It’s a hat-trick. Last year’s Sport-Touring winner, and this year’s Reader’s Choice Sport-Touring winner makes it three for three by also winning our 2015 selection for Best Sport-Tourer. We guess you could say it’s a foursome for BMW’s R1200RT if you include it winning our 2014 Sport-Touring Final SmackDown + Video.
The RT’s combination of comfort, protection, tech, storage and performance is unmatched in the Sport-Touring segment. The runner-up Ducati Multistrada DVT is a sportier choice for this segment, but as good as it is, the Duc lacks many of the niceties the BMW boasts. And with no other Sport-Touring entrants to challenge the BMW dominance the RT retains its crown for 2015.
The RT, starting at $17,650, disguises itself as a touring bike, but once underway, it makes its sporting intentions known. Light on its feet, the RT makes quick transitioning a breeze. Throw in technologies such as Hill Start Control for security when launching from a stop on an incline, or the Shift Assist Pro, which makes riding the RT quickly through a set tight switchbacks seem as though you’re riding an S1000RR, and you’ve one helluva sporty sport-tourer.
That’s DVT as in “Desmodromic Valve Timing.” Variable valve timing isn’t anything new in the world of internal combustion, but it’s rare in motorcycling and slightly unexpected on a Ducati. Turns out, though, that significantly broadening the already excellent 11-degree Testastretta V-Twin’s powerband, while increasing power by 7%, torque by 9% and fuel economy by 8% (according to Ducati) was a pretty genius thing to do.
Basically, though, the all-new engine just runs better and smoother throughout its newly widened powerband, with an even juicier midrange and cleaner fuelling. On top of that, valve-check interval are up to 18,000 miles, and maintenance frequency has been extended from 7,500 miles to 9,000 miles.
The revisions to the engine allowed Ducati to fit electronic cruise control to the redesigned Multi, which was the final item it needed to really compete with more traditional “sport tourers” like the R1200RT winner – especially when you spring for the Touring Pack and it’s 58-liter capacity hard bags, heated grips and centerstand.
Now, it’s sort of down to what you prefer; the BMW’s an awesome traveling bike, but the Multistrada’s considerably smaller and lighter, 62.4% sportier according to my calculations and about 90% more off-road capable, should it come to that.
Available as an “S” model with electronic suspension, or not, and with Enduro, Sport, Touring and Urban Pack options, the new Multistrada really is a bike for all seasons. Your base model in Red starts at $17,695, and spirals up to $21,294 for a White “S” Touring model.