The grass is always greener, they say. There are lots of motorcycles that you can get in Australia and Europe that you can’t get in the USA, but on which people on forums or review sites constantly wish they could get their hands.

We’re not talking about the tiny 125cc-150 cc motorcycles popular in most of the less developed world. Those might be fun (and you can get a few in the US), but they’re generally unsuitable for America because of the high and loosely-regulated speed limits on the highways, where you need to go 85 mph to keep up.

No, the below are motorcycles you can’t get in America that you actually wish you could. They range from big bore inline-four motorcycles, which never sold well because of the popularity of locally-made big-bore V-twins from Harley Davidson and Indian, down to screaming four-cylinder 250cc motorcycles, that just never sold well in general (probably because they didn’t sound right going at 85mph).

Nonetheless, these all have cult followings outside America and people regularly grumble on forums that they wish they could get them.

Note: This list previously had the Kawasaki W800. But that was made available in the US after publication.

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Honda CB400SF

Honda CB400SF red white black 2018 front right
Honda CB400SF

The Honda CB400SF is the latest incarnation of a long line of CB400 motorcycles that Honda has been producing for decades.

It’s powered by a liquid-cooled 399 cc inline four-cylinder motorcycle that in base trim makes learner-legal power of 40 kW (54 hp) at a fun 11 000 rpm — which you’ll actually hit in day-to-day riding. It’s a load of fun, especially when VTEC comes on, and the higher power cams start singing!

Unfortunately, you can’t get the Honda CB400SF in many markets around the world, other than its country of origin. It has been discontinued in Europe and Australia, but there are still used examples around.

See more about the Honda CB400SF here.

Honda CBR250RR MC22

250cc four cylinder motorcycles cover image

The Honda CBR250RR is a 250cc inline four-cylinder motorcycle that was available in the US only for a couple of years. But in many other countries, like Australia and Japan, it was available up until the year 2000.

The MC22 Honda CBR250RR (the model with twin front discs; though some people like the lighter front end of the MC19) revs to near 20,000 rpm, and sounds like a race bike even when riding it around at pedestrian speeds.

It has a whole slew of people who love them, and is one of the motorcycles people many wish Honda would bring back in new, fuel-injected and modern form. Kawasaki has brought back the form factor, with the ZX-25R, but even that hasn’t made it to most markets.

Unfortunately, most buyers do the math and see a 600 cc-class motorcycle is only slightly more expensive, has much better suspension, and has much more practical day to day power delivery.

Suzuki GSX1400

Suzuki GSX1400 hi-res Studio Suzuki Digital Library
Suzuki GSX1400

The Suzuki GSX1400 is the torquiest of the big bore inline four-cylinder bikes. It was a class of motorcycles not very popular in the US, which is part of the reason why the Kawasaki ZRX1200R got an outside following (also, it has many of its own virtues).

The Suzuki GSX1400 is happy to pull away from as low as 25 km/h or 15 mph in top gear — smoothly.

In reality, the Suzuki GSX1400 is an enormous motorcycle. Even for someone six feet tall like me, it looks huge when I’m on it. And feels huge.

Yes, it makes an incredible 126 Nm of torque, but it still has to pull its huge 250 kg weight around (plus whatever I weigh). It’s one of those motorcycles that feels very hefty at standstill and parking lot speeds, but very stable at speed — even when cornering at speed.

Anyway, the surge from the twist of the wrist in any gear is all I need to say. This is one of my favourites. And pretty easy to pick up for a reasonable price — though with miles climbing.

Yamaha XJR1300

2016 Yamaha XJR1300 Anniversary
2016 Yamaha XJR1300 Anniversary

The Yamaha XJR1300 is another one of those big four-cylinder bikes that the USA didn’t get.

It’s powered by a 1251 cc inline four-cylinder engine that’s air/oil cooled — that radiator up front is the oil cooler! From early on, Yamaha started only selling the version with up-spec Öhlins rear shocks, and from 2007 onwards it has even been fuel-injected.

The XJR1300 doesn’t make a ton of power (it peaks at 71.5 kW / 98 hp at 8000 rpm), but it has a lot of torque, and it makes it from very low.

Like the Suzuki GSX1400, it’s no lightweight (around 250 kg curb weight … a lot for a naked bike!) but it’s easy and forgiving to pilot, anyway.

Yamaha actually brought the XJR1300 into Europe and Australia into the mid 2010s, but it was discontinued afterwards.

Other Models You Can’t Get in the USA

There are plenty of other models of motorcycles that you can’t get in the USA, but which have been available in Europe and Australia. These are just a few that crossed my desk that I realised people wish they could get their hands on.

Sometimes they do become available after a little while, but sometimes, market forces dictate who gets what.

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