By Chris Denison
Photo by Adam Booth
The Dirt Rider Bike Of The Year award is one of the most exciting—and difficult—annual decisions that we as a magazine make. Starting with all of the new motocross and off-road machines from the model year, our team of editors and test riders methodically discusses and eliminates machines from the running until we are left with just one bike that stands above the rest in terms of performance, innovation or just simply making a splash in the two-wheeled world. Previous BOTY winners have included everything from a Cannondale to a Honda CRF450R, with the 2012 KTM 500 EXC taking top honors last year for being such a competent street-legal dirt bike.
For 2013, the choices were numerous and, in most cases, strong. We saw air forks and all-new designs in the moto world, while a few new machines and several competitive revisions to older ones bolstered the off-road segment. In the end, our decision came down to two bikes: the defending BOTY title-holding KTM 500 EXC, and the all-new Beta 300 RR two-stroke. Our team testing these motorcycles in a variety of settings and came away with several strong opinions on both bikes and how they work in a variety of conditions. We considered performance in all kinds of categories, but the essence of BOTY is about giving credit to a bike that we feel has and will continue to make an impact among customers.
In this video, we take you behind the scenes and out to the California desert for our final day of testing both of these machines. For the full BOTY feature story, be sure to catch our June 2013 issue of Dirt Rider, which will be on-sale beginning April 23rd. Also, head over to our Facebook page and let us know which bike YOU think deserves the nod as the 2013 Dirt Rider Bike Of The Year!