By Motoring Staff:
Johannesburg - To quote Jeff Probst, the tribe has spoken: the jury members have chosen 15 finalists for the 2016 Pirelli South African Bike of the Year competition.
They are, in alphabetical order:
Ducati Panigale 959
Harley Davidson Dyna S
Husqvarna 701 Super Moto
In a telling comment on the nature of the South African motorcycle market, only three are less than ‘litre class’ machines, only four are Japanese and only three are completely naked, which would lead to the conclusion that South African riders like big, exotic bikes capable of sustained high speeds. Not a bad conclusion considering the nature of our roads...
New model blitz
By virtue of what has been by Bologna standards a sustained new-model blitz, Ducati becomes the first brand to get three models in the line-up in one year - the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro, Ducati Panigale 959 and Ducati XDiavel S - to follow on its two finalists in 2015.
Iconic Swedish brand Husqvarna enters the lists for the first time with its 701 SuperMoto, the first motard style machine to make the cut and the smallest capacity bike in this year’s line-up, giving parent company KTM a second entry from way out in left field.
Honda also gets in a double whammy, in its first appearance in the line-up, with both the much-hyped all-new Africa Twin and the underplayed NC750X.
The cruisers are represented by a full-bore Harley, the Dyna S, Ducati’s XDiavel S and the Victory Magnum (also the closest thing to a full-dress tourer in this year’s squad) while Triumph plays to its strengths with the all-new retro Thruxton R and another in its series of superb 800cc dualies, the Tiger XCa.
It’s worth noting that these machines will not be evaluated against each other - unless they are direct competitors - but against similar, existing machines in their class. The question to be asked in each case is “How much better is this new motorcycle than the motorcycles you would consider as alternatives?”
The lady and gentlemen of the jury, all experienced journalists from motoring and motorcycling publications around the country - including the editor of our print sister publication Star Motoring, Denis Droppa, will evaluate these 15 motorcycles over an intensive three-day test in Mpumalanga at the end of July before a winner is announced in August.
This is the fourth running of the annual competition to select the country’s best two-wheeler; whichever bike is adjudged to be the 2016 Pirelli South African Bike of the Year will have huge tyre tracks to fill: the reigning SA Bike of the Year is the awe-inspiring supercharged Kawasaki H2.
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