Cycle World released their 39th annual Ten Best Bikes list for 2014 this week. Cycle World, a motorcycle media brand, is known for its in-depth knowledge of the motorcycle industry. Each year, they recognize the best bike models sold in the U.S. based on design, performance and value. The final list combines both domestic and international motorcycle manufacturers. Seven of the top bikes are produced by European companies, proving that these companies are starting to rival domestic bike manufacturers.
Top 10 categories
The bikes are divided into various categories, each one corresponding to a specific model selected by Cycle World. The Best Superbike of 2014 is awarded to Ducati for their 1199 Superleggera. The Best Cruiser title is given to the Indian Chief Classic. KTM won a few categories, including Best Dual-Sport/Enduro for the 500 EXC, Best Open-Class Streetbike for the 1290 Super Duke R and Best Adventure Bike for the 1190 Adventure. The Best Middleweight Streetbike is the Yamaha FZ-09 and the Best Motocrosser is the Kawasaki KX450F. BMW took away three titles this year for some of their models - the R1200RT won for Best Sport-Touring Bike, the S1000R for Best Standard and the K1600GTL for Best Touring Bike.
"The bikes we're seeing from Europe are raising the bar for manufacturers across the globe," said Mark Hoyer, editor-in-chief of Cycle World, in a press release. "Boundaries of performance and technology are being pushed, and more agile, powerful and even more practical motorcycles are being developed. As manufacturers strive to build the best, they are pushing the limits of each class and diversifying an already vast and exceptional market, and our 'Ten Best' list is the manifestation of that."
The European brands that dominated the list this year include Ducati, BMW and KTM. Ducati is an Italian bike manufacturer, BMW is based in Germany and KTM is based in Austria. BMW and KTM were seen multiple times on this year's list, accounting for six of the 10 top motorcycles in their respective categories. A notable American manufacturer on the list is Indian Motorcycles, the producer of the Chief Classic, the best cruiser model of 2014.
If you are in the market for a new motorcycle in the near future, Cycle World's list can help narrow down your search based on the type of bike you are looking for. Whether you are a new rider or more advanced and looking for a niche type of bike, this list spans across several different categories, offering an option for every type of motorcyclist. If you are becoming a bike owner or already are one, remember that motorcyclists need to maintain their bikes just as car owners do. According to AskMen's website, key areas that need to be checked before setting out on your first joyride of the summer include the wheels and tires, brakes, chain and sprockets, fluid levels, battery, air filter, fuel system, valves, and major bolt torque specs. If you are a new owner and unsure of what exactly needs to be inspected on your bike each year, make sure you seek out the help of a professional before riding.