Top 10 Bikes of the 2012 NY Motorcycle Show

The International Motorcycle Show once again came to the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan and brought a slew of awesome machines. The Heavy crew managed to sneak in a few hours before it opened to the public and scoped out what the big names had to offer this year. There were lots of cool bikes, a few duds and even a semi-erotic fashion show at the Ducati exhibit. We ran around the floor, talked to people, drooled over the bikes, and even swung a test ride through NYC. It wasn’t easy, but here are Heavy’s picks for the Top 10 Bikes of the 2012 NY Motorcycle Show.

[BoxTitle]Moto Guzzi V7 Racer[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="10"/]

My attention was immediately grabbed by the slick Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. Cafe style bikes are all the rage, and for good reason, they’re just plain cool. A few companies are attempting to cash in on their legacy, notably Triumph with their Thruxton 900 and Norton with their new Commando. The V7 Racer pays homage to the classic V7 Sport and the overall package is striking. Some details give it a toyish, exaggerated feel, but with slight tweaking you can have yourself a really cool moto with a great heritage.

[BoxTitle]Harley-Davidson Switchback[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="9"/]

Of all of Harley’s offerings at the show, people were paying particular attention to the Switchback. The Harley-Davidson Switchback is part of the Dyna family of bikes that stay true to the classic cruiser style with some really nice retro touches, but the big hook is its ability to change from a cruiser to a touring bike in a few minutes without tools. The saddlebags and full windshield are equipped with quick releases, allowing you to quickly tailor the bike for the long haul or a cruise around town.

[BoxTitle]Triumph Steve McQueen SE Bonneville[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="8"/]

Is anyone more synonymous with cool than Steve McQueen? Triumph decided to pay tribute to one of the most famous motorcycle enthusiasts with the new Steve McQueen Special Edition Bonneville T100. Based on the Trophy TR6 he rode in The Great Escape, this bike is a throwback to the classic stylings of his day, featuring a matte Khaki Green paint scheme, solo seat and a military style stencilled Triumph logo. A limited run of just 1,100 is planned, about 300 of which will be available Stateside. We’re guessing these individually numbered bikes will be highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts when they’re released later this year.

[BoxTitle]Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="7"/]

Everyone is talking about the new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R, so we’d be remiss not to mention it here. Squeezing over 200 horsepower out of its 1,441cc inline, four-cylinder engine, this thing is an absolute rocketship. Thankfully, it sports a new traction control system that helps keep all that power, and your front wheel, on the road. The size can be intimidating at first, but the weight is relatively low and the riding position is surprisingly comfortable. That’s not to say this thing is for beginners, but with a little practice, you too can join the space program.

[BoxTitle]Husqvarna Baja[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="6"/]

Husqvarna is a legendary name in off-road, but their new concept bike isn’t just about dirt; it’s about having a blast getting there. The classic dirt track styling is accented with a number of forward-thinking, modern touches. The headlight is a spray of LEDs across the front number plate and although it looks more decorative than functional, it produces plenty of light. An ingenious, multi-function instrument display is tightly integrated into the handlebars, providing the most important information at a glance. All in all, the Husqvarna Baja looks like a great bike to have in the stable and we hope it makes its way into production.

[BoxTitle]Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="5"/]

Fans were asked to vote for one of 48 hand-built custom bikes littered throughout the show. We spent a lot of time talking to the builders and you could really feel the passion that went into these incredible machines. The bikes varied from the insane to the subdued and with so many wildly different bikes to pick from, we couldn’t choose a favorite, we’ll leave that up to you.

[BoxTitle]Zero S Streetfighter[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="4"/]

Electric motorcycles grab plenty of headlines, but are they practical? Are they cool? Zero Motorcycles gave us the opportunity to try them first-hand and man, they are certainly different, but also a lot of fun. No you won’t get attention from loud pipes, but oddly, a silent motorcycle gets noticed just the same. They were quick, agile and with no shifting, had practically no learning curve. Turn the switch on, twist the throttle and you’re gone. The super light weight, lack of feedback and ramping acceleration did give it a slightly toyish feel, but was more than a match for midtown Manhattan. You’re not going to set any distance records with approximately 100 miles per charge, but for a commuter or weekend warrior, they may just fit the bill.

[BoxTitle]Ducati 1199 Panigale S[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="3"/]

Ducati had some beautiful offerings, but their new 1199 Panigale S took center stage. A fully race tuned version of their Panigale series, the S edition has 195 horses, 98 ft-lb of torque and weighs in at only 415 lbs. A staggering power to weight ratio. That power combined with modern touches like full LED headlights, an electronically controlled suspension and carbon fiber accents make the Ducati 1199 Panigale S a true superbike.

[BoxTitle]Bonneville Performance 1200 Street Tracker[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="2"/]

The Bonneville Performance Street Tracker stopped us dead in our tracks. This lightweight, street legal tracker is the pinnacle of cool. Weighing in at just 351 pounds with a 1200cc power plant, you can bet this thing hauls. Although it’s based on the ever enduring Triumph Bonneville, this isn’t something you’re going to find at your local dealer. It’s built by custom shop Bonneville Performance so get on the waiting list now.

[BoxTitle]Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer[/BoxTitle] [Badge num="1"/]

The Norton Commando is an icon among British twins, known for its styling as well as its performance. Then Norton died off and the Commando became a thing of the past, but just last year, the Norton name was resurrected along with the Commando. We had the opportunity to see the 961 Cafe Racer that features a fuel injected, 961cc parallel twin and some truly gorgeous lines. It’s hard to improve upon an icon, but in this case, Norton has succeeded. They are not cheap and not readily available, so don’t expect to see many at bike night, but it’s the one to dream about during these cold winter nights.

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