MD’s Bike of the Year for 2016 isn’t a bike … it’s a mindset. Why? Because we sense a seismic shift from both ends of the industry, i.e., the manufacturers and the customers. A shift that promises to bring new riders into motorcycling just when they are badly needed. Baby Boomers with lots of disposable income cannot carry this industry any longer.
We also don’t see anything introduced this year any more important than the fact that several manufacturers are introducing simpler, lower cost and smaller displacement machines that are generally well accepted in the market. Sure, we have some higher displacement models that made a big splash (Honda’s Africa Twin comes to mind), but it is time to shift the focus to the other end of the market that, in our opinion, is much more important in the long run for this industry.
Models introduced in recent years such as the Kawasaki Ninja 300, Yamaha YZF-R3, Honda Grom, Honda CB500X and KTM Duke 390, have been joined by new models introduced this year such as the Kawasaki Z125 Pro, BMW G 310 R, Honda CBR250RR, Suzuki’s revamped SV650 and Suzuki GSX250R. Additionally, Honda also announced small displacement, budget-priced cruisers in the form of the Rebel 500 and Rebel 300.
So this award is really to the industry as a whole, as well as new riders who view these models as an inexpensive, but attractive entry point into the great motorcycling experience we all cherish. We can’t fail to mention, as well, all of the experienced riders who will add a smaller displacement bike to their stable, and be reminded of the simple pleasures of motorcycling perhaps lost in the adrenaline rush of the past decade.
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