Motorcyclist’s 2009 Picks of the Year

The mavens at Motorcyclist magazine have announced the winner of the award for 2009 Motorcycle of the Year, as well as their other picks.

Motorcyclist's Motorcycle of the Year: 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1
Motorcyclist's Motorcycle of the Year: 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1

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.

Interesting Bookmark

Have you ever wondered about how your bike’s street performance might stack up against another bike.  Well, the folks over at Motorcyclist Online are there to help you out.  They have the actual dyno results and performance numbers of every bike they’ve tested.

I was reminded of that again, because, after my test ride of the BMW’s, I really wanted to see how they stacked up to each other in street performance.  The results are interesting, because one of my concerns about buying an RT–assuming my insurance settlement is enough to cover it, of course–was whether I’d find the performance anemic compared to my FJR.

According to that actual tests that Motorcyclist has performed, the results are:

Bike HP (HP @ RPM) Torque (lb. – ft. @ rpm) 1/4 Mile (sec. @ mph) Top Gear Roll-On  (60-80 MPH)
BMW R1200RT
101.1 @ 7500 78.0 @ 6250 11.68 @ 118.8 4.30
BMW K1200GT
127.6 @ 8900 79.3 @ 8100 11.30 @123.7 3.80
HD V-Rod 109.3 @ 8250 74.3 @ 7000 11.31 @115.0 4.05
FJR1300AE 127.2 @7900 89.6 @ 6800 11.86 @ 118.8 4.02

Well, I must say this comes as a surprise.  First, it seems that the AE is slower off the start than the RT, with a 1/4 time that’s 2/10 second slower than the RT.  Where the RT loses out is in the grunt at rolling from 60-80 in 6th gear, as the FJR does it 3/10 second faster rolling on in fifth.  I suspect that a 5th gear roll-on would be closer on the RT.

Another surprise is how close the performance between the K1200GT is to the Harley V-Rod.  That’s about a dead heat.  I suspect the K1300GT has some performance increase though. But for a cruiser (sport-cruiser?) the V-Rod is pretty hot.

But, based on the numbers above, I don’t see that the performance difference between the RT and the FJR AE model, like I have, would be particularly noticeable.  And based on handling alone, I can already see that I can hustle the RT faster through the corners than I can the FJR.

Can you hear me talking myself into it?

I really want to know what that insurance settlement is gonna be, now.