What is the best bike at such a price? The settings may differ, but the people who ask us these questions are almost always looking for the same answer. They all want to know which is the best bike for the money they want to spend. That’s a good question, but more often than not there just isn’t a clear answer.
Having answered hundreds, if not thousands of these questions over the years, I have found that the lower the price range for the segment in question, the higher the chances of providing a clear and satisfying answer. With affordable bikes, customer expectations tend to come down to this: affordability and value. If there’s a bike that promises better efficiency, comfort, style, value and quality than the rest, then hey – this is the bike we recommend.
The same is true for entry level performance bikes. If you’re on a tight budget and just want maximum thrill, then it’s simple – the best bike for you is the one that offers the best value for money you can afford. I speak here from experience. My R15 from 10 years ago was a dream come true, followed by my 390 Duke 2014, a machine I absolutely loved. I might have surpassed the performance of the R15 fairly quickly and I might never have been comfortably seated on the Duke, but for me they were the best bikes at this point in life.
However, we are now approaching the point where the two key words from the previous sentence are not “best bike”, but “for me”. You see, as their prices go up, motorcycles don’t just become a more luxurious way to travel, they also gain in personality. Some bikes are best experienced when the throttle is stuck against the stopper, while others can create a unique and unmistakable feeling of euphoria when cruising smoothly at 70 km / h. They’ll all get you where you want to go, but they’ll evoke very different feelings along the way.
If you are at this stage of your motorcycle journey, then the datasheet should become a reference rather than the absolute truth. The real truth has to come from within. What kind of biker am I? What sort of experience am I after? What are the things that I appreciate the most – the style? Ring? Speed? Candy? Efficiency? Comfort? Handling? Everything else ? These are the kinds of questions that no one else can answer. And even when you do, your priorities will almost certainly change over time as well. And that’s why there is no such thing as the best bike, just the best bike for you right now.
Sure enough, some of the less experienced / aspiring riders might read this and say, “Hey, I don’t know what I want!”. Well, to you, my friends, all I will say is that you have a wonderful journey of self-discovery awaiting you. Enjoy the ride.