From German baggers to Italian electric touring bikes, this year has been an interesting blend of new technologies. The stalwarts of our industry are refining models loved around the world while giving us a glimpse of battery and hydrogen-powered engines of the not-so-distant future. Traveling on two wheels is still becoming more comfortable, safer, and exciting, and for those who care, dare I say "connected." In the end it doesn't matter what you ride, as long as you get into the real world to meet welcoming people and see jaw-dropping landscapes. Below you'll learn about the standouts of the year.
-Florian Neuhauser, Editor-in-Chief
2022 Yamaha MT-10
The MT-10 has some torque, alright. It even says so in the name—MT stands for Master of Torque. The bike is Yamaha’s flagship model. There’s an MT for everyone. As Oprah would say, “you get an MT, and you, an MT for everyone!” From the smallest MT-03, to the MT-07 and MT-09, a rider can grow up and eventually arrive at the MT-10. It’s a really nice platform Yamaha has built along with the Dark Side of Japan and Master of Torque concepts. It’s well executed marketing from the message to branding and finally to the actual motorcycle. I, however, am not physically growing anymore, at least not vertically, so the MT-10 is where I’ll start my own masterful journey.
2022 Husqvarna Norden 901
Sweden is the original home of Husqvarna and one of the northernmost places in the world where you can ride. Scandinavia’s rugged terrain and harsh conditions are some of the things that made the Vikings so tough, and the Norden 901 follows suit. The word “Norden” is Swedish for “The North.” Husqvarna chose to name this bike Norden not only because of the location of the company’s origins, but because it represents a bike that can do anything and take on the toughest of challenges. This important step for the brand is a sentimental link between their past and a promising future. Just as the Vikings ventured into the unknown and conquered new lands, so too does the Norden 901 and anyone who chooses to mount it.
2022 Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+
There’s a transformation unfolding in motorcycling. It’s driven by those who have enjoyed a history with sport bikes, but are now expanding their focus—riders accustomed to the high performance achieved in the past few decades seeking a more versatile package. This new niche is reflected in Suzuki’s GSX-S1000GT+. Suzuki has effectively transformed the GSX-R1000, their race-proven superbike, into a sleek and sophisticated touring machine. The result is a highly enjoyable and enthralling motorcycle that sacrifices nothing to mediocrity.
2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660
For many years after the retirement of Aprilia’s ETV 1200 Caponord, the Italian company lacked an adventure touring bike in its line-up. Finally, we got the Aprilia Tuareg 660 which we tested in Sardinia. The Italians have chosen to name the bike after their legendary Tuareg 250 Rally bike from the ’80s, a reference to its once impeccable performance and style.
2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
The first thing I noticed upon straddling the 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited was that it’s built with size in mind. With my derriere against the back of the seat, my arms were at full lock, gripping a handlebar that’s among the widest I’ve ever encountered on a stock motorcycle. Reaching the accessory highway pegs was a tippytoe affair. Luckily, the bike also had the accessory rider backrest that flips down from a high to low position and pushed me a couple inches forward. This remedied the otherwise awkward riding position, putting me in comfortable control of Indian’s newest luxo-tourer.
To put this in perspective, I’m 5 feet, 11 inches with a 33-inch inseam and a 24-inch reach. Anyone my size or smaller will benefit from being a smidge closer to the controls or adjusting the bar toward the pilot, but for the rider north of six feet in height, the Pursuit’s stock seating position is your hammock. Once underway, the Pursuit hustled corners with sure-footed agility belying its more than 930-pound wet weight, and ingested miles-long straightaways with all the grace befitting a motorcycle of this caliber.
2022 Energica Experia
I’m riding through one of the world’s most famous playgrounds for motorcyclists and outdoor enthusiasts alike. As I zoom past hundreds of fellow riders, their jaws drop. My bike silently whizzes by them. I’m part of a small group of journalists riding Energica Experia—the world’s first electric touring bike—through the Dolomites.
The northern part of Italy is a special place. It’s officially Italian, but it’s at the cultural crossroads of Austria and South Tyrol. You’ll easily get by speaking Italian, German, or English. Riding through here every year as part of my tour guide duties for Blue Rim Tours, I know the roads well and am no stranger to the views. Still, waking up and seeing a blue sky and the beautiful massif outside my hotel balcony, I’m in awe. It’s almost the same feeling I got when I received the press materials. An electric touring bike?
2022 BMW K1600 Grand America
For 2022, all K 1600 models boast a new engine control unit (ECU) that gets the in-line six-cylinder to its claimed peak horsepower 1,000 rpm earlier than the previous model (160 hp at 6,750 rpm vs. 160 hp at 7,750 rpm), while producing three more lb-ft of torque at the same rpm (132 lb-ft vs. 129 lb-ft at 5,250 rpm). Pretty impressive stuff, considering there were no mechanical changes to the motor.
And oh, what a motor it is. Inline sixes are cool by default, especially when mounted across the frame of a motorcycle. Even though BMW positions the GA as the cushiest of the K 16s, I’m having trouble believing anyone rides this bike slow. Making that engine sing and fully engaging its performance is the essence of why BMW built it in the first place.
2022 Yamaha XSR900
The first small turn of the throttle as the XSR900 warmed up served as an enticing preview of what the new Yamaha had in store beneath its retro-styled aesthetics. The high-performance CP3 cross-plane triple-cylinder configuration of its engine possesses an enthralling sound and a quick-revving demeanor. Once underway, the bike’s lithe presence and snarling motor spoke loudly and clearly to the 80s-era of Grand Prix racing that had inspired the bike, setting the stage for the afternoon ahead.
2022 LiveWire ONE
It’s been a minute since I last straddled an electric motorcycle. During the interim, some manufacturers have faded into non-existence while others keep forging ahead. With last December’s announcement of a collaboration between LiveWire and Taiwanese two-wheel giant Kymco, alongside plans for LiveWire to become the first publicly traded EV OEM in the U.S., LiveWire appears to be on fiscally solid ground and a good bet as a long-term contender in the vanguard of electric motorcycle companies.
2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental
BMW made a bold gambit in 2020 when it introduced the R 18—a retro machine that embraced the brand’s illustrious heritage. The bike cradles a daring incarnation of the legendary Boxer engine (boring it out to an incredible 1800cc) with a design mandate unabashedly targeting the American landscape.
However, despite kudos for replicating the iconic 1936 R5, the audacious addition to BMW’s line-up left many enthusiasts uncertain of just where the machine fit in the realm of motorcycling. For 2022, BMW more clearly defines the R 18’s place in the broad spectrum of two-wheel classification, transforming the big cruiser into a legitimate bagger/long-hauler.