2013 Motorcycle & Motorcyclist of the Year

By Motorcyclist Staff, Photography by Kevin Wing

Best New Technology

Adaptive Suspension

The Future Adjusts Itself

Last year, electronically adjustable suspension was enough to impress us, but not anymore. This year brought the introduction of dynamically adjustable suspension, so now every Tom, Dick, and motojournalist's damping is computer-controlled and alters itself as we race down the road. BMWs Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) system reacts to road conditions and riding inputs in as little as 10 milliseconds. What that means is that when you ride a DDC-equipped R1200GS or HP4, the damping adjustment changes as much as 100 times every second. Sachs' "Skyhook" system, introduced on this year's Ducati Multistrada 1200S, works similarly. Both systems have us smitten.

The technology is interesting, but the reality of what the systems allow manufacturers to do with motorcycle design is incredible—and we've only seen the beginning. In the case of the Multistrada, dynamic suspension transforms a scalpel-sharp canyon carver into a pillow-plush commuter with the flick of a thumb. The hardware will likely remain expensive for the foreseeable future, but research and development of the software will no doubt spread to other companies and models, making the possibilities almost endless.

Alternative Take

Honda NC-Series Engine

Single-minded. That’s the phrase that describes Honda’s NC700 engine. In order to average nearly 60 mpg, the 670cc, four-valve-per-cylinder engine keeps the revs down and velocities up, thanks to tiny ports, mild cams, and a single throttle body that would choke the average 600cc supersport. Charismatic? No. Efficient? Virtually without peer.

By Motorcyclist Staff
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"It's what these guys do: defend old-tech machines by bridging the conversation from clanky machinery to unique engine architecture, significant historical precedent, the serenity of Lake Como, or some other specious attribute meant to make us look past obvious flaws."

Leave out the part about Lake Como - and you're describing a harley rider..
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