2009 Motorcycle of the Year

Cashing In The New Currency

By: Aaron Frank, Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

Things have changed again since we rolled out our picks for the best motorcycles of 2008, and not for the better. But you didn't come here to rehash the bad news, so have a look at the flip side. Most of the people who should know say we're not out of the woods yet, but the worst recession since WWII is on track to turn around toward the end of this year. Whether that happens on cue or not, we've changed too. Priorities are coming into sync with what the wisest among us have known all along. People are a whole lot more important than things. And since you can't have everything, choose the things you can have very carefully. For captains of industry and bone-weary foot soldiers in this summer of our financial discontent, one thing seems clear...

Ideas are the real currency. Good ones-the wheel, Post-It notes, penicillin, indoor plumbing, knee pucks, reinforced concrete-transcend the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Brainstorms rolling in on two wheels have less sociopolitical impact, but the manufacturers that bring them to market rise to the top, in the showrooms of America as well as our MOTY rankings. The practical, functional and stinky-fast electric motorcycle is closer to reality than ever. Crossplane crankshafts, traction control, track-worthy anti-lock brakes and gearless hydro-mechanical transmissions are here now. Ideas-all new or newly recycled-change things.

Thanks to the power of such positive thinking, riding a motorcycle is still a time-honored antidote for bad news poisoning. And, up ahead, hope for the future lives on the strength of good ideas. Regardless of whether you ride for basic transportation, pure recreation or a bit of both, something-or someone-here should help you keep the faith. So have a look, see what you think, and keep your chin up. These days, that's the best idea of all.

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