While we might like to think of ourselves as badasses on a vintage Harley-Davidson, the reality is that most people who own a motorcycle use it for touring around. Taking a motorcycle on an extended road trip is how bikes are used by most people in North America. Whether it is driving out to the Grand Canyon or the Jersey Shore, touring around on motorcycles is a popular activity. Clubs of motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy touring across the country together are becoming more common place in communities large and small. Here is a list of the 10 best touring motorcycles available on the market today.
10. Kawasaki Voyager
Known as the “Big Kawi,” the Kawasaki Voyager has everything needed for a comfortable trek. For just under $20,000, people who own this motorcycle get comfortable seats for both the driver and a passenger, as well as ample wind protection from an oversized windshield and an impressive 1700 V-Twin engine that is as powerful as most Twin Cam engines found in competing Harley-Davidson bikes. This motorcycle also boasts a powerful stereo and cruise control, and has plenty of storage capacity for carrying people’s gear. Riders love the saddlebags on this motorcycle, and the top case is large enough for two full-face helmets. No wonder this motorcycle is popular with bike enthusiasts everywhere you go.
9. Yamaha FJR 1300
For a touring motorcycle that is a bit sexier and sleeker, check out the Yamaha FJR 1300. Known in biker circles as a “sport tourer,” this is a motorcycle that is built for riding long distances in style. Reviewers of the Yamaha FJR 1300 say the motorcycle feels more like a sport bike than a touring bike. The Yamaha FJR is also loaded with technology, including an adjustable, two-piece seat; LED front turn signals; quick release luggage mounts; heated grips and folding mirrors. The Yamaha FJR 1300 also has a comparatively low price at $17,500. This is one bike that is definitely worth checking out.
8. Triumph Trophy
For luxury and comfort, few motorcycles can match the Triumph Trophy. Known as a luxury-performance touring motorcycle, the Trophy is considered among the top of its class and has won numerous awards over the years. Equipped with a peppy engine and loaded with high-tech electronics that include traction control, non-linked ABS, cruise control, multiple 12-volt power outlets, and electric windshield and headlight adjustments, this is one bike that is state-of-the-art from front wheel to back. Many optional (and expensive) upgrades come standard on the Triumph Trophy. At $20,000 for the basic model, the Trophy is a little more expensive than other motorcycles on this list. But, as we said, for that price you get a lot of extra features included.
7. Can-Am Spyder
If a three-wheeled touring motorcycle is more up your alley, the Can-Am Spyder RT Limited might be for you. Admittedly, the handling and form of this bike can take some getting used to, but the durability, stability and comfort of this motorcycle more than make up for some of the adjustments a three-wheeler of this nature requires. The Can-Am Spyder also comes with a hell of a lot of storage capacity and seats that are so comfortable they put most other bikes to shame. Some reviewers have called this bike the most comfortable one they’ve ever ridden. With all the available bells and whistles included, this bike will cost north of $30,000. But if comfort is king to you, then it might very well be worth the money to get into this particular motorcycle.
6. Star Motorcycles 1300 Deluxe
At first glance, the Star Motorcycles 1300 Deluxe made by Yamaha appears to be a pretty basic touring bike. But the somewhat bland exterior belies a comfortable ride with ample, best in class storage space. A mid-sized touring motorcycle, the 1300 Deluxe has a manageable price at $14,500, and is comparatively lightweight for a touring bike. Add in a fairing-mounted audio system, Garmin Zumo GPS, and XM satellite radio, and you have a motorcycle that is built for the open road and traveling along today’s highways. These and other features such as an iPod ready audio system are all standard in the 1300 Deluxe. Did we mention that it also has a short stroke engine and forged aluminum pistons? Pretty sweet.
5. Ducati Multistrada
For a smaller, more nimble motorcycle that can be used for both touring on the open road and commuting to work in the city, look no further than the Ducati Multistrada bike. Considered by many people in the motorcycle world to be the best combination of sport, touring and commuting bike available today, the Ducati Multistrada S Touring model is a modern day classic. Revised in 2013 to enhance its long distance capabilities, the Ducati Multistrada is basically four motorcycles in one. Semi-active suspension, self-adjusting windshield, standard traction control and ABS give this motorcycle all of the high-tech gadgetry motorcycle lovers want in a touring bike. A starting price of just under $20,000 means that people get exceptional value for what they pay for with this motorcycle.
4. Victory Cross Country Tour
People who are looking for a straight ahead cruising motorcycle—a large-scale bike built for long haul rides—will want to check out the Victory Cross Country Tour. A powerful engine, responsive suspension, and massive luggage capacity make this motorcycle the cruiser of choice for many bikers. In fact, Victory’s Cross Country Tour bike has established itself at the top end of the cruiser motorcycles class in today’s marketplace—even rivaling established manufacturers such as Indian and Honda. And at $25,000, the price to get into this large sized bike is competitive. Standard features include ABS, cruise control and a high-end exhaust system that allows the engine to deliver enhanced horsepower. There’s plenty of room to customize this motorcycle too and get it just the way you want it.
3. Harley-Davidson Electra Glide
Harley-Davidson has a motorcycle for all occasions, and they build an exceptional line of touring bikes—the king of which is their Electra Glide model. This top of the line full-sized motorcycle has been called the height of luxury by some automotive websites, and words such as “opulent” have been used to describe the feeling of riding this bike. Delivering a smooth and mellow ride at even 65 miles per hour, the Electra Glide was built for extremely long distances. It also comes with upgraded chrome wheels, best in class driving lights and many other features that should be standard in all touring motorcycles. A starting price of nearly $30,000 makes this one of the pricier bikes on this list, but many people wouldn’t drive anything else.
2. BMW K 1600
BMW made motorcycles before the company manufactured cars, and their dedication to bikes remains impressive. And, when it comes to motorcycles, BMW is heavily focused on touring bikes—namely its flagship six-cylinder K 1600 model. A leader in the “super touring” category of motorcycles, the K 1600 GTL model wins top marks in terms of its technology, power, suspension and overall weight. The engineers at BMW have outdone themselves with this bike, outfitting it with an inline six-cylinder engine, as well as keyless ignition, alarm system, and a radio foil aerial that is integrated invisibly into the body of the bike. This motorcycle comes very well equipped at $25,000.
1. Honda Gold Wing
Honda’s Gold Wing motorcycle is one of the oldest brands of touring bikes, and many people consider it an icon among the touring class of motorcycles. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the latest model of the Gold Wing continues this bike’s historic legacy, offering a balance of luxury and performance that appeals to young and old people alike. Known as the “comfort king,” the Gold Wing is powered by a flat six engine that provides strong performance. The GL1800 model of the Gold Wing is particularly impressive with wide seats, low floorboards, and cutting edge technology such as a 40 channel CB radio, a deluxe helmet headset and passenger arm rests. While never the fastest or coolest of the touring motorcycles, the Gold Wing nevertheless remains a tour de force in the biking world. It is certainly one of the most dependable touring bikes around. Available starting at $23,000.