Tag Archives: Motorcycle of the Year

2022 Motorcycle of the Year

2022 Motorcycle of the Year

For the past 32 years, Rider has selected a Motorcycle of the Year. With the exception of two years when we made a People’s Choice selection by popular vote among readers (the Honda F6B in 2013 and the BMW R 1200 RT in 2014), it has been up to the Rider editorial team to choose a winner based on our collective experience with the year’s eligible contenders.

We ride as many of the new or significantly updated motorcycles released over the past year as possible, and we evaluate them within the context of their intended use.

Since we announced last year’s winner, we’ve tested cruisers, baggers, sportbikes, adventure bikes, naked bikes, minibikes, sport-tourers, luxury-tourers, cafe racers, standards, dual-sports, and even an electric dirtbike for kids.

Narrowing down such a diverse range of motorcycles into a single “best” isn’t easy. Our goal is to identify the one that best fulfills its intended purpose and advances the state of motorcycle design, performance, and function.

We haven’t always hit the mark. The BMW K1 we selected as our first MOTY in 1990 proved to be a flop, and the forkless Yamaha GTS1000 we selected in 1993 was the answer to a question no one asked.

Even if some of the selections we’ve made don’t stand the test of time, we stand by them because they were impressive motorcycles within the context of their eras. Others are easier to defend, like the 2001 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, the 2002 Suzuki V-Strom 1000, the 2005 BMW R 1200 GS, and the 2017 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Touring lineup. 

For 2022, there were more than 60 eligible contenders. We narrowed them down to 10 finalists and one ultimate winner. 

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Finalists

1. BMW K 1600 GTL

2022 Motorcycle of the Year BMW K 1600 GTL
2022 BMW K 1600 GTL. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Winner of Rider’s 2012 MOTY award, BMW’s top-of-the-line luxury-tourer got its most significant update yet for 2022. Its ultra-smooth 1,649cc inline-Six makes 160 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque, its full suite of electronic rider aids was upgraded, and it has a huge 10.25-inch TFT, an air-conditioned smartphone compartment, and other new comfort and convenience features. 

2. CFMOTO 650 ADVentura

2022 Motorcycle of the Year CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura. Photo by Gary Walton.

Competing head-to-head with the Kawasaki Versys 650LT, the all-new 650 ADVentura is powered by a 649cc parallel-Twin that makes 60 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque. It has an adjustable windscreen, a TFT display, LED lighting, a slip/assist clutch, standard ABS, Pirelli Angel GT sport-touring tires, and hard-shell saddlebags. At $6,799, it undercuts the Kawasaki by $3,200.

3. Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak
2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak. Photo by David Schelske.

The range-topping Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak’s 1,158cc Grandturismo V4 cranks out 170 hp and 92 lb-ft of torque, and its apex-strafing game gets elevated with a new Race mode and revised quickshifter. It’s equipped with a full electronics package (including adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection), Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension, Brembo Stylema calipers, and more.

4. Harley-Davidson Nightster

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Harley-Davidson Nightster
2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The spiritual successor to the air-cooled Evo-powered Sportster, the all-new Nightster is a performance cruiser built on Harley’s modular liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine platform, in this case with a 975cc V-Twin with variable valve timing that produces 90 hp. Classic styling cues include a peanut “tank” (actually an airbox cover), a round air intake cover, and exposed rear shocks.

5. Honda Navi

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Honda Navi
2022 Honda Navi. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

Toeing the line between a twist-and-go scooter and a step-over motorcycle, the all-new Honda Navi borrows the fan-cooled 109cc Single and CVT transmission from the Activa 6G scooter and the Grom’s popular design language. The 8-hp Navi weighs just 236 lb, has a 30-inch seat height, and is priced at just $1,807, making it an ideal gateway to the world of motorcycling.

6. Indian Pursuit Limited

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Indian Pursuit Limited
2022 Indian Pursuit Limited. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Indian’s Challenger bagger, powered by the liquid-cooled PowerPlus 108 V-Twin that makes 108 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, was Rider’s 2020 MOTY. Touring capability gets a boost on the Pursuit Limited (or Dark Horse), which adds fairing lowers, a tall adjustable windscreen, a Touring Comfort seat, heated grips, and a trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.

7. KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

2022 Motorcycle of the Year KTM 1290 Super Duke Evo
2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke Evo. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Known as “The Beast,” the 1290 Super Duke R added “Evo” to its name and was updated with WP Semi-Active Technology (SAT) suspension available with six modes and automatic preload adjustment, a revised throttle-by-wire system, and more. Its 1,301cc V-Twin cranks out 180 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, and its electronics allow riders to tame or unleash The Beast as they see fit.

8. Royal Enfield Classic 350

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Royal Enfield Classic 350
2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350. Photo by Brandon Bunch.

The Classic 350 brings back the styling that made the Royal Enfield Bullet – built from 1931-2020 – such an iconic bike and pairs it with a 349cc air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, fuel-injected Single with a 5-speed gearbox. Available in nine color-style combinations and priced as low as $4,599, the Classic 350 is the embodiment of simple, fun, affordable motorcycling.

9. Triumph Tiger 1200

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Triumph Tiger 1200
2023 Triumph Tiger 1200. Photo by Kingdom Creative.

Triumph completely revamped its Tiger 1200 adventure bike platform for the 2023 model year, shaving off 55 lb of weight, bolting in a 147-hp Triple from the Speed Triple, and equipping it with a new chassis and upgraded electronics. Five variants are available: the street-focused GT, GT Pro, and GT Explorer and the off-road-ready Rally Pro and Rally Explorer.

10. Yamaha MT-10

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Yamaha MT-10
2022 Yamaha MT-10. Photo by Joseph Agustin.

At the top of Yamaha’s Hyper Naked pecking order is the MT-10, a descendent of the FZ1 that was Rider’s 2006 MOTY. This “Master of Torque” is powered by a 160-hp crossplane inline-Four derived from the YZF-R1. It was updated for 2022 with new R1-derived electronics, upgraded brakes, revised styling and ergonomics, a new TFT display, and more.


And the 2022 Motorcycle of the Year Winner is…

SUZUKI GSX-S1000GT+

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Here at Rider, we’re big fans of performance. That’s an often overused and general term, but it encapsulates so much of what we love about motorcycles. Powerful, thrilling engines. Strong, responsive chassis – everything from the frame to the suspension, brakes, and tires. And these days, electronic rider aids that allow responses to be tailored to different conditions or rider preferences.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

We’re street riders. We may do the occasional track day or school, but it’s usually to help us sharpen our skills so we can ride more confidently and safely on the street. We want performance that is exciting yet still manageable on public roads.

At the same time, we like to go the distance. Rider was started in 1974 just as the touring segment was taking off, and motorcycle travel has been one of the magazine’s hallmarks. We’ve tested thousands of motorcycles over the years, and we gravitate toward bikes that are comfortable, reliable, and versatile yet still get our performance juices flowing.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Our 2021 Motorcycle of the Year was the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, an adventure-style sport-tourer that’s lighter and more affordable than traditional heavyweight sport-tourers like the BMW R 1250 RT, Yamaha FJR1300, and Kawasaki Concours 14 – every one of which has worn Rider’s MOTY crown at some point. In fact, eight of our 32 previous MOTY winners have been sport-tourers.

And now, make that nine. The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ (the ‘+’ denoting the model with standard saddlebags, whereas the base GT model goes without) delivers all the performance a street rider needs in a refined, comfortable, sophisticated package at a reasonable MSRP of $13,799. It checks all the right performance boxes while also being practical and providing – as George Carlin would say – a place for our stuff.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The GSX-S’s 999cc inline-Four is adapted from the GSX-R1000 K5, a bulletproof, championship-winning engine. Tuned for street duty, it churned out 136 hp at 10,200 rpm and 73 lb-ft of torque at 9,300 rpm on Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno.

As we said in our road test in the July issue, “The GSX-S engine is a gem with no rough edges. From cracking open the throttle above idle to twisting the grip to the stop, power comes on cleanly and predictably.”

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The GSX-S1000GT+ is equipped with the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, which includes three ride modes that adjust throttle response, power delivery, traction control, cruise control, and other systems. It has the best up/down quickshifter we’ve ever tested, and thanks to its street-tuned, sportbike-spec chassis, the GT+ offers predictable handling, unflappable stability, and impeccable smoothness.

Touring amenities include comfortable rider and passenger seating, 25.7-liter side cases that can accommodate most full-face helmets, and a 6.5-inch full-color TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity via Suzuki’s mySPIN smartphone app. With its angular sportbike styling, the GSX-S1000GT+ looks as fast as it goes, and the side cases can be easily removed for an even sportier look.

As we concluded in our road test, “The GSX-S1000GT+ strikes an excellent balance between performance, technology, weight, comfort, and price. Life is good when the scenery is a blur.”

Congratulations to Suzuki for the GSX-S1000GT+, Rider’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year!

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

To find a Suzuki dealer near you, visit SuzukiCycles.com.

The post 2022 Motorcycle of the Year first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Motorcycle of the Year

2022 Motorcycle of the Year

For the past 32 years, Rider has selected a Motorcycle of the Year. With the exception of two years when we made a People’s Choice selection by popular vote among readers (the Honda F6B in 2013 and the BMW R 1200 RT in 2014), it has been up to the Rider editorial team to choose a winner based on our collective experience with the year’s eligible contenders.

We ride as many of the new or significantly updated motorcycles released over the past year as possible, and we evaluate them within the context of their intended use.

Since we announced last year’s winner, we’ve tested cruisers, baggers, sportbikes, adventure bikes, naked bikes, minibikes, sport-tourers, luxury-tourers, cafe racers, standards, dual-sports, and even an electric dirtbike for kids.

Narrowing down such a diverse range of motorcycles into a single “best” isn’t easy. Our goal is to identify the one that best fulfills its intended purpose and advances the state of motorcycle design, performance, and function.

We haven’t always hit the mark. The BMW K1 we selected as our first MOTY in 1990 proved to be a flop, and the forkless Yamaha GTS1000 we selected in 1993 was the answer to a question no one asked.

Even if some of the selections we’ve made don’t stand the test of time, we stand by them because they were impressive motorcycles within the context of their eras. Others are easier to defend, like the 2001 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, the 2002 Suzuki V-Strom 1000, the 2005 BMW R 1200 GS, and the 2017 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Touring lineup. 

For 2022, there were more than 60 eligible contenders. We narrowed them down to 10 finalists and one ultimate winner. 

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Finalists

1. BMW K 1600 GTL

2022 Motorcycle of the Year BMW K 1600 GTL
2022 BMW K 1600 GTL. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Winner of Rider’s 2012 MOTY award, BMW’s top-of-the-line luxury-tourer got its most significant update yet for 2022. Its ultra-smooth 1,649cc inline-Six makes 160 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque, its full suite of electronic rider aids was upgraded, and it has a huge 10.25-inch TFT, an air-conditioned smartphone compartment, and other new comfort and convenience features. 

2. CFMOTO 650 ADVentura

2022 Motorcycle of the Year CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura. Photo by Gary Walton.

Competing head-to-head with the Kawasaki Versys 650LT, the all-new 650 ADVentura is powered by a 649cc parallel-Twin that makes 60 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque. It has an adjustable windscreen, a TFT display, LED lighting, a slip/assist clutch, standard ABS, Pirelli Angel GT sport-touring tires, and hard-shell saddlebags. At $6,799, it undercuts the Kawasaki by $3,200.

3. Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak
2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak. Photo by David Schelske.

The range-topping Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak’s 1,158cc Grandturismo V4 cranks out 170 hp and 92 lb-ft of torque, and its apex-strafing game gets elevated with a new Race mode and revised quickshifter. It’s equipped with a full electronics package (including adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection), Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension, Brembo Stylema calipers, and more.

4. Harley-Davidson Nightster

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Harley-Davidson Nightster
2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The spiritual successor to the air-cooled Evo-powered Sportster, the all-new Nightster is a performance cruiser built on Harley’s modular liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine platform, in this case with a 975cc V-Twin with variable valve timing that produces 90 hp. Classic styling cues include a peanut “tank” (actually an airbox cover), a round air intake cover, and exposed rear shocks.

5. Honda Navi

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Honda Navi
2022 Honda Navi. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

Toeing the line between a twist-and-go scooter and a step-over motorcycle, the all-new Honda Navi borrows the fan-cooled 109cc Single and CVT transmission from the Activa 6G scooter and the Grom’s popular design language. The 8-hp Navi weighs just 236 lb, has a 30-inch seat height, and is priced at just $1,807, making it an ideal gateway to the world of motorcycling.

6. Indian Pursuit Limited

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Indian Pursuit Limited
2022 Indian Pursuit Limited. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Indian’s Challenger bagger, powered by the liquid-cooled PowerPlus 108 V-Twin that makes 108 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, was Rider’s 2020 MOTY. Touring capability gets a boost on the Pursuit Limited (or Dark Horse), which adds fairing lowers, a tall adjustable windscreen, a Touring Comfort seat, heated grips, and a trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.

7. KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

2022 Motorcycle of the Year KTM 1290 Super Duke Evo
2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke Evo. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Known as “The Beast,” the 1290 Super Duke R added “Evo” to its name and was updated with WP Semi-Active Technology (SAT) suspension available with six modes and automatic preload adjustment, a revised throttle-by-wire system, and more. Its 1,301cc V-Twin cranks out 180 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, and its electronics allow riders to tame or unleash The Beast as they see fit.

8. Royal Enfield Classic 350

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Royal Enfield Classic 350
2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350. Photo by Brandon Bunch.

The Classic 350 brings back the styling that made the Royal Enfield Bullet – built from 1931-2020 – such an iconic bike and pairs it with a 349cc air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, fuel-injected Single with a 5-speed gearbox. Available in nine color-style combinations and priced as low as $4,599, the Classic 350 is the embodiment of simple, fun, affordable motorcycling.

9. Triumph Tiger 1200

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Triumph Tiger 1200
2023 Triumph Tiger 1200. Photo by Kingdom Creative.

Triumph completely revamped its Tiger 1200 adventure bike platform for the 2023 model year, shaving off 55 lb of weight, bolting in a 147-hp Triple from the Speed Triple, and equipping it with a new chassis and upgraded electronics. Five variants are available: the street-focused GT, GT Pro, and GT Explorer and the off-road-ready Rally Pro and Rally Explorer.

10. Yamaha MT-10

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Yamaha MT-10
2022 Yamaha MT-10. Photo by Joseph Agustin.

At the top of Yamaha’s Hyper Naked pecking order is the MT-10, a descendent of the FZ1 that was Rider’s 2006 MOTY. This “Master of Torque” is powered by a 160-hp crossplane inline-Four derived from the YZF-R1. It was updated for 2022 with new R1-derived electronics, upgraded brakes, revised styling and ergonomics, a new TFT display, and more.


And the 2022 Motorcycle of the Year Winner is…

SUZUKI GSX-S1000GT+

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Here at Rider, we’re big fans of performance. That’s an often overused and general term, but it encapsulates so much of what we love about motorcycles. Powerful, thrilling engines. Strong, responsive chassis – everything from the frame to the suspension, brakes, and tires. And these days, electronic rider aids that allow responses to be tailored to different conditions or rider preferences.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

We’re street riders. We may do the occasional track day or school, but it’s usually to help us sharpen our skills so we can ride more confidently and safely on the street. We want performance that is exciting yet still manageable on public roads.

At the same time, we like to go the distance. Rider was started in 1974 just as the touring segment was taking off, and motorcycle travel has been one of the magazine’s hallmarks. We’ve tested thousands of motorcycles over the years, and we gravitate toward bikes that are comfortable, reliable, and versatile yet still get our performance juices flowing.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Our 2021 Motorcycle of the Year was the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, an adventure-style sport-tourer that’s lighter and more affordable than traditional heavyweight sport-tourers like the BMW R 1250 RT, Yamaha FJR1300, and Kawasaki Concours 14 – every one of which has worn Rider’s MOTY crown at some point. In fact, eight of our 32 previous MOTY winners have been sport-tourers.

And now, make that nine. The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ (the ‘+’ denoting the model with standard saddlebags, whereas the base GT model goes without) delivers all the performance a street rider needs in a refined, comfortable, sophisticated package at a reasonable MSRP of $13,799. It checks all the right performance boxes while also being practical and providing – as George Carlin would say – a place for our stuff.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The GSX-S’s 999cc inline-Four is adapted from the GSX-R1000 K5, a bulletproof, championship-winning engine. Tuned for street duty, it churned out 136 hp at 10,200 rpm and 73 lb-ft of torque at 9,300 rpm on Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno.

As we said in our road test in the July issue, “The GSX-S engine is a gem with no rough edges. From cracking open the throttle above idle to twisting the grip to the stop, power comes on cleanly and predictably.”

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The GSX-S1000GT+ is equipped with the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, which includes three ride modes that adjust throttle response, power delivery, traction control, cruise control, and other systems. It has the best up/down quickshifter we’ve ever tested, and thanks to its street-tuned, sportbike-spec chassis, the GT+ offers predictable handling, unflappable stability, and impeccable smoothness.

Touring amenities include comfortable rider and passenger seating, 25.7-liter side cases that can accommodate most full-face helmets, and a 6.5-inch full-color TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity via Suzuki’s mySPIN smartphone app. With its angular sportbike styling, the GSX-S1000GT+ looks as fast as it goes, and the side cases can be easily removed for an even sportier look.

As we concluded in our road test, “The GSX-S1000GT+ strikes an excellent balance between performance, technology, weight, comfort, and price. Life is good when the scenery is a blur.”

Congratulations to Suzuki for the GSX-S1000GT+, Rider’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year!

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

To find a Suzuki dealer near you, visit SuzukiCycles.com.

The post 2022 Motorcycle of the Year first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2022 Motorcycle of the Year to be Announced Sept. 15

Motorcycle of the Year

Stay tuned! Rider will announce its 2022 Motorcycle of the Year on Thursday, Sept. 15.⁠

Eligible contenders include more than 60 new/updated motorcycles that have been released and were available for testing in the past year since we selected the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT as our 2021 Motorcycle of the Year.⁠

2021 Motorcycle of the Year Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Related Story: 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Long-Term Review

We’ll announce two MOTY finalists each day over the next week on social media, and we’ll unveil the winner on Thursday, Sept. 15.⁠ You can follow us here:

Check out our 2022 motorcycle buyers guide, which lists most of the contenders (a few early 2023 models were also in the running). See the full list below.⁠

Add your comment to this post about who you think should win!⁠

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Contenders

APRILIA

  • Tuareg 660

BMW

  • CE 04
  • K 1600 B
  • K 1600 Grand America
  • K 1600 GT
  • K 1600 GTL

CFMOTO

  • 300NK
  • 300SS
  • 650NK
  • 650 ADVentura
  • 700CL-X
  • 700CL-X Sport
  • Papio

DUCATI

  • DesertX
  • Multistrada V2 / S
  • Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak
  • Panigale V4 / S
  • Streetfighter V2
  • Streetfighter V4 SP
  • Scrambler 1100 Tribute Pro
  • Scrambler Urban Motard

HARLEY-DAVIDSON

  • Low Rider S
  • Low Rider ST
  • Nightster
  • Road Glide ST
  • Street Glide ST

HONDA

  • CB500F
  • CB500X
  • CBR500R
  • Navi

HUSQVARNA

  • Norden 901

INDIAN

  • Challenger Elite
  • Chieftain Elite
  • Pursuit Limited
  • Pursuit Dark Horse
  • Scout Rogue
  • Scout Rogue Sixty

KAWASAKI

  • Versys 650 / LT
  • Z650RS ABS
  • Z900RS SE

KTM

  • 390 Adventure
  • 890 Duke GP
  • 1290 Super Adventure R
  • 1290 Super Duke R Evo
  • RC 390

ROYAL ENFIELD

  • Classic 350
  • Himalayan
  • Scram 411

SUZUKI

  • GSX-S1000
  • GSX-S1000GT / GT+

TRIUMPH

  • Speed Triple 1200 RR
  • Tiger 1200
  • Tiger Sport 660

YAMAHA

  • MT-10
  • MT-10 SP
  • XSR900

ZERO

  • S
  • DS / DSR
  • SR / SR/S / SR/F

The post 2022 Motorcycle of the Year to be Announced Sept. 15 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT | Long-Term Review

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT won Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year award last year, and we’ve tested it over a period of 12 months. Photos by Kevin Wing.

Related Story: 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT | Road Test Review

Mileage: 6,294
Base Price: $14,899 (2021); $14,999 (2022)
Accessories: $729.95

After a year together, it’s finally time to say goodbye to our 2021 Motorcycle of the Year. We’ve had a great time with the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, so we’re sad to see it go.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
We added several Yamaha factory accessories to improve wind protection, storage capacity, and passenger comfort.

The Tracer 9 GT is the culmination of several generations of development and refinement, and the result is a fantastic lightweight sport-tourer built around Yamaha’s 890cc inline-Triple, which is good for 108 hp at 10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel. This is one of the most fun and engaging engines around – it’s like hanging out with three hellraising buddies who know how to keep it cool in polite company but love to get rowdy when the clock strikes 6,500 rpm.

In stock trim, the Tracer 9 GT is a versatile, comfortable machine that served us well on day rides, weekend jaunts, and multiday trips. We appreciated the Yamaha’s good wind protection, upright riding position, generous legroom, dual-height seat (31.9/32.5 inches), and adjustable handlebar and footpeg positions. None of our testers complained about soreness in wrists, lower backs, or shoulders, nor was engine heat ever an issue.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
We replaced the OE Bridgestone tires with Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IVs.

Any time the road turned twisty, we were glad to be on the Tracer. With its raucous engine, excellent chassis, and semi-active suspension, we attacked corners with gusto, enjoying the confidence boost that a well-sorted motorcycle can provide. 

To get to the good stuff, we logged many miles on the slab. One of our nits to pick is how busy the engine is in 6th gear at freeway speeds. At 65 mph, the engine turns 4,200 rpm. We lost count of how many times we grabbed ghost shifts to 7th thinking there might be another gear up top. We’d like to try a rear sprocket with one less tooth to make the gearing taller.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Yamaha’s Touring Windshield is taller and wider than stock.

In terms of maintenance, we did routine checks of tire pressure, oil level, chain tension and lubrication, and such. We changed the oil and filter after about 5,000 miles, and we used the recommended Yamalube products. We also took the Tracer to our local Yamaha dealer after a safety recall was announced that all 2021-22 MT-09 and Tracer 9 GT models had an improperly programmed ECU that could cause engines to stall unexpectedly in certain circumstances. It was fixed quickly at no charge.

The Tracer proved to be unforgiving of laziness with the clutch when pulling away from a stop, both before and after the recall repair. Without adequate revs, we’d stall the Tracer like a newbie.

After about 5,000 miles of hard use, the rear Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT tire was toast. We spooned on a set of Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV radials, and they’ve provided excellent grip and ride quality. MSRP for the Roadsmart IV tires is $189.95 for the front (120/70ZR17) and $250.95 for the rear (180/55ZR17). You can read our Roadsmart IV review here.

To enhance the Tracer 9 GT’s touring ability, we installed several Yamaha factory accessories, including the Touring Windshield ($179.99), Top Case Mounting Kit ($116.99), 50L Top Case ($289.99), 50L Top Case Backrest Pad ($74.99), and 50L Fitted Top Case Inner Bag ($66.99). 

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
We installed Yamaha’s 50L Top Case. It’s also available in a 39-liter size.

Installation was straightforward. The Touring Windshield is 2.8 inches wider and 3.2 inches taller than stock, and it made a big difference in terms of wind protection. The Tracer’s 30-liter saddlebags are large enough to hold a full-face helmet in each side. The 50L Top Case bumps total storage capacity to 110 liters, and the backrest pad was appreciated by passen-gers.

Over the course of nearly 6,300 miles, we averaged 44.4 mpg, which yields 222 miles from the 5-gallon tank (premium unleaded is required). Our fuel economy ranged from as high as 60.4 mpg to as low as 33.7 mpg, the latter after giving it the whip in a serious headwind.

After whining to Yamaha reps about having to return the Tracer 9 GT, we wiped away our tears when they offered us a lollipop: an accessorized 2022 MT-10. Stay tuned to find out how we get along with the Tracer’s big brother.

The post 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT | Long-Term Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT | Road Test Review

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
New styling on the Tracer 9 GT includes full LED lighting and extended fairing lowers that provide additional weather protection for the rider’s legs. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Some motorcycles are fantastic right out of the gate. Others take a little time to find their way. They’re diamonds in the rough, requiring an update or two to chip away the rough edges and realize their full potential. The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT is one such bike.

Eight years ago, I traveled to San Francisco for the press launch of the all-new Yamaha FZ-09. It was a naked sportbike with an exciting, brash engine, an 847cc inline-Triple with a crossplane crankshaft that imbued it with gobs of character and torque. And at just $7,990, it was a steal. But there were downsides, like fueling issues, mediocre suspension and brakes, and a rock-hard seat.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The Tracer 9 GT is a fully equipped sport-tourer. For 2021 and 2022 model years, it’s available in Redline (shown above) and Liquid Metal.

A year after the FZ-09 debuted, Yamaha released a sport-touring version called the FJ-09, which was equipped with an upper fairing, a windscreen, upgraded rider and passenger seats, revised suspension, and optional saddlebags. At $10,490, it was a bargain too, and certainly more practical than the FZ, but the FJ-09 still suffered from a herky-jerky throttle and suspension and brakes that fell well short of the engine’s capabilities.

Nonetheless, both the FZ-09 and FJ-09 sold well. The FZ-09 was updated for 2017, and its major shortcomings were addressed. When Yamaha decided to standardize model names globally, it became the MT-09, and for 2021 it was updated again with a larger 890cc Triple, a revised chassis, and new electronics.

The FJ-09 got its first major update for 2019, and it was offered in two variants, also with new names: the standard Tracer 900 and the premium, touring-ready Tracer 900 GT. Both models featured new styling, smoother throttle response, a longer swingarm for more stability, and a larger, one-hand-adjustable windscreen. The GT also had upgraded suspension, a TFT color display, cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter. All that goodness ratcheted up the price to $12,999 for the GT, but it was still a good value.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Larger 890cc Triple makes more power.

We quickly grew fond of the Tracer 900 GT, which was agile, responsive, and well-suited for solo touring. Following the press launch, I spent a few days exploring backroads in Oregon and California. After I put nearly 2,000 miles on the bike, former Managing Editor Jenny Smith installed Yamaha’s accessory comfort seat and touring windscreen. Then she embarked on a 7-day, 5,000-mile endurance test that included the Three Flags Classic, a rally with stops in Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. We were reluctant to give back the keys.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Like an adventure bike, the Tracer 9 GT has an upright seating position with generous legroom.

But 2021 is when the Tracer 9 GT has come of age. With a new name and now offered only in the GT version, it’s more capable, more comfortable, and more fully featured. It got the larger 890cc Triple from the MT-09, which is more powerful, more fuel efficient, and saves nearly 4 pounds of weight. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the Tracer 9 GT made 108 horsepower at10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel. That’s a gain of 5 horsepower and 6 lb-ft of torque over the Tracer 900 GT we tested last year. During this test, we averaged 48.7 mpg, up from 44 mpg on the Tracer 900 GT. Fuel capacity increased slightly to 5 gallons on the Tracer 9 GT, and our estimated range was 243 miles, up from 211 miles on the previous model.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
One-hand-adjustable windscreen and larger handguards provide good wind protection, and heated grips are standard.

Although throttle response issues were resolved during the previous update, the Tracer 9 gets the latest version of Yamaha’s Y-CCT (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) throttle-by-wire, which uses an APSG (Accelerator Position Sensor Grip) for a more refined feel. A 15% increase in crankshaft inertia further smooths out on/off throttle transitions. On the road, there is a direct connection between the right grip and the rear wheel without any harshness.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Both the windscreen and seat are adjustable for height, and the handlebar and footpegs are adjustable for reach.

Yamaha’s D-Mode, which adjusts power and throttle response, now has four preset modes: 1, 2, and 3 offer full power with progressively milder response, while 4 reduces power and has the softest response. Mode 1 corresponds to what would be called “sport” mode on many motorcycles, which is often overly abrupt, but not so on the Tracer 9 GT. Throttle response is immediate without being too aggressive. As the dyno chart shows, torque is consistent through the rev range, so there’s always grunt available when you need it.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The Tracer has always been an agile bike, but the upgraded suspension and lighter wheels make it even better.

Wrapped around the engine is a new aluminum frame made using a controlled-fill diecast process that reduces mass and increases lateral rigidity by 50%. A 1.2-inch lower headstock and mounting the engine more vertically helps centralize mass. A new aluminum swingarm is mounted within the frame for more rigidity, and a new steel subframe increases load capacity and allows an accessory top trunk to be mounted along with the larger 30-liter saddlebags.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Larger saddlebags will hold a full-face helmet in each side, and they can be left unlocked for easy access.

The saddlebags are large enough to hold a full-face helmet in each side. The bags can be left unlocked for convenient access, locked for security, or removed to carry into a hotel room or to lighten the load for apex strafing. The lock barrels can be a little fiddly (which has long been an issue with Yamaha luggage), but with practice they work just fine.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
New KYB semi-active suspension electronically adjusts damping based on real-time conditions.

Another upgrade for the Tracer 9 GT is semi-active suspension. The KYB Actimatic Damping System (KADS) uses input from a 6-axis IMU, the ECU, a hydraulic control unit, a stroke sensor on the fork, and an angular position sensor on the rear shock to adjust damping based on real-time conditions. The system electronically adjusts compression and rebound damping in the fork and rebound damping in the rear shock, and there are two modes, A-1 (sport) and A-2 (comfort). Spring preload must be adjusted manually using a tool for the fork (it’s in the toolkit) and a remote knob for the shock.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The Tracer 9 GT is ideally suited for solo sport-touring, but it has a comfortable passenger seat and can be fitted with an accessory top trunk.

With 5.1/5.3 inches of front/rear suspension travel, the Tracer 9 GT has plenty of available stroke to absorb bumps, seams, potholes, and other pavement irregularities. By adapting to changing conditions, the KADS suspension delivers a supple, compliant ride and it quickly firms up as needed to prevent excessive chassis pitch under braking and acceleration. The Tracer 9 GT feels more sure-footed in corners than its predecessor, with excellent grip from its Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires. Agility has gotten a boost from new 10-spoke aluminum wheels made using Yamaha’s new “spinforging” process, which saves 1.5 pounds of unsprung weight.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
Full LED lighting includes headlights, position lights, and cornering lights.

In addition to its new semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT has a more comprehensive suite of IMU-based electronic rider aids derived from the YZF-R1 sportbike, including traction control, slide control, lift control, and ABS, with intervention adapted to lean angle and other inputs. The electronics have multiple modes, and the only system that can’t be turned off is ABS. The IMU also provides input for new LED cornering lights, which illuminate the insides of cornering when lean angle exceeds 7 degrees.

The Tracer 9 GT has an upright seating position, more like an adventure bike than the more committed ergonomics on many sport-tourers. Being able to sit up straight with no weight on the rider’s wrists, relaxed shoulders, and ample legroom makes it enjoyable to pile on the miles, and that’s what a sport-tourer is all about. The one-hand-adjustable windscreen and handguards provide good wind protection too.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
A new dual TFT display provides a wealth of info, and what is shown in the grid on the right side is customizable.

Comfort and convenience features include cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter. In addition to upshifts, the quickshifter now provides clutchless downshifts with an auto-blipper. And the heated grips now offer 10 levels of adjustment. The Tracer also has full LED lighting, a 12-volt outlet behind the instrument panel, and a centerstand.

Yamaha has given the Tracer a unique dual-panel TFT display, with each screen measuring 3.5 inches. The speedometer, tachometer, gear indicator, and other functions are on the left panel. The right panel has a grid of four smaller displays that can be customized to show the rider’s preferred info, even if the information is also shown on the left panel. The mostly white-on-black text is crisp and clear, but some of the text is small. The TFT panels have a glossy surface that reflects sunlight and can make the screens appear too dim (brightness is not adjustable). Depending on the position of the sun, sometimes all I could see was the reflection of my riding jacket.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The Tracer is equipped with a centerstand for easier chain maintenance and loading/unloading the saddlebags.

Yamaha upgraded the rider’s seat with higher-quality cover material and added color-matched stitching. The dual-height rider’s seat can be set at 31.9 or 32.5 inches. To suit riders of different body types or preferences, the bars and footpegs can be adjusted. Rotating the bar-riser clamps allows the handlebar to be moved up 4mm and forward 9mm, and the footpeg brackets can be moved up 14mm and back 4mm. The passenger seat is now thicker and wider, and there’s a new integrated, one-piece grab handle.

The Tracer 9 GT’s many upgrades have raised the price to $14,899, which is $1,900 more than last year’s Tracer 900 GT. For those who are cross-shopping, BMW’s F 900 XR (with Select and Premium Packages but no saddlebags) is $15,045 and Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 SE LT+ costs $18,199. Even though the Tracer is more expensive than its predecessor, it’s priced lower than its closest competitors and no important features were left off the spec sheet.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
New “spinforged” wheels save 1.5 pounds of unsprung weight. They also have larger-diameter axles and are fitted with Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires.

Over the past several years we’ve put thousands and thousands of miles on the FJ-09, the Tracer 900 GT, and now the Tracer 9 GT. We were immediately won over by its exciting Triple and its playful maneuverability. Yamaha kept at it with a steady regimen of improvements and refinement, and the platform got better and better.

This year Yamaha hit the bullseye, and the Tracer 9 GT earned Rider‘s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year award. We’re more reluctant than ever to give the keys back.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The Tracer’s new saddlebags feature a floating stay damper system to absorb mass transfer during cornering to keep the chassis stable.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Specs

Base Price: $14,899
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: yamahamotorsports.com

ENGINE
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse inline-Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 890cc
Bore x Stroke: 78.0mm x 62.1mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Valve Insp. Interval: 26,600 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ YCC-T & 41mm throttle bodies x 3
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.4 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet slip/assist clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain

CHASSIS
Frame: Cast aluminum w/ engine as stressed member & cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 59.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.
Seat Height: 31.9/32.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm inverted fork, electronically adj. rebound & compression, manually adj. preload, 5.1 in. travel
Rear: Single shock, electronically adj. rebound, manually adj. preload (remote), 5.4 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 298mm discs w/ 4-piston radial calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 245mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 503 lbs. (including saddlebags)
Load Capacity: 407 lbs.
GVWR: 910 lbs.

PERFORMANCE
Horsepower: 108 @ 10,000 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 63 lb-ft @ 7,200 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 48.7 mpg
Estimated Range: 243 miles

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Specs

The post 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT | Road Test Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year

2021 Motorcycle of the Year

Our first Motorcycle of the Year was awarded to the 1990 BMW K1, and for the past 31 years we’ve limited contenders to current model-year motorcycles that are new or significantly updated. In recent years, however, production timing and model-year designations have become more fluid.

And then there’s the economic shutdown last year caused by the pandemic, which disrupted the global supply chain for everything from toilet paper to semiconductors. Some manufacturers were forced to delay the release of certain models, while others skipped the 2021 model year altogether.

We’ve posted announcements of new/updated 2022 models as early as January of this year. And so far, we’ve ridden 2022 motorcycles from BMW, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. To give all makes and models a fair shake during the calendar year when they are released and most relevant, eligible contenders for this year’s MOTY include any new/updated motorcycle released since last year’s award that are available for testing.

2021 Motorcycle Buyers Guide: New Street Models

2022 Motorcycle Buyers Guide: New Street Models

There were plenty of motorcycles to consider, and we’ve narrowed them down to 10 contenders and one winner. Without further ado…

THE CONTENDERS

1) BMW R 18 B/Transcontinental

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental review
2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental (Photo by Kevin Wing)

BMW entered the traditional cruiser segment in 2021 with the standard R 18 and windshield-and-saddlebags-equipped R 18 Classic, built around the 1,802cc “Big Boxer.” The 2022 R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental are touring-ready with a batwing-style fairing, infotainment system, hard saddlebags, and a passenger seat, and the TC adds a top trunk with a passenger backrest.

Read our 2022 BMW R 18 B / Transcontinental review

2) Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250/Special

2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Yes, pigs – or more accurately, hogs – can fly. The Motor Company shook up the hyper-competitive ADV segment when it introduced the 2021 Pan America 1250/Special. Powered by a 150-horsepower V-Twin and fully equipped with all the latest bells and whistles, it proved itself to be highly capable on- and off-road, and the optional Adaptive Ride Height is its killer app.

Read our 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special review

3) Honda Gold Wing Tour/DCT

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review
2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT (Photo by Drew Ruiz)

Honda’s GL1800 won Rider’s MOTY when it debuted in 2001 and again when it was thoroughly overhauled in 2018. Updates for 2021 may seem minor, but they make all the difference when it comes to the two-up touring the Wing was designed for. The larger trunk holds more stuff, the improved passenger accommodations are appreciated, and the audio and styling updates add refinement.

Read our 2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT review

4) Honda Rebel 1100/DCT

2021 Honda Rebel 1100 DCT review
2021 Honda Rebel 1100 DCT (Photo by Drew Ruiz)

The all-new Rebel 1100 is the sort of cruiser only Honda could make. It has styling like its smaller Rebel 300/500 siblings, a powerful engine adapted from the Africa Twin CRF1100L (including an optional 6-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission), ride modes and other electronics, well-damped suspension, good cornering clearance, modest weight, and a base price of just $9,299 (add $700 for DCT).

Read our 2021 Honda Rebel 1100 DCT review

5) Kawasaki KLR650

2022 Kawasaki KLR650 review
2022 Kawasaki KLR650 (Photo by Drew Ruiz)

The KLR is dead, long live the KLR! After a two-year absence, Kawasaki’s legendary dual-sport returns for 2022 with fuel injection (at last!), optional ABS, and other updates aimed at improving reliability, comfort, stability, load capacity, and user-friendliness. It remains one of the best deals on two wheels with a base price of $6,699.

Read our 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure review

6) KTM 890 Adventure R

2021 KTM 890 Adventure R review
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R (Photo by Kevin Wing)

KTM’s street-oriented 790 Adventure and off-road-ready 790 Adventure R shared Rider’s 2019 MOTY. Just two years later, the folks in Mattighofen kicked it up a notch with a larger, more powerful engine from the 890 Duke R, chassis updates, and tweaks to the suspension, brakes, and electronics, all of which contribute to the 890 Adventure R’s all-terrain capability.

Read our 2021 KTM 890 Adventure R review

7) Indian Super Chief Limited

2022 Indian Super Chief Limited review
2022 Indian Super Chief Limited (Photo by Jordan Pay)

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original Chief, Indian revamped its entire Chief lineup, with six models that strike a balance between old-school style and new-school technology. Powered by the Thunderstroke 116 V-Twin, the all-new Super Chief Limited has a quick-release windscreen, saddlebags, a two-up seat, ABS, and a Ride Command-equipped display.

Read our 2022 Indian Super Chief Limited review

8) Royal Enfield Meteor 350

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 review
2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Yes, the Meteor 350’s air-/oil-cooled Single makes just 18 horsepower and 18 lb-ft of torque. But rarely have we encountered a motorcycle that offers so much substance for so little money. In top-spec Supernova trim, the Meteor comes with ABS, turn-by-turn navigation, a two-up seat with a passenger backrest, a windshield, and a two-tone paint scheme for just $4,599.

Read our 2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 review

9) Suzuki Hayabusa

2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review
2022 Suzuki Hayabusa (Photo by Kevin Wing)

The former winner of the late-’90s top-speed wars got its first major update since 2008. Thanks to more grunt in the midrange, the Hayabusa’s updated 187-horsepower 1,340cc inline-Four helps it accelerate faster than ever before. Refined and reworked from nose to tail, the ’Busa has more aerodynamic bodywork, a full suite of IMU-enabled electronics, and much more.

Read our 2022 Suzuki Hayabusa review

10) Yamaha Ténéré 700

2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 review
2021 Yamaha Tenere 700 (Photo by Brian J. Nelson)

Designed to be equally capable on- and off-road, Yamaha’s middleweight adventure bike is powered by a liquid-cooled, 689cc CP2 parallel-Twin and has a durable tubular-steel frame, adjustable long-travel suspension, switchable ABS, and spoked wheels in 21-inch front/18-inch rear sizes. Contributor Arden Kysely liked the T7 so much, he bought our test bike from Yamaha.

Read our 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 review

And the winner is…

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT review
2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT (Photos by Joseph Agustin)

For the better part of the past decade, the adventure bike segment has been the darling of the motorcycle industry, growing while other segments have been flat or declining and siphoning off R&D resources. With some adventure bikes making 150 horsepower or more, traditional sport-tourers have been all but neglected. Stalwarts such as the Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14, and Yamaha FJR1300 haven’t been updated in years.

That’s what makes the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT such a breath of fresh air. At less than 500 pounds fully fueled, it’s much easier to handle than the 600-plus-pound S-T bikes on the market. And with a claimed 115 horsepower on tap, there are few motorcycles that will leave it behind.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT review

We first tested the bike that would evolve into the Tracer 9 GT when Yamaha introduced the FJ-09 for 2015. At its heart was the liquid-cooled 847cc CP3 Triple from the FZ-09 – an absolute ripper of a motor. It had an ADV-ish upright seating position and wind-blocking handguards but rolled on 17-inch wheels with sport-touring rubber, while its windscreen, centerstand, and optional 22-liter saddlebags added touring capability. The FJ-09 was light and fun to ride, but it was held back by fueling issues, poorly damped suspension, and weak brakes.

Yamaha did its homework and gave its middleweight sport-tourer an overhaul for 2019, renaming it the Tracer 900 GT in the process. Updates included better throttle response, a longer swingarm for more stability, higher-quality suspension, a new TFT color display, and a larger, one-hand-adjustable windscreen. The saddlebags were made standard as were other features, such as cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT review
2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT review

Two years later, Yamaha went even further. For 2021, the new Tracer 9 GT gets the larger 890cc CP3 Triple from the MT-09, which is lighter, more fuel efficient, and more powerful. An all-new lightweight aluminum frame is made using a controlled-fill diecast process that reduces mass and increases rigidity. A new aluminum swingarm is longer and stronger, and a new steel subframe increases load capacity to 425 pounds and allows an accessory top trunk to be mounted along with the larger 30-liter saddlebags. New spinforged wheels reduce unsprung weight, and they’re shod with grippy Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires.

In addition to updated throttle response modes and all-new KYB semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT now has a 6-axis IMU that enables a suite of electronic rider aids adapted from the YZF-R1, including lean-angle-sensitive traction control, ABS, slide control, and lift control. It also has full LED lighting (including cornering lights) and a new dual-screen TFT display. The rider/passenger seats have been upgraded, and the rider’s ergonomics are adjustable.

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT review

We had an opportunity to test the Tracer 9 GT just before the MOTY polls closed, and it swept the field. Thanks to steady evolution and improvement over three generations, Yamaha has demonstrated just how good a modern sport-tourer can be, especially for riders who value agility over couch-like luxury. Performance, sophistication, comfort, versatility, load/luggage capacity – the Tracer checks all the right boxes and leaves nothing on the table.

Congratulations to Yamaha for the Tracer 9 GT, Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year!

2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT review

The post Rider’s 2021 Motorcycle of the Year first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rider Magazine’s 2020 Motorcycle of the Year

Rider Magazine's 2020 Motorcycle of the Year

No doubt the year 2020 is primarily going to be remembered for a nasty pandemic, civil unrest and a tumultuous election (and to think it’s only August!). With all of that on our minds, finding a silver lining to fall back on can be tough, but there are actually several in motorcycle land this year. No one expected, for example, that the need for social distancing would inspire people to buy dirt bikes — as I write this, 50% more new off-highway bikes were sold in the first half of 2020 than in the same time period last year. New on-highway motorcycle sales are still in the doldrums, but many dealers can’t keep entry-level dual-sports and used road bikes in stock. Turns out motorcycles can satisfy the need to distance ourselves in a fun and thrilling way, yet another silver lining in a year a lot of us would like to see in the rearview mirror.

Before 2020 enters the history books, there’s the important and exciting matter of selecting Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year. Despite temporary factory shutdowns and press introductions going virtual, the manufacturers still found a way to bring more than 75 all-new or significantly changed motorcycles to their lineups, and the preponderance of great bikes made our decision pretty difficult. Turns out our winner was actually introduced in 2019 as a 2020 model and was among the first 2020s we tested last year. Other notable contenders for the title are on the facing page, and that list could go on and on, what with machines like Harley’s new electric LiveWire, the Suzuki Katana and Moto Guzzi V85TT Travel also in dealerships as 2020 models. Manufacturer production timing varying as it often does, we didn’t get the opportunity to ride every 2020 model before we had to settle in and pick one as the MOTY in time for this issue. And though we may have actually ridden several early release 2021 models that might be available at your dealer before it was time to select the MOTY—the Yamaha Ténéré 700, for example—since they’re not 2020 models they’re not eligible for this year’s award, though we will include them in next year’s considerations.

So it’s never easy, but one machine did stand out above the rest as our pick for the 2020 Motorcycle of the Year, because it’s capable of so much and represents a solid improvement in a very popular category. Our choice, as always, goes to a machine that succeeds best at its intent and could be considered a game-changer. We celebrate all new motorcycles, as they each represent the opportunity to get more people on two wheels, experiencing this great adventure we know and love…even while staying 6 feet apart. Congratulations to all of the manufacturers, and thank you for keeping our passion alive in a year in which it might be tempting to run away and hide….

The contenders

BMW F 900 R

2020 BMW F 900 R
2020 BMW F 900 R (Photo by Kevin Wing)

BMW F 900 R/XR | Road Test Review

The successor to BMW’s popular F 800 R naked bike gets a smoother, larger and more powerful parallel twin with great character thanks to a new imbalanced firing interval. An all-new chassis and suspension and relaxed seating help it carve corners in comfort, and you can pay just $8,995 or boost the price with a slew of the latest electronic enhancements as accessories.

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited
2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited (Photo by Kevin Wing)

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited | First Ride Review

Powered by the Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114, the Road Glide Limited has premium suspension, linked Brembo brakes with ABS and a Boom! Box GTS infotainment system with color touchscreen. Premium features such as painted pinstriping, a gloss-finish inner fairing and Slicer II Contrast Bright wheels are icing on the cake.

Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports ES

2020 Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports ES
2020 Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports ES (Photo by Kevin Wing)

2020 Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports ES | Road Test Review

For 2020 both Africa Twins offer more power and better handling, with a larger parallel twin-cylinder engine carried in a lighter, stiffer chassis. The Adventure Sports ES adds a barrel-full of adventure-touring features such as electronic semi-dynamic suspension, spoked tubeless wheels and tires, cruise control, a larger 6.5-gallon tank and more.

KTM 390 Adventure

2020 KTM 390 Adventure
2020 KTM 390 Adventure (Photo by Mark Tuttle)

2020 KTM 390 Adventure | Road Test Review

With a base price of just $6,199, the new single-cylinder 390 Adventure is a lot of KTM for the money, with adjustable front and rear WP suspension, a full-color TFT display, lean-angle sensitive traction control and Bosch 2-channel cornering ABS, with a quickshifter offered as an option. A smaller bike for big adventures on or off the road.

Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT
2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT (Photo by Kevin Wing)

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT | Tour Test Review

When it launched the DL1000 V-Strom, Suzuki became the first Japanese manufacturer to offer a big adventure bike in the U.S. For 2020 engine displacement is unchanged but its 1,037cc V-twin makes more power, and the bike gets throttle-by-wire, an updated traction control system, new instrumentation and LED lighting, all wrapped in attractive new retro styling.

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro Tour Test Review
2020 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro (Photo by Kevin Wing)

2020 Triumph Tiger 900 GT and Rally Pro | First Ride Review

Triumph has updated its middleweight ADV platform with a larger engine, a new chassis, technology, styling and more. The engine gets a unique firing interval for great sound, and a lighter new tubular-steel chassis give both the street-oriented GT and more dirt-worthy Rally great handling. Pro versions of each add creature comforts and high-end electronics.

Yamaha MT-03

2020 Yamaha MT-03
2020 Yamaha MT-03 (Photo by Joseph Augustin)

2020 Yamaha MT-03 | First Ride Review

Essentially a naked version of the YZF-R3 sportbike, the MT-03 shares the aggressive, mass-forward styling of the larger MTs in Yamaha’s Hyper Naked family, but powered by the same smooth, 321cc parallel twin with 180-degree firing order as the YZF-R3. Priced at just $4,599 and weighing less than 375 pounds, the MT-03 is a scrappy little bike with a big heart.

And the winner is…

Indian Challenger

Rider Magazine's 2020 Motorcycle of the Year Award
2020 Indian Challenger (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

2020 Indian Challenger | Road Test Review

In just a few short years Indian has forged a complete lineup of American V-twin cruisers, baggers, touring bikes and street trackers that have both taken on the competition and established Indian as a well-rounded manufacturer of both contemporary and traditional motorcycles. The name of one of its new motorcycles for 2020 makes its intentions very clear: Challenger. Aimed squarely at Harley-Davidson’s popular Road Glide line, at the heart of the daringly styled Challenger with its frame-mounted fairing is Indian’s new liquid-cooled Powerplus 108 V-twin. Though its 1,768cc displacement is 122cc smaller than that of the 1,890cc Thunder Stroke 116 found in most of Indian’s heavyweight lineup, the PowerPlus revs higher and makes more torque. On the Jett Tuning dyno it also out-pulled all of the competition by cranking out an impressive 113.3 lb-ft of torque and 107.6 horsepower when we ran it for the December 2019 issue. So the bike not only delivers right-now power for rapid acceleration, its liquid-cooled design also means much less heat radiates into the cockpit, eliminating our biggest complaint about the air-cooled Thunder Stroke.

2020 Indian Challenger
2020 Indian Challenger (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

Rather than implement partial liquid-cooling, Indian gave the Challenger full conventional liquid cooling, wrapping the front frame downtubes around the blacked-out radiator to help downplay its presence. Throttle-by-wire enables three riding modes and cruise control, and hydraulic valves and cam chain tensioners reduce maintenance for a thoroughly modern engine with classic style.

2020 Indian Challenger
2020 Indian Challenger (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

Outside of the engine bay, the Challenger is designed not only for style and performance but also touring, with a fairing and electric windscreen that provide good wind protection, a seat and riding position that are all-day comfortable and generous luggage capacity of 68 liters. The Ride Command infotainment system with its large 7-inch touchscreen and 100-watt audio keeps the riders informed and entertained, and even the base Challenger model has conveniences such as keyless ignition. The Challenger Dark Horse adds navigation, a customizable route builder, connected weather and traffic services and contrast-cut wheels with tire-pressure monitoring. The Challenger Limited comes in several metallic colors and adds color-matched fender closeouts and highway bars.

2020 Indian Challenger
2020 Indian Challenger (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

Even at 848 pounds wet for the Limited version, the Challenger’s frame-mounted fairing, strong aluminum chassis, compliant suspension and decent cornering clearance help it hustle through corners with ease. On the Dark Horse, Indian’s Smart Lean Technology uses a Bosch IMU to enable cornering ABS, traction control and Drag Torque Control.

2020 Indian Challenger
2020 Indian Challenger (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

The PowerPlus 108 is most likely the engine that will take Indian’s heavyweight models into the future, so its debut in the Challenger is only the beginning. It offers the performance, comfort and lower emissions that only liquid cooling can provide, and delivers impressive grunt and smoothness with the rumbling character that makes V-twins so popular. That plus muscular, modern style, an excellent chassis, a full range of available technology, generous wind protection and luggage capacity and plenty of long-haul comfort make the Challenger a really great bagger.

Congratulations to Indian for the Challenger, Rider’s 2020 Motorcycle of the Year! 

2020 Indian Challenger
2020 Indian Challenger (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

Rider Magazine’s 2020 Motorcycle of the Year Photo Gallery:

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rider Magazine’s 2019 Motorcycle of the Year

Rider Magazine 2019 Motorcycle of the Year

It’s seldom (if ever) easy to pick a Motorcycle of the Year…not that anyone ever feels sorry for us and our “but we had to ride so many motorcycles” tale of woe. For example, we took our initial ride on the first of this model year’s crop of Contenders, the Yamaha Niken, way back in May of 2018. We can’t even remember what we had for dinner last Tuesday, but fortunately Yamaha jogged our memories of the bike by unveiling the tour-ready GT version of its three-wheeled LMW (Leaning Multi-Wheel) in April 2019.

In the interim, Royal Enfield released a pair of highly anticipated 650 twins, designed, tested and engineered at its brand-spanking-new R&D facility in England and built at one of its sprawling factories in India. Triumph showed off its truly off-road capable yet still pleasantly retro Scrambler 1200 XC and XE. Harley-Davidson, meanwhile, was creating a lot of very different noise with its LiveWire electric motorcycle, but as a 2020 model it’s not eligible for this year’s award. The rightful successor to the dearly departed V-Rod, the dragbike-inspired FXDR 114, is a 2019 contender though. At the decidedly non-dragbike-inspired end of the motorcycle spectrum, Honda, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in the U.S. this year, brought us two absolutely adorable throwback models designed to both tug at Boomer heartstrings and appeal to vintage-loving Millennials, the Monkey and the Super Cub. Indian tapped into another vein of nostalgia and good ol’ Americana with its FTR 1200 S flat-track replica, one of the best-performing American bikes we’ve ridden in a while. Meanwhile BMW managed to improve once again on its bestseller by introducing the R 1250 GS, and Suzuki did the same with its venerable V-Strom 650 XT Touring.

So no, it’s never easy. That said, one machine stood out above the rest as our pick for the 2019 Motorcycle of the Year, and not just because it’s capable of scrabbling to the top of a mountain—then carrying you and your stuff comfortably home again. Our choice, as always, goes to a machine that succeeds best at its intent and could be considered a game-changer in its category. We celebrate all new motorcycles, as they each represent the opportunity to get more people on two wheels, experiencing this great adventure we know and love. Congratulations to all the manufacturers, and thank you for keeping our passion alive!

Check out Rider‘s 2018 Motorcycle of the Year

The Contenders…

BMW R 1250 GS

2019 BMW R 1250 GS
2019 BMW R 1250 GS (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Read our 2019 BMW R 1250 GS First Ride Review

BMW’s big GS
gets ShiftCam variable valve timing that broadens the powerband, increases fuel
efficiency and decreases emissions, a full-color TFT display, updated
electronics and a bump in displacement (and power) from 1,170 to 1,254cc, making what was already arguably one of the
best all-around motorcycles even better.

Harley-Davidson FXDR 114

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114
2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 (Photo by Kevin Wing)

Read our 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 First Ride Review

The V-Rod is dead, long live
the V-Rod! Well, sort of. The newest member of the Softail family is a long,
lean power cruiser that channels the spirit of the VRSC V-Rod, with a 114ci
Milwaukee-Eight V-twin, raked-out cartridge-style USD fork, 33 degrees of lean
angle and a 240-section rear tire wrapped around a solid-disc rear wheel.

Honda Super Cub

2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS
2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS (Photo by Drew Ruiz)

Read our 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS First Ride Review

Sixty
years ago, the original Super Cub proved that motorcycles needn’t be feared by
the masses, and this new version continues to make good on that promise, with a
4-speed semi-automatic gearbox, 244-pound wet weight, timeless styling and
modern conveniences like keyless ignition and ABS on the front brake.

Indian FTR 1200 S

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S
2019 Indian FTR 1200 S (Photo by Barry Hathaway)

Read our 2019 Indian FTR 1200 S First Ride Review

The FTR 1200 S is a light, fast, agile street tracker
inspired by Indian’s championship-winning race bike. It’s also a breath of
fresh, young air in the cruiser orthodoxy that’s dominated American-made
motorcycles for decades, and features include a liquid-cooled, DOHC V-twin and
a six-axis IMU-based electronics package.

Royal Enfield 650 Twins

2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT and Interceptor 650
2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT (left) and Interceptor 650 (right)

Read our 2019 Royal Enfield Continental GT and Interceptor 650 Road Test Review

The Interceptor 650 and Continental GT are completely new,
the first global models for India-based Royal Enfield and the first to be
designed, tested and engineered at its new facility in England. Powered by an
air/oil-cooled 648cc parallel twin, both bikes manage to evoke the simple
pleasure of riding for riding’s sake.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT Touring

2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring
2019 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT Touring

Read our 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT vs V-Strom 1000XT Comparison Review

While we haven’t yet ridden
the 2019 version, we’ve spent many thousands of miles aboard Wee Stroms, and
this is the best-equipped one yet. With tubeless spoked wheels, locking side
cases, hand guards, a centerstand, cruise control, ABS, Easy Start and Low RPM
Assist, it’s ready to take on almost any adventure for just $9,999.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC/XE

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE (Photo by Kingdom Creative)

Read our 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE First Ride Review

Most modern scramblers talk the talk, but don’t walk the
walk of off-road capability. Enter the Scrambler 1200, a full-on adventure bike
with minimalist, retro styling—and a 21-inch front, nearly 10 inches of Öhlins
suspension travel on the up-spec XE model, multiple riding modes, switchable
ABS and traction control.

Yamaha Niken/Niken GT

2019 Yamaha Niken GT
2019 Yamaha Niken GT (Photo by Joe Agustin)

Read our 2019 Yamaha Niken First Ride Review

Read our 2019 Yamaha Niken GT First Ride Review

They’re a bold, groundbreaking move from Yamaha, and they nearly snagged our top honor. The Niken and Niken GT, based around the Tracer 900—a fantastic bike in its own right—work surprisingly well, with ridiculous front-end grip that must be experienced to be believed and that lovely 847cc in-line triple at their hearts.

And the winner is….

KTM 790 Adventure

2019 KTM 790 Adventure
2019 KTM 790 Adventure (Photo by Sebas Romero & Marco Campelli)

Read our 2019 KTM 790 Adventure/R First Ride Review

It’s no secret that adventure
bikes are exploding in popularity, as riders discover the utility and versatility
of their combination of upright seating position, decent ground clearance and
suspension travel, wind protection, the ability to carry luggage and, to
varying degrees, venture off-pavement. ADV bikes have been getting increasingly
bloated, however, bigger, more powerful—and heavier—each model year. Hard-core
ADV-ers have been clamoring for years, begging for a bike that returns
adventure riding to its truly adventurous roots. Something lightweight and
trail-capable, yet with enough elemental protection, power and luggage capacity
to comfortably travel cross-country, and modern fuel injection and electronic
rider aids wouldn’t hurt.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

At long last, KTM answered
the call, and what an answer it is. The 790 Adventure and its even more
off-road-oriented R sibling manage to check all the boxes: light weight at a
claimed 417 pounds dry, a state-of-the-art 799cc liquid-cooled, DOHC LC8
parallel twin that produces a claimed 95 horsepower and 65.6 lb-ft of torque
delivered low in the rev range for optimum grunt, and spoked tubeless wheels in
21-inch front/18-inch rear sizes. The standard, more touring-oriented model has
a still-respectable 7.9 inches of travel from its WP Apex suspension and a
fairly accessible, adjustable seat height of 32.7/33.5 inches. Multiple riding
modes (Street, Offroad and Rain) adjust throttle response and lean-angle
sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC) settings, and power reaches the
rear wheel by way of an assist-and-slipper clutch, a 6-speed transmission and
chain final drive. The more off-road-oriented R model gets a Rally ride mode,
fully adjustable WP Xplor suspension with 9.4 inches of travel and a 34.6-inch
rally-style seat.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure (left and right) and 790 Adventure R (center) (Photo by Sebas Romero & Marco Campelli)

A defining characteristic of
the 790 Adventure is its rally racer-inspired, 5.3-gallon horseshoe-shaped gas
tank, which keeps the bike’s center of gravity low, creates less bulk between
the knees for stand-up riding and makes air filter, battery and fuse access
easy, plus it does double-duty as engine protection in case of a tip-over.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

On paper the 790 Adventure is
impressive, and riding it is confirmation; the seat is flat, spacious and
comfortable, the wide handlebar is six-position adjustable and the long-travel
suspension soaks up road irregularities at high and low speeds. Bosch 9.1 MP
cornering ABS backs up powerful brakes and many useful features are standard,
such as an aluminum skid plate, a 12V dash socket and an underseat USB port.
Cruise control, a centerstand, a quickshifter, heated grips and TPMS are
optional.

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

At long last, the empty slot
between a street-legal enduro and an open-class ADV tourer has been filled, and
that sound you hear is the cheering of all those riders looking for a bike to
rule both mountain and highway.

Congratulations KTM, for the 2019 790 Adventure, Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year!

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

Source: RiderMagazine.com