Fall Tour Testers – rider thoughts

An addendum to Part 2 – what each rider thought of their particular steed.

title3.jpgWords: As specified. Pics: Larry Tate


In Part 2 we posted the collective thoughts of everyone who had ridden the three bikes to give a kind of collective result of how we thought the bikes fared.

We had also intended to add a section on what each person thought about the bike that they were responsible for (as in they picked up, dropped off and rode to and from the tour on).

However, we figured that it would be just too much to add another 750 words on top of what was already in part 2, so we’re adding them here in the On The Side section just in case you wanted even more!

Of course you do, who could ever get too much CMG? 


By Costa Mouzouris

Costa’s love affair with the RT started in Europe …

A couple of years ago I took a tour through Italy on an R1200RT and I fell in love with the bike. At the time, I was looking for a bike that could handle winding roads with grace, provide adequate weather protection (the tour was in mid-October), and carry a full load of luggage for two, as well as my better half as passenger.

The RT handled the task with ease, providing light, easily manageable handling. Its ESA suspension adjusted the ride with push-button ease, and I’ve said it elsewhere: the R1200RT has one of the best fairings in the business — even if not everyone finds it pretty.

Unlike the others, I liked the VFR’s auto-shifter. Yes, it needs some fine tuning, but its convenience and shifting performance are unmatched in the industry. It’s too bad that the VFR seems to be in some kind of motorcycling twilight zone, not quite full sport bike, not quite sport tourer. But give it a couple of cycles of development and it’ll find its place.


The Multistrada 1200S came very close to bumping the RT as my favourite mount. Everyone has already touched on its merits, and its ride modes must be experienced to be appreciated.

But while riding home alone through the Adirondacks, in cold, wet conditions, there was no other bike I’d have rather been on than the R1200RT.

I’m more likely to experience those conditions on a daily basis than track day stints, and its all-weather capability combined with sport-bike handling tipped the scale for me.

Ducati Multistrada 1200S Touring
By Steve Bond


The Multistrada is now true to its name.

Loosely translated, Multistrada means “many roads” and after a few days and 1,800 kilometres, it’s definitely as advertised.

There’s a better chance of me inviting Jean Chretien over for dinner than spending 20 large on a motorcycle but, if I ever inherited a few shekels, the ’Strada would be high on my list of “must haves.”

It does everything I need a motorcycle to do (including track days) and does it so bloody well, there’s no need to pore through accessory catalogues correcting factory shortcomings. Other than sawing an inch or two off the bars, maybe a wider screen and ordering up a top box, I’d leave it as is.


The Dash looks like “a trailer park shortly after a Tornado touched down …”

The digital dash looks like a trailer park shortly after a Kansas tornado touched down (there’s stuff everywhere) but 150 horsepower combined with Ohlins and comfy ergos trumps information overload every time.

The BMW surprised me with how good it was but track days aren’t in its future. I’ve done two full track days (Mosport and Roebling Road) on the VFR and, while it impressed the hell out of me with its stability and power, I couldn’t live with the ergos or quirky auto-shift tranny on a daily basis.

It’d never fit on the side covers but the 1200S should be re-named Molto Diverso Strade Tra Cui Giornate in Pista – “Many Different Roads Including Track Days.”

By Larry Tate


The VFR has so much going for it but it forgot to ask who it’s meant to be for.

Honda’s VFR1200FD left me with seriously mixed feelings. An absolute killer engine, a chassis to die for, fit and finish that Mercedes or Rolls-Royce would be proud of – and a riding position uncomfortable for long distances for four different riders ranging from five-foot-eight to six-foot-four.

Plus you need several thousand dollars to make the bike into the sport-tourer it’s apparently supposed to be. And I found the engine vibes that were “engineered in for character” put my hands to sleep after half an hour or so. WTF?

I don’t see the point of the auto transmission, although I got to like the paddle shifters a lot. Give me the paddles with an override clutch lever for slow-speed work in a gravel parking lot and I’d love it.


Larry would go for the standard box’d version … or a CBF600.

But if I wanted a VFR1200, I’d get the six-speed and save the 10 kilos or so and $1,700, which I could then spend on some of the accessories that should be standard on a sport-touring bike anyway, like heated grips and saddlebags.

But for me, it’s a technical device to be admired, not a bike to love. Frankly, I enjoyed my time on the CBF600 pack mule more than my time on the VFR. The CBF had nearly everything our testers had except a monster engine — for half the price. That makes it a pretty special bike and for my hard-earned cash I’d buy the CBF over any of our actual testers.

But if money doesn’t matter I’ll take the BMW home, thank you very much.

Join the conversation!