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Old 12-17-2015, 05:56 AM   #1
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Visordown Awards the best bikes of 2015

We judged you voted and these are the winners of the Visordown Awards for the best motorcycles of 2015

THIS year has been one of the most exciting in decades for new motorcycles - and this is where we recognise the best.

Earlier in the year we brought you shortlists in 11 motorcycle categories. The volume and quality of 2015 model launches has made choosing our favourite from each category tricky. We've done it though, of course, and you have too by voting.

These are the winners of Visordown's 2015 Awards...

Best adventure bike: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

This is such a strong class, with outstanding new competition from the BMW S1000XR and latest Ducati Multistrada 1200 – but the KTM 1290 Super Adventure is staggering.

It’s just about everything you could want in one bike, with light handling that belies its imposing size, masses of power and a cutting-edge electronics package, including semi-active suspension and cornering ABS.

It’s got everything and it all works brilliantly, making one of the most thrilling, versatile and safe motorcycles money will buy.

Best adventure bike, readers’ choice: BMW R 1200 GS/GS Adventure

Best super naked: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

An easier choice than most thanks to a 2015 super naked that’s almost impossible to flaw: the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR.

It’s exactly what a super naked should be: a superbike with flat bars, nothing more and nothing less, at home on the track or road, effortlessly fast with precision handling.

Always a great bike, it got even better this year, with a capacity hike, more power and a better throttle response. And readers agree…

Best super naked, readers’ choice: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

Best sports tourer: Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

Another fairly easy choice. There’s no shortage of great bikes in this class, notably the Ducati Multistrada 1200, BMW R1200 Ride Smart and MV Agusta Turismo Veloce, but none rivals the value of the MT-09 Tracer, starting from £8,149.

It’s comfortable, powerful, good-handling and fast. It wins for those qualities that characterise the brilliant MT family: fun, excitement, lightness, value and all-round competence, this time in a tour-friendly package. There’s nothing else like it for the money.

Best sports tourer, readers’ choice: BMW R 1200 Ride Smart

Best cruiser: Harley-Davidson Street 750

Launched in August, the Street 750 just about sneaked into this year’s awards. It may not feel that Harley-ish but that’s why it’s brilliant: it makes Harley ownership accessible to non-Harley devotees.

It’s well-mannered, user-friendly and fun, and its £6,000 price tag means a lot more will be able to fulfill a dream of Harley ownership. When a brand so recognised becomes so affordable, it even stands to draw more new riders into motorcycling

It’s just a shame it didn’t come with ABS – a few hundred quid more and it would still have been good value.

Best cruiser, readers’ choice: Ducati Diavel

Best A2 bike: Yamaha YZF-R3

This class, for bikes making up to 47hp for A2 licence holders, has transformed this year, with new machines designed not just to comply with the limit but be genuinely exciting with it.

Two machines led the way, and they’re so closely matched that it’s almost impossible to name one as best: the Yamaha YZF-R3 and KTM RC 390. Both push against the boundary of A2 power-to-weight ratio rules and both offer genuinely exhilarating performance, albeit with very distinct characters.

In the end the R3 wins, just, for its slightly more refined character, and for being the cheapest by £200, at £4,799.

Best A2 bike, readers’ choice: KTM 390 Duke

Best tourer: BMW R 1200 RT

It might have been a winner last year but we ruled it out because of a major recall. This year it’s back in contention – and still as unbeatable as ever.

It's sublimely manoeuvrable for a bike of its size and capable of transporting you across continents in complete, unparalleled luxury. It moved things on when it was launched and it’s still unrivalled as a serious touring tool.

Best tourer, readers’ choice: BMW K 1600 GT

Best retro bike: Ducati Scrambler

Despite serious competition there seemed an obvious leader in this class. BMW’s R nineT remains brilliant by any standard but it’s nearly five grand more expensive than the cheapest Ducati Scrambler, which cost £7,250. Moto Guzzi’s V7 II is about the same price as the Scrambler, but the Ducati offers significantly greater performance.

The Scrambler is the bike everyone wants to imitate (not least BMW, with its 2016 R nineT Scrambler). Its recipe of personality, affordability and Ducati V-twin character make it the clear winner.

Best retro bike, readers’ choice: BMW R nineT

Best newcomers’ bike: Kawasaki Versys 650

This class, for machines that make a tempting first big bike for beginners, got a shake-up last year courtesy of Yamaha’s outstanding MT-07. This year we’ve seen a revised model that offers a bit of the same lairy attitude and excitment but with added versatility, comfort and weather protection.

If you just want fun and easy wheelies, it will oblige. If you want adventure bike presence, Kawasaki’s Versys 650 provides that too, in a sharper package than Suzuki’s V-Strom 650. If you want a sports tourer to take you, a pillion and luggage to the south of France, there’s a panniered-up Tourer and Grand Tourer edition of the Versys to help with that as well.

Best newcomers’ bike, readers’ choice: Yamaha MT-07

Best 125: KTM RC 125

It was a close call between two models in this category, both new for 2015: the Yamaha MT-125 and KTM RC 125.

We like the MT even better than the more expensive Yamaha YZF-R125, because it uses the same chassis but manages to offer slightly sharper handling.

But the RC 125 is the ticket. With the steel trellis frame of the RC 390 and ultra-sharp styling that hardly distinguishes it from its bigger brother, it’s the one to tempt any right-thinking 17-year-old onto two wheels instead of four, and that’s what’s so important in this class.

Best 125, readers’ choice: Aprilia RS4 125

Best sports bike: Yamaha YZF-R1

One new bike of 2015 is so special it can’t possibly be ignored: Kawasaki’s Ninja H2. In any other year – or if we had a ‘most astonishing’ class - it might have been a winner.

But this year, in this class, there have been several other incredible new models which better fit the sports bike brief. Most notably, Ducati’s 1299 Panigale S, BMW’s S1000RR, Aprilia’s RSV4 RF, and Yamaha’s YZF-R1.

The 1299 Panigale S lost out to the R1 in Visordown’s back-to-back test. The S1000RR is technically almost flawless but looks a bit like the old one, while the R1 tore up the style handbook and looks as special as it feels.

The RSV4 RF is a track weapon but the R1 is a little more flexible and refined, a brute on the track or a puppy for the ride home at the switch of a riding mode.

It’s one of two or three machines that made 2015 an unforgettable year for new bikes, that helped invigorate motorcycling itself, and it took Josh Brookes to victory in British Superbikes.

It’s our winner too: the Yamaha YZF-R1.

Best sports bike, readers’ choice: Aprilia RSV4 RF

Best scooter: Yamaha Tricity

We were really impressed with the three-wheeled Tricity when it was launched in August last year, just a little too late for our 2014 awards. A year on it remains the biggest recent game-changer in the class.

The front end glides over potholes and the extra grip lets you take liberties you might not on a normal scooter.

For drivers fed up with traffic queues, an extra front wheel could be the reassurance they need to try a scooter instead. At £3,339, the Tricity is a three-wheeler at a two-wheeler price, and likely to tempt more from their cages.

Best scooter, readers’ choice: Honda Integra

Most innovative new product: Held Kiruna gloves

These waterproof winter gloves use a new lamination process that helps prevent the leather outer soaking up water, so your hands stay warmer.

Most innovative new product, readers’ choice: SHARK SKWAL helmet, with built-in LED lights

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