2022 Motorcycle of the Year

10 Finalists and One Winner!

2022 Motorcycle of the Year

For the past 32 years, Rider has selected a Motorcycle of the Year. With the exception of two years when we made a People’s Choice selection by popular vote among readers (the Honda F6B in 2013 and the BMW R 1200 RT in 2014), it has been up to the Rider editorial team to choose a winner based on our collective experience with the year’s eligible contenders.

We ride as many of the new or significantly updated motorcycles released over the past year as possible, and we evaluate them within the context of their intended use.

Since we announced last year’s winner, we’ve tested cruisers, baggers, sportbikes, adventure bikes, naked bikes, minibikes, sport-tourers, luxury-tourers, cafe racers, standards, dual-sports, and even an electric dirtbike for kids.

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Narrowing down such a diverse range of motorcycles into a single “best” isn’t easy. Our goal is to identify the one that best fulfills its intended purpose and advances the state of motorcycle design, performance, and function.

We haven’t always hit the mark. The BMW K1 we selected as our first MOTY in 1990 proved to be a flop, and the forkless Yamaha GTS1000 we selected in 1993 was the answer to a question no one asked.

Even if some of the selections we’ve made don’t stand the test of time, we stand by them because they were impressive motorcycles within the context of their eras. Others are easier to defend, like the 2001 Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, the 2002 Suzuki V-Strom 1000, the 2005 BMW R 1200 GS, and the 2017 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Touring lineup. 

For 2022, there were more than 60 eligible contenders. We narrowed them down to 10 finalists and one ultimate winner. 

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Finalists

1. BMW K 1600 GTL

2022 Motorcycle of the Year BMW K 1600 GTL
2022 BMW K 1600 GTL. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Winner of Rider’s 2012 MOTY award, BMW’s top-of-the-line luxury-tourer got its most significant update yet for 2022. Its ultra-smooth 1,649cc inline-Six makes 160 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque, its full suite of electronic rider aids was upgraded, and it has a huge 10.25-inch TFT, an air-conditioned smartphone compartment, and other new comfort and convenience features. 

2. CFMOTO 650 ADVentura

2022 Motorcycle of the Year CFMOTO 650 ADVentura
2022 CFMOTO 650 ADVentura. Photo by Gary Walton.

Competing head-to-head with the Kawasaki Versys 650LT, the all-new 650 ADVentura is powered by a 649cc parallel-Twin that makes 60 hp and 41 lb-ft of torque. It has an adjustable windscreen, a TFT display, LED lighting, a slip/assist clutch, standard ABS, Pirelli Angel GT sport-touring tires, and hard-shell saddlebags. At $6,799, it undercuts the Kawasaki by $3,200.

3. Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak
2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak. Photo by David Schelske.

The range-topping Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak’s 1,158cc Grandturismo V4 cranks out 170 hp and 92 lb-ft of torque, and its apex-strafing game gets elevated with a new Race mode and revised quickshifter. It’s equipped with a full electronics package (including adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection), Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension, Brembo Stylema calipers, and more.

4. Harley-Davidson Nightster

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Harley-Davidson Nightster
2022 Harley-Davidson Nightster. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The spiritual successor to the air-cooled Evo-powered Sportster, the all-new Nightster is a performance cruiser built on Harley’s modular liquid-cooled Revolution Max engine platform, in this case with a 975cc V-Twin with variable valve timing that produces 90 hp. Classic styling cues include a peanut “tank” (actually an airbox cover), a round air intake cover, and exposed rear shocks.

5. Honda Navi

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Honda Navi
2022 Honda Navi. Photo by Drew Ruiz.

Toeing the line between a twist-and-go scooter and a step-over motorcycle, the all-new Honda Navi borrows the fan-cooled 109cc Single and CVT transmission from the Activa 6G scooter and the Grom’s popular design language. The 8-hp Navi weighs just 236 lb, has a 30-inch seat height, and is priced at just $1,807, making it an ideal gateway to the world of motorcycling.

6. Indian Pursuit Limited

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Indian Pursuit Limited
2022 Indian Pursuit Limited. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Indian’s Challenger bagger, powered by the liquid-cooled PowerPlus 108 V-Twin that makes 108 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, was Rider’s 2020 MOTY. Touring capability gets a boost on the Pursuit Limited (or Dark Horse), which adds fairing lowers, a tall adjustable windscreen, a Touring Comfort seat, heated grips, and a trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.

7. KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo

2022 Motorcycle of the Year KTM 1290 Super Duke Evo
2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke Evo. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Known as “The Beast,” the 1290 Super Duke R added “Evo” to its name and was updated with WP Semi-Active Technology (SAT) suspension available with six modes and automatic preload adjustment, a revised throttle-by-wire system, and more. Its 1,301cc V-Twin cranks out 180 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, and its electronics allow riders to tame or unleash The Beast as they see fit.

8. Royal Enfield Classic 350

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Royal Enfield Classic 350
2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350. Photo by Brandon Bunch.

The Classic 350 brings back the styling that made the Royal Enfield Bullet – built from 1931-2020 – such an iconic bike and pairs it with a 349cc air-/oil-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, fuel-injected Single with a 5-speed gearbox. Available in nine color-style combinations and priced as low as $4,599, the Classic 350 is the embodiment of simple, fun, affordable motorcycling.

9. Triumph Tiger 1200

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Triumph Tiger 1200
2023 Triumph Tiger 1200. Photo by Kingdom Creative.

Triumph completely revamped its Tiger 1200 adventure bike platform for the 2023 model year, shaving off 55 lb of weight, bolting in a 147-hp Triple from the Speed Triple, and equipping it with a new chassis and upgraded electronics. Five variants are available: the street-focused GT, GT Pro, and GT Explorer and the off-road-ready Rally Pro and Rally Explorer.

10. Yamaha MT-10

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Yamaha MT-10
2022 Yamaha MT-10. Photo by Joseph Agustin.

At the top of Yamaha’s Hyper Naked pecking order is the MT-10, a descendent of the FZ1 that was Rider’s 2006 MOTY. This “Master of Torque” is powered by a 160-hp crossplane inline-Four derived from the YZF-R1. It was updated for 2022 with new R1-derived electronics, upgraded brakes, revised styling and ergonomics, a new TFT display, and more.


And the 2022 Motorcycle of the Year Winner is…

SUZUKI GSX-S1000GT+

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Here at Rider, we’re big fans of performance. That’s an often overused and general term, but it encapsulates so much of what we love about motorcycles. Powerful, thrilling engines. Strong, responsive chassis – everything from the frame to the suspension, brakes, and tires. And these days, electronic rider aids that allow responses to be tailored to different conditions or rider preferences.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

We’re street riders. We may do the occasional track day or school, but it’s usually to help us sharpen our skills so we can ride more confidently and safely on the street. We want performance that is exciting yet still manageable on public roads.

At the same time, we like to go the distance. Rider was started in 1974 just as the touring segment was taking off, and motorcycle travel has been one of the magazine’s hallmarks. We’ve tested thousands of motorcycles over the years, and we gravitate toward bikes that are comfortable, reliable, and versatile yet still get our performance juices flowing.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Our 2021 Motorcycle of the Year was the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, an adventure-style sport-tourer that’s lighter and more affordable than traditional heavyweight sport-tourers like the BMW R 1250 RT, Yamaha FJR1300, and Kawasaki Concours 14 – every one of which has worn Rider’s MOTY crown at some point. In fact, eight of our 32 previous MOTY winners have been sport-tourers.

And now, make that nine. The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ (the ‘+’ denoting the model with standard saddlebags, whereas the base GT model goes without) delivers all the performance a street rider needs in a refined, comfortable, sophisticated package at a reasonable MSRP of $13,799. It checks all the right performance boxes while also being practical and providing – as George Carlin would say – a place for our stuff.

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The GSX-S’s 999cc inline-Four is adapted from the GSX-R1000 K5, a bulletproof, championship-winning engine. Tuned for street duty, it churned out 136 hp at 10,200 rpm and 73 lb-ft of torque at 9,300 rpm on Jett Tuning’s rear-wheel dyno.

As we said in our road test in the July issue, “The GSX-S engine is a gem with no rough edges. From cracking open the throttle above idle to twisting the grip to the stop, power comes on cleanly and predictably.”

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The GSX-S1000GT+ is equipped with the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, which includes three ride modes that adjust throttle response, power delivery, traction control, cruise control, and other systems. It has the best up/down quickshifter we’ve ever tested, and thanks to its street-tuned, sportbike-spec chassis, the GT+ offers predictable handling, unflappable stability, and impeccable smoothness.

Touring amenities include comfortable rider and passenger seating, 25.7-liter side cases that can accommodate most full-face helmets, and a 6.5-inch full-color TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity via Suzuki’s mySPIN smartphone app. With its angular sportbike styling, the GSX-S1000GT+ looks as fast as it goes, and the side cases can be easily removed for an even sportier look.

As we concluded in our road test, “The GSX-S1000GT+ strikes an excellent balance between performance, technology, weight, comfort, and price. Life is good when the scenery is a blur.”

Congratulations to Suzuki for the GSX-S1000GT+, Rider’s 2022 Motorcycle of the Year!

2022 Motorcycle of the Year Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+. Photo by Kevin Wing.

To find a Suzuki dealer near you, visit SuzukiCycles.com.

51 COMMENTS

  1. I received mine in May with the hard luggage and have been really loving it overall since. I’ve ridden about 3500 miles and most are back road “spirited” runs and one weekend away in the NC/VA mountains. With a few more mods, it will be exactly what I want. If Yamaha would make a “touring” version of the MT-10, that might be something else. The Myspin part of the TFT dash is pretty useless, but I just use google maps on my phone and enjoy the great 6.5″ TFT screen with analog style tach! Looking forward to a Puig windscreen , exhaust, and custom tune soon.

  2. Well done, Suzuki! Should I depart from my 2015 Triumph Trophy SE (which I thoroughly love) the GSX-S1000GT+ is definitely a contender!

    • I also have a Trophy SE, and have been spoiled by the 45+ mpg and 300+ mile range (not to mention the adjustable windshield and electronic suspension).

  3. Not a single sport bike ??!?!?
    A Hardly Davidson made it though !!
    All I can do is roll my eyes and think to myself…..maybe Riders riders didn’t get any seat time on any of the sport bikes this year … Must be it.

    • What sports bike would you have nominated? The MS PP could arguably be considered a sports bike, despite its ADV roots. The Panigale V4S has some big updates making it more usable for a. I have broader range of riders skills and the ability to ride it harder as a result, but it’s not really a new bike.

      • Yeah, I have this bike, and I would agree completely, BUT it’s not new for this year, so it didn’t qualify. And there is the ‘small’ issue of the Kwak being a whole different price point. 🙂 That said, I’m not giving up my H2!

    • Because sport bikes are a dying breed sadly. These days the lame R7 (new version) is consider a sport bike.

      The Nightster made it through for a reason. It’s a new and competitive bike.

  4. Nope. You’ve missed the mark do many times, you don’t have the credibility. You are waaaay off again this year. Way off! LOL.

  5. So as a nobody, but someone who has riden for more than 55 years, I disagree with your selection. While the Suzuki may check your boxes with regards to performance, I would argue that there are other, more relevent, criteria to take into account (IMHO).

    Will the Suzuki likely bring new rider intom or back into, the sport?
    Will the Suzuly speak to riders in a way which makes them more involved in the sport?
    Will the Suzuki change the way riders view the sport?
    Will the Suzuki, as constructed today, substantially influence development on new models across the specturm?

    In growing the sport, the Navi might be a hands-down pick. It’s the most accessible gateway drug to motorcycling since the Grom. As a bike which might impact others to put more hours in the saddle, there are several choices (the Suzuki certainly being one). The Yamaha might be a bike which causes other manufacturers to go “hmmm” and chase, due to its overall excellence.

    Since you might ask, I have ridden only four of your choices. Not a one disappointed as a capable machine. None we in my wheelhouse with regards to what my drug of choice is.

    Personally, I would have chosen the Navi. Not because it’s big, bad, mean, or powerful. But because the riders I meet 20 years from now (God willing) are most likely to point back to it in affection, as I do to the Honda Z-50 – the machine that hooked me, and speaks to me as fondly as any other inanimate item in my life. To me, that’s what makes a machine as “the best”.

    Thanks for the soapbox, and be well.

    • It’s spelled Harley. If you are going to knock something, you should at least spell it correctly so people know what you are talking about.

      The Harley and Indian on this list are, in fact, contenders in their respective classes. That’s why they sell.

  6. You say you want to select a motorcycle that “ advances the state of motorcycle design, performance, and function”. With that preamble, I am surprised to not see a single electric motorcycle on your list of contenders, e.g. Energica’s new “Experia” or any other of the new entrants. Did you not ride any of that? Or are you the kind of people who in 2012 shrugged and said the Tesla Model S is just a passing fad?

  7. We’ll done Rider! Narrowing down the huge selection of candidates to 10 finalists and one winner is certainly a daunting task, given your criteria.
    A friend bought the GSX S-1000GT+, after reading your review, and absolutely loves it! He allowed me to take a spin on it and I have to agree, especially at that price point. The K1600GTL and new Multistrada he was considering are worthy contenders, with more farkles, but cost almost twice as much!
    It’s not easy getting it right every year, in everyone’s view. After all, much of the stated criteria is subjective and we all value it differently. This year, I for one, think you nailed it!

  8. I can’t compare it first-hand with many other bikes, but for four months now, I have thoroughly enjoyed mine! After 50 years of riding, my priorities from a road bike have evolved to the stability/safety/confidence side of things and this Suzi delivers in spades. Of course, having ridiculous power and torque at hand doesn’t hurt one bit 😊.

  9. I can’t compare it first-hand with many other bikes, but for four months now, I have thoroughly enjoyed my GSX-S1000GT+! After 50 years of riding, my priorities from a road bike have evolved to the stability/safety/confidence side of things and this Suzi delivers in spades. Of course, having ridiculous power and torque at hand doesn’t hurt one bit 😊.

  10. Although I am disappointed you didn’t include the revised Yamaha XSR900, the Suzuki is a reasonable choice. The British magazine Bike rated it sixth in their Motorcycle of the Year and have always had positive things to say about it. It is great to see the sport-tourer category making a comeback! I have been a log-time fan of Yamaha’s FJR1300 and Kawi’s Ninja 1000SX. The Brits (where sport-tourers are big sellers) rate the Suzuki ahead of the number 1 seller Kawi.

  11. I saw one in person finally, looked a -little- better than in the pictures, but still weird shovel-nose styling IMO. But if I was 30 years younger and 30 pounds lighter I might be tempted just for the motor. In the meantime I’ll stick to my 1200RT.

  12. As a sport touring enthusiast, the Suzuki ticks all my boxes. Not buying in the near term though, as I’m perfectly happy with my KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. Alas, KTM hasn’t imported that marvelous moto to the U.S. for a few years now — a fact on which Rider magazine has been deafeningly and disturbingly silent.

  13. Remember this is the RIDER MAGAZINE MOTY ….not everybody’s MOTY. My personal MOTY is my ’22 Africa Twin. My choices for second and third place are in my garage also. Rider is happy. I am happy. But JEEZ what a buncha DOGS ya’ll picked !!!!

  14. It’s very easy to criticize bikes you don’t own. But I look at it this way. The more bikes offered means more riders attracted to the sport. Good job on your part. I always enjoy looking at what is out there. There are bikes I like that I don’t have. I can appreciate any bike out there.

  15. Nice to see Suzuki offer the model and Rider give credit to a real sport tourer. Some manufacturers have dropped their sport tourer offering without a replacement leading some to call their sport bike with soft luggage the new definition of a sport tourer. I wonder if Yamaha will come back with a replacement to the FJR (my favorite bike). It would be something if we could get an electric one! Are manufacturers still talking about a standard for exchangeable batteries like you see in Taiwan with their 20 second exchange time?

  16. I traded a first-gen 2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 for my current ride, a KTM 790 Adventure R. At the time I was seeking less weight – as I get older the prospect of picking up a fallen 600+ lb ADV bike is more and more daunting. This new TEx 1200 makes me wish I had waited to trade.

  17. Great job Rider also the heated grips are available as an accessories. I think it’s a beautiful bike with plenty of power and very comfortable.

  18. Thanks again for doing MCoY. I enjoy your perspective. Few agree but they don’t get, it’s not a popularity contest. No consensus asked for or desired.

  19. As MOTY, I believe one should be able to see it, sit on it, maybe if I’m lucky drive it. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a bike I can’t even look at , let alone sit on. There are no new metric bikes to buy.

  20. I think you should have an Ugliest Exhaust for 2022 contest. The exhaust used to be an important styling element of the bike. Now they try to hide it as much as possible and pretend it’s not there. The winner of this contest will go a long way toward finally getting me on an electric bike.

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