Taking a moment to ensure that two plus two is indeed four.
It’s 4:00 am and my coma-like sleep is interrupted by the thunderous tone of my alarm clock. I stir, and slowly start my robotic-like movements. It is the 8th morning like this and each day gets a little harder to wake up. I know what I have to do, just crawl out of my sleeping bag and put on my riding clothes, then pack up my tent, get on my bike and head to the starting gate.
As the subject of this test, we decided to compare two of the newer players on the adventure touring scene: the Ducati Multistrada and the Buell Ulysses. We have already published a test of the Ulysses, but as we rode it along with the Ducati, it seemed only appropriate to use it as a comparison for the Multistrada.
In part one we gave each test rider the opportunity to put in their two cents about the scoot that they had picked up and were effectively in charge of. In part two, let’s take a closer look at how the scoots stacked up against each other.
Which bikes do you put three unknowns onto? The last thing (contrary to track record) that we want at CMG is to crash bikes, and the idea of a gaggle of pumped up and excited new test riders on anything fast and sporty spelled trouble.
The shock of seeing the MT-01 doesn’t lessen when you examine it more closely. What’s with the huge air-cooled pushrod engine mated to a modern aluminum beam frame? The high-spec fully adjustable forks and shock unit? Then there’s the two huge bazooka-like mufflers exit way high – above the turn signals high – and the snaking contortion of the exhausts is a pipe-builder’s nightmare.
Has it really been 20 years since the CBR600 F1 heralded a new dawn in the world of 600cc sportbikes? The answer would be yes, but the original F1 — and for that matter, most of the resultant F series — managed to combine leading-edge performance with reasonable comfort, and good street manners to boot.
Taking on the likes of Honda’s venerable ST1300, Yamaha’s acclaimed FJR1300 or BMW’s luxurious K1200GT is by no means an easy feat, but after a couple of days in the saddle of Kawasaki’s all-new 2008 Concours 14, I can vouch for the fact that the class now counts one more option, and a truly impressive one at that.