AThe year 2009 had a lot in store for biking aficionados. With bikes that could clock 100mph in the first gear to Valentino Rossi inspired cross-plane cranks, 2009 brought new innovations and the year passed as quickly as a Ninja crossing an old scooter.
So which bikes registered a spike and which didn’t? Read on to know the best bikes and the best experiences:
The first mention should be the new Ninja, which was awarded the Best Sports Bike of the Year. With a revamped suspension and handling, the Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja got sparkles in the eyes of many a bike lover. This irresistible bike can still clock a 100mph in the first gear, like its predecessor sans the twitches.
Another bike that deserves the accolades is the Yamaha R1. This bike came with a revolutionary cross-plane Rossi inspired crank and a unique firing system that gave it the capabilities of a 2-stroke engine. This bike also featured a nifty mode control besides more sensitive brakes, making it the most powerful, yet the easiest bike to ride.
Triumph’s new 1,600cc Thunderbird tops the list of best cruisers. A brainchild of LA designer Tim Prentice, the bike not only looks stunning, but has also filled in the gap between the 865cc Bonneville America and the 2.3-litre Rocket III.
The popularity of the bike drove the company’s annual profits up 16%. This was particularly astonishing considering the global 500cc plus bike market witnessed a one-third decline in sales during the same period. The bike’s muscular, yet sleek design is accentuated by its grunting engine. The brand new parallel twin silencers almost mimic the V-twin growl and produce a delightful symphony while accelerating or slowing. Adding to the grunt is the performance. With forks adjusted to facilitate counter-steering and a slick gearbox making transition smooth, the 1,600 cc Thunderbird offers flawless handling and immaculate cornering.
Harley Heritage Softail Classic turned out to be the ideal tourer bike, despite stiff competition from Honda VFR1200F, BMW K1300GT and Kawasaki ZZR1400. Although BMW threw many innovations at bikers, with its electronic suspension adjustment system that can handle a damsel as well as a Sumo wrestler with equal ease, the Classic still stood out as the game leader.
Another bike that showed substance was Ducati Multistrada 1100S. The bike was hailed as one of the best that Ducati has ever produced. The bike is as quick as 1198S, as light as Streetfighter and features an exceptional seating arrangement that can gives BMW a run for its money. The 2010 version is reported to have better performance and will be aesthetically more appealing.
Other bikes worth mentioning for the years gone by are the three Moto Guzzis - the Bellagio, the Griso and the Norge. They all offered reliability with aesthetics, besides the alluring sounds of the V-twin
The icing on the cake was the Kawasaki ZZR 1400. Its power and performance could make a space rocket burn with envy! With an engine that can clock 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds and a body frame that offers a comfortable seating position, this bike offers an all-rounder performance for bikers. With an impressive 197bhp available at the rotation of the accelerator, this bike rides as easily through a crowded, bottlenecked place as it zooms on the highway.
A let down was the much anticipated Honda VFR1200F. Although it managed to shoulder the Honda name with resilience, it failed to leave an impression or even deserve a second look. However, the coming year seems to bring in some good news for its fans. The bike is reported to feature dual clutch transmission and tiptronic.
To round it up, mentioned below are the bright points of 2009:
- Bike of the year: Kawasaki ZZR1400
- Sports Bike of the Year: Yamaha R1
- Best Sports Tourer: Three bikes are vying for top position: Honda VFR1200F, BMW K1300GT and Kawasaki ZZR1400
- Best Cruiser of the Year: Triumph’s new Thunderbird
- Three bikes that made the heart sing: Moto Guzzi Bellagio, Griso and Norge