Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2013

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

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.

Read More:
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring Review
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring Vs. 2013 Triumph Explorer – Video
2013 Ducati Multistrada Models

2010 Oddball Sport-Touring Shootout: Ducati Multistrada Vs Honda VFR1200F Vs Kawasaki Z1000
How The 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200S’ Skyhook Suspension Works
2010 Ducati Multistrada Review

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 S port-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.

Read More:
2013 Triumph Trophy SE Review
2013 Triumph Trophy SE Preview
2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer Review
2013 Yamaha FJR1300A Review
2013 Sport-Touring Shootout 1.0 – Video

Best of 2013

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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  • Bryan McGowan Bryan McGowan on Aug 29, 2013

    I can not agree with this AT ALL! Do these guys even ride or compare the bike FAIRLY to other bikes in it's class? Sure Ducati is known as the "ferrari" of motorcycles, but that is just it, it's a very high maintenance bike that is made to run short trips. It's a neat looking bike and I am sure is as light as it's previous bikes. Ask any true long distance biker though, and they will tell you that they feel more comfortable with some weight on the ground. I am not biased to any brand really, but as a lifelong rider of over 30 years, I can see where Ducati would dominate the sport bike or racing bike division, but I am not so sure about this one.

  • Eric Lessard Eric Lessard on Aug 30, 2013

    Sorry Bryan, I have ridden my Multistrada Stouring 2013 19 000 kilometers (12 000) miles during a five week road trip this summer across the USA... NOTHING I've ever ridden as fun, comfy,versatile motorcycle. I have been riding 20 plus years, owned over 15 machines, I have never ridden a bike with such a suspension, may you ride it smooth pace mode or hard sporty side. I do agree that for once Ducati has built a bike that is worth first place. Outside of an oil change each 7500 miles, no big maintenance job is required before the 15000 miles mark. So far the bike has got no problems, runs great and is a pure joy to ride on. The Multistrada is built for versatily, and long trips. 500 miles a day is not an issue, it's just plain fun.