It's been one of the hardest-fought years in motorcycling, with icons being born, and re-born, in equal measure. These are MCN's best of the best...
MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR
BMW Motorrad is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, and is riding high with benchmark-setting models and impressive global sales.
This year has been defined by the launch of its first water-cooled boxer twin engine, fitted to MCN’s Machine of the Year 2013 – the all-new R1200GS.
Rather than resting on its laurels, BMW has continued to push the boundaries of performance with the likes of the astounding HP4 (MCN’s Sports Bike of
the Year in the unlimited catagory), and sustainably powered bikes too, such as the new C Evolution electric scooter.
MCN says: “BMW’s surge into the affections of UK riders has been unstoppable over the last three years, adding great sales success to constant innovation. The R1200GS, HP4, F800 GS Adventure, C-series scooters and K1600GT Sport represent a busy year of introductions, while the stunning Concept 90 wowed the entire motorcycle community.”
MACHINE OF THE YEAR
MCN Executve Editor, Phil West:
“There is no getting away from the fact that the new GS instantly comes over as being a class above its rivals. Conservative and sumptuously comfortable it may be, but it’s also verging on the luxurious, especially when loaded to the gunnels with BMW goodies. The clocks have it all without being too fussy. The switchgear is intuitive, tactile, refined and a pleasure to use. Everything else – mirrors, screen adjustment and more – just works.
“All that is to be expected. Instead what surprises and impresses with the 2013 BMW R1200GS is how invigorating it is on the move. It’s as if the aging, slightly fuddy duddy old GS has been turned into a teenager: it’s got energy, bounce, sprightliness and verve. It’s got thrash and dash and delivers fun by the pannierful. And if you want to tone it down you just switch modes.”
Amid tough competition, the FJR1300, in all three forms, continues to perform with exceptional composure. Despite its comfort and carrying capabilities, the FJR remains sharp and engaging to ride on any road.
BEST NAKED MIDDLEWEIGHT
TRIUMPH STREET TRIPLE
The Street Triple has been a phenomenal sales success in both standard and R form. Regular refreshes have sustained it as the UK’s favourite naked, with the 2013 model revamp asserting its dominance in this sector.
BEST NAKED UNLIMITED
APRILIA TUONO V4R
When Aprilia first stripped the fairings from an RSV1000R and dubbed it a Tuono, they revolutionalised the hardcore streetbike market. A decade later and the latest V4R dominates the class the Tuono spawned, with aggressive power, a wealth of exceptional electrickery, and killer styling.
Triumph Speed Triple R
BEST SPORTS BIKE (UNLIMITED)
Already a firm favourite of the MCN road test team, the 2012 S1000RR was so good that it seemed impossible to improve upon – and then BMW unleashed the HP4 version, blowing its own class leader aside as the ultimate evolution of the asymmetrically-faced superbike. It doesn’t just rule, it dominates this class of extreme performance, with only Ducati’s wildly expensive new Panigale R running it a close second.
Ducati 1199 Panigale R
BEST SPORTS BIKE (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
TRIUMPH DAYTONA 675R
When Triumph first unveiled its 675cc triple supersport contender the traditional 600s were left reeling in its wake, and the impact is still being felt today. As with the Street Triple, Triumph has continued to evolve the Daytona, and (especially in R form) it’s unbeatable, balancing the needs of both road and track riders, delivering poise and control, plus relative comfort and engine flexibility, in one neat package.
MOTO GUZZI CALIFORNIA
Heritage is a strong marketing tool right now, and Moto Guzzi has pulled a trump card with the all-new
California. It takes the class win for superbly blending the style and presence of the iconic brand with a thoroughly modern engine, chassis, and electronics package. It’s an accomplished ride.
BEST ADVENTURE BIKE
The GS is one of the world’s most recognisable bikes. A popular choice for world adventurers, weekend riders and commuters alike, the GS underwent its biggest redevelopment for 2013. Headlining this is the first water-cooled BMW boxer motor, but this shouldn’t overshadow the other innovations and updates: notably the most versatile traction control package we’ve ever had on a bike. It works to seamlessly support all levels of off-road ability, but also adds a faultless safety net to road riding. The multi-mode package is further supported by a highly effective (optional) electronic suspension system, making the GS superbly versatile.
Embracing an emerging part of the market and giving it the importance and potency it deserves Yamaha has come up with something intriguing and rather good with the XV950. As soon as we rode it, it made sense. Some bikes do the moment you actually ride one in the manner it was intended. Affordable.. and cool as a stripped-back custom or as a blank canvass for personalisation…neat and a worthy winner.
RIEJU RS3 125 LC
Rieju is building great bikes right now, and the Yamaha-Minarelli engined RS3 is one of them, offering new and experienced riders alike an affordable and attractive 125cc sports bike option.
HMC Classic 125
Honda’s family of 500s burst onto the market, enjoying rampant success in 2013. Heading the triumverate is the sporty CBR500R, blending attractive styling with a flexible motor, economy and affordability. Part of its success is its broad appeal: Ideal first big bike, or a step down from more hedonistic bikes, the perfect commuter, and weekend thrill-seeker.
KTM 390 Duke
BMW C600 Sport
Not content with taking the sports bike and adventure bike headlines, BMW’s diversification into the scooter market has also delivered a winner at the executive end of the market. The two petrol versions are now joined by the C Evolution electric scooter, too.
Suzuki Burgman 650
BEST RETRO BIKE
It’s easy to dismiss the excellent new CB1100 as an obvious addition to the retro bike bandwagon, but that would be a great disservice. Not only is the CB1100 a new bike from the ground up, but the Japanese have done what so few others have dared to try, shunning the easy route of producing a Euro3 compliant water-cooled motor in favour of a more authentic air-cooled unit.
Moto Guzzi V7
Dealer of the Year (multi-outlet)
Dealer of the Year (single outlet)
Wholesaler of the Year
Feridax (1957) Ltd
Clothing and Accessory Retailer of the Year
Product of the Year – Clothing and Accessory
AGV GT Veloce helmet
Product of the Year – Tyre
Pirelli Angel GT
Dave Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award
The motorcycle world was saddened to lose Kevin Ash in 2013. A superbly talented journalist, Ashy rode, and wrote about, almost every bike of the last three decades, informing a generation of motorcyclists.