TOP BIKE IN 2013: BMW’s R1200GS was crowned the 2013 South African Bike of the Year two years ago. This shot was taken at Sun City. Image: BMW
Cape Town - What a year! Aprilia Tuono, Ducati Monster 1200S... 2015 is shaping up to be a treat for bike enthusiasts, with more than 30 new models announced.
Being spoiled for choice also means the number of finalists for the 2015 SA Bike of the Year has more than doubled.
As has become customary, a panel of 14 South African motorcycling journalists, drawn from a variety of publications, will have three days to test the cream of SA's biking crop before casting their votes.
The finalists are (in no particular order):
• Kawasaki Ninja H2
• Yamaha R1
• BMW S1000RR
• Aprilia RSV 1000
• Ducati 1299 Panigale
• Ducati Multistrada
• KTM 1290 Super Adventure
• Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
• Aprilia Caponord Rally
• Ducati Scrambler
• Indian Scout
• Harley Davidson Street 750
• BMW RnineT
• Yamaha Tracer
• Suzuki GSX-S 1000F
• Zero S
Where the 2014 list was dominated by naked bikes, the 2015 competition is more evenly spread among the various categories (though with a slight bias towards sport bikes).
There are a number of interesting machines on the list but the two potentially game-changing machines likely to attract a lot of attention are the supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 and the innovative Zero electric bike.
READ: 2013 Bike of the Year
READ: 2014 Bike of the Year
The bikes will be judged objectively (within their specific categories) against several set criteria to ensure that each bike stands an equal chance of winning. This will make up 70% of the score, with the remaining 30% reserved for the judges’ subjective impressions.
The greater portion of the testing will take place on the “Twenty-two”, the popular 22km strip of twisty road between Hazyview and Sabie in Mpumalanga. Most of the bikes will be ridden from Gauteng to Mpumalanga to allow the judges to assess their open-road performance (exceptions, such as the Zero with its limited range, will be trailered).
There will also be opportunities for off-road and track riding, depending on the category of bike.
WHEN WE KNOW THE WINNER, SO WILL YOU...
In the interests of transparency Lachlan Harris, the national director of the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMID), will accompany the judges as an independent observer and the judges’ score sheets will be made available to the importers.
The date the winner will be announced has not been finalised but we will tell you as soon as we know.
Bike of the Year is now in its third year and the previous two years’ awards have led to considerable debate. Let’s keep the debate alive – feel free to comment on the list of finalists and let us know which bikes, in your opinion, should have been on (or off!) the list.
READERS' BIKE OF THE YEAR
Wheels24's DRIES VAN DER WALT will take you along on the journey to the August announcement. Over the next few weeks we will bring you reviews of as many of the finalists as are available for us to test.
You, just like the actual judges, have a vote too:
Which bike do you think should win the 2015 SA Bike of the Year award? Email us and we’ll publish your thoughts on Wheels24. Vote for your favourite in our homepage voting booth!
Enter our Readers' Bike of the Year competition and you could win one of three R500 online shopping vouchers.
2014 SA BIKE OF THE YEAR: KTM’s 1290 Super Duke was crowned the 2014 SA Bike of the Year at the 2014 AMID Motorcycle Show at Nasrec in Johannesburg. Image: Dries van der Walt