h (182mph), despite featuring a 998cc liquid-cooled engine.  

3. Suzuki

Suzuki Official Website

Suzuki follows its Japanese counterparts Honda and Yamaha closely regarding speed, performance, and reliability.

Like Yamaha Motorcycles, Suzuki didn’t begin as a motorcycle brand. It was established as a weaving machine manufacturer in 1909.

1952 saw the company make its first-ever motorcycle, the Power Free, which featured a 2-stroke 36cc engine. Now, the Japanese manufacturer makes motorcycles and ATVs, automobiles, and outboard motors.

Suzuki is the first Japanese brand to win a world motocross championship in 1970 with a 250cc engine. The brand also won the 500cc class the same year.

Suzuki dominates the racing market with its first-ever sportbike. Its 1299cc 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa, for example, can hit a top speed of 303km/h (188mph) while delivering a horsepower of 173.9HP.

4. Kawasaki

Kawasaki Official Website

Japanese motorcycle brand Kawasaki is known for its speed, and its Ninja H2R, which has a top speed of 249mph (400km/h), is proof of this.

Only the Dodge Tomahawk beats it in speed with its 420mph (680km/h) top speed. Interestingly, the engine capacity of the Suzuki Ninja H2R is only 998cc but promises a horsepower of 310HP.

Its closest challenger within the brand is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, whose 1441cc 4-stroke engine gives it a top speed of 299km/h (186mph) while delivering a horsepower of 207.9HP.

Interestingly, Kawasaki began as an aircraft manufacturer. They then used the technology to make some of the fastest motorcycles globally.

Kawasaki dominates the world of sportbikes but is increasingly endearing itself in the hearts of adventurous riders.

5. BMW Motorrad

BMW Motorrad Official Website

German automaker BMW Motorrad makes the most luxurious motorcycles just like its cars. But more than anything, its motorbikes are known for speed.

A perfect illustration is the BMW S1000RR, which can clock a top speed of 303km/h (188mph) while flaunting an engine size of 999cc and a horsepower power delivery of 199HP.

The brand’s history is part of BMW’s popularity in the motorcycle world, given that it has been making top-end cruisers since 1923.

At one time, the BMW R1200GS series accounted for one-third of BMW’s sales because of the bikes’ ability to take on all terrains while maintaining speed and reliability.

BMW Motorrad has some high-end sport bikes, street bikes, urban commuters, and sport tourers that promise excellent engineering and prestige.

6. Ducati

Ducati Official Website

Italian brand Ducati stands tall for speed, functionality, and elegance. Their motorbikes look like contemporary art pieces but are speed beasts on the track.

Since producing the first cruiser motorcycle in 1952, even though the company dates to 1926, Ducati always has hand-built its bikes, which means the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail is like no other.

While Ducati is irrefutably the king of modern style, its recent success in the racing world makes it one of the world’s undisputed speed kings.

While its recent victories in the Moto Grand Prix were in 2003 and 2007, Ducati has also won the world, British, and Australian superbike championships.

According to Ducati, their Panigale V4R is the world’s most potent motorcycle after winning the 2019 world superbike championship.

7. Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph Motorcycles Official Website

British motorbike Triumph is pretty young compared to the other motorcycles on the list. That, however, doesn’t make them a push-over.

Since 1984, Triumph has been bossing the cruiser bike sector, especially in the UK, and is popularly known for the Thunderbird bike series, whose bikes combine a classic look with speed, attracting café-racer nostalgic fans.

One of Triumph’s newest babies is the Triumph Bonneville Bobber.

Unveiled in 2017, the Bonneville Bobber catches the eyes of everyone with its sporty look and 2-seat position design. Its 1200cc liquid-cooled engine gives it a top speed of 180km/h (112mph).

8. KTM

KTM Official Website

KTM dates back to 1934, and it’s arguably the best motorcycle brand in the enduro racing world. Its bikes are built for speed, and you can tell that from the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, which has a top speed of 221.38km/h (137.56mph).

Yearly, KTM bikes bag podium finishes in the motocross racing championships like the Paris-Dakar race. KTM is one of the best Austrian brands of motorcycles, and its impact is felt all over Europe.

Its powerful enduro bikes are unmatched off-road in engine power and speed. And recently, KTM has been nestling itself in the street bike world. KTM currently makes and sells as many street bikes as enduro motorbikes. 

Why Are Japanese Motorcycles So Popular?

There are so many aspects of Japanese motorcycles that make them popular globally. For one, their 4-horse market leaders (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki) are known for their stunning performances and exploits in the MotoGP world.

According to research by Consumer Reports, no bike brands are as reliable as Japanese. The four bike brands record an average failure rate of less than 16%, which is less than Harley-Davidson’s rate.

Why Are Italian Motorcycles So Popular?

Italian motorcycle brands are popularly known for their unique sporty looks and powerful engines, often translating to high speeds. The major reference point is Ducati, which has a stunning resume in the MotoGP world.

Ducati dealers are also widespread worldwide, making the bikes and the spare parts readily available.

Why Are German Motorcycles So Popular?

We popularly know German motorcycles for their superior design and quality, as the BMW bike line outlines. These bikes stand above most of their competition regarding speed.

Though they are not as reliable as Japanese models, German brands of motorcycles are of good quality. You can count on a German motorcycle for fast riding and superiority in design.

Why are British Motorcycles So Popular?

While Britain is popularly known for Triumph motorbikes, other brands like Royal Enfield, Norton, Ariel, Brough Superior, and Matchless continue to wow the café-racer nostalgic biking community.

You can count on the brands when looking for the best cruiser motorcycle or any other style with top speeds, reliability, unique designs, and prestige.

Why are American Motorcycles So Popular?

The iconic Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles dominate the American motorcycle world, and rightly so. These two bike brands are known for upholding the American heritage for over 100 years as they have maintained their classic look.

If you want a cruiser motorcycle with an American heritage, you have to go for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle or an Indian motorcycle. They are a statement piece that backs their looks and class with performance. They are the go-for motorcycles in the US, explaining why it’s usually a battle of Indian motorcycles vs Harley bikes. 


Now you know eight of the hottest brands of motorcycles that are formidable Harley-Davidson competitors. So, while Harley-Davidson is undeniably one of the most reputable, iconic, and popular brands, we could also say the same about the eight.

The Harley-Davidson cruise motorcycle alternatives we have explored are the perfect reference point for motorcycle safety, reliability, functionality, and style. Whenever you wish to buy a new bike, you can’t go wrong with these eight brands of motorcycles like Harley-Davidson.

About Alex

Hi Friends! Welcome to Motorcycle Exploits. I'm Alex! If you ever had any personal hindrances or doubts about your abilities to ride a motorcycle, then you are in the right place, Mate! My desire is to help you overcome any fears and other personal struggles you have so that you, too, can celebrate your EXPLOITS!