With a long list of upgrades over the last generation of Multistradas, this year’s ’Strada is pretty much all new for 2018. It gets an upgrade with the new Ducati Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) 1262cc engine, a new chassis, more advanced electronics, and an aesthetic update that includes new fairing panels and lighter, sportier looking wheels.
Yes, we just included the new 2017 Ducati Multistrada 950 in a little three-bike comparison test last week, where it finished less than one percentage point away from the win. Since then, I’ve had the chance to spend more time on the bike in my native habitat, and I can now reconfirm how right I was in the first place! As usual. Mostly.
How much do we like the Kawasaki Ninja 1000? We like it enough to unveil it today as our Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2017 Honorable Mention. In honor of that choice, we decided to take the wraps off the video review for the big Ninja so that people who don’t like to read as much as we do can still learn about all the cool ways that Kawasaki changed the bike. Although whole sections of the motorcycle remain mechanically the same, some electronic changes affect both power delivery and braking of the 2017 Ninja 1000.
Sport-touring motorcycles have a confounding job description. They need to be sporty and deliver plenty of performance capability while still managing to be comfortable enough for when the highway gets straight, flat, and boring. While both of our winners here lean towards the sporty side of the equation, they both manage to take the pain out of long days in the saddle while transporting us to distant locations with big smiles.
Whenever I first meet other motorcyclists and they find out what I do, they almost immediately say that it must be pretty cool to get to ride all the time. And I won’t lie. It is pretty cool, but there’s a lot of work associated with the job that most people don’t see. Most surprising to casual observers is the long hours spent in front of the keyboard that keeps us from riding as much as we wish we did. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes that you don’t see from your side of the screen. For my first MO Moto-Vlog entry, I thought I’d take you behind the scenes on a day-long video shoot where we spend an entire day just capturing the video for our quest to determine “ What’s the best sport-touring motorcycle of 2017?”
In an era in which adventure-styled motorcycles seem to be taking over the sport-touring class, the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS stands out as a great example of a traditional sport-tourer. Kawasaki has taken the heart of a sportbike and wrapped it with a package that can tackle almost any task a rider could want, from commuting to canyon scratching to touring to the occasional track day. Outfit it with the optional $1165 saddlebags, and you’ve got a mount that would be a great multi-state companion for less than $14,000.
Our most recent Sport-Touring test between the BMW S1000XR, KTM Super Duke GT, and MV Agusta Turismo Veloce was a fun one, as Sport-Touring rides usually are. Whenever you combine great roads with great friends and great motorcycles, the story usually writes itself. Sport-Touring is nothing new, of course, and our most recent test got us wondering what the old MO staff thought were great tourers back in the day. A look back through the archives dug up this, the Lightweight Tourers Comparison of 1996 between the Kawasaki Concours, BMW R1100RT, and Honda ST1100. Enjoy this look back at three great motorcycles, made to burn up miles.
Frankly, we at MO would not know that the biggest complaint among sport-touring riders, especially performance-minded ones, is tire life. That’s because we rarely put more than a couple thousand miles on any bike before it goes back to its maker. But we can see how tire life would be a real problem for big powerful beasts like FJR1300s and the sweet new KTM Super Duke GT – upon which I had the excellent fortune to sample Dunlop’s newest rubber upon.
EICMA and Intermot have come and gone and the question on most American consumers’ minds is which of the wonderful new models will be making their way to the U.S.? Today, Kawasaki answered their part of the question, confirming the ZX-10RR, Ninja 1000, Ninja 650, Z900, Z650 and the Versys-X 300 for the U.S. market.
Ducati introduced a new 937cc SuperSport, adding a new street-based sportbike to its roster to go alongside the more track-focused Panigale line. The SuperSport will be available in a base model for $12,995 and a higher-end S model for $14,795 which adds upgraded suspension and quickshifter. Ducati will also offer a choice of Sport or Touring packages.
Okay, this makes it three years in a row for BMW’s venerable RT, which actually isn’t all that venerable since it got the 1170cc oilhead Boxer just two years ago. Venerable, though, in that BMW just continues to build amazing motorcycles atop the shoulders of all the great ones that came before.
Since 1979 Metzeler has produced only motorcycle tires. This singular focus has yielded significant firsts. In 1978, the company created the first tubeless motorcycle tire. The first tire with transversal grooves rolled out of the Metzeler factory in 1982, and the first mass-production tire with a Kevlar belt came out a year later. The first rear tire with a 0° steel belt came in 1992, and four years later, the first set or radial tires with 0° steel belts was released in the form of the Metzeler ME Z4. The march continued in 2008 with the patent of Interact technology for the Roadtec Z6 Interact. Now, Metzeler has released the heir to the popular Roadtec Z8 Interact throne, the Metzeler Roadtec 01.
Yamaha released the first FJR1300 as a 2003 model and graced it with its most recent major update in 2013. A year after that overhaul, the FJR1300ES, with its cool electronically adjustable suspension was announced. For 2016 Yamaha has continued its process of refining this popular, established platform with some upgrades to modernize the FJR and address some owner requests.