The Winner: Ducati Hypermotard SP
How It Moves The Needle: The most fun street bike we’ve ridden this year. The new liquid-cooled motor is punchy and easy to use while the chassis is even more compact and agile than before. Combine that with Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes and you’re onto a winning formula.
Why We Chose It: Who cares if it’s kinda, sorta an overly-large supermoto. It’s got flat bars and no fairing and does the best job of filling the traditional naked virtues of city-speed fun and comfort of anything out there right now.
Naked Runner-Up: Yamaha FZ-09
How It Moves The Needle: An awesome new three-cylinder motor at a shockingly affordable, $7,990 price.
Why It Didn’t Win: Too-cheap suspension and flawed fueling keep it from greatness.
Category: Sport Tourer
The Winner: Kawasaki Ninja 1000
How It Moves The Needle: Simple, honest comfort and practicality combine with strong performance to make this a fast bike you can ride day in, day out.
Why We Chose It: It makes more expensive sport touring bikes like the VFR1200, ZX-14R, and Hayabusa look silly. The Ninja 1000 is just as fast in real world riding and way more comfortable, while also coming in at a much lower price.
Sport Tourer Runner-Up: Ducati Hyperstrada
How It Moves The Needle: Take the winning Hypermotard package and fit a more comfortable seat and a surprisingly effective bikini fairing. Voila, an incredibly fun bike that’s happy on the highway.
Why It Didn’t Win: It really needs the suspension and brakes from the SP to make it great. You can build such a bike by buying an SP and bolting on the fairing and optional “comfort” seat, but doing so is a bit of a hassle.
The Winner: Honda CB1100
How It Moves The Needle: Honda reminds the world why simple, air-cooled, inline-fours put everyone else out of business with a retro that’s as characterful and passionate as it is capable and practical.
Why We Chose It: A refreshing reminder that Honda has as much soul as it does efficiency, the CB1100 is just a lovely, evocative bike to get around on.
Retro Runner-Up: Moto Guzzi V7 Racer Record
How It Moves The Needle: The nicest looking bike you can buy right now, the Record is basically an add-on kit for the already swanky V7 Racer incorporating the fairing, seat and pipes.
Why It Didn’t Win: All of the above adds up. $13,080 is a lot of money for a bike with 50 bhp.