By John Burns
Hah, I’ve drawn an easy holiday assignment here, since we really barely did any multi-bike comparisons in 2019. Not sure why? Probably because the traditional “shootout” takes up a lot of manpower and man-hours (read, $$$) – things we have less of in the current era than in days gone by. Also, is it just me, or are there a lot more new motorcycles coming out lately than in years’ past? It seems like the whole MO crew is so busy spanning the globe to bring you new model introductions, there’s barely time to gather a bunch of like models to compare back home before the new-model cycle starts all over again.
I think the #1 reason we do fewer comparos, though, is that now there always needs to be a video as well as a print story – and that makes what used to be a mad sprint race across the countryside much more of an endurance slog. Setting up cameras and having to form complete sentences extemporaneously in the hot sun is more like work, less like fun.
There’s no finer example than our midsummer escape to Laguna Seca for World Superbikes and a track day, in which we performed a sort of pseudo-comparison among dissimilar motorcycles that was pretty fun in retrospect but wound up being a 16-hour day in the saddle on the return leg.
It was all worth it in the end, though, when we threw it open to the MO public to determine the winner: You all picked the saddlebag-less, 31-mpg Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory as the best “sport-tourer”. So why bother?
Maybe it’s best when we keep it simple like we did in May comparing Kawasaki’s excellent new Z400 to our perennial favorite KTM Duke 390.