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Best Motorcycles of 2011

Don’t be a cheesy rider – get yourself on one of this year’s coolest bikes.

Bikers call car drivers “cagers” for good reason: When the summer sun is high and the blacktop beckons, there’s nothing like strapping on a brain bucket and doing some two-wheeling. We’ve picked three standouts sure to put a bug-addled grin on your face. Need something milder? Turn the page for three rookie-friendly alternatives. Regulators, mount up.


Ducati Diavel
Price:
$16,995 (Carbon, $19,995)
Engine:
L-twin
HP/torque: 162/94 lb.-ft.
Curb weight:
463 lbs. dry
(Carbon, 456 lbs.)
Seat height: 30.3 inches
There are plenty of fast cruisers, but none as aggro as Ducati’s diabolical Diavel. Sure, its 1,198 cc twin-cylinder churns out more power than some cars’ engines, but all those horses are kept in check by a sophisticated electronic system. Bonus: This pugnacious ride also has an eerie ability to take corners at speed.


Yamaha FZ8
Price: $8,499
Engine: Inline four-cylinder
HP/torque: N/A
Curb weight: 467 lbs.
Seat height: 32.1 inches
The FZ8’s 779 cc engine spins revs like a rabid wildebeest, and a relatively upright posture makes the bike comfortable enough for long days in the saddle. Our favorite part? In this age of plasticky superbikes, the FZ8’s lack of bodywork reveals its mean blacked-out interior. Sort of like our souls!

 

 

BMW K 1600 GT/GTL
Price: $20,900 (GT), $23,200 (GTL)
Engine:
Inline six-cylinder
HP/torque: 160/129 lb.-ft.
Curb weight: 703 lbs. (GTL, 767 lbs.)
Seat height: 32.7 inches
BMW’s K 1600 mixes plus-size body with a stonking six-cylinder that launches this “touring bike” to 62 mph in a face-melting 3.2 seconds. Slick gizmos include a ride-by-wire system with “rain,” “road,” or “dynamic” modes, and the tall windscreen, GPS, stereo, and top case make for über-cruising. Düsseldorf, here we come!


Harley-Davidson SuperLow
Price: $7,999 (black), $8,289 (colors)
Engine: V-twin
HP/torque: NA/55 lb.-ft.
Curb weight: 563 lbs.
Seat height: 25.5 inches (laden)
Craving old-school badass power at an actually affordable price? Harley-Davidson’s tough SuperLow is the way for cruiser-loving newbies to get in the game. This all-American ride combines classic U.S. under­pinnings—a punchy rubber-mounted V-twin and a suspension that’s been tuned for user-friendliness—making it one of the slickest yet mildest rides for new riders.

 

Honda CBR250R
Price:
$3,999 ($4,499 with ABS)
Engine: Single cylinder
HP/torque: N/A
Curb weight: 359 lbs. (368 lbs. with ABS)
Seat height: 30.5 inches
Honda’s all-new CBR250R is one of the only options for performance-oriented beginners. And guess what? It rocks. This spunky sport bike features 18 patents on the frame alone. The kicker? Its starting price will leave you with extra dough for advanced riding lessons and string cheese. Because who doesn’t love string cheese?

 

Kawasaki KLX250SF
Price:
$4,999
Engine: Single-cylinder
HP/torque: N/A
Curb weight: 302 lbs.
Seat height: 33.9 inches
If you’re long of leg yet crave a supermoto-style steed, the KLX250SF is a sweet alternative to larger bikes. Its adjustable suspension offers a lush 9.1 inches of front-wheel travel. And you can get it in any color you like, as long as that color is what Kawasaki calls “Oriental Blue.” We don’t even know if that’s racist!