We had to wait a few years for Honda to get on-board with the current Adventure-Touring trend, but when Big Red finally did, it did with the most iconic of Honda off-roaders. The Africa Twin namesake is a lot to live up to, but the latest edition does so, not by being a hardcore Dakar performer, but by being one the most balanced, all-around big-bore ADV bikes on the market.
This category is one of our favorites here at MO, and it proved to be the tightest contest of our 2016 MOBOs – we initially decided to give it the second tie in the eight-year history of MO’s annual Best Of awards. After all, our recent face-off between KTM’s Super Duke R and the Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory was a virtual tie, with their scores separated in our rankings by just 0.1%! And, in pure subjective terms, our two testers were divided.
From EiC Duke’s initial ride of the littlest Duke in Thailand, we knew this small KTM was going to be special and it is. From the pointed profile of its front Pirelli to the tail-end bark from its 40-horsepower 373cc Single, this one does nothing to let down the family name, and on top of that, it’s one dollar less than 5,000. And that’s including ABS.
One-hundred and six pound-feet of torque is an addictive drug if you can get your hands on it, and it’s even better when it’s available to you almost instantly. Thankfully for us this dream has been a reality since 2014, in the form of the Zero SR. It accelerates like few other bikes can thanks to its 660-amp motor controller and higher-temp magnets. Couple that with new-for-2015 bits like Showa suspension, Pirelli tires, and Bosch ABS, and you have the makings for our Best Electric Motorcycle of 2015.
When cornering ABS (C-ABS) arrived a couple years ago, the general consensus among the motojournos was, Hey that’s awesome, we’ll take your word for it working as described, because no matter how professional we try to be, grabbing a fistful of front brake mid-corner to evaluate this new technology is a line few were willing to cross. At the International Driver & Rider Training Symposium, EiC Kevin Duke and I were given a chance to fully explore C-ABS thanks to this year’s Best Product winner, Skidbike.
The staff here at MO has much in common with you. As motorcycle enthusiasts of the first order, we’re endlessly intrigued by all the new developments in the two-wheeled world. And now it’s time again for our annual rollout of what we believe is the best in motorcycling.