Best of Both Worlds: Canyon Carving and Freeway Competent

Last week, we had an awesome discussion about the best performance motorcycle for the street. We heard a ton of different opinions, but one major theme we noticed was people making sacrifices in outright performance for a bike that could do a little distance. Here are the bikes we’d choose to get you from a ride on the highway to the canyons you need to carve.

What’s the difference between these bikes and the absolute best bikes for street performance you ask? These bikes add a little power and a little weight, making them geared better for sitting on the freeway and they are also slightly more stable too. A KTM Duke 690 is one of the best thing’s I’ve ridden on a twisty road (though our reader Bammerburn’s 636 looks pretty awesome too) but the vibes of the KTM’s single cylinder, or high pegs of the 636 make them uncomfortable for long stints on the freeway or after sitting on them for a few hours. The bikes recommended here split the difference. They offer more comfort for freeway rides, but still carry the power to perform like you want them to on the twisties.

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2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS - $11,999
Kawasaki’s 1000cc upright sport bike makes 140 horsepower, 82 pound-feet of torque, and comes with ABS and traction control. It should stop there, but if you need more convincing, it gets higher spec brakes than Suzuki’s Hayabusa or GSX-R1000. This bike is incredibly easy to ride around town, touring, or riding fast on a fun road. RA readers Jeremyobryan and Bob both felt like it did double-duty better than anything else, and we tend to agree with them.

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2013 Triumph Speed Triple R - $15,999
The Speed Triple (and Street Triple) R was the choice of many for best street performance bike. We went with other options as we’d rather be on something like the Ducati Hypermotard SP or KTM Duke for pure twisty riding as long as it was close, but both those bikes require aftermarket additions to make them capable of anything more than brief stints on the freeway. The Speed Triple R, with its upgraded brakes and suspension, and that incredible smooth and 133 hp and 82 lb.-ft. of torque makes sitting on the freeway a breeze and wringing it out on tough roads incredibly rewarding.

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2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200S Touring - $19,995
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there really isn’t anything that is all-around as good as the Ducati Multistrada. Semi-active suspension, multiple throttle configurations, ABS, and traction control, paired with a 155 hp engine delivering 92 lbs.-ft. of well spread out torque make this Multistrada very tailor-able to you needs. It’s one of those bikes that out performs your expectations and we have a hard time seeing a reason to take anything else. Watch Jamie Robinson ride it around Spain here.

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2013 KTM 990 SMT - $13,999
We’ve covered our love for supermoto’s time and time again, here at RideApart, so a bike called a “Supermoto Touring,” or “Supermoto Travel” depending on who you listen to, seems like it would fit the bill pretty perfectly. If we’re being honest, we actually haven’t had a chance to ride the 990 SMT yet, but it sits shoulder to shoulder on a very short list of bikes we’d want to own personally. Reports put the gas mileage in the low 30 mpg’s which, while we don’t love to see, is probably something that we would put up with for that beautiful motor and KTM quality component setup. Anyone want to bring their SMT by for a spin?

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