Best New Technology
Honda Combined ABS
Other manufacturers have developed anti-lock brake systems for the two-wheeled set, but they all pale in comparison to Honda's new C-ABS (Combined Anti-Lock Brake System), available on the 2009 CBR600RR and CBR1000RR. Sure, the sophisticated, linked system adds $1000 to the price tag and 20-plus pounds, but it's worth every penny and ounce to have optimum braking performance at all times. With a natural lever feel and none of the bizarre pulsing exhibited by some other makers' ABS, Honda's system is so un-invasive that you'll never know it's there until you need it. Grab a handful of brake on a wet or dirty road, and you're rewarded with complete composure and smooth deceleration. Honda's C-ABS offers controlled braking at the threshold of wheel lockup-something even expert-level riders are hard-pressed to match, and only after several attempts on dry pavement. In the real world, you only get one chance.
Ducati Traction Control
Last year, DTC (Ducati Traction Control) debuted on the $40,000 1098R, making it the first production sportbike to be so equipped. This year, DTC trickles down to the $21,795 1198S. That alone would be impressive, but the eight-position-adjustable system was actually improved for '09, to the point that it functions seamlessly. Bravissimo!
Best New Product
Gopro Motorsports Hero Wide Camera
Since the days of the Newman Sinclair 35mm Auto Kline, motorcyclists have been strapping video cameras to their bikes in an attempt to capture the riding experience. Recently, YouTube videos have undergone a dramatic increase in quality, and we're willing to bet it's because of the new GoPro Motorsports Hero Wide Camera. The Hero is the easiest camcorder we've ever used, with a 170-degree lens that captures video in 5-megapixel clarity, with clear sound to boot. Included with every camera is a plethora of adhesive mounts to fit the curvature of your helmet, gas tank, fairing or fender. Just buy batteries, borrow the SD card from your digital camera and you're ready to record your next hot lap of Laguna Seca, run up Deal's Gap or thunderous cruise down Main St. at Daytona Beach. The compact design is waterproof, shockproof and holds up to crashes well. Don't ask how we know...
Bazzaz Performance Z-FI Traction Control
Traction control-it's not just for factory Superbike racers anymore. The plug-and-play Bazzaz Performance Z-Fi traction-control module adds fully tunable traction- management capability to most any late-model Japanese sportbike for just $995. No other aftermarket component enhances safety and performance as profoundly, making the Z-Fi a shoe-in for recognition here.