You don’t ride a motorcycle because you want to follow the herd, and the world of motorcycles has a bike for every rider. With such a diverse array of options, from sophisticated sport bikes to classic cruisers and rugged adventure bikes to affordable beginner bikes, it can sometimes be difficult to pin down the most influential motorcycles on the market. However, even in this menagerie of models, some trend-setters push their segments forward, forcing other manufacturers to follow them to new heights.
Our list of the most influential motorcycles of 2022 includes bikes from all the major segments and major manufacturers. Whether you prefer to tear up the track, cruise the open roads, or head off into the wild for an adventure in the dirt and mud, there is a new bike that has helped to define your favorite type of riding. These aren’t always the most expensive or highest-performing models in their segments, but they bring something new to the table that has shaped the market for the better.
Most Influential Cruiser / Touring Bike – 2022 Honda Rebel 1100
- High Value
- Near-Sportbike Acceleration
- DCT Option
The Honda Rebel was introduced to America in 1985 as an affordable cruiser aimed at younger riders. This meant it came with a small parallel-twin engine––traditionally a 250, but 300, 450, and 500 options have also been offered––and focused on providing a friendly riding experience. However, in 2021, Honda decided to get serious and combined this lightweight cruiser with the powerful engine from the Africa Twin, unleashing the Rebel 1100 on the market. The result is one of the most influential cruisers on the market, challenging the classic V-Twin beginner bikes at a fraction of the price.
With a starting price of under $10,000, the 2022 Rebel 1100 undercuts the entry-level Indian Scout Bobber Sixty and the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 in price while being significantly lighter and more powerful. In fact, with a quarter-mile time of just over 12 seconds, the Rebel 1100 competes against cruisers that are far more expensive. But this isn’t some Japanese sport bike pretending to be a cruiser––the Rebel 1100 boasts a low seat and comfortable riding position that lets it eat up the miles, and its retro-modern design will satisfy fans of classic bikes.
The list of features is quite modern, though. Standard ABS, a slipper/assist clutch, and wheelie control make it extremely beginner-friendly, and the four selectable power modes include a user-programmable mode for extra flexibility. You can even opt for Honda’s DCT and skip manually manipulating a clutch lever entirely––though a six-speed is still available for the traditionalist. Best of all, for long-distance riders, the 2022 Rebel 1100 has cruise control and a USB-C port under the seat to keep your phone charged as you navigate the road. Given the rarity of many of these features in the cruiser market, we hope the Rebel 1100 will influence other manufacturers to upgrade their cruisers for today’s rider.
Most Influential Sport Touring Bike – 2022 Ducati SuperSport 950 S
- Comfortable L-Twin Power
- Sport Bike Performance
- Upright Ergonomic Design
If you have always wanted a high-end superbike but spend more time on the street than on the track, it is difficult to find a better ride than the 2022 Ducati SuperSport 950 S. Recently redesigned, this sport touring bike blends ergonomic design with sophisticated style and tops everything off with a classic L-Twin engine that provides a wide powerband for road use. The SuperSport was redesigned last year to look more like the ultra-high-performance Ducati Panigale, but the aesthetic updates did nothing to compromise the comfortable nature of this bike. Its well-balanced mix of sporty looks, sophisticated features, and street-oriented performance makes the SuperSport 950 S our most influential sport touring bike.
The SuperSport is powered by the same 937cc Testastretta L-Twin engine as the Ducati Monster and Ducati DesertX, producing a comfortable 110 hp and 69 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the 955cc L-Twin in the Panigale V2, this engine has a longer stroke and much flatter torque curve that suits just about any type of riding. The SuperSport also has a much more upright riding position than Ducati’s flagship bike. However, this does not mean the SuperSport isn’t a sport bike at heart, especially the 950 S model, which replaces the standard Marzocchi fork and Sachs rear shock with a more capable multi-adjustable Öhlins suspension and fairs over the passenger seat for a sportier look.
The sophisticated design that Ducati is known for is on full display with the many electronic aids found in the SuperSport 950 S. The 4.3-inch TFT display is the most obvious element and allows easy access to the many more subtle features. Three preset riding modes adjust power output and traction control intervention, changing the nature of the bike on the fly, while the Brembo brakes are managed by a Bosch six-axis cornering ABS system that can also be adjusted depending on your preferences. These are all examples of how features designed for high-end sportbikes are now making their way into road bikes and improving the riding experience.
Most Influential Sport Bike – 2022 Honda CBR650R
- Four-Cylinder Performance
- Honda Build Quality
- Fireblade-Inspired Look and Feel
Four-cylinder sport bikes are a dying breed, especially in the smaller displacements. Fortunately, the 2022 Honda CBR650R reminds us why this segment has so many fans. Developed from the Honda CBR650F, the CBR650R is a fully faired sportbike that draws much of its aesthetic from the CBR1000RR. But unlike Honda’s flagship sport bike, the CBR650R is a more approachable and usable model. With its Japanese heritage and Honda build quality, this motorcycle can delight any fan of performance models, making it our most influential sport bike.
The traditional 649cc inline-four engine lies at the heart of the riding experience. While its 82 hp and 46.4 lb-ft of torque may not be spectacular by today’s standards, it’s enough to run the quarter-mile in the mid-11-second range. Plus, the 12,500 RPM redline and classic sound put competing twins like the Yamaha YZF-R7 to shame. The Fireblade-inspired supersport look and feel of the CBR650R are another stand-out feature in a world where upright naked bikes are increasingly the norm. However, despite its extremely sporty appearance, the CBR650R is surprisingly ergonomic and comfortable on longer rides.
While the 2022 Honda CBR650R is more expensive than the twins in its performance range, the premium is well worth it. With an inverted Showa front fork, slipper clutch, selectable torque control, and standard ABS, it is clear that Honda made sure to hit all the highlights riders might be looking for in a serious sport bike. There is even a color LCD display that clearly shows all the information you might need as you ride. For a traditional four-cylinder middle-weight sport bike experience, it is difficult to beat the CBR650R.
Most Influential Naked / Standard Bike – 2022 Ducati Streetfighter V2
- More Accessible Price and Power
- Ducati Sophistication
- Street-Friendly Ergonomics
Since its unveiling in 2020, the Ducati Streetfighter has been one of the kings of the increasingly popular hyper naked segment. Now, Ducati has expanded the Streetfighter lineup with the all-new 2022 Streetfighter V2. Although intended as a more accessible step into the world of hyper naked bikes, the Streetfighter V2 is still a Ducati, boasting a level of power and sophistication that would make it the top-of-the-line offering for many other brands. This means it occupies a sweet spot in the segment, positioning it as a solid choice for riders seeking incredible yet manageable performance and making it our most influential naked bike.
The heart of the 2022 Streetfighter V2 is the same 955cc Superquadro L-Twin engine found in the Panigale V2. It pumps out 153 hp and 75 lb-ft of torque for some impressive acceleration––especially when combined with the Ducati quick shifter. However, it is still much more accessible than the 208 hp of the full-size Streetfighter V4. Because this is a true sport bike engine rather than a detuned naked bike engine, the Superquadro provides plenty of top-end power during high-speed runs, albeit at the cost of some low-end torque.
When it comes to design, the Streetfighter V2 displays the usual Ducati sophistication, which befits its relatively high price tag. The six-axis inertial measurement unit measures acceleration, lean angle, pitch, and more to fine-tune every aspect of the riding experience. Three-stage cornering ABS, MotoGP-derived eight-level traction control, wheelie control, and more give you the full suite of supersport rider aids in a naked bike. Of course, technology isn’t limited to performance features alone, and the Ducati multimedia system offers a large color TFT display and Bluetooth smartphone integration. Altogether, the SuperSport V2 is the complete package for fans of the hyper naked segment.
Most Influential Adventure / Dual Sport Bike – 2022 KTM 890 Adventure R
- Off-Road Rider Aids
- 103 hp Parallel-Twin
- Best-In-Class Suspension
The adventure bike segment is growing, and it includes bikes with a wide range of different designs and levels of performance. However, if you are looking for a do-it-all option that has enough power for the highway and all the off-road performance you could desire, it is difficult to go wrong with the 2022 KTM 890 Adventure R. With an 889cc parallel-twin engine delivering 103 hp, this bike is more than quick without being overkill on the trail. It is also a segment leader in suspension and rider aids, making the 890 Adventure R our most influential adventure bike.
Inspired by KTM’s Dakar-winning 450 Rally, the 890 Adventure R sports a practical design that balances low-speed agility with high-speed aerodynamics. It even includes a fuel tank located just above the footpegs to help lower the center of gravity. The best-in-class suspension is fully adjustable and includes a WP XPLOR 48mm fork and rear shock with 9.4 inches of wheel travel to smooth out the roughest trails. There is even a slipper clutch and available quick shifter to help simplify high-speed riding.
Supporting the physical design features is a host of off-road rider aids, including an ABS system with selectable Off-Road and Rally modes for use on loose surfaces. Nine levels of traction control are available, and a six-axis inertial measurement unit with a lean angle sensor and cornering ABS ensures stability on the road. These features can all be accessed through the large five-inch full-color TFT display, along with navigation, music, calls, and more. Wherever your adventures take you, the KTM 890 Adventure R has the answer.
Most Influential Small Displacement Bike – 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 400
- Class-Defining Performance
- Affordable Price
- Entry-Level Track Bike
When it comes to small displacement bikes, the 2022 Kawasaki Ninja 400 doesn’t just lead the segment; it defines it. Since it was introduced in 2018 to replace the Ninja 300, the Ninja 400 has demonstrated that a small displacement sport bike can be far more than a starter bike you ride for a year before trading up. In fact, it can compete with some middle-weight bikes and has remarkable potential for riders getting into track days. Its unbeatable combination of affordability and performance makes the 2022 Ninja 400 our most influential small displacement bike.
A 399cc parallel-twin engine is responsible for the disruptive performance of the Ninja 400. With 49 hp and 28 lb-ft of torque, it is significantly more powerful than competing small-displacement bikes like the Yamaha YZF-R3 or Honda CBR300R. Combined with the Ninja’s incredibly light 366 lb curb weight, this bike can turn in a respectable 13-second quarter-mile and is easy to handle for new riders. While there are plenty of faster bikes out there, and you will likely want to upgrade eventually, the Ninja 400 is something that you could get several years of riding out without feeling you have outgrown the bike, particularly if you decide to start riding on the track.
Adding to its higher-end feel, the 2022 Ninja 400 comes with several handy performance features, including a standard assist and slipper clutch and available ABS. There is even a digital display for the speedometer, gear indicator, and more, although it is an older black-and-white LCD that is paired with an analog tachometer and traditional warning lights. However, this lack of refinement can be forgiven since the 2022 Ninja 400 sells for just over $5,000 for the base model, putting its price point squarely in line with its less powerful competitors. When it comes to small displacement bikes, this is a bargain that’s hard to beat.