Britain's best bikes: these are the 2020 MCN Award winners
The MCN Awards celebrate what we think are the very best motorbikes by category available in the UK right now. It may not feel like there’s been much to celebrate in 2020, but some truly wonderful bikes have hit the roads.
And there were already so many great bikes to choose from, it made deciding the winners really difficult. Here’s what we chose as the cream of the two-wheeled crop in 2020. Alternatively, jump to 2019 or 2018.
Best motorbikes 2020
- Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro
- BMW R1250RT
- KTM 890 Duke R
- Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory
- Triumph Rocket 3 R
- Ducati Multistrada 950 S
- Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
- Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX
- BMW S1000RR
- Yamaha MT-125
- Honda CB500X
- Yamaha TMAX 560
- Harley-Davidson LiveWire
Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro
We were blown away by its incredible finish, balance, handling and useability. We don’t think there are many bikes that are as together as the new Tiger 900 Rally Pro. It also scoops our best adventure bike award.
The Best Tourer Award goes to the BMW R1250RT for the second year running, having taken it from its 1200cc predecessor last year. More power and a bigger fuel tank than a Honda Gold Wing. More carrying capacity and smarter tech than an FJR1300.
More manageable and better value than a K1600GT. Who knows whether we’ll be handing this award to the R1250RT yet again a year from now – but if we’re not, the touring class is in for an absolute treat.
KTM 890 Duke R
A brand-new model took the Best Naked award this year in the form of the KTM 890 Duke R. It would be easy to think the new Duke is just a 790 with a few jazzy bits and a slightly bigger engine, but it delivers more thrills than just about anything with lights and indicators.
It’s spacious, comfortable and well equipped, too with a colour dash, rider modes, anti-wheelie, cornering ABS and traction control. The 890 Duke R might not be for everyone, but we salute KTM for creating one of the most sparkling nakeds ever created.
Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory
The Best Super Naked category has been spicier than ever in 2020 with bikes like the Ducati Streetfighter V4, Kawasaki Z H2 and new KTM 1290 Super Duke R redefining the genre. But Aprilia’s Tuono V4 1100 Factory has taken the award.
Top draw electronics, brakes and semi-active suspension are the cherry on top of this high calorie super naked cake and with its relaxed riding position, cruise control and useful aerodynamics the Aprilia is a nice place to cover big miles on, too. The Tuono V4 1100 Factory quite simply does it all.
Triumph Rocket 3 R
This year’s Best Cruiser Award goes to the 2020 Triumph Rocket 3 R. The long-awaited replacement for the original Rocket III isn’t just great to look at, great to listen to or great for winning a round of car-park Top Trumps. Now, it’s a properly impressive, considered and complete creation that’s as good to ride as it is to look at.
Ducati Multistrada 950 S
The Best Adventure Sport of 2020 is the Ducati Multistrada 950 S for the second year running. At £13,841 on the road it’s pricey, yes – but it’s an exceptional motorcycle. If you want the benefits of an adventure bike but the furthest off-road you ever venture is the pub’s gravel car park, there really is no need for anything larger.
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 takes our Best Retro Award. Though unchanged for 2020, the Interceptor is our pick of the crowded retro marketplace – which is why it retains the Best Retro award it picked up last year.
And if you want further confirmation of its light-hearted greatness, check out recent new registration numbers where it has dethroned the mighty BMW GS.
Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX
The Best all rounder Award goes to the Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX. You could ride the replacement for Kawasaki’s Z1000SX to work Monday to Friday without complaint. Take it out on Sunday and scream around some backroads with a huge grin on your face.
Or clip the panniers on and head off on your holidays in comfort. It’s everything we loved about its predecessor allowed to shine even brighter.
It’s more of an event to ride the Ducati than the BMW, but the S1000RR, in M Package form with its carbon wheels is a formidable all-rounder.
It never lacks power, it’s a doddle to ride slow or flat-out and it too has an unruly exhaust note. It’s wickedly quick, but also works as an everyday motorcycle – calm, smooth, comfortable, clever and practical.
It’s those impeccable road manners its rivals always manage to overlook, that make the BMW such a winner.
The Best 125cc of 2020 is the freshly updated Yamaha MT-125. On top of scything through traffic and flick-flacking its way through the twisties, the MT is one of few CBT-suitable 125s with any discernible midrange, thanks to its VVA system.
Triggered at 7400rpm for more shove at the top end and a meatier wedge in the middle, you can afford to sit a gear higher than many of its rivals when you want to relax and still keep up with the flow of traffic.
Honda’s CB500X takes the Best sub 500cc award. It’s roomy, comfortable, tall and with its long travel suspension and 19in front wheel it’s not averse to a spot of light off-roading. With tarmac under its tyres it handles brilliantly – enough even to keep the most experienced laughing inside their lids.
Yamaha TMAX 560
The Best Scooter award goes to the mighty Yamaha TMAX 560. Whether or not you ‘get’ big scooters (they’re undoubtedly more popular in Europe than in the UK), you can’t deny the Yamaha TMAX is the undisputed apex predator and when there’s a new one in town it tends to nudge its way to the top of the class.
The Best Electric of 2020 is the Harley-Davidson LiveWire. It may be incredible to think that a brand built around booming, bone-shaking, gas-guzzling V-twins should make an electric bike at all, let alone an award-winning one. But that’s exactly what they’ve done.
- Overall Machine of the Year: BMW S1000RR
- Best Tourer: BMW R1250RT
- Best Naked: Triumph Street Triple R
- Best Super Naked: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory
- Best Cruiser/Custom: Ducati Diavel 1260S
- Best Adventure Sport: Ducati Multistrada 950S
- Best Adventure: Yamaha Tenere 700
- Best Retro/Retro Style: Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
- Best All-rounder: KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
- Best Sports Bike: BMW S1000RR
- Best 125cc: Yamaha YZF-R125
- Best sub-500cc: Honda CB500X
- Best Scooter: Honda Super Cub 125
- Best Electric: Zero SR/F
- Overall Machine of the Year: Ducati Panigale V4 S
- Best Tourer: BMW R1200RT
- Best Naked: Triumph Street Triple R
- Best Super Naked: Triumph Street Triple RS
- Best Cruiser/Custom: Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster
- Best Adventure Sport: BMW S1000XR
- Best Adventure: BMW F850GS
- Best Retro/Retro Style: Kawasaki Z900RS
- Best All-rounder: Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX
- Best Sports Bike: Ducati Panigale V4 S
- Best 125cc: Honda CB125R
- Best sub-500cc: KTM 390 Duke
- Best Scooter: BMW C400X
- Best Electric: Energica Eva ESSEESSE9
- Best Innovation: Yamaha Niken