Honda ST1300 ABS
The best sport-tourer, as it turns out, is also the simplest. The ST1300 isn't the strongest bike here. There's no ground-breaking technology or gadgetry here, and it's not exactly sexy, either. So how does the Honda come out on top? Very simply, it covers more ground in less time, with no excess effort, annoyance or discomfort to distract you from the ride. Unlike our other two contestants, the Honda feels familiar after one trip around the block. The roomy, cab-forward riding position makes it feel impossibly compact for a 731-pound motorcycle, while the clich-smooth clutch and gearbox make penetrating the inevitable urban/suburban congestion highly simple. Thus the star of this show is Honda's big V-four. Fundamentally unchanged since its major makeover in 2003, the ST generates a flat exhaust note that alternatively impersonates the Jetsons' family sedan and the outboard-motor-from-hell. It also generates a stream of ruthlessly efficient thrust from roughly 1300 rpm above idle to the relatively conservative 8500-rpm redline.