For the 5th Annual Auto Trader Best Bike Awards, the judging panel rode thousands of miles to test over 36 models from 16 manufacturers, which included bikes suitable for all levels of riders including learners and CBT riders. Reliability, running costs, appearance, practicality, performance and technical advancements were all considered by judges as they put together this well-informed list of winners.
Overall winner: Ducati Panigale V4S
Panigale V4 and it marks a new and important chapter in Ducati’s history, a “symphony” of performance and emotions that’s 100% Italian. Panigale V4 is the first mass-produced Ducati motorcycle to be equipped with a 4-cylinder engine, closely derived from the Desmosedici of the MotoGP. Guest judge Andrew Shim said of the V4S: “The Ducati V4S is by far the superior bike this year. I own a Ducati V4S and I can say first-hand that Ducati has not just moved the goalposts; it’s changed the game.”
Best Adventure: BMW R1200GS Adventure
The R 1200 GS Adventure and its flat-twin boxer engine makes the bike undoubtedly the best companion for exploring the unexplored. It sounds and feels like a proper, unreconstructed motorcycle engine as it rises to its peak torque of 92lbft at 6,500rpm. Judges described the BMW R1200GS Adventure as “the Range Rover amongst bikes the definitive”.
Best Cruiser: Harley Davidson Fat Bob
The all-new Fat Bob features aggressive, unapologetic styling, mind-blowing performance and handling, premium finishes, and your choice of the powerful Milwaukee-Eight 107 Big Twin Engine. The engine is a 1745cc V-Twin that produces 145Nm of torque. It is mated to a six-speed gearbox and final chain drive. This Softail-focussed incarnation is lighter and quicker than predecessors and handles better, too.
Best Retro: CCM Spitfire Flat Tracker
The Flat Tracker is the latest model in the CCM Spitfire range. The FT6 is based around the same trellis frame and 600cc single-cylinder engine as the other Spitfire models, and is inspired by CCM’s European Championship-winning bike ridden by Marco Belli. Body panels on the new model are made from carbon fibre, and the CNC-machined alloy wheels are completely bespoke.
Best Tourer: Honda Gold Wing GL 1800
The new 2018 Gold Wings uses four valves per cylinder, a design based on our high-performance Unicam head design. The engine is more compact front-to-back and lets you and your passenger move forward in the cockpit for more comfort, better handling, and a more connected feel with the bike’s steering. The overall effect is groundbreaking: a Gold Wing that’s still a long-distance champion.