6. Harley-Davidson Baja 100
Harley brought this little puker out to capture the small-bore trailbike market that was dominated by Hodaka at the time-the early ’70s. They contracted with the Italian Aermacchi factory, which responded with a hopelessly tall, short-wheelbase, underpowered, ill-handling package that nearly defied belief. Still, good ol’ Milwaukee put together a desert racing team that started to dominate the trailbike class, so people went out and bought the Bajas in droves, only to find out they weren’t buying what was being raced.
The race bikes had everything changed! The stock bikes came with rigid footpegs, no horsepower to speak of, a huge overlay sprocket on the rear wheel that constantly came loose, a tank shaped like a mailbox, a saddle that felt like plywood and a strange metal hook strategically placed to rip your crotch in two if you crashed. It also had stupid bars, dumb fat grips from a streetbike and a suspension that had more side-to-side travel than up-and-down stroke. I called it “a re-hashed Italian street bike with no redeeming traits.” Score one for America on our worst dirtbikes list.