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Bikes just keep getting better. CYcle World, simply, is the best at cutting through all the nonsense and really cutting the wheat from the chaff. The results are in:

The new Indian. The first American bike is back, and its really good. The Indian finally took the best cruiser trophy away from Triumph, who noone could seem to unseat. My daughter sat on one today in Columbus at Iron Pony... It makes me feel like owning another cruiser, which is saying a lot. I only want one about once a decade. If I got one, hands down the Indian would be it.

I was truly shocked, again... only even more. BMW dominated the top ten completely. This time with tourers. The new WasserBoxer 1200RT easily took best sport tourer (it is, by the way, until this new one, if I were normal size, I wouldnt be able to choose between the RT or the FJR). The 1600GTL is the best touring motorcycle ever produced no doubt. It costs more than the national debt of Bolivia, but no other touring bike can match it. It is sport bike nimble and MayBach luxurious.

ALso, the totally vicious new R1200 naked is best street bike. A surprise here. Wouldn't you much rather have a GS?

The other shocker is KTM's other domination. The KTM 1190 Adventure won best adventure bike. It is much improved on road and has only ever been the only serious off-road bike in the class. Along with the clearly world class 450 enduro bike and the 1290 Super-Duke (best open class) that pretty much makes the AUstrians and the Germans the king of bikes this year.

There has been a vast pendulum swing. BMW, KTM and Ducati own 7/10 slots... and 2 more honorable mentions for the BMW GS and s1000rr. An remember, you can't really buy the Ducati SS, you can only dream of buying one, whereas the BMW is only 1000 more than a Yamaha and is actually available in the US without bribing someone at Ducati $10,000...

The japanese manufacturers only have the scraps. Motocross and middleweight street (unexciting offers by Kawasaki and Yamaha).

The paradox is complete. In 1980, I received my Ohio motorcycle license. My first road bike was a BSA lightning. I had it because it had character, it bled oil, had brakes designed by greedy emergency room physicians to drum up business, and was so terrifying to ride I considered having pampers duct taped to my pillion seat at all times.

I raced a Husqvarna. a brutal swedish fireball, against all comers in the scrambles and enduros... contests of will more than speed... and the Husky was a great choice...

But we all new that if we were smart we would be riding Hondas. The 750 four was THE dominant motorcycle being ridden, I bought my first Playboy magazine to see pictures of... the Honda CBX, a bike the magazine compared to the Mig 21 Foxbat... (although Miss June did catch my attention a few days later) and the motocross tracks belonged to the Honda CRs and Yamis and Kawasakis.

The only, and I mean only serious sportbikes were Japanese. BMWs were hidden in the corner of my Husqvarna/Honda/Yamaha dealer and old men would beckon us over into dark corners to show us their weird looking engines... we knew they ran forever and that they smelled funny and they had pretty black paint.

That was pretty much motorcycling. Harley was, for all intents and purposes, out of business, Indian was non- existent and the British bikes were long gone memories, only ridden by crazy eyed old men and 15 year olds with a desire to have their jeans stained forever with scorching motor oil.

It's 2014, and I am winding down my life on motorcycles. Now if you want fast you go to a BMW shop... touring bikes are in the same store, no need to go Gold WIng SHopping... and the most fun bikes to ride are giant enduros (can I get an extra large Husqvarna) No matter how long you do something the rules will change.

I hope the japanese will bounce back... Honda has an Africa Twin ready for next year....
 
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