The last envelope has been opened, the last vote tallied, and we have a winner. The first Pirelli South African Bike of the Year was announced this morning, at the opening day of the AMID motorcycle expo at Nasrec in Johannesburg.
This new award, organised by Mat Durrans and Harry Fisher of The Bike Show and involving thirteen members of the South African motorcycling media and professional riders, pitted 16 new-for-2013 models against each other for the overall title.
The finalists, chosen from nominations by the official importers, were:
Aprilia Caponord 1200
BMW R1200GS Liquid-Cooled
Honda Integra DCT
Honda NC700 DCT
KTM 1190 Adventure
Moto Guzzi California 1400
MV Agusta Brutale 800
Suzuki Inazuma 250
Triumph Daytona 675R
Triumph Trophy SE
Yamaha XJ6 Diversion
While it may seem unfair to compare a KTM 1190 Adventure with a Triumph Daytona 675R and a Suzuki GW250 Inazuma, each bike was rated on its own merits and against previous versions of that model, not against any other machine in the competition.
The judges voted for their top six bikes, best first, and then points were awarded in the order 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 for first to sixth place. These points were totalled and a winner declared.
The judging process took part over two days.
Day one was at Midvaal Raceway; a track venue was used, not to see how fast the bikes could lap the circuit, but as a controlled environment where each member of the panel could ride every bike and assess it over the same piece of tarmac.
Day two saw the bikes being ridden on the open road from the Vaal dam to Magalies where a 10km loop of open roads had been marked out for further assessment.
The final scoring was a very close-run thing between the BMW R1200GS Liquid Cooled and the KTM 1190 Adventure, and the result was in doubt until the last vote had been counted.
But in the end there can be only one - and that one is the BMW, with the KTM a very worthy second and the Triumph Daytona 675R third, while the MV Agusta Brutale 800, Kawasaki Z800 and Moto Guzzi California 1400 rounded out the top six.