Today’s touring motorcycles boast levels of refinement that make covering large mileages easy and long distance journeys a pleasure. Whether you want to tour through Europe, see the English countryside or travel on Route 66, modern touring bikes offer comfort and practicality that only a few years ago was unheard of.
To aid relaxed cruising most modern tourers feature large capacity multi-cylinder engines, 6-speed gearboxes and often shaft drive. ABS brakes and traction control systems are common, and rider comfort is a priority with features such as heated grips and seats, cruise control and electrically adjustable windscreens being commonly fitted. If you are travelling long distances carrying capacity is important and many machines offer integrated or detachable panniers usually with matching top boxes. On larger touring bikes luggage capacity is usually more than enough to carry all the essentials for a rider and passenger for a long weekend away and if you travel light for much longer!
While most manufacturers offer touring bikes, BMW have a long and deserved reputation for offering some of the best, the RT range originally featuring BMW’s traditional air cooled ‘Boxer’ engine, in its latest incarnation the R1200RT features a water cooled version of the Boxer for added performance and reliability. BMW also offered the K1200LT, a ‘Luxury Tourer’ and currently the K1600GTL which has a transverse straight six engine, a six speed transmission and shaft drive. Honda’s ST1100 still has a strong and enthusiastic following, though long since superceded by its larger engined sibling, the ST1300 Pan European, a bike which also found favour with Police and emergency service organisations throughout the world. Yamaha’s FJR1300 is a fine handling and very capable long distance touring bike that is very well equipped as standard with integral panniers, electrically adjustable windscreen and ABS braking. Often seen as the ‘King of the Tourers’ Honda’s majestic Goldwing was introduced over 40 years ago and in its latest GL1800 guise is a true luxury tourer with a legendary reputation for touring prowess.