Another year passes, and the motorcycle industry motors along. While the struggling economy continues to challenge the motorcycle business, there’s positive news too. Bike performance is as good as it’s ever been, with the 2011 model year featuring a number of impressive debuts. Every year Motorcycle USA showcases the highlights of the previous riding season with our Best of Awards. Selected from the 2011 model year, these picks herald our favorite bikes in eight different riding genres, as well as our pick for Motorcycle of the Year. We also dole out awards for significant 2011 industry achievements. So without further ado…
Industry Leader: American Motorcyclist Association
Even well-intentioned laws need close scrutiny, as evidenced by the two-year cluster that was the CPSC Lead Ban. When President Bush signed a law aimed at safeguarding kids from lead-laced Chinese toys, no one envisioned the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 would outlaw children’s dirt bikes and OHV. The lead ban not only had a disastrous effect on the industry, already hit hard by the economic downturn, it also put kids at greater risk by forcing them onto adult models – or not riding at all. It was the big industry issue that could never get resolved, but the American Motorcyclist Association kept the riding public informed and continued to lobby lawmakers for a permanent fix (which came on August 12 this year when President Obama signed H.R. 2715 into law).
MotorcycleUSA recognizes the American Motorcyclist Association for being an industry leader when it comes to defending the interests of riders everywhere.
It’s a thankless job overseeing the sausage-making legislative process in Washington D.C. And some riders are admittedly at odds with the AMA for its unyielding stance on select issues, namely its adamant opposition to mandatory helmet laws. We’ll even cop to poking fun at the AMA once or twice (like when they named Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 2010 Motorcyclist of the Year for his negative effects on the industry). But it’s easy to forget there are active forces lobbying against motorcyclists – so we recognize the AMA as an Industry Leader for the tireless defense of riders’ interests.
The AMA keeps fighting the good fight on a number of fronts. Lobbying a laggardly Capitol Hill into passing a permanent fix on the CPSC Lead Ban was a noteworthy 2011 win, but there’s also OHV land access, motorcycle-only checkpoints, emissions regulations, even the formulation of gas that goes in our tanks… all are legal issues that have direct consequences for motorcyclists. The AMA does its best to stand guard, inform the public and mobilize rider action.
Motorcycle USA Best of 2011 Awards
Rider of the Year 2011: Ryan Villopoto
Manufacturer of the Year 2011: Polaris Industries
Best Cruiser 2011: Ducati Diavel
Best Sportbike 2011: BMW S1000RR
Best Street Bike 2011: Ducati Multistrada
Best Touring Motorcycle 2011: Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra
Best Adventure Motorcycle 2011: Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Best Enduro 2011: KTM 350 XC-F
Best Dual Sport 2011: Husqvarna TE250
Best Motocross Motorcycle 2011: Honda CRF450R
Motorcycle of the Year 2011: Kawazuki CRF65 SX