Rider has selected a Motorcycle of the Year annually since 1990—27 bikes in all. Here we present our 25 Motorcycles of the Year for the past 25 years, from 1992 to 2016. (In case you’re wondering, the BMW K1 won in 1990 and the Honda CB750 Nighthawk won in 1991.)
To be eligible for MOTY consideration, a motorcycle must be new or significantly updated for the current model year. The winner is the one motorcycle we believe succeeds best at its intent, stokes our passion for riding and joins the ranks of truly significant motorcycles. Performance, handling, comfort, value, reliability and practicality are all important criteria, but there are also less tangible qualities, like character and soul.
Given Rider’s focus on touring, travel and “real world” motorcycling, you won’t find any track-ready sportbikes on this list, nor will you find limited-production exotics or flash-in-the-pan oddballs. Our list of the 25 best motorcycles of the past 25 years is full of sport tourers, luxury tourers, cruisers, standards and adventure bikes. One bike is so good, it’s on this list twice (in two different model generations.) Every year there were many worthy contenders, but in the end, there can be only one (per year)!