BEST OF THE BUNCH: Three of the most desirable sport bikes on the market: the Yamaha R1, the Ducati 1299 Panigale and 2015 winner, the Kawasaki H2. Image: Dries van der Walt
JOHANNESBURG - Many may have seen this coming - Kawasaki's mighty H2 won the 2015 Pirelli SA Bike of the Year award. Second place went to the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx with Yamaha's R1 in third.
The announcement was made at the Rockets Restaurant in Parkhurst hosted by the Association of Professional Motorcycle Journalists (APMJ) on Wednesday evening (August 19).
GALLERY: 2015 Bike of the Year testing
The adjudication took place over three days in the escarpment area of Mpumalanga. The famous "Twenty-Two", a 22km stretch of twisties from Sabie to Hazyview, provided ample opportunity to test handling and acceleration, while the ride to the Escarpment area and back allowed the judges to explore the touring capabilities of the finalists.
The route took judges through several towns in which the commuting/urban riding characteristics could be explored. Several forestry roads provided for soft road/off-road testing.
To ensure fairness in adjudicating such a variety of machines, the bikes were divided into ten categories. The APMJ compiled score sheets on which the bikes where scored according to specific attributes, and the judges were instructed to judge bikes strictly within their respective categories. This prevented, for example, a light adventure bike being directly compared with a super bike.
GALLERY: Kawasaki Ninja H2
In the interest of transparency, the completed score sheets were made available to the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMID). Lachlan Harris, the national director of Amid, accompanied the judges as an independent observer, to further ensure objectivity.
Our readers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the BMW S 1000 RR, which garnered (at the time of writing) more than double the number of votes for its nearest competitor, the Kawasaki H2. Wheels24’s Dries van der Walt, one of the judges, preferred the Aprilia RSV4 and placed the BMW S 1000 RR in second position.
He says: “For me the RSV4 was the surprise of the event. It did almost everything right – it handled brilliantly, was a pleasure to ride hard, and felt and sounded fantastic. Massive emotional appeal, offset by not-so-great value for money.
“The better-priced S 1000 RR is the epitome of a capable superbike, with the added benefit that it is a surprisingly easy bike to live with on a day-to-day basis. I am not bowled over by its looks, but everything else got a near-perfect score. I found it marginally less emotionally appealing than the Aprilia, but just enough to gave the latter a slight edge.”
The 2015 SA Bike of the Year was unveiled in Johannesburg but which bike did Wheels24's readers vote for in our poll?
READ: 2015 Bike of the Year Reader's choice
TomTom South Africa used the SA Bike of the Year event to launch two new products that will be of interest to bikers.
NEW BIKE TECH
The TomTom Rider 400 GPS is a brand new version of their popular Rider range of bike GPS units. Based on a brand-new navcore, the Rider 400 adds an number of features for bikers, which includes lifetime live traffic and map updates.
The Bandit action camera is a new entry, intended to go head-to-head with the popular GoPro camera range. Compact and unobtrusive, it packs a number of interesting features, including the ability to create a one-minute clip consisting of the highlights of a recording in seconds.
We will bring you more details about these devices soon.