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!