Pirelli SA Bike of the Year

Pirelli SA Bike of the Year

Founded by Matt Durran and Harry Fisher, Its fourth year running and what an amazing event this turned out to be. Every year we see an incredible amount of publicity around the car of the year.  The controversy around the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place is always the fun part.  This year I got to enjoy the Pirelli SA Bike of the Year selection process hands-on.  With manufacturer participation also growing stronger, this event has proved it’s here to stay!

The motorcycles that qualify for the selection process has to have a definite upgrade or change from its previous model in order to qualify. This can’t just be cosmetic changes. Once we have a list, all journalists nominate top fifteen motorcycles. A simple calculation is made and the overall top 15 are then entered for the Pirelli Bike of the Year competition
It’s important to remember that each of these motorcycles are already considered to be the best within their own unique categories.  In no particular order, the 2016 list was;

  • Honda Africa Twin DCT
  • Honda NC750X
  • BMW S1000XR
  • BMW R1200RS
  • Triumph Tiger Explorer XCA
  • Triumph Thruxton R
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
  • Kawasaki ZX10R
  • Ducati Panigale 959
  • Ducati XDiavel S
  • Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro
  • Harley Davidson Dyna S
  • Victory Magnum
  • Husqvarna 701 Super Moto
  • Yamaha MT-10

Before we set out, everyone gathers at Redstar for technical briefings on each bike.  Breakfast is served alongside gifts from Total for the journey.  The first part of the journey is determined by a lucky draw.  My first bike to ride was the Kawasaki ZX10R which I’m happy to report is as fantastic as ever!

Every stop we swop bikes around to enable all journalists to test each bike.  What we have to consider is the price of each bike within its category and technology changes along with substantial changes on the make/model to its previous year.  Overall handling ability on different terrains. Power and of course we need to look for that wow factor.  After two days of riding the 22 between Sabie and Hazyview, we each had our top 6 bikes to nominate privately.  The 2016 top six motorcycles were revealed at the Pirelli SA Bike of the Year awards dinner;

  • Triumph Tiger Explorer XCA
  • Ducati Panigale 959
  • KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
  • Honda Africa Twin DCT
  • Triumph Thruxton R
  • Yamaha MT-10

Personally I was a little disappointed that the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro did not make the top six. It’s a fantastic motorcycle and I will be doing a full review on this in the near future.  It is however a fair process if you consider that 13 journalists eliminate the risk of personal opinions and emotional viewpoints.  After a lot of testing and consideration, the winner for the SA Pirelli Bike of the year award was announced; 1st place went to the Triumph ThruxtonR (priced at R174 500,00). The Triumph ThruxtonR surprised us all with its Styling; more high quality details and finishes with a polished top yoke, stainless steel tank strap and clear anodized aluminum swinging arm. Dynamic Handling; Race bred, fully-adjustable Showa big piston forks and fully adjustable Öhlins twin rear shocks. Modern Capability; Higher specification ABS Brembo brakes, the electronic ride-by-wire enhanced throttle control system also linked to the three selectable mode options to assist you with ‘rain, road and sport mode’ options

Type Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Capacity 1200cc
Bore Stroke 97.6 mm / 80 mm
Compression 11.0:1
Max Power EC 97 PS/ 96 Bhp (72 kW) @ 6750 rpm
Max Torque EC 112 Nm @ 4950 rpm
System Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust Chromed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin chrome silencers
Final drive O ring chain
Clutch Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Gearbox 6-speed
Instrument Display and Functions LCD multi-functional instrument pack with analogue speedometer
Analogue tachometer, gear position indicator,
Fuel gauge, range to empty indication
Service indicator
Trip computer
Scroll and mode buttons on handlebars
Heated grip ready
Fuel consumption display
Traction control status and throttle mode display
Front Suspension Showa 43mm USD big piston forks, fully adjustable 120mm travel
Rear Suspension Fully adjustable Ohlins twin shocks with piggy back reservoir , 120mm rear wheel travel
Brakes Front Brembo twin 310mm floating discs Brembo 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS
Brakes Rear Single 220mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Frame Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm Twin-sided, aluminium – Clear anodized
Seat Height 810 mm

Second place went to a very deserving Honda Africa Twin DCT. Third place the Triumph Tiger Explorer XCA.   Although I believe that there are so many worthy of top 3 placings, it’s important to remember that each motorcycle is already considered the winner in its own category.

Test riding your preferred choice should be top priority before buying something solely on someone else’s opinion.  I look forward to sharing some exciting reviews with you on some of the top 15 nominees of the 2016 Pirelli SA Bike of the Year finalists


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