It’s easy to get onto the Ten Best Bikes List. All you have to do is build a machine that pushes the limits in its class, or pushes the limits of its class, one that performs better, offers more style and gives us everything we want from a motorcycle. See how easy that is?!
Well, it may not be easy, but the results sure make it fun for all us enthusiasts around the world. The CW crew spent another year in the saddle, riding farther, faster and jumping higher (as the case may be), weighing, measuring, adjusting suspension, dyno and dragstrip testing and generally flogging the scores of machines we put to the test in between every Ten Best.
As the market has evolved in the 37 years we’ve been at this, so have the award categories, and 2012 is one of those years in which we’ve made some changes. As Dual-Sport and Enduro have essentially become one in the marketplace, so has the category been combined in Ten Best. This made room for a new one: Best Adventure Bike. In years past, these do-it-all machines have won in four different categories, and with the proliferation of models and major increase in consumer interest, it was time to give these great bikes a home of their own. We’ve also seen “middleweight” expand ever upward in displacement terms, leading to plenty of great machines in the 600-899cc range, that we felt should qualify under a more broad definition, including this year’s winner.
With that, what follows are the very best bikes on the planet in 2012.