If shootouts are MO’s bread and butter, single bike reviews and first rides are the main course. Motorcyclists crave information on the newest machinery, and we try our best to give you what you want. While you may not always agree with our opinions – and occasionally even accuse us of being on the take when our impressions don’t mesh with your desires – we try our level best to let you know what we think about every bike we have the good fortune to throw a leg over. For 2022, we have a resounding winner that left the rest of the reviews and first rides in the dust, and when you get to that entry, we figure that you won’t be very surprised.
Shootouts have long been the bread and butter of Motorcycle.com’s reviews. Some of this is because the expandable nature of web pages makes long-form content much easier than back in the print media days. Another reason is that the MO motto has always been “more is more.” So naturally, we changed things for 2022. Instead of more bikes, we decided to focus on more shootouts for the year. We think the experiment was largely a success (although you can feel free to give us your opinion in the comments), and for 2023, we are considering a hybrid of shootout models to see if that is the magic combination. However, before we ride into 2023, we need to look at what made the previous year such a good one. So, here are the shootouts that you readers decided with your clicks were the best 2022 had to offer.
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.
While some of the categories in our Reader’s Choice awards have been decided by narrow margins, when it comes to the Sportbike category, you, our readers, were pretty clear. With 28.8% of the votes, the BMW HP4 was your resounding winner, besting the second place, and the MO staff pick, Ducati 899 Panigale by more than six percentage points (22.5%). Honda’s CBR1000RR SP was a distant third place (16.4%), but the fourth place EBR 1190RX was close behind it, with 14.7% of you rooting for the home team.
In its first year of existence, KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R doubled down by winning both our 2014 Bike of the Year award and Best Streetfighter/Hooligan trophy. Now, the Super Duke R has become the choice machine for Best Streetfighter/Hooligan bike among MO readers – a triumvirate of accolades!
Ah, the venerable Gold Wing, known for decades as an upper-echelon touring bike, with more than 640,000 sold during its 40 years on the market. And it still holds a special place in your hearts as the premier touring platform. The GL1800 garnered 30.4% of your votes, more than doubling the votes for BMW’s K1600GTL, which was the best touring bike according to MO’s editorial staff.
On this we can agree, BMW’s R1200RT is the best sport-touring motorcycle available today. The newly designed Beemer won our 2014 Sport-Touring Final SmackDown + Video, and was chosen by both MO editors and MO readers as the class winner, making it a unanimous decision. As one of the lighter sport-touring bikes available, (604 pounds with its 6.6-gallon tank full), the RT navigates long sweepers and tight switchbacks with equal aplomb. It was, however, a narrow victory over Ducati’s Multistrada, with 25.0% choosing the BMW and 22.8% choosing the Duc. As our choice for Best Sport-Touring Bike of 2013, we understand the allure of the Multistrada. The Multistrada, with a curb weight of 516 pounds, is significantly lighter than the BMW or our second place sport-touring shootout finisher, Yamaha’s FJR1300.
What’s that they say about great minds? Well, it’s certainly true of both the staff and the readers when it comes to the Best Cruiser. For the 2015 Reader’s Choice Awards, our readers and staff were in complete agreement as to which 2014 model year cruiser deserved the honors: the Indian Chief. For rescuing the fabled Indian marque out of the quagmire of litigation and poorly implemented attempts at cashing in on the Indian name, Polaris deserves the thanks of all motorcycle enthusiasts. For compounding that success by launching such a well-conceived reintroduction of the Indian Chief, Indian Motorcycles deserves both the MO staff and MO readers’ Best Cruiser awards.
Your choice of the 1190 Adventure R solidifies KTM’s ascension to one of the top motorcycle marques on the planet. BMW essentially created the big-bore adventure-bike market with its twin-cylinder GS, but KTM’s Adventure series has shaken up the status quo. The regular 1190 Adventure delivers a power punch even the liquid-cooled Boxer BMW can’t match, giving it a sporting edge evidenced during our Battle of the Adventures shootout.
The readers have spoken, and their Value BOTY is the Yamaha FZ-09, which is only two digits from also being the staff’s pick for 2014 – the FZ-07, which is a year younger, one cylinder shorter and $1200 lower in price. The critics all loved the -09 when it first appeared in late 2013, including MO.
In the field of Standard motorcycles on the market today, there’s quite an impressive field to choose from. For our 2015 Reader’s Choice awards, we gave you six: the BMW R NineT, Triumph Street Triple R, BMW S1000R, Honda CB500F, and two Yamaha siblings – the FZ-09 and FZ-07. Stiff competition indeed, but with 24.4% of the votes, you, our readers, picked the Triumph Street Triple R the winner. It was a close fight, as MO’s pick for top Standard, the R NineT, was hot on the Triumph’s heels with 22.2% of the votes. The BMW S1000R came third, with 20.0% of the votes. Maybe more surprising was the last-place finisher. Despite earning runner-up status for Bike of the Year amongst the MO staff, the Yamaha FZ-07 was stuck in the single digits, with only 7.9% of you giving it the nod.
Unlike the Harley-Davidson LiveWire, your choice for Best Electric, there’s nothing shocking about the Honda CRF450R, and yet its popularity is certainly understandable. Big Red’s sleek and slick big-bore moto thumper has been the model of consistency since its debut 15 years ago, and Honda has never strayed from the basic elements that make it a perennial contender.
Winning our Reader’s Choice award for top scooter is the same scoot your MO staff picked, the
BMW C650… wait, what? You voted for the $10,999 Honda NM4? Wow, we didn’t see that one coming. In fact, the final voting wasn’t even that close, either – the Honda’s 36.3% of the votes gave it a commanding lead over the second-place finisher, BMW’s C650GT, with only 21.4% of the votes. The Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS came in a close third, with 19.6% of the votes.
When it comes to creating a splash in the moto world, perhaps no one in the past year did it better than Harley-Davidson when it unveiled an electric motorcycle. H-D, long known as a company tied firmly to vintage roots, shocked everyone with its electrically powered LiveWire.