The 2010 BD Awards

If you've got your January copy of Kiwi Rider mag, you'll see that the Ed has posted the KR Bike of the Year Results.

The Editorial Department's choices are in the print edition and the Reader's Poll Results are all here:

Now welcome to the 'BDs'. These 'awards' are somewhat different to the main KR events where reasoned debate and logic are the orders of the day.

Not a lot of science is involved in the 'BD’s', the only criteria is; I line up all the bikes I've tested, ridden, begged or borrowed in the year and say 'I'm allowed to keep one - which one would it be?'

Nothing to do with track performance, price or other typical magazine selection data, just which one did *I* like best and covet most?

I'm now entering my tenth year as a contributor and have been on board a pretty big range of bikes and scooters with my KR helmet on. Some wonderful two and three wheelers have passed my way during this past set of 12. Some were only for a short run, some for 2000km. Vmaxs to Vespas and Teneres to two strokes.

Here's a quick run down:

Harley-Davidson XR1200X
The year started with the one I rate this as the second best Harley - ever (behind the Street Rod). Peach of a road bike, Showa suspension, 95 ponies, looks a treat and I found it a real joy to ride.

Honda Fury
What I found most remarkable about the Fury is that it goes and handles like a 'normal' metric cruiser. A pre-fab head turner and another I found very enjoyable to ride. Quite a conversation piece.

Aprilia 50 Scooter
I ended up on this wearing full touring kit as it fell my way during a swap over of bikes.  I spent the afternoon flogging it and loved every minute of it. There's something to be said for going flat out everywhere.

Triumph Bonneville SE
What a neat bike the Bonne SE has evolved into. It turns crisply and is a great ‘essence de motorcycle' vehicle. No bull, nothing you don’t need and a ton of style at a pretty good price. Sounded pretty schmick with the Arrow pipe too. I'd love one. Works as a great step up from a 250 or step down from a hyperbike.

MVAgusta Brutale 990
Can be refined and pleasant - particularly when compared to the earlier models - but it still has a raging herd of horses tucked inside. Quite droolable like most MVs and wickedly quick. Special brakes.

Suzuki Boulevard C109RT
Big, muscly and comfortable in a stylin’ package, with all the good things that come with a Suzuki.
Pile driver torque and stability. This one took us to the Boulevard Rally and I really did like riding it a lot. Kept it for a few days after the event too.

Suzuki Boulevard M109RZ
Ditto, with a bit more ‘tude.

Daelim Roadwin 250
I was pleasantly surprised by the Korean 250. For under $7k they get along fine and it has quite a nice cockpit. Weird graphics don't do it justice - viable commuter with a bit of weekend flogability.

Victory Cross Country
I spent a couple of days in Noosa at the regional launch of the Cross Roads and Cross Country Models. Simply beautiful bikes, anybody who owns one can colour me jealous. (Lou Martin) pic

Victory Cross Roads
Was my choice of the two new Vics – I took the screen off and rode it nekkid - as is my general preference. Another I could easily ride the wheels off and very good open road manners for one so large.

Victory Arlen Ness Vision
Arlen Ness Vision
I had another burn on a 'Nessie while on the ‘Roads’ launch. It's still a special bike.
Rode a new Hammer too, but not far enough to really qualify for consideration.

Kawasaki ER-6N
What a surprise it turned out to be. Wheelie monster in disguise. Highly rated middleweight would be a great step up from a 250 restricted licence.

Earthling Electric Cruiser
My first electric ride and I can’t wait for more. Torque lovers; charge your batteries – the future will pull like a locomotive.

Moto Guzzi Griso
In his book 'The Joy of Cliches' Nigel Rees notes that an estate agent called a property 'deceptively spacious' and meant that it was small. I called the Griso 'a deceptively quick' motorcycle and meant that it  goes quite fast very easily and quite effortlessly. Looking down at the speedo was wont to surprise with how fast I was actually going.

Moto Guzzi V7 and Bellagio
The Bellagio is a great concept, the performance handling cruiser released two years before the Ducati Diavel grabbed the headlines. The V7 is still my favourite Guzzi. I really enjoy giving it a workout. It’s only got 47 ponies – but they do like a rev, very cool bike and very easy to enjoy.

Triumph Rocket III Tourer
Done up with all the touring kit it certainly is a machine on a grande scale that is dressed to impress. If chrome is your thing this is amongst the chrome-est.

Harley-Davidson Road King.
Road King
I could ride the wheels off it. Here's the vid:

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
It took a while to get used to the fatty after a few weeks on the Road King, but once I settled back in, I enjoyed it as much as ever. A yellow delight. Here's the vid:

Various Scooters x 6.
We had a ride day on a fleet of Italian and Asian machines and I was impressed by the current levels of performance from small capacity engines. I'd commute on any of them.

Aprilia Shiver
Very competent middleweight full of latest tech. Fly by wire and ABS included. Another excellent step up from a restricted that also works as a main ride for an old hand.

Moto Guzzi Stelvio
Lovely on the dirt roads. Spool it up and leave it in third and it hammers. Marketed as a comparatively low tech ADV machine.

Triumph Thunderbird SE
Touring accouterments now included on the 1600cc favourite. Solid, great looking bike. Should be on every cruiser buyers 'try me' list. Particularly if looking for something a bit different.

Yamaha Tenere 1200
I look back at the Tenere you tube vid and am embarrassed by the amount of times I said ‘impressive’ as I was shooting what I thought about the bike from the hip.
This was before I bought my HD cameras:

Triumph Tiger 1050
I waited for that boat going past for 2 minutes. It’s a 30 second exposure of the bike I’d probably buy if I needed a new bike ‘tomorrow’ - where price is part of the real world - unlike the BD's. I still rate the 1050 as the best mass produced road bike power plant so far. Now it has Showas all round and is a very desirable bike.

Harley-Davidson Tri Glide.
Yeah yeah, it’s not a motorcycle, doesn’t mean it’s not fun. It is – it takes a while to suss out how to get the best from it, then I had a really good time riding it. If I was looking for an advertising vehicle...

Vespa GT300 Super
The turbo roller skate. This thing is good for the fast lane on the freeway. Another that was a heap of fun  and one I'd really use a lot if it was in the collection.

Honda VFR1200
This is a potent Honda weapon. I like its futuristic look and the way it goes is very…rapid. Quick bike for someone looking for a 2-up demon.

Yamaha Vmax
Wow. Just wow.

Kawasaki Z1000
There’s much to like about the new Zed. Made the short list.

Kawasaki ZX14
What a remarkable bike. It will pootle along at 50kph quite happily and turn to light speed in an instant. King Missile.

Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Call it third step of the podium. I rode it from Ragirirri to Glen Murray and scraped the pegs once - on a Rocket! Wasn’t hanging about, as Moroney puts it, either. The bike is my size and just the right amount of phatness.

Honda GL1800 Goldwing
'Wing is my runner up. If you want to go and live on a motorcycle for a week, here’s the machine. I really enjoyed the wing, and don’t buy any of that ‘it’s an old man’s bike’ malarkey. With the two of us and cameras and kit for a week it must have weighed over 600kg. Just dealing to it while the passenger gets on board required most of my attention. That said, once underway it’s a delightful way to watch NZ roll past. Hell yeah I'd have one. They go great - 1800cc of hi-tech Honda mumbo with a low COM and one finger ABS. Don't knock one till you've tried one.

Which means that my bike of the year is a…BMW.
BMW R 1200 GS
‘You’ve come a long way, Cohen’ ribbed Dave P when I was bouncing ideas of him. ‘Once you wouldn’t look at Beemers’.
‘Yeah but so have they (come a long way) from their ‘global repositioning’ of a few years ago.’ I said in self-defence.
I got in two decent rides on two different examples. It took one corner to acclimatise to the machine’s manners and from there I liked pretty much everything about it (except that windscreen would go). The blinkers are still weird, but they are just blinkers. The rest of it is all comfort, performance and that thing I do prize most in a bike – versatility. It sports, it tours, it does a fire trail and if I could only work out how to turn off the traction control and switchable ABS it would be quite stuntable too.
It has a beautiful torquey engine and impeccable everything else.
I’d go for the plain white one thanks. Have BMW send it round. :-)


The Other Awards.

Co Pilot's Bike of the Year:
the road
The Goldwing and its throne.

Events of the year.

3. The Boulevard Rally
Run with Suzuki efficiency, it's really well done.

2. The Classics Festival
Chris Hyland
It's just such a treat to walk down memory lane.

1. The Burt Munro Challenge
One hell of a weekend.
Roll on 2011!