Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2019
Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2019: Ducati Multistrada 950 S
When I think back to how disappointed I was when I first read the improvements announced for the 2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 S, I have to laugh to myself. The big changes seemed to focus on the Bosch 6-axis IMU (inertial measurement unit) and all the automatic suspension, braking and power adjustments it offered. While this is good news, it was hardly the press release that would indicate the bike won the MOBO for Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of the Year. But here we are.
2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 S Review – First round
Yes, some of you will be hesitant about the appearance of the 950 S’s adventure tourer, as well as the 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels – with Pirelli Scorpion Trail II fitted, nothing less. While the Duke can do a few light off-road tasks, he’s clearly more focused on the cobblestone part of the world. And the more winding, the better.
For starters, you have the 937cc Testastretta 11 Â°, a decidedly modern Euro 4 engine that delivers 113 horsepower at 9,000 rpm. The torque figures are just as cheerful, 71 lb-ft delivered at 7,750 rpm. A Ride-by-Wire throttle means riding modes and other niceties, like Ducati Quick Shift (both up and down). While the engine can be spun, sportbike-like, at high revs, the 950 S seemed most comfortable on the ample torque curve.
Now mix up the Skyhook suspension, which constantly adjusts the rebound and compression damping settings in a semi-active fashion to optimize the vehicle’s balance. With a healthy 6.7 inches of travel at both ends, the goal is to keep the chassis attitude consistent by monitoring and adjusting the shoulder straps to match road and rider inputs. The Brembo M4-32 monobloc radial calipers were perfectly suited to their role on this bike.
That brings us to why we are here with the MOBO Sport-Touring. The Ducati Multistrada 950 S is more than capable of putting sport in your touring – and then not being in a bad mood if you encounter a gravel road or two. Yes, to be a good touring bike you will need to have the Touring Pack installed for your center stand, heated grips and saddlebags. Ultimately, however, the Ducati Multistrada 950 S is the most versatile and capable sport touring motorcycle we have sampled this year and deserves the best sport touring motorcycle MOBO.
Finalist for Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2019: Yamaha Niken GT
Once again, we end up with an unusual sport touring bike vying for the awards. Only this time, it is the unique frontal that defines the Yamaha Niken GT apart from other sports tourism rates. As the Fazer 900 GT (who was the Vice-champion of the best sport-tourism 2018) to which the Niken is so closely related, sport-touring chops are part of the motorcycle’s DNA.
2019 Yamaha Niken GT Review – First Round
We are not going to beat around the bush. The reason the Niken GT is here is because of the front end and what it brings confidence and security to sport touring. When you travel, you can’t always choose the type of weather you are going to experience. The Niken’s two-wheeled front end provides more traction in all driving conditions, but is more noticeable when grip is limited, such as in the rain or in the rain when driving through tarmacs. When one wheel loses traction, the other is there as an immediate backup, saving your bacon. When road grip is optimal, the Niken behaves like your regular old single-track motorcycle. It steers like the real one, but it will elicit curious glances from the uninitiated.
And that’s kind of the goal of the Niken. In almost every way, this is a motorcycle, not a tricycle. It turns out he has three wheels. If you live – or visit regularly – an area that receives frequent rain, the Niken GT may be the mode of travel you are looking for. However, there is a big fly in the ointment. The saddlebags are neither really lockable nor waterproof. This is a glaring oversight in a motorcycle that has bad weather performance as one of its main selling points. Even with this mistake, the Yamaha Niken GT has what it takes to win the second MOBO award for Best Sport Touring 2019.