Bike magazine's Bike of the Year 2016

We’ve been spoilt by the giddying array of new motorbikes in recent years, but 2016 is up there as the best ever for compelling new machinery. From truly desirable entry-level bikes to exquisitely engineered exotica, there are inspirational fresh creations in every class. And even new classes. 

Every year bikes get better, so the stuff we thought was fantastic ten years ago now appears to be obsolete (though the 1973 Norton Commando 750 Roadster is yet to be beaten on looks). We reckon that there have been 50 new or significantly upgraded motorcycles introduced in 2016 from the astonishingly capable and engaging Yamaha Tracer 700 to the intercontinental Ducati Multistrada Enduro, and the impressive new Triumph twins to the long-awaited Honda Africa Twin.

But how to pick Bike magazine’s Bike of the Year? We spoke to the most experienced and cleverest people in Bike’s bulging contacts book and asked them. We asked experts from across motorcycling – engineers, designers, journalists, test riders, dealers and racers – to select their favourites. What’s impressive is that so many of the people who work in the industry, are prepared to say positive things about a rival’s products. Thanks to all the people who took the time to vote.

But, of course you don’t have to buy into the relentless march of motorcycling technology, so we’ve also identified the current Used Bike of the Year and custom bike contributor Chris Hunter has picked the ten best Customs of the Year too. 

Bike of the Year 2016 judges

Some of our judges and some of the bikes they voted for…

Tim Maccabee, Ducati

Tim Maccabee MD, Ducati UK
>> Harley-Davidson 1200 Roadster: I really just like the look of this café racer – it’s a bit like a bulldog.

Gerald Davison, ex-Honda Motorcycles

Gerald Davison ex-Honda
>> Triumph Thruxton R: the highend components chosen for this version match those of more expensive rivals.

Edgar Heirich, head of design, BMW Motorrad

Edgar Heinrich head of design, BMW Motorrad
>> Ducati Multistrada Enduro: surprisingly good attempt at a dual purpose bike, in line with Ducati’s formal language.

Hugo wilson, Bike magazine

Hugo Wilson editor, Bike magazine
>> Honda Africa Twin: a return of the big trail bike, as opposed to the ‘adventure bike’ – more likely to be used on trails than rivals.

Daniele Torresen, MV Augusta

Daniele Torresan MV Agusta
>> Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer: finally something new on the small-block platform – gearbox, shaft drive, wheels, clocks…

James Sharpe, Suzuki

James Sharpe Suzuki GB
>> Honda RC213V-S: hand-built MotoGP for the road. As a package it’s everything a sportsbike rider must lust after.

John Westlake, Bike magazine

John Westlake writer, Bike magazine
>> Triumph Speed Triple R: the quality feel is phenomenal. Perfect Sunday bike – ride in morning, polish all afternoon,

Adriaan Sinke, KTM

Adriaan Sinke marketing, KTM
>> Yamaha MT-10: a naked with the crossplane R1 engine? I’ve been waiting for this since the R1 came out.

Jamie Turner, professor of engines

Jamie Turner professor of engines
>> Energica Ego45: left-field, I accept, chosen for its electric traction and hi-tech material solutions. The future?


Bike magazine's Bike of the Year 2016 contenders 

The winner of Bike magazine's Bike of the Year 2016 will be revealed in the October issue of Bike magazine, on sale 31st August.