Yes, they are rubbish...
I am disappointed by my bike's economy figures but I realise that there isn't a lot I can do about it as all the circumstances I ride in contribute to poor economy (ie stop-start, short trips, London, etc)
However, I am more disappointed in what manufacturers are putting out these days. It seems that economy does not factor into any major bike manufacturer's plans.
Most bikes seem to be getting bigger rather than smaller, whereas the car industry is making smaller and smaller engines (turbocharged or not) and making them more economical and more powerful.
Also, maybe the UK isn't the target market for small economical bikes, but there isn't much out there if you want something that isn't a 250 and isn't a 600. I used to own a CB500 which was a fantastic bike both in terms of fun and in terms of economy. Honda now make the which although very economical, has a bigger engine and less power than the 500.
It seems to be the same all over, look at the transalp going from 600, 650, 700cc.
Yamaha's TDM went from 850 to 900cc.
Suzuki bandit going from 600 to 650 and 1200 to 1250.
I won't put pure performance bikes into the same category, where the goal is to actually be faster than the previous model.
It seems a shame that bike economy has not really improved since the 70s with old Honda 400s being able to match the economy of today's bikes. I think a 400-500 category would really sell well in the UK. As it stands, unless you're on a learner or 33bhp bike, there is nothing to fill the gap. In fact, the NC700 seems to be the only bike out there with approx 50 bhp and decent economy.