‘Buy a stunner this summer’
Summer is on the way, bringing with it trackdays and touring trips. So what to buy? Everyone salivates over sportsbikes but, let’s be honest, some are a literal pain, especially if your 40s are a distant memory. What you really want is a sportsbike in a different set of clothes. A nice seat, more upright riding position and a comfy fairing, all combined with a ballistic engine. That’s why BMW produced the S1000XR. This sort of bike is a fairly recent phenomenon and there aren’t many used options if you don’t want to spend a fivefigure sum. Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 is one and my brother bought one recently, for all the reasons listed above. Suzuki’s GSF1250 Bandit is another such machine, but it’s a bit, well, built down to a price. Yamaha never went down this route with the R1 and the latest effort is more super-naked than comfy sportsbike. And I’ve never seen a Fireblade engined sportstourer either (they had the VFR for that). Top of the tree, for value for money, is the Ducati ST4S. Ok, so it’s getting on a bit, but it is still a barnstormer. It’s fundamentally a 996 built for baby boomers and it’s ridiculously underpriced. They sold the last new ones for around six-and-a-half grand, and used prices are now moving up. Three grand will still buy you a 30,000-miler with luggage and that essential service history. Oh, and it’s pretty reliable. Too good to be true? Not this time.