As 2019 comes to an end, we take a look back at the best bike reviews of the year. This list isn’t necessarily of the best all-round products, or the best value-for-money bikes, but a list of some of the bikes which left a lasting impression, and we enjoyed reviewing the most. From entry-level street bikes, dual-sport adventure bikes, to full-blown performance and big adventure bikes, we have sampled them all in different sizes and segments in 2019. From the small KTM 125 Duke, the Hero XPulse 200, the entertaining KTM 790 Duke, to the big BMW R 1250 GS, these are some of the bikes which made 2019 so memorable.
1. KTM 125 Duke
The baby Duke is targeted at young adult, with the KTM Duke DNA, but with accessible and unintimidating performance. The KTM 125 Duke is not for experienced riders looking for a performance-packed street bike. But where it makes up for performance is in its sharp handling, and overall entertaining nature. Although an entry-level, 125 cc naked, the smallest member of the Duke family can be a lot of fun, and be really entertaining, despite its lack of proper ‘performance’ cred. It’s the case of “small things also come in fun packages” adage.
2. Hero XPulse 200
The Hero XPulse 200, the successor to the highly capable 150 cc Hero Impulse, was launched in 2019. The XPulse promised a lightweight package, and the perfect motorcycle to start off-road riding with. Although with as not much performance as we would have liked, the Hero XPulse 200 nevertheless offers a very entertaining package, which is just perfect to start off-road riding with. And it certainly makes for one of the most entertaining bikes we have reviewed in the year gone by.
3. Suzuki Gixxer SF 250
When Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited (SMIPL) re-entered the 250 cc segment in 2019, the Japanese motorcycle brand did so with a made-in-India 250 cc motorcycle, the all-new Suzuki Gixxer SF 250. We got our first taste of the new Gixxer SF 250 at the Buddh International Circuit, and had a very entertaining time around the circuit, with a 250 cc full-faired sports tourer, that’s good looking, versatile and a practical motorcycle. It’s the gentleman with impeccable manners, if you will, and that’s why it makes it to our list of best bike reviews.
4. Benelli Imperiale 400
Benelli India’s most affordable motorcycle, the Benelli Imperiale 400 has period-correct looks, inspired by classic Benelli motorcycles from the 1950s. It’s a modern classic, with design and performance that puts the Imperiale 400 squarely in Royal Enfield’s highest-selling model’s territory. A smooth engine, good straight line stability and solid ride quality makes the Benelli Imperiale 400 a pleasant surprise, and possibly even better in some ways than its competition. And that’s more than enough reason why it’s one of the most memorable bikes that we have reviewed this year.
5. KTM 790 Duke
“The Scalpel’, as it’s called, lives up to its name, and impressed us no end, despite it being a brief outing at Bajaj Auto’s small test track at Chakan. Compact, lightweight and versatile, the KTM 790 Duke is a cracker of a motorcycle! Period! We wish you could spend some more time with it on regular roads to see how it is as an everyday motorcycle. But for now, it’s still one of the most memorable bikes that we’ve reviewed in 2019.
6. Triumph Street Triple RS
The Triumph Street Triple RS has always been one of our favourite middleweight sport nakeds, and in the latter part of 2019, Triumph introduced the Street Triple RS with some updates in the engine, offering a meatier mid-range, as well as minor visual changes. The changes to the engine have been carried out by Triumph’s Moto2 engineering team, and we must say, the new Street Triple RS still remains one of the most entertaining nakeds for us!
7. Indian FTR 1200
When the Indian FTR 1200 was released in 2019, it was a surprise for us! Known for heavy chrome laden cruisers and baggers, Indian Motorcycle’s introduction of the FTR 1200 had us swinging a leg over it, and we had a tough time giving it back! The Indian FTR 1200 is a significantly lighter, more agile, and performance-packed motorcycle other than the cruisers from Indian Motorcycle, and had us floored!
8. Ducati Diavel 1260 S
Ducati upped the ante in the power cruiser segment with the new Ducati Diavel 1260. With relaxed ergonomics of a cruiser, yet with more than enough firepower to scare you silly, as well as the dynamics of a superbike, the new Diavel 1260 is a special bike. And that’s why it makes it to the list of the favourite motorcycles we have reviewed done in 2019.
9. Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
When the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC was launched, it immediately captured the hearts and minds of the off-road riding crowd! A torquey 1200 cc parallel-twin engine which offers the punch not before seen on a modern classic scrambler style motorcycle, the new Scrambler 1200 XC also comes with excellent off-road ability. We spend some time exploring back roads and some trails in the Himalayan foothills, and needless to say, was one of the most enjoyable outings of the year on a motorcycle!
10. BMW R 1250 GS
The BMW R 1250 GS, the big GS is perhaps the most aspirational adventure bike, and is a big, burly adventure tourer with very good off-road capability as well. The replacement for the hugely popular BMW R 1200 GS, the new R 1250 GS may be intimidating at first, but as we found out, all the hype around the big GS is quite justified, and it makes the cut as one of the most technologically advanced and highly sought after adventure tourers for a reason! Needless to say, we had a blast reviewing the big GS and that’s why it gets a worthwhile mention in this list.