Touring And Sport-Touring Motorcycles
Traveling across the country on a motorcycle is the touring and sport-touring motorcycle’s job. Find the latest touring bikes and reviews on Cycle World.
Designed to offer uncompromised long-range comfort, touring and sport-touring motorcycles are the choice of bike for those who want to hit the open road and keep going. These large-displacement machines provide excellent wind protection with large fairings, have a full-feature entertainment/navigation system, and offer more storage capacity than any other class of motorcycle.
Riders who prefer a sportier and superior-handling long-distance motorcycle may opt for a sport-touring bike. With detachable saddlebags, a firmer suspension, and a higher-performance engine, the sport-touring motorcycle lets you drag knee and travel 400 miles all in a single day.
Touring and sport-touring motorcycle reviews require multiple hours in the saddle and hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to complete. The editors at Cycle World put in the time and miles to obtain an accurate representation of each touring motorcycle we review. First ride reviews give our editors a good idea of what to expect from the bike and also what to look for later on.
When we get our hands on the tourer, we commute with it, stick it on the dyno, take it on trips, and compare it to other similar touring or sport-touring bikes. We care about things like handling, cargo space, and even if the infotainment system is easy to set up and use.
Sportbikes don’t tickle your fancy and you’ve found that standard and naked bikes don’t have adequate wind protection for your long rides, so you’ve decided on a touring or sport-touring motorcycle. There are a couple of options that you can go from here, depending on what you are looking for from a touring motorcycle. Would you like a more relaxed seating position? Then Harley-Davidson, Indian, Honda, and BMW offer some large-displacement cruiser touring motorcycles. Honda’s Gold Wing Tour is such an amazing bike that it won our top spot for best 2018 touring motorcycle.
Cruiser touring bikes not your thing? You want something a little bit more aggressive, a little bit more forward leaning? Maybe you want to take it on a long trip and then to the track? Then a sport-tourer is your speed. Kawasaki’s 2018 Ninja H2 SX SE, a supercharged sport-touring bike, won our 2018 best open-class bike spot. Other manufacturers, like Honda, BMW, Ducati, Suzuki, and Yamaha offer some of the top sport-touring bikes that consistently rank well in our reviews.
Being on the road for hours at a time puts a strain on the body and this is why touring and sport-touring riding gear is designed around giving comfort back to the rider. Textile touring motorcycle jackets are breathable and don’t restrict your arm and shoulder mobility, reducing pressure points and numbness. Base layers aid in regulating body temperature as the outside temperature fluctuates throughout the day. Helmets with a visor help keep the sun out of your eyes. Earplugs keep the wind noise down and lessen your fatigue over long rides.
There are countless touring motorcycle accessories that you can add to your touring bike to make long journeys better. Motorcycle panniers are becoming standard equipment from the manufacturer, but aftermarket suppliers always offer bags that are sometimes larger than factory sizes. Tank bags are another way for you to haul items without the bulk of bags sticking out of the side of your motorcycle.. Tires have come a long way, and some manufacturers design tires just for touring bikes.
Gel seat cushions keep your back and butt from not getting sore. Windscreen attachments can increase the protection offered from the stock windscreen, and an external fuel supply, like those offered by Rotopax, allows you to travel farther without having to find a gas station.
If you’ve ever traveled long distances by car, you know that your joints gets stiff, you need to stretch, go to the bathroom, crack your back, do something other than be in that car. The same goes for touring on a motorcycle, but is amplified because you’re exposed to the elements.
Before you leave on your motorcycle tour, you should check out the condition of your bike. Check, and if need be, replace your tires, oil, chain, sprocket, spark plug(s), and brake pad(s). Plan your route on a map, physical or digital. If you’re motorcycle camping, pack your tent where it will be the first thing that you set up at camp. After riding all day, setting up your tent is going to be an arduous task.
Along your journey, make sure to check your bike every time you stop. Check for leaks, check your oil level, check your tires and final drive. Drink plenty of water and eat nutritiously. Avoid caffeine, sugar, and large meals. Do realize your limitations and your fatigue. Pull over, take a nap—the road isn’t going anywhere without you. Also try to avoid urban areas around times of congestion. Traffic will slow you down physically and mentally as you work your bike through the stop and go.
This is not a comprehensive list, but something to get you started with. Touring on a motorcycle can be a fun activity, whether you are with a group or by yourself, so remember to stay safe and know your limits.