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It’s that time of year when we award the biggest prize in Australian motorcycling... AMCN's 2022 Motorcycle of the Year

Welcome to AMCN’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year (MOTY) presented by Shannons Insurance – the most anticipated test for readers, staff and the industry alike. AMCN takes its seven decades of experience and, over a handful of days, thousands of kays, hours of robust conversation and a few obligatory beers, whittles down the one motorcycle that not only best reflects this moment in time, but which does it the most convincingly as per our testing criteria. 

This year’s finalists are a diverse bunch, comprising adventure, touring, naked and sportsbikes which range from just over $8K through to $25K. But price aside, we’re looking for everything a would-be buyer is: build quality, value for money, how well it meets its design brief, what (if anything) it brings to the market in terms of development and, arguably the most important, just how much fun it is to ride. 

Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail

CFmoto 800MT Touring

Ducati DesertX

Honda NT100 DCT

In 2022 there were eight worthy finalists (listed below) to judge against the five MOTY criteria:

Benelli Leoncino 800 Trail
CFMoto 800MT Touring
Ducati DesertX
Honda NT1100 DCT
Husqvarna Norden 901
Suzuki GSX-S1000GT
Triumph Speed Triple RR
Yamaha MT-10

Husqvarna Norden 901

KTN RC 390

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT

Yamaha MT-10

With such a diverse group of bikes, the MOTY finalists are not compared directly with each other, but against a set of five MOTY criteria:

Build Quality It’s gotta be built well to earn this crown
Innovation  Is it advancing technology, or responding cleverly to the market?
Design Brief Does it deliver to the rider what it promises to do on the tin?
Fun Factor It’s gotta be fun to ride, or what’s the point?
Value for Money Not just price, because a well-equipped expensive bike can still represent good value

For testing purposes, we made our base in the carpark of a closed pub, and marked out a 20-minute loop from there which took in switchbacks, straights, sweeping bends, blind corners, deep potholes, silky-smooth tarmac, open roads and urban environments. Each of the eight bikes were numbered, each rider was handed a scoresheet, a pen and bag of energy-inducing lollies before being assigned a motorcycle with which to complete the first test loop.

The MOTY test loop had it all including, of course, some fabulous twisties.

The beauty of the plan (where the credit must be given to AMCN’s former road test editor Paul Young) means every bike is tested in the same conditions. To that end, the feedback and information attained on each and every test loop remains fresh in the riders’ minds before jumping on the next bike and doing it all again. It worked like a charm and we will definitely follow a similar process next year.

The weather threw up plenty of variables to keep us on our toes, with localised downpours occurring in various places around the loop – but the tarmac dried quickly which meant every rider was able to test every bike in both wet and dry conditions. And while the exact location of said test loop will remain under wraps, the person working inside the pub summed it up when she walked past us late in the day and asked: “Are you having fun on your private racetrack?”

Over the next few weeks we will reveal more about the eight MOTY finalists on the AMCN website and eventually announce the winner. If you can’t wait that long to find out which motorcycle has been awarded AMCN’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year presented by Shannons Insurance, grab a copy of the AMCN Yearbook, which is on sale now at newsagents and select supermarkets.