Sunday, December 30, 2007

Faster and Faster: The Best of 2007

As the year comes to an end, it’s time for the
Faster and Faster Best of 2007 Awards
Here we go...
Best open-class Sportsbike

Master Blaster: The ZZR1400 is still the best heavy hitter around

It was the Kawasaki ZZR1400 last year. And this year, despite the all-new Suzuki Hayabusa, the ZZR1400 manages to cling on to its title. For us, the new Hayabusa isn’t as radical as we were hoping it would be, and Honda still haven’t built a V-four-powered replacement for the CBR1100XX. So the 200bhp, 320km/h ZZR1400 is still on top. And for 2008, Kawasaki have cured its low-rev power delivery foibles, so the big ZZR is only getting better with age…

Best litre-class Superbike

On road and on track, the GSX-R1000 reigns supreme

Yes, it’s the Suzuki GSX-R1000, which also won this category last year. The K7 model’s dual exhausts (ugly, bulky…) can easily be replaced with a lighter, better-looking, single-sided system from Yoshimura. And with regard to everything else – the engine, power delivery, chassis, suspension and styling – the Gixxer was still on top in 2007. Things may be tougher in 2008 though, what with the 2008 ZX-10R and Fireblade waiting to punch the GSX-R1000’s lights out.

Best middleweight Sportsbike

Agile and performance-packed, the CBR600RR is at the top of its class

Indeed, the Honda CBR600RR is the best middleweight sportsbike this year. Some people did not like the way the 2007 CBR600RR looks, but in terms of performance and handling, we think the Honda beats last year’s winner, the Triumph Daytona 675. The Honda does most things right and we'd go as far as to say the 2007 CBR600RR is probably the best CBR600 Honda have ever made! (Next year, the Ducati 848 seems to be the bike to look out for, while the GSX-R750 has a lost a bit of its shine and needs to do something radical to re-enter the fray…)

Best-styled Sportsbike

Anyone who wants to build a bike that looks better than this, will be staying up nights and working very, very hard...

Right now, the Ducati 1098 has got to be the best-styled sportsbike around on the planet. We still love the MV Agusta F4 – in all its various avatars – but the MV is getting a bit old. If they want to beat the 1098, MV and Massimo Tamburini will have to create an all-new motorcycle. And somehow, they’ll have to make it even better looking than the F4 and the 1098. Till they do, the Ducati 1098 is the best-looking bike on Earth.

Best Sportstourer

The K1200R Sport looks great, goes hard and remains comfortable over the long haul. What more would you ask of a sportstourer?

For our money, the BMW K1200R Sport is the best sportstourer around. The big Beemer packs 163 horsepower, looks totally cool and features bits like BMW’s latest-generation anti-lock brakes and alternative suspension that actually works. It’s a stylish, well thought out motorcycle that’s fast, safe and comfortable over the long haul. (Next year, we hope there will be an all-new Honda VFR1000 fighting the BMW for top honours in this class!)

Coolest Concept

Will you just look at this Honda CB1100R concept? Awesome!

With its tubular steel chassis and Freddie Spencer-era paintjob, the retro-styled Honda CB1100R isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve grown up watching motorcycle racing in the 1980s, you’ll agree that this Honda is way cooler than ice cubes in an Eskimo’s igloo. Honda, please do build this one in 2008...

The bike to watch out for in 2008!

With the KTM RC8, you can expect more of this...

It was hard choosing between the Bimota DB7, BMW HP2 Sport, MV Agusta F4 RR 312, Ducati 1098R and the KTM RC8. But in the end, we decided it had to be the RC8 for us. With its edgy, radical styling and KTM’s reputation for building unconventional bikes that absolutely kick ass, we think the RC8 will be a bit special when it comes out next year.

And that's that, for 2007. Hope you have an absolute blast and wish you a very happy new year. See you in 2008!

Also see:
Faster and Faster: The Best of 2006

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