Best Sportbike for Touring
Updated List Includes Less-Expensive Options
The thought of travelling on two wheels is what brought many of us to motorcycling in the first place. A motorcycle allows a person to connect with the world in a much more physical way than, say, a car or a plane. You feel the distance travelled; you become one with it.
There are dozens upon dozens of different bikes targeted at those with wanderlust. To help you pick through them all, we’ve put together this list of our choices for the best motorcycles for covering distance. Back in 2013, when we first put this list together, we received a fair amount of criticism for focusing on expensive machines (The original list consisted of: BMW K 1600 GTL, Honda Gold Wing F6B, Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide Limited, Suzuki Hayabusa, BMW R 1200 GS). So, for this update we’ve included less expensive options within the same genre.
BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive – Some people (like your grandad) will insist that Honda’s Gold Wing remains the unparalleled choice for covering a whole lot of miles in comfort. But while we’ve got a lot of love for the flat-six beast, there’s no getting around the fact it’s a little long in the tooth. To our mind, if you’re going to spend big bucks, the BMW K 16000 GTL Exclusive is where you want to spend them. The 1649cc inline-six-powered Beemer comes with all the bells and whistles – all of them – while serving up 160 horsepower at peak, and a skull-bashing 129 lb ft of torque. Meanwhile, both you and your passenger will be so comfortable you may throw away your couch and start watching TV in the garage. With a starting price of US $30, 395, it ain’t cheap (Still less expensive than a Motus –Ed.), but, baby, you’re worth it. As an added benefit, because you’re on a BMW no one will criticize you for wearing good gear, which means you can rock an Aerostich.
LESS EXPENSIVE OPTION:
Honda CTX1300 – Offering Gold Wing-like styling for almost $9, 000 less than than its big brother’s asking price is Honda’s underloved CTX1300. When the bike was first released back in 2014 it was met with a certain amount of confusion. Honda tried calling it a bagger, but it didn’t fit most people’s vision of that genre and it soon floundered in the Not-This-But-Not-That Zone often reserved for bikes that are difficult to categorize. In the interim, though, it’s built a small, faithful following. It is not a bike without criticism – fit and finish is a bit plasticky, its 1261 V4 delivers only 83 hp, and some folks dislike the cruiser-like riding position – but you get shaft drive, hard panniers, and a stereo. Plus, that Honda badge means it’ll still be running 40 years from now.