MCN Award winners group test: the riders' thoughts
We've been blessed with some amazing MCN Machine of the Year winners over the last five years, covering the entire spectrum of motorcycling, from cruisers to out-and-out sportsbikes.
Over the past half decade, winning bikes have included everything from 2014's novice-friendly and wheelie-easy Yamaha MT-07 to Kawasaki's supercharged alien spaceship H2 in 2015.
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To celebrate our favourite bikes from the last five years, we took them all on a road trip to Le Touquet on the northern coast of France, to see if they still impress us as much today as they did when they won their awards. The rider's thoughts are below, and the full test will appear in the July 27 issue of MCN.
2011 winner - Ducati Diavel ridden by Michael Neeves, Senior Road Tester
"I made sure I grabbed the keyless ignition key fob for this beastly, latest-generation Diavel Carbon on our road trip. I've raced and tested lots of sportsbikes this year, which has been great, but I fancied something more relaxing, but still fast.
"With its stretched-out riding position and comfy seat, you can enjoy all-day riding with few aches or pains. Acceleration and braking power are superbike-grade, and turning the ABS and traction control off let me attack the French coast roads with as much joie de vivre as I would on a sportsbike.
"The Diavel was our overall Machine of the Year in 2011 and it's still a corker in 2016."
2012 winner – BMW S1000RR ridden by Liam Marsden, Web Producer
"For the most part I'm not a fan of sportsbikes, but the one I always come back to is BMW's S1000RR. It offers blistering performance, but also comes with things like cruise control and heated grips, making it the ideal sportsbike for a long trip.
"For a trip such as this, with motorway from Peterborough to Folkestone and fast, sweeping roads in France it proved a perfect compromise. Comfort was good with litte wrist ache on the ride down to the tunnel, and once on the open roads of northern France the S1000RR made mincemeat of the straights and fast corners.
"By the time we'd returned I was tired of the sportsbike riding position, but the S1000RR had acquitted itself surprisingly well and it's still an incredibly impressive machine."
2013 winner - BMW R1200GS ridden by Joe Dick, Photographer
"Being only 5ft 6in, I've steered away from riding the GS for years, but with all the amazing feedback it receives, it's always intrigued me and left me wondering if I'm missing out on something special. So when the opportunity arose to ride one a good distance I took it to put these thoughts to bed.
"Within the first mile, the bike proved it has sublime handling and power delivery. With its unique engine characteristics and stacks of technology - what with rider modes, electronic suspension and the Telelever front suspension - I was hooked.
"The height of the bike did not prove to be an issue at all, and after sticking a bucket load of miles on it I can honestly say I wouldn't hesitate in having one. A truly brilliant motorcycle and an eye-opener for me."
2014 winner – Yamaha MT-07 ridden by Alison Silcox, Office Manager
"I’m a massive fan of middleweight bikes and having now had the opportunity to ride the MT-07 I realise why it won our Machine of the Year Award in 2014.
"It was nippy and easy to handle on the undulating, twisty coastal roads, sat comfortably at motorway speeds, plus was nimble and easy to manoeuver in town traffic. It wouldn’t be daunting as a first ‘big’ bike for new riders plus it’s enjoyable and engaging enough for experienced riders not to tire of it."
2015 winner – Kawasaki H2 ridden by Michael Guy, Sport Editor
"Ever since the H2 was launched, I’ve been intrigued to ride it. First of all it looks incredible. I’m not sure if I actually like it but you can not deny it's something special.
"Handling wise it feels like an overweight 1000cc sportsbike, but this bike is all about the engine. While I expected the supercharger to deliver an excess of power everywhere in the rev range, it still needs to be revved. But when you do, the sensation is amazing. So smooth, so fast, so overwhelming, so unnecessary, so much fun! It makes a BMW S1000RR feel like a 600!"