APRILIA RSV4 RR
Aprilia’s RSV4 RR does a better job of keeping this year’s Best Superbike, the YamahaR1, in its sights than any other literbike thanks to a rock-solid chassis and V-4 engine that now makes more power up top—all of which is great but not why the bike is here. Credit the looks, sound, and emotionally stirring feeling it gives you every time you throw a leg over it instead.
We are spoiled with choice when it comes to bikes designed to reel in distant horizons. If we had a Best Luxury Sport-Touring class, the BMW R1200RT would take the prize by a wide margin. It has a unique combination of long-road comfort and absolute cornering security. The 1,170cc liquid-cooled flat twin’s reassuring thrum at cruise is replaced with a wonderful ripping snarl when you whack open the throttle and makes winding-road performance so compelling you can hardly believe you’re this comfortable and that there are bags attached to your bike.
HUSQVARNA FE 501 S
If it wasn’t necessary to recognize a new significant player in the Enduro field, the big Husky dual-sport 501 would surely occupy that space in our Ten Best once again. At this point, the FE is the finest dual-sport in the open-class market. But look out because parent company KTM is updating its 500 EXC next year and wants its title back after loaning out a bit too much DNA to Husqvarna.
Derived from the much-lauded 2K5 GSX-R1000, the new Suzuki GSX-S1000F offers sporting performance and handling in a more practical and comfortable platform ideally suited to the street. The GSX-S engine has been tuned to deliver gobs of low- to midrange torque. Selectable traction control, ABS brakes, and a chassis offering superb stability instill a feeling of super skills riding technical back roads or rush-hour traffic. All for a price that’s tough to beat.
TRIUMPH THRUXTON R
The “Classic” range at Triumph has been given new life with the 2016 models. The old 865cc Thruxton was sporting in name and look but really didn’t offer much of a boost over a standard Bonnie. The Thruxton R changes this in a big way. The ripping 1,200cc twin has a massive torque curve and satisfying pop on top, while the chassis, suspension, and brakes make it a killer café racer of the highest British standard. Knockout looks, great sound, and a reasonably comfortable riding position make this the neo-retro of choice for the sporting rider of high style.