Best cruiser: Harley-Davidson Low Rider S
Starting price: $16,699
You have to admit that the Harley Davidson Low Rider S is a good looking bike. In fact Cycle World called it the best cruiser that Harley has EVER made. That is pretty lofty praise for a manufacturer who is known for making some of the best cruisers in the world. The Low Rider S is a performance cruiser offering Harley's largest engine but in a compact frame that is designed to be lightweight and handle well.
Best adventure motorcycle: Honda Africa Twin
Starting price: $12,999
I don't remember another motorcycle receiving this much hype before. The Africa Twin has graced the front page of just about every motorcycle magazine. I have not ridden one yet but all the reports I read are glowing, the Africa Twin appears to live up to the hype. Honda proves that you don't have to have a huge, burgeoning motorcycle to make it in the ADV world. With a good balance of power and a lighter chassis the Africa Twin hits the sweet spot for those who really want a little off road riding with their adventure bike. The Africa Twin is also one of the few to offer a DCT (automatic transmission) if that is your preference.
Best lightweight street motorcycle: KTM 390 Duke
Starting price: $4,999
Cycle World gushed over the KTM 390 Duke due to it's light weight, compact dimensions, power and solid overall performance. They deemed it one of the most fun, affordable and flexible bikes they have ever tested. The 390 Duke features a 373cc single that makes 40hp, weighing in at 342 lbs wet. ABS is standard on the bike as well as adjustable pre-load for the rear shock and a 31.5 inch seat height. This is a great bike for new riders and experienced riders who understand that it is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.
Best touring motorcycle: KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Starting price: $TBD
I'm not too sure if the Super Duke GT is a touring bike, adventure bike or sport touring bike, but it had to go on the list somewhere so I guess Cycle World put it in the touring class. This is a fully loaded motorcycle with all the gadgets, cornering ABS, traction control, cruise, TPMS, heated grips, slipper clutch, riding modes, self canceling turn signals, hill hold control, cornering lights, electronic suspension and more. The Super Duke GT has a 1290cc engine making 173hp and 106.3 pound feet of torque. This is not you're slow lumbering touring bike. For a touring bike this is lighter on the touring side but heavy on the performance side.
Best standard motorcycle: Triumph Bonneville Street Twin
Starting price: $8,700
The Bonneville Street Twin is a contemporary throw back motorcycle with some modern features like ride by wire, traction control, torque assist clutch and even a USB charging socket. It has a 900cc engine that makes 59 ft-lbs of torque. If simplicity and clean lines are you're thing the Bonneville fills a nice gap in the standard market.
Best middleweight street motorcycle: Yamaha XSR900
Starting price: $9,490
Yamaha says the XSR900 is “part sport, part heritage, total Yamaha”. Do you see a theme here in a lot of the bikes listed in this article? Retro is in. The XSR900 follows that retro trend with a design that reflects the past but built upon the triple found in the Yamaha FZ09. The engine is a 847cc crossplane crank three cylinder that is a blast to ride. The triple from Yamaha is lauded for it's sound and quick revving nature. Cycle World has called it one of the best powertrains available, pretty lofty claims. Currently Yamaha's 847cc three cylinder can be found in the XSR900, FJ-09 and the FZ-09, it may be my favorite engine of all time.
Best open-class street motorcycle: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100RR
Starting price: $16,999
Cycle World loved the V-4 and the sounds from the engine. They also liked the chassis, brakes and riding position of the Tuono V4 1100RR.
Best superbike: Yamaha YZF-R1
Starting price: $16,490
The Yamaha YZF-R1 is the street version of their MotoGP bike, well kind of. It has a lot of the electronic wizardry that Yamaha has learned from riding on the track, mixed with a potent engine, fantastic chassis and top of the line electronics the Yamaha YZF-R1 is a true super bike.