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The Best American-Made Motorcycles to Ride Right Now

Best American Made Motorcycles 0 Hero
Photo: Indian Motorcycle FTR R Carbon

For the entirety of motorcycle history, the American-made moto market was primarily defined by the cruiser. Uniquely American, this genre of motorcycle represented the vast majority of models being produced in the States, with exceedingly few exceptions. Spurred on by the rise of the electric motorcycle, the U.S. two-wheeler market has been experiencing a major shift in recent years, with an influx of fledgling moto firms and a handful of established marques now producing a diverse variety of bikes, from trackers to adventure models to naked superbikes and practically everything in between.

While the diversification of the U.S. motorcycle industry has given way to a growing number of different types of bikes, the sheer number of American-made options on the market can make it difficult to even know where to begin when shopping. So, with this in mind, we’ve thoroughly scoured the offerings of domestic manufacturers to deliver this curated guide to the best American-Made motorcycles.

The Best American-Made Motorcycles

  • Best Cafe Racer

    Cleveland Cyclewerks Ace 250

  • Droog x Volcon Brat

    Best Limited Edition Bike

    Droog x Volcon Brat

  • Best Retro-Inspired Bike

    Janus Halcyon 450

  • Best EV Bike

    Livewire Del Mar S2

  • Indian FTR R Carbon

    Best Overall Bike

    Indian FTR R Carbon

  • Show more

What Makes American Motorcycles Special?

As a great many of the companies in the developed world have continued to outsource their manufacturing and production to overseas facilities in an effort to save on cost, we’ve seen a noticeable decline in craftsmanship, quality control, and fit and finish — a trend that very much includes motorcycles. And this is a major component of what makes USA-made bikes so special, as the words “made in America” represent far more than just the geographic origins of a motorcycle, and speaks to a level of quality and attention to detail that’s seldom seen in today’s day and age.

These more exacting build standards are just one part of the equation, however, as American-made motorcycles also afford their owners a unique sense of pride and patriotism, knowing that they’re riding a bike that was designed, developed, assembled, and tested on U.S. shores. Without the cost-saving measures offered by overseas production, motorcycles that are made in America do tend to come at a financial premium, though the reality is, that, while more expensive, in most cases, you get what you pay for — not to mention the fact that American-made motos tend to hold their value much better than scoots made abroad (excluding European bikes).

Cleveland Cyclewerks Ace 250

Photo: Cleveland Cyclewerks
Why It Made The Cut
  • An ultra-affordable cafe-style two-wheeler that’s offered in a variety of engine sizes & versions. 

Best Cafe Racer: Cleveland Cyclewerks’ Ace is an affordable, modern take on a retro-inspired cafe racer. Weighing just 286.6lbs, the Ace features a knee-dented tank, a humped cafe seat, a one-into-one reverse cone muffler, a circular headlight, a dual-shock setup, circular bar-end mirrors, and an inverted fork. Though powered by a Chinese-made fuel-injected single-cylinder engine, this model was designed in America and is assembled in the States. The company also produces a more powerful, 28-hp 400-cc version of the Ace. With its cafe’d appearance, the Ace also makes for a stellar candidate for further customization — as evidenced by numerous builds that the Cleveland-based company has previously commissioned. 

Engine: Air & Oil-Cooled 249cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 16.9HP & 11.8FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 286.6LBs
MSRP: $4,599

Droog x Volcon Brat

Droog x Volcon Brat
Photo: Droog Moto | Volcon
Why It Made The Cut
  • A special edition ebike designed by renowned customs shop Droog Moto. 

Best Limited Edition Bike: Best known for its signature post-apocalyptic streetfighter-meets-tracker style,  Droog Moto is an award-winning custom motorcycle shop founded by a husband and wife team in 2016. And while the shop normally deals in one-off works, it’s recently partnered with American EV startup Volcon to deliver a limited edition Droog-ified version of the fledgling firm’s Brat ebike. Constructed around the Volcon Brat’s normal Exo-Arch chassis, the Droog x Volcon model sports the custom moto shop’s signature design cues including an ultra-stubby front fender, 1 1/8” MX bars, wheels fitted with aero disc covers and knobby tires, a custom suede seat, a bespoke rack that also serves as a side cover, an ultra-boxy gas tank, and one of Droog’s signature tracker-inspired front number board — the latter of which conceals a hidden LED headlight from Diode Dynamics. Also upgraded with new Magura braking hardware and fully-adjustable suspension front and aft, this Class 2 E-Bike is maintains the base model Brat’s same 750-watt motor, 28-mph top speed, 70-mile range, and 86-pound curb weight. 

Engine: 750W PMAC Motor
Power: 1HP
Curb Weight: 86LBs
Price: $5,800

Janus Halcyon 450

Photo: Janus Motorcycles
Why It Made The Cut
  • A super idiosyncratic DOM-framed motorcycle with an unmistakably retro-inspired appearance. 

Best Retro-Inspired Bike: Best described as a two-wheeled time machine, the Janus Halcyon 450 is a contemporary motorcycle that’s been modeled after antique American two-wheelers from a century ago. Constructed around a DOM tubular steel frame, the bike boasts a proprietary leading-link fork and a proprietary cantilever transom rear suspension setup. And, despite its unmistakably vintage appearance, the Halcyon 450 packs a slew of modern-day amenities such as Brembo brakes, CNC-machined hubs, digital instrumentation, top-shelf Brembo brakes, and a fuel-injected 30-hp SWM engine with an electronic ignition that enables the bike to reach a top speed of 90mph. 

Engine: Air & Oil-Cooled 445cc Single-Cylinder
Power: 30HP & 26FT-LBs
Dry Weight: 345LBs
MSRP: $14,995

Livewire Del Mar S2

Photo: LiveWire
Why It Made The Cut
  • A cutting-edge, fully-electric street-tracker made by Harley-Davidson’s new EV offshoot. 

Best EV Bike: The latest machine from Harley-Davidson’s all-electric offshoot, Livewire, the Del Mar S2 is a tracker-inspired, fully-electric two-wheeler that’s been engineered from the ground up specifically for commuting and urban riding duties. Assembled at Harley-Davidson’s Vehicle Operations plant in York, Pennsylvania, the Del Mar S2 uses Livewire’s all-new scalable ARROW architecture and sports a 63-kW (84-hp) motor that cranks out 194ft-lbs of torque and affords a 0-60mph time of 3 seconds flat. Boasting a target weight of under 440lbs, the bike also features a proprietary battery and electric motor that allow for a range of 100 miles on a single charge. In true tracker fashion, the Del Mar S2 also rides on a set of 19” wheels fore and aft — both of which come shod in flat track-specific Dunlop DT1 tires. 

Engine: Frame-Mounted Electric Motor
Power: 84HP & 194FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 436LBs
MSRP: $15,499

Indian FTR R Carbon

Indian FTR R Carbon
Photo: Indian Motorcycle
Why It Made The Cut
  • A high-performance, USA-made naked that comes standard with Öhlins suspension & all-carbon bodywork. 

Best Overall Bike: First released in 2019 as the FTR 1200 before being shortened to simply the “FTR,” this flat track-inspired motorcycle marked a major change in direction for America’s oldest motorcycle marque, pivoting from its typical cruiser fare to deliver an objectively high-performance sport bike. Borrowing design cues from Indian’s AFT Twins-dominating FTR750 racer, the FTR features radial-mount Brembo brakes chomping down on dual 320-mm rotors, all-LED lighting, and a potent, 120-hp V-Twin engine that cranks out nearly 90ft-lbs of torque and is backed by a state-of-the-art electronics package with ABS, wheelie mitigation, and traction control. The even sportier R Carbon-spec of the FTR takes things one step further with a fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension setup and a full suite of bodywork crafted from exposed carbon fiber. Alongside numerous accessory packages, Indian has also recently debuted a 100% Edition of the FTR R Carbon that gains even more upgrades including a set of Candy Blue carbon bodywork along with various up-specced components. 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,203cc V-Twin
Power: 120HP & 87FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 518LBs
MSRP: $17,249

Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250

Photo: Harley-Davidson
Why It Made The Cut
  • A modern adventure-touring motorcycle that’s been engineered from the ground up for eating up miles. 

Best Touring Bike: Despite being deeply rooted in tradition, Harley-Davidson has been making a major effort in recent years to tap into a new, younger, riding demographic with the release of exciting new, non-cruiser models like the all-new Pan America adventure bike. At the heart of the bike is the MoCo’s all-new liquid-cooled, 150-hp Revolution Max engine — a markedly more advanced V-Twin that serves as a structural member of the Pan America’s frame. Other modern amenities include long-travel suspension, a 6.8” Bluetooth-connected TFT display, a Daymaker LED headlight, cornering-enhanced traction control and antilock brakes, and five switchable ride modes including a dedicated off-road plus mode, as well as a customizable setting. With only a few basic upgrades, the Pan America can also be transformed into an incredibly competent off-roader.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,252cc V-Twin
Power: 150HP & 94FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 534LBs
MSRP: $17,699

Buell Hammerhead 1190

Photo: Buell
Why It Made The Cut
  • A state-of-the-art superbike that’s risen from the ashes of Erik Buell’s old brand. 

Best Superbike: Though Erik Buell’s company previously went under, the famed engineer’s namesake marque has recently been revived in order to produce a range of boutique-made, high-performance motorcycles like Buell’s state-of-the-art Hammerhead 1190. Draped in a sleek set of carbon fiber bodywork, this American superbike packs a liquid-cooled, 1.2-liter 72° V-Twin engine that cranks out 185hp and 101.6ft-lbs of torque. The machine also retains many of Erik Buell’s signature design traits, including the bike’s wildly-sophisticated chassis and rim-mounted disc brakes. The revived brand is also producing a naked version of this state-of-the-art superbike known as the 1190SX. What’s more, Buell is also currently developing an adventure bike model and a dirt bike dubbed the Buell Baja DR (or “Dune Racer”). 

Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,190cc V-Twin
Power: 185HP & 101.6FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 419LBs
MSRP: $19,995

Zero Motorcycles DSR/X Black Forest Edition

Zero Motorcycle DSR X Black Forest Edition
Photo: Zero Motorcycles
Why It Made The Cut
  • A special factory-upgraded, off-road-capable trim level of Zero’s first full-fledged adventure motorcycle. 

Best ADV Bike: Coming on the heels of the California company’s earlier DSR Black Forest Edition from 2021, the Zero DSR/X Black Forest Edition is a factory-kitted version of the brand’s first-ever full-on adventure motorcycle. Weighing in at 545lbs, the bike is constructed around a frame that’s been engineered from the ground-up specifically for hardcore adventure riding before being bestowed with a slew of go-anywhere bits. This takes the form of a spoked wheelset shod in knobby Pirelli Scorpion Trail II all-terrain tires, a massive adjustable windscreen, crash bars, a pair of auxiliary spotlights, a Showa suspension package affording 7.48” of travel fore and aft, an optional skid plate, and a locking three-piece alloy luggage set comprised of a top-case and two rigid side panniers. Keeping the thing moving is Zero’s 75-kW (100-hp) PMAC motor which puts down a very respectable 169ft-lbs of torque while drawing from the brand’s Z-Force 17.3-kWh cell — the latter of which can be upgrade to a 21-kWh unit. 

Engine: 75-kW PMAC Motor
Power: 100HP & 169FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 545LBs
MSRP: $28,700

Damon Hyperfighter Colossus

Photo: Damon Motorcycles
Why It Made The Cut
  • A wildly-advanced smart bike with awesome performance figures & onboard camera & radar systems. 

Best Naked Bike: Representing the future of motorcycling, the Damon Hyperfighter Colossus is a cutting-edge, ultra-high-performance naked superbike that’s brimming with state-of-the-art tech, including onboard 360-degree cameras, a smart Co-Pilot system that continuously scans the road around the rider, and Damon’s HyperDrive powertrain platform — the latter of which is the world’s first monocoque-constructed, all-electric, multi-variant powertrain. Putting down 200-hp and 147.5ft-lbs of torque, the Colossus-spec Hyperfighter features a 170-mph top speed and the ability to reach 60mph from a standstill in three seconds flat. This fully-electric motorcycle also sports a combined city-freeway range of 146 miles, Brembo brakes, Öhlins. suspension, a TFT display, and a single-sided swing-arm. Damon is also producing lower-specced — though still thoroughly impressive — Unlimited 20 and Unlimited 15 versions of the Hyperfighter.

Engine: Liquid-Cooled PMAC Motor
Power: 200HP & 147.5FT-LBs
Curb Weight: 438.7LBs
MSRP: $35,000


Photo: ARCH Motorcycle
Why It Made The Cut
  • An ultra-premium, ultra-high-performnace Hyper-Cruiser from Gard Hollinger and Keanu Reeve’s boutique moto startup. 

Best Hyper-Cruiser Bike: The inaugural offering from Gard Hollinger and Keanu Reeve’s boutique motorcycle startup ARCH, the KRGT-1 is an insanely high-performance hyper-cruiser. At the heart of the bike is a massive 124ci (2,032cc) S&S Cycle T124 fuel-injected V-Twin engine with a bespoke downdraft system that’s mated to a proprietary six-speed transmission. Constructed around a tubular steel chassis, the KRGT-1 also boasts a ridiculous number of custom-machined billet items, including its downdraft intake, subframe, and fuel cells. ARCH has also outfitted the hyper-cruiser with some of the finest componentry that money can buy, including BST five-spoke carbon fiber wheels shod in Michelin Commander II rubber, ultra-premium ISR six-pot monobloc calipers backed by Bosch ABS, and fully-adjustable front and rear suspension that was designed specifically for the KRGT-1 by Öhlins. ARCH also gives customers a plethora of customizable options to make the bike their own. 

Engine: Air-Cooled 2,032cc V-Twin
Power: 122HP & 115.3FT-LBs
Dry Weight: 596LBs
MSRP: $86,000+

Indian vs. Harley: Which Motorcycle Is Right For You?

Photo: Indian Challenger

Want to learn more about America’s two most iconic motorcycle marques? Then be sure to cruise on over to our feature article on Harley-Davidson vs. Indian for an in-depth comparison of these two legendary firms.