Harley-Davidson motorcycles have been cool for a long time-they've just traditionally appealed to un-cool Baby Boomers. The Motor Company's hardcore-looking "Dark Custom" line-up has recently changed that, making Harleys irresistibly cool to young, urban hipsters, too. Sportster-based Dark Customs like the Nightster 1200 and Iron 883 have so far been the most successful of the line, and the latest sexed-up Sporty-the 1200cc Forty Eight-is the best one yet. But don't worry, this isn't another cheesy corporate attempt at cool. It's the real deal. The fat front tire is in line with the latest custom trends, as are the low bars with underslung mirrors, side-mounted license plate and absent taillight (the turn signals pull double duty). It looks like something straight from the best Brooklyn bike boutique, not a Fortune 500 boardroom. The Forty Eight is the sickest bike in Harley's line-up, and at $10,499, one of its cheapest, too-making it an obvious Bang for the Buck pick.
Rising Sun Sportster
Honda's all-new Shadow RS is a rousing roustabout, combining the versatility of the now-discontinued Nighthawk 750 standard with some of the V-twin Shadow's cruiser style and attitude. Practical, well-built and reasonably cool, the RS is one of the few bikes in Honda's line-up that can be considered a best buy, retailing for just $7799.