Biking personalities pick their favourite bikes of 2018
With another 12 months of motorcycling fun drawing to a close and thoughts of longer, warmer riding opportunities in the new year beginning to fill our heads, it seemed only right that we recapped 2018 to discover peoples’ favourite bikes of the year.
To find out more, MCN has been busy speaking with a number of motorcycling celebrities, influencers, vloggers and columnists to discover their bikes of the year.
Setting absolutely no parameters on what they could choose, the question threw-up an eclectic mix of new and used machinery, as well as bespoke one-offs, built lovingly by their owners.
Check-out the following list to find out what everybody picked – you might find you share the same opinion as one of your favourite stars!
Chris Walker, four-time BSB runner-up and WSB race winner
“My bike of 2018 has to be the Kawasaki Z900RS Café. From a business point of view, the brown and orange naked version was amazing, but the Café has been great from an ownership point of view and one of the best I’ve ever had.
“It’s uber-cool with how it looks and the styling is in vogue at the moment and, for me, it was the ease of use that really stood out against my other bikes. You can wear jacket and jeans and short boots and go for a ride, rather than dressing up like a gladiator to ride it.
“I’ve also used it for trackdays it and taken the missus out, too. For the price, nothing else could touch it this year.”
Gethin Jones, television presenter
“I’m going to go with my own little unique bike as my favourite of 2018, which is currently being kept on charge (due to lithium batteries) in my mate’s garage in America! I lived out there for a while and used it a lot and I simply can’t bear to sell it.
“It’s a salvaged 600cc Yamaha engine – of sorts – with an assortment bits and bobs on it. It’s like a heavy cafe racer, if you like! It’s old-school and needed love. It probably wouldn’t last too long at home in this climate, but out there it was just a joy.”
James Whitham, former British and world championship motorcycle racer, turned TV pundit
“My favourite bike of 2018 was the Suzuki GSX-R1000R, simply because I’ve done some miles on one and I really like it. It’s like an affordable superbike when you compare it with pretty much anything else in the class.
“It handles lovely with a beautiful front end and it’s also affordable! It’s got all the whistles and bells but it’s not mental money.”
Dougie Lampkin, 12-times World Trials champion
“My bike of 2018 would have to be my Vertigo trials bike, which is a Dougie Lampkin replica. I say that because I won the Scottish Six Days trial on that in May and the Scott Trial, too.
“Doing the double two years in a row is very special. I’ve won it previous to that, too. The event has always been something that my late father talked about as being special, too.”
Richard Cooper, BSB race-winner and former Superstock 1000 champion
“My bike of 2018 isn’t brand-new, in fact it’s my own Honda CB500, which I use for commuting to work on. I ride the bike 100 miles a day and it’s good on fuel and fun to ride – I’ve even done a few trackdays on it this year! It’s done 86,000 miles and is still going strong. What’s best is it only cost me £500!”
Amy Williams, Olympic gold medalist and television presenter
“Being part of the Greenlight Classic TT presenting team last year I got to see many different styles and eras of bike. I’m one for the old-style bike and love the iconic twin shock designs at the rear.
“However, my favourite motorcycle of 2018 has to be the Triumph Street Triple 765 R. I recently passed my test and this bike was the beauty that assisted me throughout. It was really easy to ride, too! My fear as a beginner was that the bike would be too big and heavy, but it was perfect. I could touch the floor and felt extremely comfortable riding it.”
John Reynolds, three-time British Superbike champion
“My bike of 2018 has got to be the Suzuki GSX-R1000R. This is partly because I was involved in the development of the bike and partly because I think it’s the best road bike out there and certainly the best sportsbike.
“All of the great sportsbikes are impressive bikes but Suzuki just scores higher in mid-range performance, power, top-end, suspension and comfort. It’s just an all-round comfortable bike.”
Allen Millyard, motorcycling mad-cap inventor and engineer
“My best bike of 2018 has to be my Flying Millyard. I ride it all the time and you can easily do 750 miles across two days, thanks to the five litre engine. It’s also one of the most comfortable bikes I’ve ever ridden and second only to my Honda Pan European.
“I’ve actually done 7500 miles on the bike now and I get 40mpg when I’m cruising at 65mph, because is revving at less than 1000rpm! Every time I stop for fuel there’s a queue of people asking questions and that’s what’s hilarious about it. It’s all part of the fun of the bike.”
Lamb Chop Rides, YouTuber, vlogger and Performance Bikes contributor
“It’s a bit of a tricky one, deciding on a single bike of 2018. I never got to ride the new Ducati V4 Panigale, but that could’ve been it, if I had got the chance. I think it’s got to be the V4 Aprilia Tuono, for me.
“It’s a bit long in the tooth now, but that engine and package is still fantastic. It’s also got to be one of the best sounding bikes you can buy. The only reason I didn’t buy one myself is because they are a little bit cramped.”
Alastair Fagan, Editor at 44Teeth and MCN columnist
“From a personal point of view, it’s got to be the Triumph Moto2 development bike I rode earlier this year at Silverstone. It’s amazing for the manufacturer, but from a road riders’ point of view we are more than likely to see a Daytona 765 either at the end of next year, or the year after.
“Although the engine was in a Daytona chassis, the engine has the perfect balance of performance; it’s got plenty of power, but it’s not going to rip your arms off.”
Ron Haslam, former TT-winner, British champion and grand prix rider, turned race school owner
“It has to be the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP, which is what I ride at the school a lot. I don’t ride many other bikes, but I have enjoyed getting to grips with the different electronics in it and how to get the best out of it.
“This was mainly around Donington Park with the race school, in order to make sure it works well in both wet and dry conditions. It sounds like madness, but the SP’s electrical system is more made for the road than the track and so I tend to turn them right down.
“The system reacts very well to the first use, however it only reacts once. That’s fine for the road, but on the track you tend to push it over that line and then try and push further, where the electronics won’t intervene. It took a while to get used to, but I enjoyed sorting it out.”
Royal Jordanian, YouTuber and traffic filtering extraordinaire
“The bike that really inspired me in 2018 was the KTM 790 Duke. It’s built as a budget bike; the suspension is non-adjustable and the brakes are okay, but the whole package is well balanced.
“I had one for an extended two-week test in the UK and spent a week riding one in the French and Swiss Alps. I wouldn’t own one though, as I’ve got my Husqvarna Nuda, which I think is a better bike that serves the same purpose.”
Rufus Hound, comedian
“Triumph took the look, made it completely customisable and put in a whopping 1200cc engine. It really blew me away.
“I’m an unabashed Triumph fanboy and to me this was just another example of them really understanding what people want and massively over delivering.”