looking at the lineup of the upcoming touring bikes, it has just occurred to me why no one is doing a sport touring bike with emphasis on *sport*.
it wouldn't take much to turn a Panigale or 1098 Streetfighter into a sport touring bike. New subframe, bigger screen, touring fairings, panniers. The simple conversion of the Diavel and Hypermotard into tourers proves this point.
But a new ST, based on a sportbike frame and with a recent racebred engine would cost what, $25K? And what does the market want at that price point? Either luxury (Goldwing, K1600GTL, etc), comfort (Harley tourers, the Diavel Strada), or adventure (R1200GS, Multistrada). The answer to demand for a sporty lightweight tourer is apparently in the 800cc class at the sub-$15K price point. The Hyperstrada is hideous, but I have no doubt that it will be quick and a LOT of fun, while adding touring capability, more power, and an up to date braking system - the Bosch 9ME system, first appearing on the BMW S1000RR, is brilliant. It's not the ABS (which is a nice safety backup), it's the very simple linked brakes. When everyone is raving about how incredible the braking is on the S1000RR despite having crap Brembo Goldline calipers (I have M4 monoblocs fitted on mine), what they're not getting is that they're only so good because the rear is being braked by computer, and it's optimal for conditions. The Panigale is the new king of braking, simply because it has better calipers with the same ABS pump and computer.
So again, why isn't anyone making a sub-500lb true sport touring bike with a true sport engine lifted out of the top of the line superbike (as is the design principle behind the ST4)?
Because no one would buy it at the price that it would cost. Well, I would, and possible quite a few here, but a worldwide demand of say, a thousand bikes, wouldn't make it past the boardroom. The closest modern equivalent to an ST, the BMW K1300S, is a slow seller - it's a lot of money for a bike that is too heavy to be truly sporty, and too spartan to be a good tourer.
I, for one, am not holding my breath for a revival of the ST. Ducati now has numerous touring bike options, all of which will perform wonderfully. I choose to buy in now with the broadened selection that Ducati is offering up for 2013, rather than wait for something that just won't appear.
Ducati IS listening to demand for sport touring options, obviously.