Best of 2010: Sportbike and Cruiser

December 31, 2010
By Motorcycle USA Staff
Winner of both the track and street portions of our Superbike Smackdown, the 2010 BMW S1000RR had a superior overall package which left lasting impressions on our editors.

Best Sportbike: BMW S1000RR

The BMW S1000RR won our prestigious 2010 Superbike Smackdown VII Track and 2010 Superbike Smackdown VII Street shootouts against no less than eight of the fastest, most agile production motorcycles on earth. The Beemer shocked us with the psychotic top-end power of its 999cc Inline-Four that pumps out nearly 20 rear horsepower more than the closest competitor (Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R). But just as impressive was how proficient the Beemer’s chassis and electronics package controlled each one of those 182 horses.

The S1000RR steers with a spirited level of agility, yet is stable and has well thought out ergonomics and extremely powerful brakes. It also seamlessly melds an advanced multi-mode traction control and anti-lock brake system that allows the rider to explore its outrageous performance in a safer manner (see Innovation Award).

But the real kicker is that BMW was able to do all this while still carrying a competitive price tag that is only $400 (base model) more expensive than the 2008 and 2009 Sportbike of the Year. It’s these reasons why the $13,800 BMW S1000RR is Motorcycle USA‘s selection of 2010 Sportbike of the Year. – Adam Waheed

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Watch as MCUSA dishes out its 2010 awards for the street in our Best of 2010 Street Video.

Best Cruiser: Triumph Thunderbird

Motorcycle USA first sampled the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird way back in May of 2009. And the Thunderbird proved itself not just one of the most anticipated cruisers of the 2010 model year, we found it the best all-round cruiser released for 2010.

The Thunderbird not only resurrected a reputable name in the Triumph family, it filled a very important niche for the British manufacturer between the smaller America and Bonneville models and the behemoth Rocket III. Its importance to the company is obvious, as it takes direct aim at the Harley-Davidson Big Twins segment.

The 2010 Triumph Thunderbird is the British marques first true foray into the mid-sized cruiser realm.
The Triumph Thunderbird proved the best overall cruiser with smooth power delivery from its Parallel Twin, a top-notch transmission and excellent riding package.
The Thunderbird T-16 Parallel Twin displaces 1597cc via a 103.8 bore x 94.3mm stroke.Los Angeles designer Tim Prentice penned the T-Birds lines  seeming to aim at the American cruiser clans conservative styling sensibilities.

The Thunderbird emerged victorious in a head-to-head comparison against one of the better handling Harley-Davidson’s around, the TC 96-equipped Street Bob. The Triumph’s 1597cc Parallel Twin dishes out a wide spread of power and plenty of immediate torque, with a 270-degree firing order and twin balancer shafts keeping engine vibrations minimal. The Thunderbird’s six-speed transmission is buttery smooth and its helical cut gears slip into place almost unnoticeably. Overall, the tranny is one of the best we’ve sampled in the class, with Triumph using a belt final drive for the first time since the 1920s.

Cruising along, a 47mm Showa fork and dual exposed rear shocks provide for a refined ride. Tipped into turns, the T-Bird is planted and allows for a generous amount of lean angle. Its brakes are powerful and provide loads of feel from the dual 310mm floating discs on the front. A healthy 5.8 gallon tank gives the cruiser excellent range.

On top of all that, the T-Bird is one classy looking ride. Its engine fins are machined to a healthy sheen to go along with shiny chrome primary and crankcase covers. Burly pipes wind down both sides of the bike. The only fault we really found was a tolerable buzz in the bars. Seeing as how that’s our only snipe, we declare the 2010 Triumph Thunderbird our Best Cruiser of 2010. – Bryan Harley