The stars of the show that flopped in the showroom
Suzuki B-King (2008-11)
The problem with the wild B-King, as eventually launched in 2008 after years of Suzuki protesting it would never go into production, is not what it is – but what it isn’t. The concept B-King was first displayed at the 2001 Tokyo Show with a 240bhp supercharged Hayabusa motor, 240-section rear tyre and even a fingerprint recognition starter. The production version simply couldn’t live up to it, lost the supercharger and produced ‘just’ 164bhp.
What you’ll pay today Under £6k gets a good ’un – which is a lot of bike for the money.
But should you? If you like the style (and many don’t) the B-King is potent, classy, well-equipped, rare and a likely future classic.
Honda CB1100 (2013-on)
Homage to Honda’s classic fours, first shown in 2008 as an RCB racer-styled concept, was initially sold as a roadster in Japan and Australia during 2011, and eventually made it to Europe in 2013. Improved in 2014 with wire wheels, larger tank, four-into-two exhaust and more, it’s a sweet machine with a super-smooth 88bhp power delivery, easy manners and classy build. But it’s not the rorty café racer we’d hoped for.
What you’ll pay today Earliest examples now under £6k with new 2016 models from £9000.
But should you? Tempting. One of the best retros – once pricey, now better value than ever.
Yamaha MT-01 (2005-12)
Wacky V-twin-powered performance roadster was first shown as a concept in 2003 before entering production in 2005. In the most part, Yamaha had faithfully followed through. Although beautifully built and equipped the reality, however, was weirdly lumpy, heavy, expensive and with limited practicality, so was never a sales success. If it appeals (and many owners are devoted) it’s now something of a steal – classy, different and a likely future classic.
What you’ll pay today From £6k up.
But should you? Some love ’em, most don’t. If you do, find one while they’re still cheap.
Honda VFR1200F (2010)
The first all-new VFR since 2002 was hugely anticipated with expectations ramped up by Honda’s concept model at the 2008 Cologne Show. So when the bike itself eventually debuted in 2010 it had a lot to live up to. On the whole, a great bike, but it lacks the latest tech and the styling divides opinion.
What you’ll pay today From £5200.
But should you? Odd and slightly underwhelming, but solid, classy and effective, too.
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 (2014)
First shown as a concept in 2012, the updated V-Strom didn’t reach production until 2014 and naturally expectations were high. Unfortunately, the reality was merely adequate. It isn’t a bad bike – it’s an OK, affordable one in a class now brimming with technology and options.
What you’ll pay today Used prices start at £6k and new ones at £8999.
But should you? It may not be dazzling, but it’s more than competent, and something of a bargain.
Honda Crosstourer (2012)
Adventure variant of new VFR1200F was shown as a concept in 2010 but didn’t reach production for another two years. It’s a decent bike and not dissimilar to the original concept. But that two-year wait hurt with the X-tourer lacking the electronics of newer rivals in this class.
What you’ll pay today Anywhere from £7500 for used, up to £14,599 for new.
But should you? Not new, but a fully loaded 5000-miler for £7700 is much more tempting.
Honda DN-01 (2008-2010)
The DN-01 was first shown at the 2005 Tokyo Show, and somehow made it into production. It’s a wacky scooter/cruiser hybrid with a Deauville V-twin powertrain and pre-DCT auto transmission. All well and good except… it cost £10,600.
What you’ll pay today Fairly rare (’cos Honda sold virtually none) but you can get a decent one for under £5k.
But should you? Decent around town and cool for trendy urbanites, £5k is justifiable, the original price wasn’t.
Words: Phil West