The Auto Trader Best Bike Awards 2016 have been revealed, celebrating the very best in the UK motorcycle market. It’s a sector in great shape, and 2016 has been a classic year for new model launches. Auto Trader has chosen the very best of the best.
British bike market in 2016
Almost 80,000 new motorcycles have been registered in the UK already in 2016, a healthy rise of nearly 6% on 2015. Although sales of entry-level bikes are down, bigger-engined motorcycles are doing well: the 126-650cc category is up an impressive 8.4%.
- More motorcycles on Motoring Research
The biggest new bike category is for stripped-back Naked bikes, beating even Scooters and Adventure Sports bikes in the popularity stakes.
There are now 1.25 million motorcycles in use on UK roads, a number that’s been growing over the past few years. There are lots of active riders in Britain and, as bikes become ever-better and boast ever-more-attractive deals, many will be in the market for a new machine.
Here’s the pick of the UK new bike market in 2016.
Best bike for AM licence holders: Peugeot Django 50cc
The 50cc motorcycle 16-year-olds should be riding in 2016 is the retro-look Peugeot Django 50cc. It retains the award it won last year for its combination of cool looks and everyday usability. There’s even a 12-volt charger, so smartphone obsessives can top up their battery on the move.
Best bike for A1 licence holders: Honda CB125F
Riders aged 17 should hot-foot it to the local Honda dealer to pick up a bargain-priced CB125F. Not for nothing is it the UK’s best-selling 125cc machine. It costs from just £2,699, does 151mpg and looks far cooler than you’d ever believe a beginner’s motorbike could.
Best bike for A2 licence holders: Honda CB500F
Riders aged 19 or over can choose a full-size motorcycle that’s restricted to 47hp. Once they pass their full test, this restrictor can be taken off. The best choice here is, again, a Honda; the CB500F is the perfect step-up machine from the CB125F.
Best Scooter: Vespa GTS 300
Who doesn’t want a classic Vespa? Now there’s reason to want a modern Vespa: the GTS 300 has scooped this category three years running and Auto Trader says it’s hard to see anything beating it. It even has heated grips for winter!
Best Commuter: Honda NC750X
Commuter motorcycles should be painless and easy to ride, with a good seating position for excellent visibility. Cue the NC750X, a genuine twist-and-go machine with clutchless transmission and, new for 2016, cooler and edgier looks. Again, it’s a three-time category winner.
Best Naked: Triumph Speed Triple R
The most popular new motorcycle category in Britain right now is the Naked sector. Ooh-err. Aggressive looks, minimalist bodywork and savage power make them real thrillers – none more so than the 138hp race-bred Triumph Speed Triple R.
Best Retro: Triumph Thruxton R
Retro bikes are more classically-styled Naked machines – and Triumph has this sector sewn up too, with the beautiful Thruxton R. It builds upon the established Thruxton range with improved dynamics and engine power. “It’s the retro Triumph you’ve been waiting for,” said Auto Trader editor-in-chief, Jon Quirk.
Best Adventure: Honda Africa Twin
We’ve been waiting a long time for a new Honda Africa Twin, but at last it has arrived – and Auto Trader says the wait has been worth it. It’s one of the best motorcycles to come out of Honda in years, and is “a phenomenal all-rounder… If you want a reason not to buy a BMW GS, this is it”.
Best Tourer: BMW S 1000 XR
Planning on riding across Europe this summer? You need a BMW S 1000 XR. It’s a superbike engine in a sports touring chassis that, says Auto Trader, creates the motorcycle equivalent of a performance SUV. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a BMW X5 M for riders.
Best Sports: Yamaha YZF-F1
The fearsome Yamaha R1 has done it again. A sublime track bike, Auto Trader reckons it’s a bike that wins over both head and heart in an instant. It’s also a race bike for the road that you can thrash all day long without fear – mechanical integrity is second to none. “It’s staggering,” say the editors.
Best Cruiser: Indian Springfield
You may not have heard of the Indian motorcycle company but you’ll certainly have heard of the motorcycle brand it’s beaten to best Cruiser 2016: Harley-Davidson. The Springfield has “the ride quality of an ocean liner and a finish that out-luxes all-comers.” Just for added reassurance, it even has a five-year warranty. Born-again bikers, you need this in your life!
Best Manufacturer 2016: Triumph
Despite building more than 54,000 motorcycles overseen from its Hinckley, Leicestershire HQ, Triumph keeps on innovating, with models such as the Thunderbird, Bonneville and modernised Speed Triple range. It’s a brand that shows the future really is looking bright for the British motorcycle industry, says Auto Trader – which is why it didn’t hesitate to award it the Best Manufacturer 2016 gong.
Best Bike 2016: Honda Africa Twin
The Auto Trader judges were unanimous in picking the new Honda Africa Twin as their Best Bike 2016. They said its ability both on- and off-road is “staggering”, the engine is superb, it’s comfortable to ride and it offers tremendous value for money. An all-round champ that stands clear as Britain’s best in 2016.