These are the 10 oldest motorcycle companies that are still in business today

Most motorcycle makers didn’t start out as motorcycle makers. This adds some complexity to the debate over who has actually been in business the longest, but right off the bat we’re not counting those years, the dates we’ll focus on are when these companies produced their first motorcycle.

Nor are we going to overlook all the businesses that have been out of business for a while, some longer than others, but have been relaunched or taken over, or in some cases both. Some companies have even changed their nationality along the way, which is understandable considering their seniority, with all of the older 10 now over a century old.

ten Benelli: 1911


Benelli
Via Benelli / YouTube

Benelli is technically the oldest Italian motorcycle company still in business today, although that is not entirely true and their history is a bit more complex than it suggests.


via L’Express Financier

Technically, they have been a Chinese company since around 2005 when Qianjiang Motorcycle bought them. Their head office remains in Peraso, Italy, but production has moved to China.


9 BSA: 1910


2022 BSA Gold Star hd wallpaper
Via: Bsacompany.com

Like most motorcycle manufacturers, they started out by inserting a small motor into a bicycle frame, so a motorcycle!


BSA Gold Star Clubman Side View
Via MedPharmRes

Over the next 60 years they would experience several ups and downs, but ultimately, after a less than successful merger with Norton and Villiers, they went bankrupt in 1972. Only to be revived that year almost out of nowhere in an attempt to capitalize in the ever-growing retro market.

Related: 2022 BSA Gold Star Comes To Life And Will Face Off Royal Enfield

8 SACHS: 1905


Intelligent courtesy cycle

Today they are best known for their suspension components, but not that long ago they were one of the major engine suppliers for a long list of different brands.


via: target-design.com

As a true manufacturer of motorcycles, their production has been intermittent throughout their history. In recent years, they’ve seen a minor resurgence largely thanks to their MadAss, but are now investing more in electric mobility.

seven Husqvarna: 1903


1935-Greatest-TT-The-Vintagent-stanley-woods.husqvarna.34tt
the vintage

After being in the wilderness for several years, Husqvarna came out of the BMW group rather bad for wear.


Husqvarna-701-Enduro-1
Via sx-z.com

KTM sought to breathe new life into the struggling company, but not in the way you might expect in a story with a happy ending. In reality, nothing but the name survives, with their new bikes all repainted KTMs.

Related: This Is What Husqvarna Did For The Military Before Making Motorcycles


6 Harley-Davidson: 1903


Israel Harley Davidson Riders Club on a ride
Via: Facebook

One of only two American motorcycle companies to survive the Great Depression, Harley-Davidson has truly stood the test of time.


2020-Harley-Davidson-Fat-Bob
via Harley-Davidson

They’re also the only company to survive that long without going bankrupt, though they’ve certainly been close and had their fair share of ups and downs. Riding bikes for almost 120 years has been an astounding achievement.

5 Triumph: 1902


Fonz Triumph Trophy 500 1949
Via rideapart.com

Most of the motorcycles produced in the early years were still, for the most part, motor bikes, Triumph came up with what was to be known as the first real motorcycle in 1915.


The Triumph Tiger 1200 2022 model range parked with a mountain range visible in the background.
Via: Triumph

It was revolutionary and compelled others to move forward with them, for decades the name Triumph was highly regarded, until the wheels fell off in the 80s and the company went bankrupt. However, it didn’t take long for them to bounce back, already producing competitive motorcycles in the 90s and has since grown into one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in Europe.

Related: The Millionth Bike Produced By Triumph Looks Gorgeous

4 Norton: 1902


Norton T wins 1907
SCS

It’s pretty hard to believe that Norton was once one of the leading motorcycle brands, winning several races and championships in the first half of the 20th century. Things gradually took a turn for the worse in the second half until they were shut down and the naming rights were sold out in the late 1970s.


Norton Military
Pinterest

The sale of these naming rights turned out to be an important marker for them as it added a lot of complexity and confusion to their story, but by the end of the 80’s they were back, with a Wankel engine. It went south quite quickly, predictably, and then in 2008 they had another attempt, which also stalled and now TVS has them, we’ll see how it goes soon, but their prototype looks pretty good to us.

3 Royal Enfield: 1901


Royal enfield
Via the Redditch standard

This year, Royal Enfield is celebrating a milestone, 120 years of uninterrupted motorcycle production.


key-kings-custom-royal-enfield-himalayan
via: Reddit

However, they changed from a British company to an Indian company in the late 1960s, but production, on the contrary, increased rather than decreased as the British era ended, the Indian era had just started .

Related: Looking Back at Royal Enfield’s 120 Year History

2 Indian: 1901


Burt-Munro-Indian-Motorcycle
via: Pinterest

After surviving the Great Depression, they began to pick up the pace, often overtaking their bitter rival, Harley-Davidson. The post-war period was not favorable to them, however, with Harley-Davidson now the favorite, by 1953 they were finished.


2021-Indian-Scout-Bobber5-1
via: Flickr

They tried and failed again in the early ’00s and then it was essentially the third time around, with the third effort showing enough promise for Polaris to buy them back and launch several new models that are now selling well around the world.

1 Peugeot: 1898


vintagebike.co.uk

This may come as a surprise to some, but yes, they still make scooters to this day, thanks in large part to Indian giant Mahindra.


peugeot-unveils-the-new-satelis-2-400i-maxi-scooter_2
AutoEvolution

After turning their attention to cars in the 1950s, their motorcycle division was largely forgotten, until Mahindra bought it out in 2014. Since then, they have acquired 100% and produce Peugeot branded scooters in France and in China.


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