Good is good but we need game-chang­ers

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Comment - Gareth Ash­man, 01733-468118 27.07.2016 ANDY CAL­TON ED­I­TOR

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.

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