Good is good but we need game-changers
When does something go from being really rather good to being great? Initial assessment is all fine and dandy, but greatness doesn’t come overnight. It grows, seeps and creeps. Others find it and feel it too.
Every year MCN awards the best bike on sale in Britain in a wide range of categories – 14 in 2015 – and then crowns the overall Machine of the Year. Choosing a class winner can be straightforward as judges compare one bike trying to achieve a certain thing, with another trying to achieve a similar thing.
Of course, when there’s more than one stunning machine in a class, there is heated debate and much ruffling of sales figures, spec sheets and owner reports. When it comes to deciding the one king to rule them all it can be far more complicated.
The winner has to be a game-changer. Something that’s set a new standard and then through the use of a crystal ball we have to bestguess whether the bike’s impact over time will be significant.
Looking at the MCN Machine of the Year winners since 2011 (see special test, page 28), all can be described/argued as great. Those winners show that a motorcycle can achieve success in so many different ways.
While cutting-edge tech and outright performance is still impressive (H2R and S1000RR), ingenuity and sheer guts also move the market (Diavel). Understanding what people want and then delivering something that meets those needs so well that it sparks an entire new category and genre of biking is also an outstanding achievement (R1200GS).
Then there’s simply building a machine that thousands of people want because it is good fun and affordable (MT- 07).
Revisiting the bikes that have moved us over the last five years reminds us just how diverse, exciting and interesting the bike market is. Being innovative and different can work if executed brilliantly, but so can just being functionally excellent in the right way at the right time. Judging MCN’S 2016 Machine of the Year starts soon and let’s hope it’s as worthy a winner as its predecessors.