by Rick Korchak
Editor and Publisher
January 1, 2011 - Happy New Year! And best wishes to all of our visitors, contributors and our affiliates for a happy, healthy, joyous and prosperous 2012!
A new year means that it's time for the webBikeWorld.com New Year's Day tradition -- announcing our favorite motorcycle products and accessories, chosen from all of the interesting gear we reviewed in the prior year.
The criteria for the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year is simple and unchanged: We choose what we like -- the product or products that, for one reason or another, have stood out among the rest.
This is a completely subjective exercise without science and with the illogic of emotion. You may or may not agree with our choices and that's perfectly fine.
Opinions are just like noses -- everybody has one.
The webBikeWorld.com Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards are designed to give recognition to those products which, in our opinion, combine the most unique, interesting and useful features, along with the best value, to make them leaders in their class.
Note that the categories may vary from year to year, depending upon the products. Also, there may be more than one winner in each category, again depending upon the number and quality of the products reviewed during the year...and there sure were plenty of products to choose from in 2011!
2011 went by faster than a rocket. It was yet another tough year for the motorcycle industry, with many retailers, dealers and even manufacturers shutting their doors for good, due to the continuing worldwide economic slump.
But, things are looking up and hopefully we'll see some improvements for the new year. Surely there must be a huge amount of pent-up demand among consumers of all stripes, and perhaps it will be the next "bubble" that will do the trick.
We plan on attending the 2012 Intermot show this year in Germany, along with a special report on the Schuberth Helmet factory, so stay tuned for that (October -- it will be here before you know it!).
And, once again, I'll be at the 2012 Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis in February for live coverage. This year's event should be very interesting and bigger than ever.
As always, webBikeWorld wouldn't be what it is without the many evaluators, contributors and writers who have contributed much of the knowledge and content on the website. The variety of opinions and the excellent communication and photographic skills are what make webBikeWorld.com such a valued resource.
The excellent and detailed feedback sent by webBikeWorld visitors also helps to enhance each webBikeWorld.com product review and article. My feeling has always been that webBikeWorld visitors provide the best and most insightful feedback that can be found on the web and it is very useful for other riders.
Managing and maintaining webBikeWorld takes a lot of money and I also thank all of our visitors for supporting the site through your purchases at RevZilla, British Motorcycle Gear and Amazon.com. We are proud to announce one more excellent affiliate added in 2011: MotorcycleGear.com (formerly New Enough).
You'll note that there are no banner ads, paid click-throughs or other clutter on webBikeWorld.com. Ads are kept to a minimum to maintain a clean "look and feel" and to keep a focus on the products and our highly detailed technical reviews.
But it will only work if our dear readers continue to use the webBikeWorld Affiliate links to purchase gear from these outstanding retailers. And don't forget: by doing so, you'll get the best deals and the best customer service in the business.
Each of our affiliate retailers are highly respected and the best in the business -- we wouldn't have them as affiliates if they weren't! They also have liberal return policies, outstanding customer service and can do international shipping.
Your support also means that webBikeWorld can continue to provide funding to our favorite charities. A portion of the proceeds goes to charity each month and we're very proud of this program and thankful for our ability to help others. I'm very pleased to announce that since 2003 we have donated a total of $38,951.00 + £3,425.00, or over $44,000.00 USD!
From all of us to all of you, best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2012!
Owner, Editor and Publisher
► webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards ◄
2011 Motorcycle Helmet of the Year:
2011 was "The Year of the Helmet" with literally dozens of new designs released. That would normally make for a very difficult Helmet of the Year Award but, in fact, the decision was easy: the Schuberth SR1 (review) was the standout.
What's interesting is that there's no "rocket science" here -- no wacky features designed more for marketing than performance.
Instead, the SR1 is the culmination of Schuberth's knowledge and skill, evolved into a package that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
It's easy, helmet manufacturers: Simply combine class-leading light weight with outstanding ventilation and noise control; add some style, comfort and throw in excellent visibility. That's all there is to it!
The SR1 is just about the most "perfect" motorcycle helmet you'll currently find for any price. And that's why it gets the 2011 webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet of the Year Award.
2011 Modular Helmet of the Year:
In a world of cookie-cutter motorcycle helmets, you can count on Caberg to innovate. How can it be that a relatively small helmet manufacturer consistently out-smarts the competition, time and again?
"It's in the genes", and the Caberg HyperX (review) is a good example, with ultra-modern styling and features to match.
The HyperX has what is probably the best outward visibility you'll find in any helmet -- a real safety feature. It also has one of the most useful and usable internal sun visors available.
The HyperX is a convertible, so you can wear it as an open-face or with the "swing away" chin bar in place for extra protection. It's specially designed for use with eyeglasses. And it looks great.
Note that in webBikeWorld terminology, a "flip-up" helmet has a rotating visor, while a "modular" helmet can be converted from one form to another, like the HyperX.
The HyperX is such an outstanding new design that it wins the 2011 webBikeWorld Modular Helmet of the Year Award without question. No other flip-up or modular helmet comes close.
Motorcycle Clothing of the Year:
Dainese "Alien" Jacket and Pants
The Alien outfit combines super-good looks with flawless design, modern construction techniques, buttah-soft leather that smells like heaven and superb fit and finish.
And don't forget: it's made by Dainese -- Valentino Rossi's bespoke tailor. Sum it up and you have a winner any way you look at it.
The Alien jacket and pants are simply leagues ahead of any other motorcycle outfit we've seen in the last year. And did I mention that the leather feels (and smells) exquisite?
"Real world" sizing means that the Alien outfit fits like the proverbial glove and it's even available in an all-perforated version for extra coolness. The 3D "bubble" liner creates a comfy cushion of air between you and the leather, and that's one of the Alien secrets.
Yep, it's expensive. Yep, it's worth every penny. And that's why the Dainese Alien jacket and pants outfit gets the nod for the 2011 webBikeWorld Motorcycle Clothing Product of the Year Award!
Motorcycle Electronics Product of the Year: Sena SR10
2011 marked a giant step for Bluetooth motorcycle communications systems. New Bluetooth standards, a huge growth in demand and many new products and enhancements were brought to market -- and there will be even more in 2012.
Even though we're still working on Part 2 of our Sena SR10 review, this Bluetooth "hub" is clearly the most innovative motorcycle electronic product for 2011.
Perhaps calling it the "Most Promising Product of the Year" would be more accurate, but the SR10 is a game-changer, no doubt about it.
The SR10 still needs a few tweaks, that the coming firmware upgrade will give it. But it is an exciting new product nonetheless -- one that provides portability, mobility and flexibility when used with Bluetooth helmet intercom systems or other Bluetooth headsets.
The compatibility, adaptability, versatility and potential of the SR10 is currently unmatched, and 2012 will see many challengers -- as of this writing, we have 4 different systems under evaluation!
2012: "The Year of the Motorcycle Bluetooth Communication System"? Stay tuned!
2011 Motorcycle Accessory
of the Year: Replay XD1080
How does a company make a winner right out of the starting gate?
Simple: take an innovative design, add super high-quality construction and understand how your customers will use it, that's how!
The Replay XD1080 (review) combines a useful and very motorcycle-friendly form-factor with precision-machined aircraft aluminum and quality construction to make the overall best motorcycle video camera available today.
While it may not quite match the GoPro HD (review) in pixel-to-pixel video quality, the Replay XD1080 beats the GoPro in a number of other significant ways that, when combined, make it the most usable motorcycle video camera currently available.
Mounting the Replay XD1080 on a helmet is a piece of cake, something that can not be said for the GoPro HD, the Delkin WingmanHD (review) and too many other "motorcycle helmet" video cameras.
And the camera that you can easily mount is the camera you'll choose, time and again.
But that's not all: the haptic feedback and glove-friendly buttons mean you'll be taking lots of video and getting a higher percentage of keepers, and that's what it's all about, right?
We reviewed over a half-dozen motorcycle video cameras in 2011 and there's no question that the Replay XD1080 is the clear winner of the 2011 webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year Award in the Accessory/Video Camera category.
Best wishes to everyone for a happy, safe and prosperous 2012!