Three of the best motorbikes to get you out on the highway

Prepare for a summer of motoring freedom and fun with a new motorbike. Chris Carter reports.

Make the Triumph Trident your first big bike

The Triumph Trident 660 is being pitched as an ideal first “big bike”, says John Hogan for SuperBike magazine. “It combines an intimidating amount of power with an incredibly well-balanced chassis that can cope with anything you choose to throw at it.” The suspension is simple yet high quality and the bike is “great fun to ride”, handling well even in heavy rain and at high altitudes, where power is sapped and ice a danger. “If you’re new to big bikes, you’ll have fun with the speed while you learn lots about managing bigger bikes in the twisty bits.” The “super soft” traction control is the “star of the show” here. It teaches you how to ride safely by being a “gentle hand holder” more than something that “smacks you about a bit. It cares about the rider and that’s nice”. 

Price: £7,195. Engine: 660cc, liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline three-cylinder. Power: 80 bhp at 10,250 rpm. Torque: 47 lb ft at 6,250 rpm. Top speed: 135 mph. Contact: triumphmotorcycles.co.uk.

Ducati’s new Multistrada – a civilised beast

Ducati Multistrada V4S motorbike

Ducati Multistrada V4S motorbike

Press the start button on Ducati’s new Multistrada V4S and the engine comes alive, “not with a lumping big V-twin shudder, but the busy, rustling burble of a pair of them, firing as two 579cc V-twins side-by-side in quick succession”, says Simon Hargreaves in Bike magazine. On a clear and crisp afternoon in Ducati’s Italian home of Bologna, the V4 “slides into traffic with a hand-tailored ease. Ducati have been civilising their big V-twins for years, but this is another level of silkiness”. Moving into the surrounding hills, the V4 “continues to astonish, mixing pulsating character with a cascade of power”. The clouds threaten rain, “but the Ducati is safe, secure and confident; no undue see-sawing on the long-travel suspension under braking, no tail-heavy squatting at the back on the gas”. The result is a much smoother ride. “The new V4 is a major, and deeply impressive, forward move in pretty much every area: engine, ride quality, steering, durability, technology, and comfort. Molto bene.” 

Price: £18,565 (£20,345 for the V4S model). Engine: 1,158cc, 16-valve DOHC 90° V-four. Power: 170bhp at 10,500 rpm. Torque: 92 lb ft @ 8,750 rpm. Top speed: 155 mph. Contact: ducati.com.

The Zero SR/S – a two-wheeled Tesla

Zero SR/S motorbike

Zero SR/S motorbike

The Zero SR/S zero-emissions sports bike is made by a Californian start-up that’s out to disrupt makers that have been in the market for decades, says Stephen Dobie for Top Gear. Just think of it as the Tesla of bikes “without the Twitter meltdowns”. The SR/S may have a superbike aesthetic, but its performance is “somewhat calmer”. Its range on a full charge is 109 miles. You can expect more in town, “much less if you’re wringing its neck on a country road”. There are no clutch and gears to worry about, and “you’ll whizz almost silently away with just a twitch of your right hand on the throttle”. Cleverest of all are the Zero’s riding modes. “You effectively choose your own power output and top speed, and therefore difficulty level,” which is great for those new to motorbikes. “I loved it.”

Price: £19,590. Motor: 100% electric powertrain. Top speed: 124 mph. Contact: zeromotorcycles.com.

Recommended

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet
Inflation

UK inflation is at a 30-year high and it hasn’t peaked yet

UK inflation has hit 5.4% - its highest in 30 years. And it could be heading higher. John Stepek explains what it means for you and your money.
19 Jan 2022
Index fund
Funds

Index fund

Index funds (also known as passive funds or "trackers") aim to track the performance of a particular index, such as the FTSE 100 or S&P 500.
18 Jan 2022
Model Y: Tesla has nailed it once again
Cars

Model Y: Tesla has nailed it once again

The electric carmaker’s new SUV crossover, the Model Y, sets the benchmark in the sector.
18 Jan 2022
The UK jobs market is booming – but wages are struggling to keep up with prices
UK Economy

The UK jobs market is booming – but wages are struggling to keep up with prices

Britain’s jobs market is booming, with wages rising and plenty of of vacancies. But inflation is rising faster than wages can keep up. John Stepek loo…
18 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022
Stockmarkets

Five unexpected events that could shock the markets in 2022

Forget Covid-19 – it’s the unexpected twists that will rattle markets in 2022, says Matthew Lynn. Here are five possibilities
31 Dec 2021
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise
Tech stocks

Tech stocks teeter as US Treasury bond yields rise

The realisation that central banks are about to tighten their monetary policies caused a sell-off in the tech-heavy Nasdaq stock index and the biggest…
14 Jan 2022