Ten Best Bikes 2014

Ten Best Bikes 2014Cycle World

In the late 1970s, an editor at Cycle World bought a certain Japanese superbike and was going to leave it in the crate because there is no way they are ever going to get faster than this! We're glad to report he was wrong. In fact, magazine types have been saying these kinds of things since the dawn of testing. But inevitably motorcycles get smoother, more powerful, better handling, cooler, and more "right" for what enthusiasts want to do with them. This year's Ten Best haul is a testament to that pursuit of excellence.

It’s also a testament to the Rise of Europe. With few exceptions, the design and development risk takers have been European, pushing technological and performance boundaries. To the credit of the Japanese, they have been working to rebuild the market from the entry-level up with some stellar affordable products, and the fruits of that labor have not gone unnoticed.

What follows are 10 high points of design, performance, and value. Just do yourself a favor if you buy one: Don’t leave it in the crate!

Best Cruiser: Indian Chief Classic

Not always American but certainly inspired by the country where "laid back," "long and low," and "bottom-end torque" were invented. Read MoreCycle World

Best Dual-Sport/Enduro: KTM 500 EXC

Can be street-legal or a pure off-road-only dirt bike. The harder the terrain, the bigger your smile should be when you overcome it. Read MoreCycle World

Best Middleweight Streetbike: Yamaha FZ-09

An exciting, expanding segment, "middleweight" means more than ever. Which is why we bumped the displacement limit to 899cc to keep up with the times in this sporty class. Read MoreCycle World

Best Sport-Touring Bike: BMW R1200RT

Built for comfort, built for speed, this sporting motorcycle needs to have factory saddlebags and a swift soul. Read MoreCycle World

Best Standard: BMW S1000R

A broad category that includes sit-up motor­cycles—usually with a tubular handlebar—meant to serve many purposes. Read MoreCycle World

Best Motocrosser: Kawasaki KX450F

The absolute best knobby-shredding moto bike on the planet, regardless of displacement. After the gate drops, the only truth is the checkered flag. Read More Cycle World

Best Touring Bike: BMW K1600GTL

Luxury meets performance meets technology meets safety meets more luggage space than some cars. A thousand miles in a day? No problem. Read More Cycle World

Best Adventure Bike: KTM 1190 Adventure

Long-distance, earth-conquering traveler, capable on pavement, dirt, gravel, and mud. Great every day too. Read MoreCycle World

Best Superbike: Ducati 1199 Superleggera

The ultimate, uncompromised racing-inspired performance motorcycle for the street that's equally at home shredding apexes at the racetrack. Read MoreCycle World