Se­lect­ing the bike of 2015

Judges spoilt for choice as num­ber of fi­nal­ists for 2015 Bike of the Year has more than dou­bled

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - DRIES VAN DER WALT E-mail al­wyn.viljoen@ wit­ness.co.za

CAPE TOWN — What a year! 2015 is shap­ing up to be a treat for bike en­thu­si­asts, with more than 30 new mod­els an­nounced, in­clud­ing the likes of the Aprilia Tuono, Du­cati Mon­ster 1200S, and elec­tric Zero DS.

Be­ing spoilt for choice also means the num­ber of fi­nal­ists for the 2015 SA Bike of the Year has more than dou­bled.

As has be­come cus­tom­ary, a panel of 14 South African mo­tor­cy­cling jour­nal­ists, drawn from a va­ri­ety of publi­ca­tions, will have three days to test the cream of SA’s bik­ing crop be­fore cast­ing their votes.

Where the 2014 list was dom­i­nated by naked bikes, the 2015 com­pe­ti­tion is more evenly spread among the var­i­ous cat­e­gories (though with a slight bias to­wards sport bikes).

There are a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing ma­chines on the list but the two po­ten­tially game-chang­ing ma­chines likely to at­tract a lot of at­ten­tion are the su­per­charged Kawasaki Ninja H2 and the in­no­va­tive Zero elec­tric bike.

The bikes will be judged ob­jec­tively (within their spe­cific cat­e­gories) against sev­eral set cri­te­ria to en­sure that each bike stands an equal chance of win­ning.

This will make up 70% of the score, with the re­main­ing 30% re­served for the judges’ sub­jec­tive im­pres­sions.

The greater por­tion of the test­ing will take place on the “Twenty-two”, the pop­u­lar 22 km strip of twisty road be­tween Hazyview and Sa­bie in Mpumalanga. Most of the bikes will be rid­den from Gaut­eng to Mpumalanga to al­low the judges to as­sess their open-road per­for­mance (ex­cep­tions, such as the Zero with its lim­ited range, will be trail­ered). There will also be op­por­tu­ni­ties for off-road and track rid­ing, depend­ing on the cat­e­gory of bike.

In the in­ter­ests of trans­parency Lach­lan Harris, the na­tional di­rec­tor of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Mo­tor­cy­cle Im­porters and Dis­trib­u­tors (AMID), will ac­com­pany the judges as an in­de­pen­dent ob­server and the judges’ score sheets will be made avail­able to the im­porters. The date the win­ner will be an­nounced has not been fi­nalised, but we will tell you as soon as we know. • The Bike of the Year is now in its third year and the pre­vi­ous two years’ awards have led to con­sid­er­able de­bate. Tell us which bikes you think should have been on, or off, the list.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The elec­tric 2015 Zero DS in ac­tion. Cayenne Group told ‘Wheels’ the Ze­roes are selling as fast as the are un­packed, but such is the depth in the Bike of the Year, the DS is not on the list.

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