What Bike Autumn 2018 - 342 Bikes reviewed and rated

Buying a new bike has always been gloriously difficult good fun. In days gone by it was a minefield thanks to the variable quality of what was available - with the most attractive metal often being the most fragile, too. But in 2018 the problem is a very different one.

The simple truth is that there are very few bad bikes emerging from the usual suspects – which means more choice than ever, and less to separate them. Where once chocolate cams, spaghetti wiring dangers and paint quality you’d expect to see on a proud parent’s fridge door hid – there are now very few catastrophes lurking to ensnare you.

There’s still a sliding scale of excellence though, so after testing more than 90 new bikes in 2018, we’ve picked our Top 40 to guide you towards the cream of the crop.

Buying a new bike might make you a happier rider, but it’s unlikely to make you a better one. One of the most satisfying ways to get more from your bike is to improve your own riding ability – so our resident advanced riding instructor has put together five core skills refreshers for you to help brush-up your skill set. Whether it’s right or left-handers, that moment of panic as you have to make an emergency stop, tackling roundabouts, or just making sure you’re in the right gear – our expert can help you to be a faster, smoother, and safer rider.

Of course, today’s new bikes are the used gems of tomorrow, and not everyone – including me – can afford a brand spanker. With that in mind, we’ve picked 20 cracking used bargains priced from £800 to £8500 to lure you into an upgrade, or perhaps a second bike.

And if you are feeling flush, what about taking the plunge with one of the best homologation superbikes of all time? From the iconic RC30 to the jewel-like R7, they’re rolling works of art. We’ve also got tested kit, hard-fought group tests, and the massive listings section to keep you busy.

Get stuck in. Whatever you choose – enjoy the ride!


Inside this issue...

Extreme Adventures

Can the new Africa Twin Adventure Sports or Tiger 800 XCA topple the class-leading 1090 Adventure R?

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Small Engines, Big Laughs

Six sporty 125s thrash it out in the perfect L-plate grudge match

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Japanese Exotica

World Superbike racing gave birth to some of the most collectable used bikes you can buy

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