2015 saw the third running of the South African Bike of the Year competition, which this year had Pirelli as its title sponsor once again. The inaugural competition awarded the top honour to the BMW R1200 GS in 2013, with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R taking the prize last year. This year, however, saw a very different winner.
The competition is organised by Harry Fisher and Matt Durans of Ignition TV’s The Bike Show. The pair joined a jury of 13 judges who spent three days riding on some of the finest roads SA has to offer before making that all-important voting decision. The final reckoning was always going to be a close-run affair — 15 of this year’s best bikes were up for consideration, with models from many different classes vying for contention.
Motorcycles are evaluated within their respective categories, across a range of criteria including ride and handling, value for money and that indefinable “wow” factor. Superbikes were the dominant force in this year’s competition, with a strong showing from the adventure and cruiser classes.
The competition organisers say that several of this year’s entrants could easily be justified as a winner, but the one bike that emerged on top this year was Kawasaki’s H2.
“The addition of a supercharger to this 1l in-line four-cylinder superbike transforms what you know of acceleration,” said the competition organisers. “The H2 is not averse to a set of corners either — which is definitely a bonus on a bike where outright top speed and bragging rights are at stake.
“Nothing looks like it, nothing goes like it, and the bravery and innovation of Kawasaki’s engineers in taking this new tangent within the superbike category undoubtedly impressed many of the judges.
“The H2, at R310,000, is admittedly the most expensive bike in the competition, but many judges thought not excessively so, given a world of R250,000 superbikes and R220,000 adventure bikes. In such times, the H2 might even be regarded as something of a bargain,” the organisers added.
“To many of the judges’ delight, despite being a fiendishly clever work of engineering excellence the H2 is also very silly, completely unnecessary and unashamedly politically incorrect. And very, very fast.”
The adventure class was rewarded with the Triumph Tiger XCX being awarded second place overall, while third place went to the Yamaha R1, representing the best of the traditional superbikes.
Source: Business Day