2022 Motorcycle of the Year
A great year for riders who like to travel
2022 Motorcycle of the Year: Aprilia Tuareg 660
Each year, we gather as a staff for the task of choosing Motorcycle.com’s Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY). Sometimes the debate can be heated – and lengthy. This year, we reached consensus on the top two choices relatively easily. What caused the debate was the ranking of the two, but we were able to come to an agreement (some possibly reluctantly) as to their final standing. Remember, the MOTY is not about choosing the absolute best motorcycle of 2022. While the bike needs to be one of the best by winning one of our MO Best Of categories (MOBO), the bike needs to be something more; it needs to say something about the current state of motorcycling. The 2022 MOTY is no different. In fact, it was alone in winning two MOBO categories. When you combine the two, the motorcycle says a lot about its current class of motorcycles, in this case adventure-touring and value motorcycles. The 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 illustrates the continuing advancement and the maturity of the adventure-touring market.
The Aprilia Tuareg 660 represents the growing importance of the middleweight adventure market. Not only does it come in on the smaller end of the displacement scale, removing some of the barriers to entry to newer ADV riders, but also it comes with features that used to only be the province of heavyweight adventure machinery. Where the Tuareg really makes a statement, though, is how it provides these features for thousands of dollars less than its competitors. So, what we end up with is a lighter, less intimidating, and more flexible platform at a reasonable price. And that’s before we consider how it stacked up in MO’s tests this year.
How does Aprilia pull off this feat? First, the engine, with just minor retuning, is used across three different motorcycle models, helping to keep prices down while showing the versatility of the 660 Parallel-Twin. By virtue of having 75% of its 44.3 lb-ft of torque available at 3,000 for good off-road grunt yet still delivering an exciting top end when revved out, the Tuareg excels in the two most important areas for an ADV bike: crawling around in the dirt and cruising the highways to get there.
Electronics continue to play an increasingly important role in motorcycling, and here, again, the Tuareg 660 excels. For less experienced riders, particularly in the dirt, the electronics can be a real confidence booster, possibly enticing these riders to take more adventurous routes. As their skills improve, the electronic support can be dialed back or even turned off. The capability to dial in the bike you want to ride, played a big role in our 2,000 mile ride from Sturgis to Los Angeles, where both Ryan and I declared the Tuareg to be our pick – even with our wildly different off-road riding abilities. These features used to be the province of flagship model, heavyweight adventure bikes, and it’s good to see them trickling down into the middleweight market where we see the most potential for growth.
Finally, there is the $11,999 starting price. While we’ve heard the howls in the Best Value MOBO comments, we need to stress that value isn’t necessarily represented by a low price rather, value comes from what you actually get for your money. The Tuareg excels in this regard when you consider the cost of similarly-equipped adventure motorcycles.
For these reasons, and more, the MO staff has voted the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg the Motorcycle.com 2022 Motorcycle of the Year!
2022 Motorcycle of the Year Runner-Up: Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT+
In recent years, the sport-touring segment has been languishing in the shadow of adventure bikes, with many of the options listed in the category being streetified ADV bikes. Just look at this year’s sport-touring runner-up MOBO. All of this explains why the MO staff was so excited by the prospect of the Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+.
Even before we rode the GT+, we knew there was a lot to like about it. The K5 GSX-R1000 engine has yet to produce a dud, and giving it an update with what turned out to be perhaps the best up/down quickshifter only sweetened the package. Then there was the handling, which is exactly what we want from a sport-touring mount with bags in place. The brakes deserve a mention, too. And the styling? You’d be hard-pressed to find someone without a strong opinion, on both sides of the spectrum.
Once we had a GT+ in our possession, each ride confirmed our feelings about the bike. It even beat its most direct competitor, the Ninja 1000 SX, in a head-to-head Showdown. This is what we remember the sport-touring class of old being, and hope to see grow back into prominence.
What we’re saying is that when a bike exceeds expectations while simultaneously breathing new life into the seemingly moribund sport-touring class, it deserves accolades. The 2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ did just that and, as a result, is the Motorcycle.com 2022 Motorcycle of the Year Runner-Up.
Motorcycle.com Best of 2022 Categories
- 2022 Motorcycle of the Year
- Best Adventure Motorcycle of 2022
- Best Sportbike of 2022
- Best Naked Motorcycle of 2022
- Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2022
- Best Value Motorcycle of 2022
- Best Standard Motorcycle of 2022
- Best Cruiser / Bagger of 2022
- Best Lightweight / Entry-Level Motorcycle of 2022
- Best Electric Motorcycle of 2022
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More by Evans Brasfield