Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2013
Ducati Multistrada S
Adventure-touring bikes can also make great sport-tourers, and none more so than Ducati’s 2013 Multistrada S Touring model. With amenities such as traction control, ABS, lockable/removable hard luggage, heated grips and an adjustable windscreen, Ducati’s Multi differs from its sport-touring counterparts mostly by way of styling and suspension travel.
But when it comes to the sporty side of the sport-touring equation, the Multistrada, with a curb weight of just 516 pounds, is significantly lighter than popular S-T bikes such as Yamaha’s FJR1300 (the lightest bike in our Sport-Touring 1.0 Shootout), making it a far nimbler bike in the canyons and around town.
For 2013 Ducati introduced Skyhook semi-active suspension which uses Sachs electronic solenoid valves in the left fork leg and the shock to actively alter damping circuits depending on inputs such as road speed, brake application and four accelerometers placed around the bike. The result is a semi-magic carpet ride that’s ready for all situations whether they be crossing the Continental Divide or the Alaska Highway. A few of MO’s editors have claimed that if there was only one bike in the garage, the Ducati Multistrada S Touring would be it.
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Best Sport-Touring Honorable Mention: Triumph Trophy/Yamaha FJR1300
We’ve individually ridden the Triumph Trophy SE and the Yamaha FJR1300 and were highly impressed by both. But we’ve yet to test these two against one another. Both offer class-leading electronics packages (R-b-W, cruise control, TC, ABS, Ride Modes (the Trophy SE with electronic suspension)), plus comfy ergos, lots of carrying capacity in their hard-shell saddlebags and torquey multi-cylinder engines. Curb weights are comparable.
The $3000 price gap between the FJR’s $15,890 MSRP and the Triumph SE’s $18,999 will be a critical element in deciding which is best. The FJR won our Sport-Touring Shootout 1.0, but the Triumph wasn’t available when we conducted that test. We can’t name a definitive winner until we compare them in head-to-head conditions. We’ll soon find out, but for now these two are tied for this year’s Sport-Touring Honorable Mention.