This morning, the Canadian Car of the Year will be announced at the Toronto auto show – I know, because I’ll be the person who tears open the envelope on stage and announces the winner. But there’s no award for Motorcycle of the Year.
There would be plenty of contenders. Zac tells us about nine of them this week, which will be on the floor at the Toronto Motorcycle Show that also opens on Friday. The challenge is that buying a motorcycle is such a personal decision that every one of those nine bikes will have somebody who loves it and somebody who hates it, and a whole bunch of people who say meh. How to choose?
The Car of the Year thing is easier to select, because there’s a large pool of qualified automobile journalist testers who all vote on specific attributes of the cars and SUVs they drive all year round. As well, so much of what cars do is just functional, and they vote on how well those functions are performed. That’s just not possible with bikes. There are maybe a dozen properly qualified motorcycle journalists in Canada who could vote – 20 at a stretch – and no organization in place to co-ordinate such decision making. But mostly, the decision would be irrelevant because motorcycles are so much more varied than cars, and so much more emotional a choice.
Off the top, I’d say right now that the new Honda Gold Wing should be the Motorcycle of the Year, because it seems to do its job so well and it’s such an important machine for North America. But I’ve not ridden it and have only Costa’s word for it that it succeeds. More to the point, is it any better at its job than the Honda CRF250R that Kate rode last year, or the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob that swayed Zac’s opinion on The Motor Co, or the excellent Suzuki GSX-R 1000R that Costa leant into the curves at Phillip Island, or the Triumph Street Cup with which I fell in love?
So maybe we should just accept that there’s an embarrassment of riches right now for motorcycle choice. Sure, some bikes are better than others and some bikes should be avoided, but we tell you all about these in our reviews. When it comes to one that’s the best bike for you, that’s far too personal a choice for us to make – and that’s a big reason why we love bikes so much.