Top Motorcycles for the Touring Season (Part 2: Sport-Tourers)

  • It’s sport-tourers for Part 2 of the Top Motorcycles for the Touring Season.

  • Sport-tourers are fast bikes that are also practical.

  • The appeal of sport-tourers are practicality, comfort and some good speed.

In Part 1 of Top Motorcycles for the Touring Season, we’ve covered dual-purpose bikes. (Please click here for the article.) If you could recall, dual-purpose bikes are called such since they could be ridden on both the road and off-road.

In Part 2 here, let’s take a look at sport-tourers, motorcycles that combine the speed and handling of sportbikes with the practicality of touring and dual-purpose motorcycles.


There aren’t specific lightweight sport-tourers in the sub-400 to 500cc segment. In this case, we could call any bike a sport-tourer unless they are dual-purpose bikes such as the Kawasaski Versys-X and BMW G 310 GS. Case in point is the Kapcai Touring Malaysia group who equip their Yamaha Y15ZRs with large GIVI top cases and go touring. Another great example is Anita Yusof who toured around the world on a Yamaha FZ150i. Let’s proceed to the middleweight section.


There are so many bikes that occupy this segment but we’ve picked a few.


The Multistrada 950 was born from Ducati’s decision to introduce a range of bikes that are more affordable and accessible to a wider range of riders. Consequently, the 950 is bereft of high technologies such as the semi-active suspension and single-sided swingarm of its 1200cc and 1260 brothers. But that only means that the 950 is lighter and a joy to ride without needing to think about setting the electronics.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, 90o V-Twin
Displacement 947 cc
Maximum power 111 bhp (83 kW) @ 9000 RPM
Maximum torque 96 Nm @ 7750 RPM
Seat height 840 mm
Dry Weight 205 kg
Fuel capacity 20 litres

The Versys 650 has gone through many cosmetic changes with each generation, although the engine and hardware stayed the same. The current model’s design follows the distinctive look of all current Kawasaki motorcycles. The 648cc parallel-Twin is torquey and has enough grunt up top for a spirited run. The windscreen and bodywork protect the rider from windblast well enough while the long-travel suspension is comfortable for most applications. Speaking of the suspension, it features a remote preload adjuster and the seat height isn’t too tall for most riders. There are plenty of cargo solutions in the market for this bike.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, parallel-Twin
Displacement 649 cc
Maximum power 68.4 bhp (51 kW) @ 8500 RPM
Maximum torque 64 Nm @ 7000 RPM
Seat height 840 mm
Kerb weight 214 kg
Fuel capacity 21 litres

The Turismo Veloce 800 came about when AMG pumped in some capital into MV Agusta, and signaled a small but significant change of direction in terms of product development and features. Hence, the Turismo Veloce was the first MV Agusta to feature a fully LCD instrument panel which includes all the pertinent data. Scrolling, instead of rummaging, through the menus was also thankfully painless. The suspension was also made suppler and the Lusso model includes large-size panniers. MV Agusta had also managed to get rid of the snatchy throttle. The bike still looks beautiful after a couple of years.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-Triple
Displacement 798 cc
Maximum power 110 bhp (81 kW) @ 10150 RPM
Maximum torque 80 Nm @ 7100 RPM
Seat height 850 mm
Dry weight 191 kg
Fuel capacity 21.5 litres

The V-Strom 650’s engine has been in circulation for more than 15 years and it’s more popular than its 1000cc brethren. It’s because the 650 has a smoother and more linear power. Compared to the Kawasaki Versys 650, the V-Strom 650 is larger hence wider and longer seats. The suspension is also rather plush. It goes by carrying out its duties quietly to stage of being blamed as “bland.”

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, 90o V-Twin
Displacement 645 cc
Maximum power 66.6 bhp (49 kW) @ 8800 RPM
Maximum torque 60 Nm @ 6400 RPM
Seat height 835 mm
Wet Weight 216 kg
Fuel capacity 20 litres

The Tracer is the sport-touring version of the MT-09 naked bike, hence it is light, fast and quick on its feet. The bodywork does an adequate job of keeping wind off the rider’s torso, while the large-sized LCD panel is lifted from the Super Tenere. The long-travel suspension is quite soft.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-Triple
Displacement 847 cc
Maximum power 114 bhp (84.6 kW) @ 10000 RPM
Maximum torque 87.5 Nm @ 8500 RPM
Seat height 845 – 860 mm
Wet Weight 207 kg
Fuel capacity 18 litres


We’ve come to the top of the crop. These are the Concordes should we compare them to airliners.

BMW S 1000 XR

With the engine derived from the S 1000 RR superbike, the S 1000 XR is BMW’s weapon to attack the big bore sport-touring segment. It’s got everything here including the ESA semi-active suspension, ride modes, traction control, and panniers. That inline-Four is an ultra-flexible power unit: It’ll pull hard from just below 60 km/h in sixth gear all the way to its top speed without batting an eyelid.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-Four
Displacement 999 cc
Maximum power 165 bhp (121 kW) @ 11000 RPM
Maximum torque 112 Nm @ 9250
Seat height 840 mm
Wet weight 228 kg
Fuel capacity 20 litres
BMW R 1200 RT

For a little bit more character compared to the uber machine S 1000 XR, the R 1200 RT fits the bill nicely. It shares that same wasser-Boxer of the R 1200 GS which means torque everywhere. The RT is also well-appointed in its instrumentation and creature comforts, as well as the suspension which is again similar to GS’s. Those large panniers are… er… large and you could fit almost anything in them.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, Boxer-Twin
Displacement 1170 cc
Maximum power 125 bhp (92 kW) @ 7750 RPM
Maximum torque 125 Nm @ 6500 RPM
Seat height 805 – 825 mm
Wet weight 274 kg
Fuel capacity 25 litres

Ducati launched the Multistrada 1260 to compete with the other monsters in the segment. (As if the 1200 wasn’t fast enough.) Well, it wasn’t about speed, said Ducati; they fitted the 1262cc DVT engine from the XDiavel to address the flat spot at 5500 RPM of the 1200 DVT engine. Surely enough, there’s an 18% torque increase at that RPM. The swingarm has also been lengthened by a significant 48mm for more stability when carrying a passenger and cargo. The S model includes a bi-directional quickshifter, Ducati Link App and electronic suspension as well as colour-coded luggage.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, 90o V-Twin
Displacement 1262 cc
Maximum power 156 bhp (116.2 kW) @ 9500 RPM
Maximum torque 129.5 Nm @ 7500 RPM
Seat height 825 – 845 mm
Dry weight 209 kg
Fuel capacity 20 litres

The GTR found massive popularity in Malaysia and the world over. It’s fast – having an engine derived from the Ninja ZX-14 has that effect – yet comfortable. The seating position is neutral behind that large nose and tall screen. There is plenty of storage space, too.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-Four
Displacement 1362 cc
Maximum power 153 bhp @ 8800 RPM
Maximum torque 138.3 Nm @ 6200 RPM
Seat height 815 mm
Wet weight 313 kg
Fuel capacity 22 litres

Dubbed “The Missile” during its launch, this bike is the epitome of leaning towards sport in the sport-touring equation. Its super-powered by the engine of the 1290 Super Duke R, punching out 173 bhp and 144 Nm of torque. But what makes the 1290 Super Duke GT such a great bike is how the bike “assists” you in becoming a better rider through the power mode, traction control and semi-active suspension strategies. But it isn’t all about speed on the GT as it’s equally docile when ridden at sane speeds in urban settings. This is one bike for riders who wish to get there quickly and have more time to enjoy himself.

Engine type Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, 75o V-Twin
Displacement 1301 cc
Maximum power 173 bhp (129 kW) @ 9500 RPM
Maximum torque 144 Nm @ 6750 RPM
Seat height 835 mm
Wet weight 228 kg
Fuel capacity 23 litres

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

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