10 worst and five best promo videos

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1. Kawasaki Z800
Bystanders gawp at the new Z800 and take photographs in this preposterous video from Kawasaki Australia. It's as though they've found a portal to another universe and not a mass production motorcycle.

A trucker radios his mates and weirdly gets a nod from the passing rider. Two hairy Antipodeans applaud and give thumbs up to the parked bike. Clearly something no one has ever done.

2. Honda Crossrunner
A rider parks in a quiet dead-end (never a good idea) and knocks over a tin of paint. As he walks away, the paint gushes up the walls to make a scene of rolling roads, then a trail and finally a huge jump. Here the animation ends, presumably because the notional rider landed in a Knievel-style tangle of limbs.

We can't imagine why Honda chose not to show the Crossrunner off-roading for real.

3. Suzuki V-Strom Everywhere this V-Strom rider goes, he catches the eye of a woman on a similar machine. As he leaves the office, at a lake and a cafe, she's there. Clearly one of them is a stalker, who has even bought the same bike as their victim, but we’re not sure which one.

Finally we see them chatting with the two V-Stroms parked side-by-side. We’re not shown a bunny being boiled, but we know it’s coming.

4. Suzuki intruder
An officer worker stares out the window at his Suzuki Intruder, which for some reason is parked diagonally across a whole car space. He leaves, the office clothes go in a leather pannier, and he rides through town, city, along a coast and into open desert.

Each to his own, but with a commute like that, wouldn’t he be better off with something a little more economical, perhaps a big scooter?

5. Ducati Panigale
A rider walks around a track, placing a row of chess pieces on the apex of each corner. Then he races around on his Ducati Panigale, scattering the pieces with his knees.

What point this proves is anyone’s guess. That Panigale riders don’t understand chess? That it’s impossible to pick up the pieces with your knees? If two riders actually played a game this way, then we’d be impressed.

6. Yamaha GTS1000
An egg-shaped capsule materialises in the desert. Scientists use “data extraction sensors” to establish it contains a highly advanced motorcycle, with one exclaiming: “This technology is far more advanced than anything we have.”

Then they feel silly when a bloke tells them it’s “just the latest Yamaha”. Which still doesn’t explain why it was delivered in an egg. No wonder no one bought one.

7. KTM 990 Super Duke
This video also seems to suggest the bike came from outer space. A shaft of orange descends to Earth, lighting up the building it strikes.

A 990 Superduke shoots out, does some highly impressive, if anti-social, wheelies and stoppies through the city, then ascends heavenward in another orange shaft. That’s all very well but what about getting parts? Not to mention aftersales service. 

8. Honda CB1100
An unfathomable six-minute film from Honda in Japan. Dawn breaks. One man goes for a ride on his bike, another for a flight in his biplane. They each spend the day journeying through the country, past lakes and over mountains.

At one point we see a confusing freeze frame of sheeps’ faces. Then they meet on an airfield and shake hands. Leaving one question: What in hell was that about?

9. Yamaha T-Max A man in a smoking jacket has a huge feast served for him. Then he’s eating bread alone. He’s in a nightclub, then alone in bed. Getting measured for a suit, then naked in the street.

The soundtrack to this bewildering drivel features the lyric “All or nothing”. Get it? Fifty seconds in to the 75-second film, we’re finally shown the scooter and told “Nothing but the Max”. But does it make us want one? Or nothing? 

10. Yamaha R1
Nothing known to science is more pretentious that the voiceover in this three-minute film of someone riding an R1. At one point the deep voice describes the bike as, “In a word, the quintessence of control mastery.”

Firstly, that’s not a word. Secondly, what? We’re also told: “Controlling this steed requires outstanding rider skill.” Okay then. We’ll get something easier to ride instead. 

Five of the best

1. KTM 1290 Super Duke
The new 185bhp muscle bike, due in October, does burnouts, stoppies, and doughnuts, before the riders gives us a gun hand gesture and wheelies out of the circuit.

Only KTM has the balls to make promo videos like this.

2. Honda MSX125
Stunt rider Nick ‘Apex’ Brocha does burnouts, wheelies and rolling stoppies on Honda’s diminutive MSX125.

It’s weirdly like the Duke 1290 video, down to the techno soundtrack, but great fun, and refreshing to see from a Japanese brand. 

3. Honda Fireblade
A short film celebrating 20 years of the Fireblade, including clips of John McGuinness smashing the 130mph TT lap record on one.

It’s difficult to watch without acknowledging that this is indeed a very good motorcycle.

4. Kawasaki ZX-6R
More from the TT, this time showing James Hillier in action, including breathtakingly fast on-board footage. No nonsense, just an eye-opening demonstration of what a cutting edge sports bike can do.

5. Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Two riders go toe to toe on track in this video, which mixes their duelling with real racing footage from WSB. There’s not much to it but it does make the RSV4 Factory seem rather exciting. There’s nothing like a bit of competition.


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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell