It’s been yet another fantastic year in motorcycling. But, of course, isn’t motorcycling always fantastic? Each year we see varying levels of innovation from BNGs (bold new graphics) to evolutions, and inevitably entirely new machines gracing the motorcycle market. As enthusiasts, we are in a golden era of motorcycling, rife for choices backed with technology that makes it so much easier to own and ride.
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.
Every year, we are faced with the task of choosing Motorcycle.com’s Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY), and typically, the debate is heated – and lengthy. This year, we reached agreement remarkably quickly – a rarity with any decision made by this crew of misfits. As we say each year, however, the MOTY is not about choosing the best motorcycle of 2020. While the choice 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 or do something for motorcycling. Looking back at the last five years, you’ll see that we’ve spread the MO love around, choosing an adventure bike, a sportbike, a sport-touring bike, an entire motorcycle platform, and a cruiser. Each choice has been an exemplary motorcycle, but each has expanded the way we think about motorcycling. The KTM 890 Duke R, MO’s Motorcycle of the Year 2020, is a great example of this characteristic.
It’s not every year a motorcycle hits the scene and redefines the boundaries of its category. The KTM 790 Adventure R has done just that. KTM has taken its decades of off-road championship-winning pedigree and infused it into what we believe is the most capable adventure bike to hit the market in some time. The 790 Adventure R utilizes KTM’s fully-adjustable WP XPLOR suspension front and rear, componentry previously only found on the company’s XC-W, EXC-F, and Enduro R models. The compact 799cc Parallel Twin and low slung gas tank only adds to the maneuverability of the bike, giving it a nice low center of gravity. Whether tiptoeing through a rock garden or blasting through sand washes, the 790 Adventure R handles in a way no other adventure bike does, mostly thanks to keeping its CG as low as possible.
Today, we arrive at the end of Motorcycle.com’s award season. Up to this point, we’ve named motorcycles in nine separate categories, the very best bikes that each class has to offer. The Motorcycle of the Year draws upon these winners and then looks deeper for the selection of the motorcycle that not only beat its direct competitors, but also embodies that special something that points to the road ahead for motorcycling as a whole. The 2018 Motorcycle.com Motorcycle of the Year does just that. The 2018 Ducati Panigale V4 S is a special motorcycle – one that simultaneously defines the current two-wheeled state-of-the-art while also expanding what we can expect from motorcycles in the future regarding the role technology will play.
Triumph’s efforts at reinventing the Bonneville platform (which includes the Street Twin and Thruxton along with the T120 Bonneville) deserve huge kudos. It’s one thing to create a terrific new motorcycle that meets contemporary emissions and performance standards, but it’s another to do so while making the bikes look almost like they stepped out of a showroom from 50 years ago. They appear more authentically retro than the previous air-cooled generation, which is a massive accomplishment for bikes with contemporary liquid-cooled motors.
For the past week, I’ve been thinking about the reaction to our selection of the 2015 Motorcycle of the Year, or more accurately, the reaction from some readers to our selection of the Indian Scout as the recipient of the MOTY. You’d think that, after so many years in the moto-press, I’d be immune to the vitriol spewed online by people who don’t agree with a choice or statement or evaluation I’ve made. For some reason, however, being accused of accepting bribes in exchange for the MOTY chapped me, where normally I’d laugh off this kind of dreck. Maybe it was because I was the one who initially suggested the Scout was the best choice for the award.
What’s this? A cruiser claims the Motorcycle of the Year title even though we’ve called 2015 the year of the Superbike? Yes, it might provoke a little cognitive dissonance until you think a little further. First, because the Indian Scout was introduced at Sturgis this time last year, many riders mistakenly thought of it as a 2014 model. To qualify for a MOBO, a motorcycle must be on sale to the public prior to the nominating process at the end of each July, and the Scout wasn’t available until late last year. Additionally, our MOTY must be something special, and the Scout is more than just a class-beating cruiser.
Has another year gone by already? Planet Earth just keeps on spinning, and here at the world’s best motorcycle website, which has just turned 21, we keep on ticking in spite of ISIS, Ebola, another Buell setback, the death of Cecil the Lion, the disappearance of an entire airliner, the impossibility of reason and Universal Dysfunction. We keep on keeping on, bringing you word of the latest moto-developments as fast as they happen or as soon as we can find the time, whichever’s easiest.
While nine motorcycles may have been listed on the Reader’s Choice ballot for Motorcycle of the Year, the reality is that two of them garnered 42.67% of the votes. The two bikes going mano-a-mano in a V-Twin, bare knuckled brawl for supremacy? The KTM Super Duke R and the Indian Chief. We bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? What surprised us was that you, the readers, didn’t choose the KTM SDR, like we did. Instead, you let us know that you think the Indian Chief is the motorcycle that stands at the top of the 2014 model year heap in our first annual Reader’s Choice Awards.
The evolution of motorcycles continues its relentless pace in 2014, with new offerings in every segment that advance the state of the art. The list of nominations for our prestigious Motorcycle of the Year award stretched across many categories and a diverse range of prices. After much debate among our editors, we’ve whittled down the best of the best to determine which two motorcycles are most deserving of our honors. And the winners are…
There’s only one reigning Miss Universe. She’s a beauty, but make no mistake, during the competition any woman on that stage will get a man’s mojo working. And so it is with our annual selection of Motorcycle.com’s Best Of 2014 awards (MOBOs). A winner and honorable mention in 12 categories leaves only 24 spots to fill. Occasionally, a particular motorcycle is so good it might win or be honorably mentioned more than once, leaving even fewer spots available.