Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2020


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Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2020: Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour

Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2020: Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour

There are the Sport-Tourers, and then there is Sport-tourists. The Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour is the latter, a cut above the rest. It checks all the boxes: powerful engine, cutting-edge electronics, great suspension and brakes, decent but non-insulating weather protection, and load capacity included. Every time I ride the Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour I think about how long retirement is seven years from now and wouldn’t I rather just put my pieces in the back of this bike and head to some unforeseen parts?

2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour review

Maybe the engine song is to blame. As I said in my review, “The Testastretta 1262cc DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) is an engine with no apparent weaknesses. First, the DVT massages lower torque for more growl at low revs… At higher revs, the valve timing changes in favor of the increased volume of fuels that must be moved in and out of the twin cylinders. The result is an engine that produces a MO tested 89.0 lb-ft at 7,800 rpm and 143.5 hp at 9,800 rpm, but perhaps more importantly, over 80% of those lb-ft are available from 3,500 rpm min. At all revs, throttle transitions are smooth, especially in Touring mode.

Then the S after the 1260 in the name means (among other things) that this bike uses the Ducati Skyhook suspension, which links the performance of the semi-active suspension to the available riding modes. The result is a firmer ride in Sport mode and more comfortable in less exciting environments. Braking is provided by Brembo M50 330mm discs, which is impressive. Naturally, power output and braking are controlled via a Bosch IMU linked to cornering ABS and Ducati’s combined electronic brake system.

The tourist facilities are up to those of a sport-tourer. You get Burns approved cruise control and heated grips. It also sports a tire pressure monitoring system, keyless start and access to the fuel tank, as well as LED headlamps. All-weather protection is the ideal compromise between enough protection to help you rack up the miles without compromising coolness in hot weather. TFT instrumentation is as good as any Ducati.

But wait, there is more! The Grand Tour package includes a pair of saddlebags which, although not electronically controlled like the ignition, greatly facilitate the passage from the bike to the B&B. The exclusive colourway, Sandstone Gray, with a 1260 graphic on the fairing sets you apart from the rest of the Multistrada 1260 masses. The driver and passenger seats also feature the Grand Tour logos.

While some may criticize the fact that the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour has an MSRP of $ 23,295, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the bike offers an impressive riding experience that suits its hefty price tag. For those looking for a cheaper alternative, take a look at the finalist.


Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2020 finalist: Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2020 finalist: Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

While the rest of Japanese OEMs seem to be taking a big blow in recent years, Kawasaki has been busy to kill as evidenced by this year’s MOBOs. More importantly, they kill him like everyone else, building motorcycles that real people can afford. Things like H2 are a bit impractical and expensive, but then the green men turn around and sink the compressor tech down ZH2, for only $ 17.5,000.

The Kawi Z900 that we’ve already named a finalist in the Best Standard division (and for $ 8,999 it could be a best value contender as well). And new for 2020 is this rejigger Ninja 1000SX. “Where else,” we waxed in an editorial in August, “are you going to get a high-performance 124-horsepower sport-tourer, with cruise control and quickshifter, for $ 12,399?”

2020 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX Review – First Round

That’s about $ 10,000 less than what you’re going to give the class-winning Ducati Multistrada. Kawasaki raised the price over the 2019 model by $ 200, but they also did things while they added ride-by-wire to the 1,043cc inline-four to reduce the vibrations we were complaining about. On the Brasfield vibrometer, the engine hum is now non-objectionable, albeit noticeable, and the revised engine runs smoother and cleaner than any previous engine, with exceptional throttle response in all applications. And makes 124 horsepower at the rear wheels in the process. It’s scorching.

The revised suspension isn’t electronic, but it absorbs bumps better than ever before, thanks to the addition of a low-speed slot that engineers added to the fork’s damper pistons. A hydraulic adjustment knob on the rear allows you to lean with your right hand on the fly to adjust rear preload. Would you expect a Bosch six-axis IMU and the latest driver aids for this price? You get them anyway: in Sport mode, you can feel free to brake deeper in the corners and put the throttle on earlier when trying to hit higher numbers on the angle indicator. Tilt the new 4.3-inch TFT display – just like the one we first saw on the $ 25,000 H2 SX SE two years ago.

They definitely left the Ninja in Ninja, but this one is still very comfortable for sport-touring – especially now with standard cruise control. Okay, hard bags are optional, but for an extra $ 900 you’re looking for a platform that will scratch just about any motorcycle itch you’ll ever have, including commuting and races to the Piggly- Wiggly for supplies. Kawasaki: Aprilia of Japan.



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