Editor’s Letter: ‘What is Your Favorite Motorcycle?’

Author while testing a Suzuki VanVan 200

Editor’s Letter, May 2018 – Playing Favorites

There’s always that persistent question I get—“What is your favorite motorcycle?”

As I reply in my profile on UltimateMotorcycling.com, “Whatever bike I’m on.”

While that might sound like a flippant response, it’s not. The number of motorcycles I fall in love with on a monthly basis would provide fodder for a very risqué country song.

Author while testing a Suzuki VanVan 200

Take, for example, the Yamaha YZ250FX we’ve been testing. When I ride the cross-country racer, I absolutely feel like a hero. It has been that way since I first grabbed the 250FX’s grips while out testing with UM Editor-At-Large Tim Warriner.

I can’t image a dirt bike better suited to me—and then the Husqvarna TE 150 lands in the back of my Toyota Tundra 4×4. As I mentioned last month, the little Husky takes me back to my earliest days of dirt bike riding, without all the negative effects of rose-colored nostalgia. Which is my favorite? That’s pretty much impossible to answer—I want them both.

One minute I want to work my way from coast-to-coast on the new Honda Gold Wing, and all of a sudden I find myself on the new KTM 1290 Super Adventure S—wanting to do exactly the same thing. I can’t quite figure out any way to reconcile my feelings for the two motorcycles—I want to spend my time with them doing the same thing, even though they have completely different personalities when getting their jobs done.

Over the last month I’ve been testing the Suzuki VanVan 200 and Benelli TNT 135. Without any reservation, I can tell you that they’re hugely entertaining small displacement motorcycles that I love. The VanVan 200 is both vintage-inspired and impressively unique—it is fun to ride around the neighborhood while getting smiles and waves from everyone who sees me.

Meanwhile, the TNT 135 is a blast of excitement—taking 70+ mph sweepers on a motorcycle with 12-inch wheels is hard to argue with. Forget about deciding which small-bore bike is better.

Cruisers are even harder for me to choose between. Is an Indian Scout cooler than a Harley-Davidson Iron 1200? Maybe—but I’m not the guy to ask. I have exactly an equal amount of fun on either bike, and both are attention grabbers wherever I ride them. I look good either way, and each bike has its own engaging personality. It simply isn’t fair to make me choose, and I refuse to bother trying.

I can go on and on, picking pairs from every genre of motorcycling, and repeatedly coming up with the same dilemmas.

My job is to ride every type of motorcycle in the world and let you know if it’s the right bike for you—something I feel I accomplish by the end of every test. There’s a lot of irony in that, as I can’t even decide which is the right bike for me!

I’m counting on never reconciling that problem.