Top 10 Shootout Winners So Far This Year

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

We’ve conducted 12 shootouts so far this year and we’re working on number 13 – a six-way literbike extravaganza which will soon be streaming your way. So, not including that one, which is assuredly the most important shootout this year, here are the winners of our most popular shootouts at the halfway point of 2015.

10. Kawasaki Ninja 300

Sub-300cc Sporty Bike Shootout + Video

Newbie motorcyclists are always hungering for information regarding pretty much everything about motorcycling – especially which model motorcycle is a good first bike. So it’s no surprise our Sub-300cc Sporty Bike Shootout is the first of two beginner bike shootouts in the Top 10 of shootouts this year. Published in February, the test included the Honda CBR300R, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and SYM T2 250i. The Honda and SYM never stood a chance against the dominant Ninja.

9. Victory Gunner

Big Gun Blow-Out: Harley-Davidson FXSB Breakout Vs. Victory Gunner

The only cruiser shootout in this Top 10 pits Harley-Davidson against Victory – an all-American grudge match. As it is with many shootouts of this nature, the OG H-D reigns supreme in the emotional categories, but its non-H-D competitor offers better performance at a lower price. Thus the Victory won this shootout with the USS Iowa a distant third.

8. BMW R1200GS Adventure

Battle Of The Adventures: BMW Vs. KTM + Video

No motorcycle company does big, heavy, technology-laden ADV bikes better than BMW and KTM. Like H-D cruisers, BMW’s GS is the OG model in this category, but it’s facing evermore competition from its Austrian counterpart KTM in the form of the 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R and 1290 Super Adventure. In this comparison, the 1190 Adventure gave the R1200GS Adventure a run for its money but lost the shootout by less than one percentage point. Look for a future rematch between the 1290 Super Adventure and GS Adventure.

7. Yamaha FZ-09

More For Less: $8K Four vs. $8.2K Triple vs. $8.7K Twin + Video

Three different engine configurations from three different manufacturers is a recipe for a great shootout, and this More For Less comparison certainly sparked discussion. Posted not even two months ago, the shootout pitting the Aprilia Shiver against the Suzuki GSX-S750 against the Yamaha FZ-09 comes in at number seven on this list. In the end it was the FZ-09 that came out on top but only by the skin of its under-suspended teeth.

6. Yamaha FJ-09

Three-Cylinder Sport-Adventure Comparison: Moderation In All Adventurers

The second of three ADV shootouts to make this Top 10 list goes to show how popular these bikes currently are among motorcyclists. John Burns and I took the Triumph Tiger 800 XRx and Yamaha FJ-09 to task both on and off the pavement in another hair-splitting shootout. When the numbers were tallied, the ScoreCard reflected how John and I felt about the two bikes. Both of us can justify spending the extra cash on the XRx, and that bike won our subjective scoring: 88.3% for the Triumph vs 86.4% for the Yamaha. However, it was the objective scores keeping the FJ in front of Tiger at the end of the race.

5. Kawasaki Ninja 300

Beginner-Ish Sportbike Shootout + Video

The second 300cc sportbike shootout in this Top 10 included two new and eagerly anticipated models from KTM and Yamaha; the RC390 and YZF-R3. Unlike the first beginner-ish shootout back at number 10 on this list, which was a more simple street test, we included a track test with these four bikes. While the RC surprised us with an underwhelming result, the Kawasaki also surprised with another win against stiff competition from the Yamaha.

4. Winner: Riders

2015 Literbike Spec Chart Comparo

Posted in November of 2014, the 2015 Literbike Spec Chart Comparo at number four on this list goes to show how much interest there is in the new crop of superbikes being unleashed this year. We hadn’t even ridden these bikes when this was published, but that hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from mining information about the knife’s edge performance these sportbikes offer. This Comparo held no winner, but there will certainly be a winner of our upcoming shootout. Look for it soon!

3. BMW F800GS

2014 BMW F800GS Adventure Vs. Triumph Tiger 800XC

Another ADV shootout and another posting from 2014 that remains popular months later in 2015, making it all the way to number three on this list. Editor-in-Chief Kevin Duke travelled to Colorado to ride the BMW F800GS and Triumph Tiger 800XC with his friend and co-tester Dean Height. After an incredibly scenic shootout, it was the BMW taking the win even with a much steeper price tag compared to the Tiger.

2. Morgan 3-Wheeler

Polaris Slingshot Vs. Can-Am Spyder F3-S Vs. Morgan 3 Wheeler

Uh … what can we say, this was a shootout for the ages. We’ve extensively covered every iteration of Can-Am’s Spyder with mixed feedback from two-wheel enthusiasts, but Polaris’ new Slingshot demanded something more than a simple single-bike (bike?) review, giving us reason (an excuse) to add a Morgan into the mix. Because of the disparate nature between these three three-wheelers, we omitted our standard ScoreCard scoring, but the emotional favorite was clearly the Morgan – possibly the most impractical vehicle ever constructed.

1. Ducati Scrambler

Scrambler Slam: Ducati Vs Triumph + Video

Hipsters rule and that’s never been more evident than in our recently posted Scrambler Slam pitting the Ducati Scrambler against Triumph’s Scrambler. Vintage is always cool, and both of these bikes allow you to enjoy modern performance under the guise of yesteryear’s styling. The Duc won this shootout by a large margin due mainly to its much lower MSRP and much higher level of performance, especially from its air-cooled V-Twin. Look for a revamped Scrambler from Triumph on the horizon soon.

Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

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