The annual march of media bike choices continues, with Motorcycle.com weighing in with thir top picks of the year. Their choices are interesting, and a bit different than I would have expected.
For the overall bike of the year, they picked the Triumph Street Triple R.
Best Sportbike honors go to the Kawasaki ZX-6R, with the runner-up being the Honda CBR1000RR.
The Ducati Monster 1100 gets the nod for best standard motorcycle, with second place going to the Harley-Davidson XR1200.
The best cruiser pick is the all new Triumph Thunderbird 1600, with the Suzuki Boulevard M90 taking an honorable mention.
The award for best touring bike goes to the BMW R1200RT, closely followed by the Honda Gold Wing.
BMW also take both first and second place spots for sport-touring, with the K1300GT winning, and the F800ST getting the honorable mention.
BMW stays in the winner’s circle for best off-road bike, with the top honors going to the F800GS, and the second spot going to the Aprilia SXV/RXV 5.5.
They also have picks for best eccentrics, scooters, technology, and more, so why not go there and read them?
Motorcycle.Com has just released this year’s comparo of the top sport touring motorcycles. This year, they pit the BMW K1300GT, Yamaha FJR1300A, Kawasaki Concours14, and the venerable Honda ST1300 against each other.
They declare the top bike to be…
Objectively the BMW is the clear winner to us. It makes markedly more power than the others despite not having the biggest engine. Our experiences aboard all four left no question the big K bike is the quickest steering and provides excellent braking performance. It offers very good wind protection, great ergos, an adjustable seat and handlebars, possibly the best passenger perch and very good saddlebags, to name only a few high points.
I’ve never been aboard the St1300 or the C14, but after tiding a K13GT and owning an FJR, I’d pick the FJR any day. I didn’t like the GT at all.
The RT, on the other hand, was a dream.
The mavens at Motorcyclist magazine have announced the winner of the award for 2009 Motorcycle of the Year, as well as their other picks.
The bike picking up the top award this year is the Yamaha YZF-R1.
Modern sportbikes are engineered so close to the edge of the performance envelope that we’re conditioned to expect incremental changes: a shaved pound here, an added pony there. It’s almost unimaginable that any sportbike could surprise us with a novel riding experience that realigns our understanding of what a liter-class sportbike is, and what one can do. The 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 is exactly that sort of bike-which is why it’s our Motorcycle of the Year.
Other notable picks include:
Ben Spies as the Motorcyclist of the year.
The Kawasaki ZX-6R as the best sportbike of the year, closely followed by the Ducati 1198.
The Ducati Streetfighter as the Best Naked Bike, followed by the Harley Davidson XR1200 Sportster.
The Kawasaki Concours14 as the year’s Best Touring Bike, followed by the Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
Best Adventure Bike honors go to two BMWs, with the F800GS in the top position, and the R1200GS Adventure in second place.
The Best Dreambike is the Aprilia RSV4, with the BMW S1000RR as the follow-on.
Best Bang For The Buck goes to Kawasaki, with the ER-6n as the winner, and KLX250SF as the second-place finisher.
For Best Cruiser, Motorcyclist goes strictly for muscle this year, with the Star (Yamaha) V-MAX ruling the roost, and the Harley Davidson V-Rod Muscle in the supporting position.
Best Dirtbike is the Husaberg FE450; second best is the Honda CRF450R.
Best New Technology is the Honda Combined ABS system, followed by the Ducati Traction Control.
And, finally, the Best New Product honors go to the Gopro Motorsports Hero Wide Camera, with the Bazzaz Performance Z-FI Traction Control taking the runner-up position.
Kawasaki is reported to be working on some high-tech additions to the Concours14/GTR-1400 for the upcoming model year.
They won’t be officially unveiled until later this year. I don’t know when. It was supposed to be at the Paris Motorcycle show in October, but that event has been canceled.
Anyway, the new additions include an infrared night vision system, and a heads-up display for riders.
The heart of the system is a pair of infrared cameras mounted on the front of the bike. They allow the rider to “see” about 300 meters ahead of the bike, which is well beyond the viewing distance provided by the headlights. Not only will the system be able to find a heat signature before the rider is able to see it, but it will also provide an audible alarm to the rider. This will keep focus on the road rather than the gauge cluster.
Aside from the night vision the Kawasaki Engineering team is also working to design a helmet mounted heads up display. If they are successful, it could be mean riders will rarely have to look away from the road to check their speed or whatever they are monitoring at the time. The current design is mounted on the exterior of the helmet, rather than being part of it, meaning it could quickly become a popular aftermarket accessory.
It’s also supposed to have a bluetooth hookup to the helmet HUD, so there won’t be any annoying wires or whatnot.
Maybe I should reconsider an earlier post. If you’re gonna have the heads-up display, and the infrared night vision, you might as well spring for the Batman suit after all.