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During the last few months of 2012 the motorcycle community was treated to a whole host of new bike launches. We were even there when a lot of these made their first public appearances at EICMA in Milan. Here are my favourite motorcycles for 2013.
MV Agusta Rivale 800
Exquisite design that simply oozes all manner of appeal. Couple that with a great middleweight powerplant and MV has got a contender for what's possibly the best bike of the year with the Rivale 800.
Lightweight, strong motor, terrific attention to detail. Whether you're young, old, or undecided, the CBR500R promises an exhilarating sportbike ride at an affordable price point. Honda's entry in this segment comes with great fanfare as they pair the 500RR with street and adventure counterparts sharing motors and other components.
Triumph Daytona 675R
New engine, new gearbox, new clutch, new frame, new swingarm... you get the idea don't you? Everything is new and much improved on this much loved British middleweight supersports bike. The most notable visual difference may be the exhaust moving from under-seat to side slung, but that's even done to make the bike ride better.
Ducati 1199 Panigale
Beautiful, and I'm not just talking about the name. For the price of what most people pay for a mid-size sedan or small SUV, expect that riding this Ducati means you're truly going to be one-of-a-kind at the local coffee shop. Opt for the Panigale R to really feel like you're street riding a race ready machine. It's art that's meant to tear up the track.
Up spec the already terrifying S1000RR and what has BMW got? The even scarier because it's so safe, but so fast, HP4. The bike may be more race track ready than any other production street legal motorcycle, but BMW's use of some really sophisticated electronic aids mean that rider error can be compensated for by a really smart machine. 193 hp in a machine with a dry weight of under 375 lbs (170 kg) makes the HP4 a beast in a class all its own.
Blacked out treatments on a bike is always cool, Victory takes it further with this muscle cruiser by matching it up with matte paint, and fat white lettered tires. With an overall design and a name evoking memories of American muscle cars, it seems the Judge is here to remind riders what a modern day bad-ass American motorcycle ought to look like.
As the world's leading electric motorcycle manufacturer, Zero sets and surpasses its own benchmarks regularly. None of which however, have been as significant as what the 2013 Zero S brings to the table. With a range of 137 miles (220 km) and the ability to attain 95% battery charge in an hour, the Zero S is by far one of the most noteworthy machines of 2013.
KTM 1290 Super Duke R
KTM's been covering everyone else in dust on the off-road circuit for years, so a big displacement naked street bike by our favourite Austrian manufacturer brings a massive smile. The largest of the Duke family, the 1290 Super Duke R is still being shown as a prototype. If you can't wait for the 1290 but still want the sexy Duke styling, then there's a whole line of Duke's to choose from with the littlest one starting at 200cc.
Kawasaki Ninja 300
Big bike styling and ample power out of the 296cc powerplant make the baby Ninja a commendable new Kawasaki creation. There's ABS available as an option, a slipper clutch is standard, it's well made, and we're glad it replaces the Ninja 250 that had gotten a little boring.
There's no groundbreaking technology or uncanny innovation with the Giorno; rather a bare bones, simple 50cc scooter that coupled with Honda build quality makes it a reliable choice for any small displacement rider. Retro European design and a $2k-ish price point mean that this is possibly the best new scooter deal of the decade; did I mention it's also a Honda.
[Photographs by KTM, Kawasaki, Honda, Alex Crookes and Kanishka Sonnadara]