If you have been riding a motorcycle for a while, you have either taken, or thought about taking, a nice long road trip. The itch to ride all day is not something easily scratched on most bikes out there. You and your passengers’ comfort is something to contend with, as well as how far on a tank of gas you can actually go. However, there’s plenty of so-called “touring” motorcycles out there that can make your ride to wherever like an RV on two wheels. With complete comfort for you and your companion, tons of storage, and riding distance to match, let’s take a look at some of your best options out there for long-distance riding.
No touring bike list would be complete if it didn’t start with the gold standard in this genre. This is the original bike that all touring bikes that came after emulated. With a starting price of $23,800, you can option this bike well into midsize SUV territory. Standard 6 cyl engine can be mated with a butter smooth DCT automatic transmission. Lots of technology on board including Apple CarPlay. The top trim model is even available with an airbag!
Next up is a brand that has been rejuvenated over the past several years and shows no sign of stopping, Indian. While they have a great lineup of motorcycles to tick many boxes of riding styles, the Roadmaster is the one for two-up riding all day long, covering a lot of tarmac. This bike starts off just shy of $30k, however, it does come with a lot of normally added options as standard fair. A monster v-twin engine produces a strong 119 lbs of torque to move you along easily. It also has 37 gallons of cargo space to swallow your travel amenities and a 200-watt audio system for in-helmet singalongs.
Harley Davidson Ultra Limited
It’s hard to think about a motorcycle and not envision a Harley Davidson. HD bikes have been depicted in many movies over time which makes them extremely popular. The top touring banana in their lineup has to be the new Ultra Limited that starts at just over $28k, complete with a style that’s pure Harley. Featuring the new Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, you get a super smooth ride with tons of grunt to cover as many mountain passes as you wish. Adjustable rear shocks adapt to the road, giving you an amazing ride on any surface, and the heated grips allow you to stay warm when the temperature takes a dip. The best part of owning an HD is the amount of aftermarket parts available to completely personalize your bike as well.
BMW R1250 GS
Next up we have an unconventional option when you think “touring,” but it is one of the best selling motorcycles of all time. It is the BMW R1250 GS and it is an “adventure” touring bike. While the 1250 engine is not available on our shores yet, it’s a worthy upgrade to the venerable 1200 before it and worth waiting for. This is one of those bikes you can ride absolutely anywhere (and many have). Long pavement rides, check. Pavement turns to gravel and dirt, check. With a whole new digital dash and easy maintenance of the shaft drive, this is a bike you can rack up tons of mileage on. Though not as much wind protection and comfort for a passenger as the previous bikes, this is the type of bike you would pick if you needed one to do everything, year-round, in any weather … and were being chased by zombies.
2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
For the last bike on this list you’ll find a wallet friendly option as well as another dual purpose bike. This one is the brand new 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT and it is considered a sport tourer. That designation means it’s going to be a lot lighter and more nimble than the dedicated touring bikes, but still very comfortable for two riders. Integrated side bags, heated grips, and cruise control all come standard at $12,999. This would make a great daily commuter bike and when 5pm strikes on Friday, break out the map and plan a weekend trip.
If your favorite “touring” bike didn’t show up here, don’t be upset, its nearly impossible to pick so few from a list that is packed full of fantastic options. The best part is, it’s a category that does have so many options. The key is to find the one you are most comfortable on, has the amenities you are looking for, and would be the perfect companion for a long time of memories. Now, go use that vacation time you have been saving up, and hit the open road!