It’s that time of year when we award the biggest prize in Australian motorcycling... AMCN's 2023 Motorcycle of the Year
Beat the drums, clap the hands and ready your finances because it’s time for AMCN’s 2023 Motorcycle of the Year presented by Shannons Insurance, the most anticipated motorcycle comparison test in the land.
We assembled 10 of the best bikes of the year and thrashed them like escaped convicts over multiple days in order to confidently be able to select one bike to take out our coveted Motorcycle of the Year crown.
As with previous years, we had a variety of styles and sizes of bikes, from a sub-$10 grand sportsbike through to a $41,000 cruiser and almost everything in between. But price isn’t everything, so we judge each bike as you might. We delve into a bike’s build quality, whether it successfully achieves what its designers set out to do, what it brings to the market in terms of innovation, whether it’s good value for money, and, most importantly, whether it’s fun to ride.
The variety of bikes on test is a testament to the way of things in 2023. Five of the bikes are parallel twins – they’re taking over! But gone are the days when parallel twins are lifeless commuters, with 270-degree cranks all of the parallels in this group – Aprilia’s Tuareg, CFMoto’s 450SR, Honda’s Hornet, Suzuki’s V-Strom 800 and Yamaha’s Tracer 7 – cop a serious dose of character and offer as much bang and grin for the buck as any configuration. The other five offer a taste of just about all other configurations available; Beemer’s M 1000 R represents the good old inline-four, the Diavel spits fire and invective with its V4, and of course, there’s the V100 Mandello with its new and refined version of Moto Guzzi’s 90-degree transverse twin. Triumph’s Street Triple is doing it for the three-pot lovers and KTM’s diabolically good 160hp 1290 Super Adventure R is keeping the dream alive for lovers of big, angry conventional V-twins. We’ve covered them all, and the only configuration missing is the humble single cylinder.
The finalists…in alphabetical order
Aprilia Tuareg 660
BMW M 1000 R
Ducati Diavel V4
Honda CB750 Hornet
KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello S
Suzuki V-Strom 800DE
Triumph Street Triple RS
Yamaha Tracer 7
With bikes and riders sorted we set off for the NSW South Coast town of Manyana.
The 10 bikes were rotated between the riders over the trip with each rider getting a good stint on each bike. Our route consisted of highway, motorway, country road and snaking mountain road miles, plus a good dose of Sydney peak hour traffic as we rolled back into the big smoke, so the full gamut of riding experiences your average rider would be expected to encounter were covered.
Thankfully La Nina had quietened down so for the first time in a long time, we had beaut weather for the entire trip with the exception of some pretty ferocious wind which sandblasted a few riders on a beachside photo stop. Sunny skies and dry roads gave the crew a chance to really have a red-hot go through some of the best roads the region has to offer.
Once back at base, each rider, using the five criteria, scored each bike from 1 – 10 (1 being poo and 10 being perfect). The scores were tallied, the debates settled and a winner was declared. We hope you enjoy reading this year’s MOTY test as much as we enjoyed making it happen.
AMCN’s five 2023 MOTY criteria
Build Quality – It’s gotta be built well to earn this crown
Innovation – Is it advancing development, 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
So, which motorcycle has been awarded AMCN’s 2023 Motorcycle of the Year presented by Shannons Insurance? To find that out and for all the latest news and reviews, pick yourself up a copy of the AMCN Yearbook, on sale from 7 December at newsagents and select supermarkets.