From a pure performance standpoint, the Ducati in the runner-up position would wipe the floor with the Suzuki here. But every year it’s worth reminding readers that these awards are about more than just outright performance. We also factor in the intangible factors, like what a certain model means for the brand or for the category, and the GT+ is a sign that the traditional, non-adventure-based, sport-tourers are still alive and kicking. There’s also just the shock and awe factor. As in, we expected Suzuki’s GSX-S1000GT+ to be a nice motorcycle – but we didn’t expect it to be this nice.
The first new platform for Suzuki in some time (which it shares with the GSX-S1000 naked bike), on paper you wouldn’t think there’s much to write home about. Once again, Suzuki has repurposed its K5 GSX-R1000 engine, wrapped some funky bodywork around it and put on saddlebags. But once again, Suzuki has been the model example for the saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In its new role as a sport-touring engine, Suzuki has thoroughly massaged the K5 engine to give a broad spread of usable power right from the bottom – and yet, somehow, it still gives a massive rush up top, too. The engine truly is a sweetheart, but it’s paired with a bi-directional quickshifter/autoblipper that is simply sublime. I said it in my First Ride review of the bike, and we said it again when we tested the GT+ against the Ninja 1000 SX, but it’s remarkable how much a little device like an autoblipper, when done right, can transform the riding experience. It’s done that here.
It truly is surprising because the handling and braking characteristics of the GT+ are on par with the rest of the class, and of course, having saddlebags and cruise control are must-haves in this category. They’re all great, easy to use, and make sport-touring a breeze.
But we just love that engine and autoblipper combination. So much so we’re naming the Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ Motorcycle.com’s Sport-Touring bike of 2022.
Whoa. That’s usually the first thing people say after riding the Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak. At least it’s what I said. Basically a Panigale V4 for people who recognize that even though age ain’t nothing but a number, the human body disagrees. If the mind is still young enough for a Panigale, but the body is not, the Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak is the golden ticket.
By virtue of its very name you know what kind of engine is lurking beneath you – and it’s a ferocious one when you want it to be. The V4 is the star of the show, but throw in the dry clutch, its distinctive sound, and the heavy clutch lever pull, and if it weren’t for the upright seating position, the senses would easily mistake the ride for a Panigale.
And it goes like one, too. It’s fast, it loves attacking corners thanks to its 17-inch wheels, and the stellar brakes (with red calipers!) will bring the action to a halt even faster than it gets there. Making sure you don’t kill yourself is a host of electronic rider aides that have made Ducati stand out in the industry as some of the best in the business.
But there’s another side to this equation: the touring aspect. We know the engine goes like stink, but for those times when you’re slabbing away en route to the fun roads, the new adaptive cruise control is there to take care of more of the boring stuff so you don’t have to. There are also provisions for saddlebags (unfortunately sold separately) and comfortable seating positions for both you *and* passenger. In this regard the Pikes Peak is not at all like the Panigale. Which is also what makes it worthy of a Sport-Touring award.
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