Ten Best Bikes 2006

Cycle World Picks the Ten Best Motorcycles of 2006.

TEN BEST BIKES 2006Cycle World

Like the swallows returning to Mission San Juan Capistrano or Chicago Cubs’ fans getting their hopes up yet again, if it’s spring then it’s time to pick Cycle World’s Ten Best Bikes of the year.

This does not get any easier, despite the magazine's 30 prior attempts at winnowing from a cast of hundreds the best machine in each of 10 categories. Going by our 2006_ Buyer's Guide_, there were 440 distinct models for sale in U.S. showrooms this year. You have to look hard to find a bad bike these days, but finding the best is even harder. Comparison tests provide some answers, but in many classes the final decision isn't made until impassioned arguments are made pro or con, usually over a good lunch at a nearby bistro–though alcohol was banned several years back in the wake of some particularly vehement (not to mention slurred) debates. Sometimes even that doesn't work, and all-day back-to-back rides are laid on to determine a winner. Beats livin' heck out of digging ditches, no?

This year’s crop of Ten Besters (plus five Honorable Mentions) indicates just how good every bike-maker’s game has gotten. Wasn’t that long ago that one manufacturer might walk away with four, five or six “Besties.” No more: In 2006, six countries and 11 companies are represented. It truly is a Motorcycle World.

Time, then, to present the best motorcycles in that world...

Best Superbike: Suzuki GSX-R750

Read More: Suzuki GSX-R750Cycle World

Best Open Streetbike: Kawasaki ZX-14

Read More: Kawasaki ZX-14Cycle World

Best Middleweight Streetbike: Triumph Daytona 675

Read More: Triumph Daytona 675Cycle World

Best Standard: Triumph Speed Triple

Read More: Triumph Speed TripleCycle World

Best Sport-Tourer: BMW K1200GT

Read More: BMW K1200GTCycle World

Best Cruiser: Yamaha Star Roadliner

Read More: Yamaha Star RoadlinerCycle World

Best Touring Bike: Honda GL1800 Gold Wing

Read More: Honda GL1800 Gold WingCycle World

Best Dual-Sport Bike: Husqvarna TE510

Read More: Husqvarna TE510Cycle World

Best Enduro Bike: KTM 450 EXC

Read More: KTM 450 EXCCycle World

Best Motocrosser: Honda CRF450R

Read More: Honda CRF450RCycle World