Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2023

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2023: Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+

Without a doubt, Evans should be the one writing this as not only did he attend the bike’s press intro in Idaho, he also rode the bike 950 miles in two days, crossing three states on his way home. And that number doesn’t even include the 150 miles ridden during the launch itself. The 890cc CP3 three-cylinder engine hasn’t changed from last year, and it’s one we’ve long thoroughly enjoyed, so Evans was eager to spend some serious time with it on his multi-state journey home. Its combination of punchy torque, fun top-end, and wonderful sound makes it something everyone can enjoy.

The real kicker, however, is Yamaha’s integration of Adaptive Cruise Control and its Unified Braking System – the first of its kind in the world. Until now, these features were only found in sport-touring rigs costing significantly more. With the Tracer 9 GT+, Yamaha has brought this tech closer to the masses – and it works great.

Chances are you already know what adaptive cruise control is, but Unified Braking is more than just linking the front and rear brakes together. It’s linked to the semi-active suspension to minimize chassis pitch according to the ride mode. More cleverly, Unified Braking takes advantage of the new radar technology to monitor how much brakes you’re using, how far away the object is in front of you, and if it deems there’s not enough brake pressure applied, it will automatically increase the pressure for you, right up to the ABS threshold. Fortunately for those of you who prefer to operate the brakes yourself, Unified Brakes are only active when activated in the menu screens. So, yes, you can turn it off.

Nonetheless, this is pretty cool tech not seen anywhere else or at any price point. Combine this value and tech with comfortable ergos, nice storage capacity, a great quickshifter, and even more refined electronics and you can see why, at the end of Evans’ multi-thousand word review he closes it by simply saying “I’m a huge fan.”

Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2023 Runner-Up: Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello S

Simply saying Moto Guzzi is introducing an all-new model is enough to generate a lot of talk. For a company rooted in tradition and heritage, and one of only three manufacturers that have been in continuous production for over 100 years, there’s a fine line to tread when coming out with a new model. You have to please the traditionalists while also appealing to those with an eye towards modernity and the future. It’s impossible to please everyone, but the V100 Mandello manages to do an admirable job.

So, how does the V100 appease the loyalists? Well, look at it. Even though it’s a new motorcycle, there’s no mistaking it as anything other than a Moto Guzzi. Much of that signature look comes down to the transverse V-Twin – a Moto Guzzi staple. But this isn’t any V-Twin, this is Guzzi’s first liquid-cooled engine. Liquid-cooling allows for a compact engine, while still being able to fit its big 96mm pistons (stroke is 72mm). This amounts to 1042cc of displacement with four valves, dual overhead cams (no more pushrods!), and finger followers. There’s a lot more tech inside the engine, but you’ll just have to read Evans’ review to get all the details. What’s important is that it pumps out 115 hp, 77 lb-ft of torque, and seemingly hasn’t lost any of that Guzzi character.

Another step towards modernity is the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension (on S models), and Brembo brakes. The real kicker, however, is the V100’s adaptive aerodynamics – the first of its kind in the world. Depending on the ride mode, a pair of wings on the outer edges of the fuel tank will automatically deploy at speeds ranging from 19-59 mph to protect the rider from the wind blast and/or weather. Sure, a lot of you may say it’s a gimmick, but Evans found the tech to have its advantages.

Finally, the V100 is the first Guzzi with an IMU. Fittingly, the IMU brings with it all the electronic aids you’ve come to expect. The only issue Evans had with the bike was abrupt shifting in either direction between the first two gears when using the quickshifter. Otherwise, the V100 Mandello delivered the kind of ride and sensations one expects from Moto Guzzi – which is a good thing as the company prepares for its next 100 years.

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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2 of 23 comments
  • Jason Jason on Dec 11, 2023

    Hasn't Harley Davidson had linked braking in it's touring line for over a decade?

  • John Stockman John Stockman on Dec 12, 2023

    Damn, love that Moto Guzzi! Something about its looks does it for me. The Yamaha looks more comfortable if your knees don't bend well like mine. Great choices!