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2016 SA Bike of the Year: Finalists revealed

2016-07-12 15:00

Dries van der Walt

NEXT SA BIKE OF THE YEAR: Wheels24 readers chose the BMW S1000RR as their top two-wheeled machine. Which bike do you think should claim this year's title? Image: Wheels24 / Dries van der Walt

Johannesburg - The 15 finalists for the 2016 SA Bike of the Year award has been announced after the panel of judges selected their favourites from 28 nominees. 

As in the past, the selection covers a spread that represents most categories of road-legal bikes in South Africa. 

Readers who are concerned that, for example, a super motard might have to go head to head with a superbike can rest assured – in terms of the judging criteria, each bike is evaluated within its own category. 

READ: The most economical bikes in SA

A prime example of this policy in action was the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx taking second place last year despite the fact that there were no less than five leading superbikes and three 1200+ cm³ adventure tourers among the finalists.

The finalists for this year’s award are, in alphabetical order:

BMW’s adventure sport bike with its stellar performance and impressive electronic rider aids enjoyed a positive reception from the media during its launch.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

The spiritual successor to the revolutionary R 100 RS of the late 70s, this is in my opinion one of the most underrated bikes in BMW’s stable. With its relatively light weight, ample torque and decent weather protection, it is by far my favourite BMW Boxer.

Ducati Panigale 959

This year’s iteration of the smaller Panigale is as enjoyable to ride as its predecessor, and easier to live with day to day than its 1299cm³ sibling.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

Ducati XDiavel S
Ducati’s hypercruiser is a strange beast indeed. With the ergonomics of a cruiser and the performance of a superbike, the XDiavel is not everybody’s cup of tea but it makes a statement like nothing else on the road.

Image: Ducati SA

Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro
Ducati’s take on the Adventure Touring segment is big and comfortable, yet almost surprisingly competent off the beaten track.

Honda Africa Twin DCT
The toast of the town at its launch last year, the successor to the legendary 750cm³ progenitor of the range is set to continue the success of its older sibling.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

Which motorcycle do you think deserves the 2016 Bike of the Year title? Vote for your favourite here!

Honda NC750X
I’m fresh off a long-term test on the NC, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Honda’s dedicated commuter does what it says on the box, and then some.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

Harley-Davidson Dyna S
It’s a Harley – need I say more? If I do, I will add that the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine produces oodles of torque, and the dark finish gives it a sinister, stylish look.

Husqvarna 701 Super Moto
The new kid on the block is light enough and powerful enough to be outrageous fun. This is the bike with which to turn civilised riders into hooligans. 

Image: Husqvarna 

Kawasaki ZX10R
Kawasaki took the fight to the other manufacturers with the latest Ten, and reviewers say it is sure to set the benchmark in local and international racing. Haven’t ridden it yet, and quite frankly, I can’t wait.

Kawasaki ZX-10R launch evening at Holeshot Motorcycles! #kawasakisa #getcloser #holeshotmotorcycles

A photo posted by Kawasaki South Africa (@kawasaki.sa) on

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
‘The Beast” has donned a tuxedo, which means this bike with its mind-boggling torque has now become a practical (if insanely quick) long-distance mount. One lap around the new Kyalami was enough to convince me that I want to get closer acquainted with KTM’s take on the Sport Touring category.

Triumph Tiger Explorer XCA
Long service intervals, tractor-like torque practically from idle, and an attractive price makes the big Triumph a compelling offering.

Image: Triumph South Africa

Triumph Thruxton R
The craze for modern café racers continues, and the latest Thruxton combines the legendary name with modern underpinnings into a great-looking example of the breed. 

• Victory Magnum
Victory’s full-dress, full-spec cruiser-tourer stays with the outrageous love-it-or-hate-it styling the brand has become known for. It packs a 1.7L engine and enough luggage space for even the longest of long trips.

Image: Victory South Africa

• Yamaha MT-10
With a modified version of the R1’s crossplane engine, the MT-10 is poised to do well in a very competitive category. The growl from the crossplane mill and the way the generous helping of torque is delivered are sure to make it a hit among urban road warriors.

Image: Dries Van der Walt

Testing to go ahead

As in the past, the finalist bikes will be tested over three days in the Graskop/Sabie/Hazyview area in Mpumalanga at the end of July. This route (including the roads there and back) is a good mix of highways, secondary roads, sweeping curves and some of the best twisties this side of Laguna Seca.

I am fortunate enough be a member of the judging panel again, so if you are interested in blow-by-blow updates of the testing of the finalists follow me, @DriesOnBikes, on Instagram, Twitter  and Facebook.


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