Sport Touring bikes are probably the best all-around bikes out there. A Sport Tourer is designed to handle well, move quickly, over long distance comfort and typically storage. Their agility makes them at home around town and their power and handling make them great long-range options. Speaking of options, there are a legion of them to choose from when it comes to Sport Tourers too, and most of them fall in at a different part of the word – from “Sport” to “Touring”.
Take for example this 2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 graciously provided by Joe Askins and the gang over at OffRoad Express… It is definitely more on the Sport side of the equation if you ask me. Breathtaking power, superb handling and tight ergonomics make for a bike equally at home at the track as the blacktop. Sure it has great big saddlebags for storage, and an electronically adjustable fairing – but it’s got a set of cojones that rival those on a dedicated Sport Bike. Standard ABS, superb traction control and excellent linked braking make the bike feel extremely safe and secure, instilling confidence to the rider. I love ABS on this type of bike, although I do wish that Kawasaki had allowed the rider to completely shut if off given the right situation. On the other hand, it’s terrific that those linked brakes come in two modes, so that you can choose how much control you want over what wheel brakes when.
The bike also has excellent heated grips, a very readable display screen and as I mentioned excellent ergonomics. At first I complained about the location of the controls for the grips – they are on a dial mounted off to the side. Granted you have to hunt for the dial if you want to change on the fly, but they work so well that you will soon get used to it and set things up in advance. The display screen is clear and readable as well, delivering the information you need at an easy glance. As far as the ergos go, I felt like I could ride this thing all day and still be able to enjoy myself once I got to my destination.
The only thing I have to warn you about (he says with a grin) is the power. This bike really is a monster. When you twist the throttle it GOES. Period. Whatever gear you are in is the right gear, but a little down shift and you’ll feel like you just got shot out of a cannon. With many other bikes this kind of power can be a challenge, but the Concours does everything it can to keep you right in the zone, and comfy cozy regardless of speed.
I would strongly suggest testing one of these out if you are looking for a great all-around bike – you can form your own opinion at Off-Road Express West on Peach just South of 90. Greg took care of me and he was a terrific guy – very informative about the bike and willing to talk about all of my options.
Good luck and ride safe,