Perhaps what I love the most about the English language is its flexibility, how you can bump disparate words together and create something with an entirely new meaning. When it comes to motorcycles, the words sport and touring bring to mind two very different kinds of motorcycles. Sporting motorcycles place an emphasis on handling, acceleration, and braking, while touring bikes tend to focus on cargo capacity, rider comfort, and long-range capability. Butt those words together, as in sport-touring motorcycle, and you get a spectrum of bikes that ranges from sportbikes with bags to tourers that can corner better than you think they should. The reality of sport-touring motorcycles is that most favor the middle ground, compromising both sporting capability and touring chops, to create a supremely flexible motorcycle. What happens when you throw a third word into the mix? What would you expect from a sport-touring cruiser? Well, the folks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have done their level best to define this category of motorcycle with the 2022 Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST.
Honda Europe released a teaser video across its social media channels for what is expected to be the NT1100, a sport-tourer based on the Africa Twin. According to the video, the 2022 Honda NT1100 will be revealed on Oct. 21. As of this writing, American Honda hasn’t take part in the teaser campaign, but we suspect there will be a separate launch window should the NT1100 be brought to the U.S.
There are lots of motorcycles trying to get your sport-touring attention. Somewhere in that space Ducati is fighting to grab some attention, drawing upon a name from its past in hopes to lure those who may recognize it. The name, of course, is the Ducati Supersport, and though we’ve featured the bike on the MO pages before – most recently during our staff trip to Laguna Seca – we’ve only ever tested the S model Supersport, complete with Öhlins suspension and the quickshift up and down feature.
There I was last Wednesday night in Stevenson, Washington, on the northern bank of the mighty Columbia River via the excellent hospitality of Yamaha for the launch of the new Tracer 900 GT. I was slurping a fine glass of the local vino when I overheard Greg the Rider magazine guy talking about riding home to SoCal on the new bike, via the Cascades and other places.
Yamaha has filed a trademark application in Europe for the name “Tracer GT,” suggesting a new touring model is on the way. The application was filed April 19 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office for use of the name for “motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, three-wheeled motorcycles, three-wheeled scooters, three-wheeled mopeds and parts and fittings for all the aforesaid goods.”
We’re going back six years for this year’s Church feature, to the 2009 Triumph Sprint ST. Right around this time Sport-Touring rigs were starting to usher in the electronic age, with bikes like the 2010 Kawasaki Concours getting traction control and ABS. Meanwhile, the Sprint ST was trudging along, relatively archaic in its tech features. But does that necessarily make it a bad motorcycle? Not according to Pete Brissette. Here he is, explaining the virtues of Triumph’s aging – but still relevant – Sport Tourer.
With the news of Erik Buell Racing closing its doors, this week’s Church feature pays homage to one of Erik Buell’s most popular models: the Buell Ulysses. In this particular case, it’s the 2008 Buell Ulysses XB12XT. Separating the XT from the standard X version of the Uly is its sport-oriented tires and slightly tweaked suspension to suit riders who prefer twisty pavement to dirt roads. Penning this story is MO’s Pete Brissette, who might have left the MO crew a fews years back, but is always welcome along these parts. Read along as he goes for a ride aboard the new, sportier Ulysses. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and Erik Buell, if you’re reading this, we hope to see you back on your feet soon. Lastly, be sure to check out our photo gallery for more pictures of the Ulysses XB12XT.
What’s the fastest way to convert your sportbike into a sport tourer? Tank bag. A nice tank bag stuffed with clothing atop the tank is the effective equivalent of putting a big pillow right where you can lean forward on it and take most of the weight off your wrists as you cruise along. Bliss. And a magnetic tank bag you can instantly whip on and off is best of all, as well as being sweet compensation for having an old-school bike with a steel gas tank.
Seems like forever we’ve been waiting for the new R1200RT. A year has passed since we rode the Honda ST1300, Kawasaki Concours 14 and Yamaha FJR1300 to Death Valley and back for our 2013 Sport-Touring Shootout. Since then we’ve been in a holding pattern to take the winner of that shootout, the FJR, and put it up against Triumph’s Trophy SE and the new RT. Well, now that we’ve ridden the new R1200RT the shootout with its contemporaries is on-deck.
It’s big, it’s heavy, and it’s undeniably BMW. In this week’s Church of MO, we’re going back to 1998 to see how Billy Bartels got along with BMW’s autobahn burner, the K1200RS. Today the K bikes are known as sport-touring machines known more for their touring abilities, but capable of handling a twisty road or two if needed. Before the K12 however, the K bikes had a reputation for being big porkers with incredible reliability being its main redeeming quality. Truth be told, K bikes are still rather portly, but BMW has found a way to turn that into a positive. Read on and you’ll see that Bartels agrees.