For the eleventh time, the best brands were chosen by the MOTORRAD readers as part of the Motorcycle of the Year reader’s choice. Read here to find out which brands are most in the readers’ favour, where there is a change at the top and what the winning brands have to offer you, the customer.
If a high voting turnout is an indicator for the importance of an election, what then do increasing numbers of voters mean? Exactly. And so all those involved were happy that at 52,172 participants in total, more than 4,000 more MOTORRAD readers from Germany were able to get excited about voting for their favourite brands. Almost twice as many as in 2011. Whether it was due to the attractive prices? Or the new categories?
New here are the action cams, biker jeans and seats, but nothing we didn’t ask for preferences regarding communication systems and fuels.
In some categories, it was darn tight at the top, in others there was a lone winner. No matter how: Those who win here are not only known and good, but also known for being good.
The ladies and gentlemen in the image can rightly be excited, because they have good products and do a good job of sharing these with the customers. Some of them have even been at the top for more than ten years: Chapeau!
Greeting from Peter-Paul Pietsch
The voting of the best brands is also keeping up with the times. Just as companies have to change to survive on the market, we also are ensuring an adjustment of the categories for the relevance of this survey.
Aftermarket seats, the popular biker jeans and the virtually omnipresent small action cameras are new. Now in 21 categories from action cam to accessories/retrofitting, you, the reader, were asked to cast your vote for all those companies of whose products you are convinced. The consistency of the rankings among the categories that had been queried in previous years, is fascinating. In 17 categories, the winners were exactly the same as last year. There was only one change in the luggage systems category.
This clearly shows who is successfully communicating their brand presence and convincing customers of the quality of their products. Quality plays a crucial role, especially in a sensitive leisure market, because people do not necessarily need these products. People want them, because they excite them – or not. So being satisfied is just not enough here. Many of the winning brands offer high-priced products for a reason, which provide joy for people and therefore are purchased with pleasure.
In this sense: I wish you a joyous season!
Peter-Paul Pietsch, Head of the MOTORRAD Business Division
Given the incredible popularity of the small waterproof box, the new category comes right on cue. Years ago you may have seen someone with a mini-camera driving through the area now and again, but today such a small film recorder seems to be mounted on every helmet, crash bar or handlebar. Usually from GoPro, fitting the name: Hero3. Also when tested in MOTORRAD 19/2014, the GoPro was the test winner. The most popular of all digital cameras now takes top of the podium among the MOTORRAD reader’s choice with a huge distance to second place. The new, also high-priced, TomTom Bandit wants to score with action sensors: They highlight film sections with particularly intense movements to be able to automatically cut them into a great video.
Why actually? Every motorcycle is delivered with its own specially developed exhaust system. Today, usually they are corrosion-resistant, which makes it extremely rare to need to replace run down systems. So why are accessory silencers necessary? It’s simple: Because they create the expectation for beautiful sound, lower weight, a great look and even a couple of extra hp. That is to say: they are a pure impulse purchase. Akrapovič, the eternal top dog from Slovenia, has now succeeded for eleven years in a row to make MOTORRAD readers desire their products. Everyone else would fit in the space between first and second place, but instead jostle in the range below 20 per cent approval. Remus moved forward slightly, also because the competitors forfeited points.
Formerly a niche product, there is a wide selection of jeans today that are particularly abrasion-resistant for wear on a motorcycle and are equipped with protectors. When tested in MOTORRAD 6/2015, the blue jeans from Vanucci were rated with “very good” and fittingly won the new category of biker jeans. It is also not really surprising, because Vanucci is a house brand of Louis, the serial winner among the chain stores. The second-place Held is also trusted by MOTORRAD readers to deliver great biker jeans. They also received a “very good” in the test by the way. Also popular: the reinforced denim from BMW, which stood out in the test due to its comfort and restrained look as well as due to their safety. So that there is something for everyone – to match their priorities.
Brakes have become simpler in the last 20 years. The technological marvels transform speed into heat faster than we can accelerate. A short braking distance, fine controllability, vehement effect when cold, hot or wet, that is what we expect of a braking system today, which is to hold up to 198 hp at bay. The key word here clearly is: Trust. Whether this is only about the brake pads here as in 2014 or the entire brake systems as in the survey since 2015, most MOTORRAD readers trust the known original equipment manufacturer Brembo from Italy. Whether BMW, Ducati, KTM or Moto Guzzi: Stoppers from the province of Bergamo always perform their delaying service. With almost 50 points distance, places two to ten follow in the same order as last year. Lucas, Magura and Spiegler enjoy increasing popularity as well as alpha Technik. Companies like EBC or Ferodo are well-known to insiders only, and some might not even be known to those.
Öhlins is in first place. Like always. Since the first survey begin, the Swedes with the yellow spring have been enthroned 20 percentage points above the rest. Öhlins – if a manufacturer such as Ducati or Yamaha wants to crown an expensive top model, then the yellow come into play. This is good for their reputation, if the Swedes should even need it. The Mr. Wilbers, called Benny, is also characterised by constancy. It is always right up there in the voting, such as for quality. WP-Suspension has now been joined with KTM for years, which apparently has no influence on popularity – the voting is good for third place. The people from Touratech arrived out of the blue among the best brands for their dampers in 2014, rushed past long-established brands such as Marzocchi and Showa to fourth place and sat tight. I wonder if they can break through to third place?
Also among the first best brands election in 2006, Louis is still holding first place as the most popular shop chain. The one-and-a-half points that the Hamburg-based company had to give up perhaps went to Polo, which increased by a value a little more than that and thus almost regained its former strength. Hein Gericke had to give a bit more, but still held strong in third place. The distances are visibly tremendous.With its many stores, good service and a wide range of deliverable products, top dog Louis is currently in a class of its own. With only 15 stores in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, the Motorrad-Ecke, active for over 30 years, stubbornly holds six per cent approval. That’s worth some fanfare given the size!
Packing systems / Luggage
It was close, but they made it: The crown is back in Niedereschach. After an extremely close result last year, Touratech is now back in front of Hepco & Becker. No, Touratech did not invent the aluminium boxes, but without question they made them socially acceptable. The Zega box and slowly also the Zega Pro pictured here have become synonymous with long-distance luggage and of course owe their success to the boom among the touring enduros, where they are in their natural habitat. Hepco & Becker also has similar products in their product range, but was familiar with high-quality plastic luggage and today provides packing systems for almost any motorcycle on the market. Coming on strong: The merger of SW-Motech and Bags Connection.
The heroes from Burgberg in Allgäu have permanently rented first place – with varying, but always ample distance to the rest. But because you can absolutely have several pairs of gloves, the abundant followers also receive ample encouragement. Alpinestars have been holding second place for years, closely followed and sometimes supplanted by Dainese. Vanucci from Detlev Louis is crowding them. Which is also due to the fact that the top dogs are abating. They counter Held, for example, with innovations, such as the new hybrid glove: one chamber as an airy summer glove, the other with Gore-Tex to protect against rain.
There was some action among the helmets, but only from fourth place downwards. One to three have been set for ten years, with a little slip-up in 2013. Schuberth and Shoei form the double peak, head to head. Arai takes third place, sometimes more, sometimes less, but also only because over the years BMW markedly had to give up. From the rear, HJC and X-Lite, the luxury brand from Nolan, are also crowding them with constant growth rates. The traditional brand AGV was able to score significant points recently, but was nevertheless passed by the newcomers. The top spot, however, will probably be hard to take away from the Magdeburger-based company next year as well: A new product from the brand Schuberth just appeared, the new E1, an enduro flip-up helmet.
Chain sprays / cleaning/care agents
In year two of the combined category – chain spray and cleaner were previously separate categories – the first five remain in front. Apparently the readers of MOTORRAD trust both the chain care agents as well as the cleaners of S100/Dr. Wack, because they took first place, even when the categories were still separate. The offering is varied and different test wins confirm the convincing quality. WD40 is legendary as a universal cleaner and lubricant, but is also now known in the segment as a full-range retailer. Liqui Moly sits before Castrol in third place. Can the Ulm-based lubricant specialists benefit from their good reputation among oils? Either way, they increased by ten per cent compared to 2015.
Similar to with the helmets, first place in this category is shared by two manufacturers. And as for helmets, this is pretty much set in stone here as well. In 2009, Schwabenleder passed Dainese to take first and stayed there. As with the gloves, Dainese and Alpinestars, however, take second and third place with significant, although now smaller, distances. Held pushes in behind in fourth place, pushing BMW to sixth place. Time and time again it is shown that while quality and tradition are important, they are not everything. Presence in the right places and unerring marketing pay off just as much as tailor-fitted suits. The category rich in brands has a tremendously varied offering and, despite all the gloomy predictions, were able to wonderfully hold their own against the textile clothes, for most manufacturers supply both camps.
Oils / lubricants
Eleven elections, eleven wins: Castrol truly seems to be doing it all right. Liqui Moly has been fighting closer and closer for eight years with a few fluctuations. The company based in Ulm made itself known in campaigns regarding their production site in Germany, has developed a good image with its extensive product range and is, for example available at Polo. Primus Castrol, belonging to the BP Group and also present at Aral petrol stations as well as at the Louis chain stores, is also heavily involved in racing. Numerous victories together with Honda testify to this. This creates trust and motorcyclists also need this with this product that acts but is never seen. Long downtimes should pass the engine without any damage, just as flying over passes. However, after third place trust and reputation seem to subside significantly.
Dainese is considered the inventor of the “turtle”, which is armour made of moving parts that more resembles the back of an armadillo. And it is meant to provide good protection in the event of an emergency, but to be as comfortable as it can be at all times. Although the category was already merged with other protectors in 2015, most people probably think of it primarily as the part on the back, whether it is for strapping on or is integrated into the jacket. Dainese has sometimes even combined both in its jackets and even combined them with neck protection. The joy of innovation, sports as a driver of development and the bigger picture in other types of sports, such as mountain biking or skiing advance companies like Dainese or Alpinestars. Surprise: Held also passed BMW in the category of protectors and pushes the Bavarians off the pedestal.
We have been following the duel between Metzeler and Michelin for the favour of MOTORRAD readers for eleven years. Six times Metzeler was in front and five times Michelin. Pirelli and Bridgestone scuffle at a respectful distance for third place and fourth, whereby now a formerly Italian company belonging to the Chinese with a German address pushed the Japanese off the podium in 2014. Continental also suffered losses like Dunlop. Heidenau was able to increase by 2014, but despite a wider offering for the mass market the company has not convinced more people. Is this due to a lack of test results? In recent tyre tests, the favourites are certainly nicely distributed among the brands by segment: Metzeler for the touring tyres, Pirelli for the large enduros with a street preference and Dunlop or Continental among the off-road oriented crowds for large enduros.. And Michelin? They are usually far ahead among the current test results, but the French only had a slip-up with the moderately handy, wet-phobic Anakee III.
Boots are just like the leather combinations and gloves: Alpinestars and Dainese scrimmage for second and third place while there is an eternal top dog enthroned in first place – here they are called Daytona. The German boots manufacturer Frey, who produces the boot with the name Daytona, has been playing its cards right for years with the names of service and quality. They also convince with a good fit and a wide range of products that offers everything except hardcore terrain walkers. Since there has been best brands votes, they have been in first place here, so for eleven years now. Interesting: MOTORRAD readers also find it convincing and especially the three high-priced brands in this category that they raise on the podium. In the field, there is an image of what we already know from other categories: With the boots too, BMW is pushed backwards. They are apparently less convincing than previously. The traditional manufacturer Sidi can assert itself and imperceptibly the Louis brand Vanucci prowled past everyone in the boots category to fourth place.
After Touratech and Held alternated at the top of this category for years, the Black Forest natives have now cleared it all up: nearly a lead of ten points. The tank bags from the adventure outfitters fit all touring enduros, but also increasingly for road bikes. They need to sit tight and also be cut so that you can drive in a standing position. They also have to be easy to remove to refuel without much fumbling, be well distributed and also not hang around when half empty, like the proverbial wet sack. They should also be protected against moisture. A rain hood holds off more violent downpours. The map pocket holds two leaves of a general map side by side.. Held and some others offer a wide product range of containers for athletes as well – with innovative fasteners, power connection for nav and smartphone or even with a bracket in the viewing area for use instead of a map
Oops, what’s going on here? After narrowly conquering the pole position last year, Held has now significantly set itself apart from Rukka. Dainese is handed over to third place. And BMW? The eternal dual between Dainese and BMW is no longer taking place at the top. The Bavarians with their once highly acclaimed textile clothes land in fourth place. The category with over 40 brands is traditionally very tight, but Vanucci and Touratech are now also included among the top brands. The latter only appeared in 2012 and are even ahead of Stadler, the company that cuts the suits for Touratech. The competition for the top group in the textile segment is benefiting the customer. They excel with innovative materials, sophisticated comfort features and sometimes suits specifically tailored to a purpose or “one for all” with three liners and 28 zippers. There is something for everyone.
How can an insurance convince people? Good service at a reasonable price is the way of HUK Coburg, that’s their motto. And they apparently manage to convey this to MOTORRAD readers as well. HUK advanced even more in the voting compared to last year. The online subsidiary from the same company was also able to advance further in second place and distance itself further from ADAC. The providers from places four to nine all had to suffer losses compared to last year. This also enhanced the result of the HUK double-peak. They’ve quite obviously done everything right!
Good tools make you happy. Good means: The screw gives in, not the tool. Quality is therefore the magic word – yet again. Hazet has it and brings it, for eleven years now. Regardless of whether someone wants to or has to tighten a screw, tools need to feel good in your hand, function flawlessly and can also visually look impressive. Then it can also cost a bit more. Gedore and Proxxon have also made it onto the podium for eleven years unchallenged but changing places occasionally. The rest keep a respectful distance.
This category is the largest among the best brands survey. It names 43 brands. The top group is comparatively close together, but there is broad support across many brands. It is no surprise, because the various manufacturers do cover a tremendous range of needs, each with its own speciality. Touratech and Wunderlich are full-range providers, the latter specialising in BMW. Kellermann offers beautiful indicators for all makes while Rizoma sells fine milled parts. LSL offers retrofit parts that can completely change a motorcycle. Magura convinces with more than just handlebar fittings. You can have your motorcycle completely retrofitted at AC Schnitzer in Aachen. The focus of Lucas/TRW is brakes and clutches, but also material for other retrofits and additions can be purchased here. All companies, even those not named here, offer beautiful parts for customising your own motorcycle.
> See this PDF-file for more details to the reader’s survey and for all the results in the different categories.Download