1. BMW Motorrad K 1600 GTL
Atop the list of most popular touring motorcycles is the BMW Motorrad K 1600 GTL, with annual sales of almost 6,000 units. The German automaker has made a name for itself in the motorcycle industry by offering both style and performance.
Its flagship touring model, the K 1600 GTL, packs 100.62 cu-in worth of fuel-injected inline-six-cylinder engine that can produce an impressive 156 horsepower and 129 lbs-ft of torque which makes it capable of reaching 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds. It is capable of going up to 125 mph using its 6-speed transmission.
In terms of design, BMW motorcycles are known for their twin-cylinder engine note, and the K 1600 GTL does not disappoint. It features a four exhaust pipes design that produces an incredible sound, especially when you gun on its throttle. Its bodywork is also designed to be aerodynamic so as to reduce wind resistance.
It comes with ABS brakes, traction control system, an electric start, and stop button, LED headlamps, and tail lamps. For safety reasons, this bike also includes dual front disc brakes, side stand, rearview mirror, pillion seat, handbrake, and center stand.
Overall, the K 1600 GTL is a very practical and beautiful touring motorcycle that offers comfortable rides even at high speeds. It also comes with plenty of features making it one of the most attractive and popular touring motorcycles on the market.
- Price Range: $11,995 – $32000 (Depending on model)
- Engine: 100.62 cu-in Fuel-Injected Inline-6 cylinder
- Power output: 156 HP
- Torque output: 129 lbs-ft
- Weight: 652 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 7 gallons
- Ideal for cold weather
- High-performance engine
- Affordable price with tons of features
- Good fuel capacity
- Plush ride quality
- Not a good choice for new riders
- A bit cumbersome
2. Harley Davidson Electra Glide
Another popular touring motorcycle is the Harley Davidson Electra Glide which brings with it decades of heritage and refinement. The US-based company has been in the motorcycle industry for over a century now, selling motorcycles that are well-known for their reliability and durability.
The name "Electra Glide" refers both to the model's displacement and its design, which features an air-cooled V-twin engine mounted longitudinally (as opposed to transversely) behind the driver. This layout creates a low center of gravity and allows the rider to sit well forward over the front wheel, giving a more stable feel than other conventional motorcycles.
This touring model from Harley Davidson touts itself as the baddest modern touring bike on the planet, featuring forward foot controls, low seat height, and one V Twin engine, which is responsible for all 67 horses produced by this motorcycle.
The Electra Glide features a 107 cu-in V-Twin Milwaukee Eight engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) system. This allows this bike to generate power up to 67 HP while torque output reaches up to 111 lbs-ft. It can be ridden using six-speed transmission.
For braking needs, Harley Davidson Electra Glide packs four-disc brakes, the same as BMW motorcycles which I think is overkill as you only need two brakes if your motorcycle is heavy like this one. It also comes with an anti-lock brake system (ABS), cruise control, tall windscreen, and detachable hard saddlebags, which are really practical, especially on long road trips.
Overall, the Electra Glide is a prime example of how a well-tuned touring motorcycle should be practical but deliver performance simultaneously. The American manufacturer tweaked its classic cruiser design making it more aerodynamic than before while retaining user comfort and safety features making it a worthy investment for motorcycle enthusiasts.
- Price Range: $15,499 – $32,899
- Engine: 107 cu-in, Milwaukee Eight V-twin
- Power output: 67 HP
- Torque output: 111 lbs-ft
- Weight: 781 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 6 gallons
- One of the most practical touring motorcycles on the market
- Available in various trims and configurations
- Good number of safety features including ABS, cruise control, and detachable saddlebags
- Extremely reliable
- A tad expensive
- Average mileage
3. Honda Gold Wing Tour
If you're looking for a comfortable and easy riding experience, then Honda Gold Wing Tour might be what you need. The Japanese brand has been around since 1924, when it was first introduced as a sporty motorcycle. Today, Honda still offers high-performance bikes along with luxurious models such as the Gold Wing Tour.
The Gold Wing features a 112 cu-in liquid-cooled engine paired with an electric reverse that delivers smooth performance while remaining fuel-efficient. It comes with a six-speed transmission which allows you to switch gears without using the clutch. This makes riding this bike very straightforward and easy, even if you are still a beginner at biking.
Meanwhile, it also boasts outstanding drivability due to its low center of gravity, giving owners peace of mind on highways even when going through extreme weather conditions. In addition, it has a low seat height which allows even short people to cruise through the city or long road trips with ease.
For your safety and comfort, this motorcycle comes with anti-lock brakes (ABS), 5-way preload adjustable suspension, 4-way preload adjustable rear shock absorbers, a large windscreen that can be adjusted on the go, plus a very low first gear for quick acceleration.
Further, the Honda Gold Wing has a fuel capacity of 5.55 gallons which means you don't have to worry about running out of gas during long journeys. Its weight is approximately 785 pounds making it a bit heavy, but the low center of gravity makes it an easy motorcycle to maneuver, especially on corners.
In terms of styling, the Gold Wing has a functional and modern look with minimal body panels as its predecessor. It also has two large panniers which can accommodate your luggage or extra items such as helmets if you want to travel light.
It's not cheap by any stretch of the imagination but considering all these features and benefits; it's definitely worth every penny.
But if you're looking for a luxury touring machine that's loaded with features and is also fuel-efficient at the same time, then this might be worth checking out. It has top-of-the-class working components, which will definitely last long, making your investment profitable in the long run.
- Price Range: $20,599 – $48,399
- Engine: Horizontally opposed 112 cu-in 6-cylinder
- Power output: 126 HP
- Weight: 787 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 5.55 gallons
- Reliable engine performance even under extreme weather conditions
- Smooth transmission with low center of gravity for enhanced driving experience
- Low seat height
- One of the most fuel-efficient touring bikes available
- Great aesthetics
- Quite expensive
4. Triumph Tiger 1200
If you need a touring bike that not only looks the part but is also capable of taking on various road conditions around the world, then you should opt for Triumph Tiger 1200. It's not just your typical street cruiser, but it can be used to take on dirt roads and off-road trails across continents too.
To begin with, this motorcycle comes with Triumph Electronic Suspension (TSS) technology which allows riders to easily change between three preload settings in just a matter of seconds without using any tools. This will make adjusting suspension much easier while touring through rough terrains, even when riding solo or when luggage is loaded.
The liquid-cooled 75 cu-in DOHC 3-cylinder engine delivers 139 Hp and 90 lbs-ft of torque for optimal performance. It also has a six-speed transmission which enables riders to switch gears without using the clutch. This makes the Tiger 1200 one of the easiest bikes to handle, even if you are still not familiar with motorcycles.
Further, this bike comes with an unbeatable power-to-weight ratio making it easy pickings off the line and on highways, especially when passing through extreme weather conditions. It also has adjustable traction control that allows owners to choose between two settings depending on road terrain or riding preference.
On-board amenities include excellent fitments such as LED headlights, electronically adjustable windscreen, rain/ride modes, plus a heated seat for both rider and pillion that can be adjusted from its touch screen panel. Further, this bike is also one of the most fuel-efficient touring motorcycles, with a fuel capacity of 5.2 gallons that will be enough to take you through several hundred miles without having to stop for gas stations.
Overall, it's a motorcycle that equally performs well on highways or off-road trails thanks to its high ground clearance and powerful engine. Plus, it has top-of-the-class materials with features found in much more expensive motorcycles, so it is definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a fantastic touring bike available today.
- Price Range: $13,599 – $22,499
- Engine: 75 cu-in DOHC 3-cylinder
- Power Output: 139 HP
- Torque: 90 lbs-ft
- Weight: 534 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 5.2 Gallons
- High ground clearance makes it suitable for both highway and dirt road riding
- Powerful engine and fuel-efficient too
- Heated seats (both rider and pillion)
- Great value for money
- High seat height - Not ideal for short riders
5. Ducati Multistrada V4
If you're looking for a touring machine that has the perfect balance of on and off-road capabilities, then this might be worth checking out. It's not just your typical street cruiser, but it can also take on dirt roads and trails across continents too.
One of the major selling points of this bike is its engine which is completely redesigned from its predecessor, making it more powerful yet efficient at the same time. In fact, with the right riding capabilities, it can cover up to 20 miles on a gallon of fuel, meaning you'll spend less on gas stops when touring across continents.
The Ducati Multistrada V4 features an aluminum frame and an integrated vehicle monitoring system (VMS) that shows real-time data regarding the bike's performance. It has a high torque output of 170 HP and 92 lbs-ft of torque, delivering excellent traction no matter the road conditions.
Further, it also comes with four riding modes (Tour, Sport, Urban, and Enduro), so you'll get to choose depending on your riding preference or how challenging the terrain might be that you're going through. Plus, it also has 8 level Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and 4 level ABS, allowing riders to switch between three preload settings using just one button. This is perfect for adjusting suspension while touring through rough terrains, even when riding solo or when luggage is loaded.
In addition, this bike comes with LED headlights which are great, especially during nighttime riding, allowing you to see clearly even in poorly lit areas. It also includes a front-wheel travel sensor that detects when you are riding over a certain speed and automatically applies the front brake to reduce stopping distance.
The Ducati Multistrada V4 is packed with premium features found in many expensive touring bikes, so if you're looking for a great touring bike that's sure to impress, then this might be worth checking out.
- Price range: $24,695 – $28,295
- Engine: 71 cu-in Four stroke liquid cooled
- Power Output: 170 HP
- Torque: 92 lbs-ft
- Weight: 474 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 5.8 Gallons
- Innovative design makes it both powerful and fuel-efficient
- Great suspension capabilities make it suitable for riding over rough terrains both off and on-road
- Dynamic all-wheel control (DWC) allows the front wheel to adapt to different road conditions as well as providing great control
- Highly customizable with a wide range of accessories available from Ducati dealerships
- Pricey compared to other touring motorcycles out in the market today (However, its value can be seen once you ride it)
6. Suzuki V-Strom 1050 ABS
If you are looking for a touring motorcycle that is packed with high-tech features, then this is an option worth checking out. The Suzuki V-Strom 1050 ABS features all the latest modern techs, including semi-active suspension, traction control system, and an engine braking control feature which makes it suited to riders who prefer long-distance riding.
The Suzuki V-Strom is powered by a 63 cu-in four-stroke liquid-cooled engine producing 106 HP of power and 74 lbs-ft of torque, allowing it to reach speeds up to 120 mph. It has a close-ratio six-speed transmission making it the ideal bike for highway cruising at high speeds. However, don't be fooled by its powerful engine as every rider prefers riding every now and then off-road too.
The Suzuki V-Strom is designed with both on and off-road riding capabilities in mind. It has high ground clearance, meaning it can easily traverse rough terrains even when fully loaded. Plus, unlike many touring motorcycles, the V-Strom comes with traditional spoked wheels, which some riders prefer as they tend to be more durable than cast alloy wheels found in other bikes.
Other features include 33 mm front forks that provide excellent damping capabilities for taking on challenging roads or if you're planning to travel across continents, an electronically controlled steering damper (ECSD) which gives better stability, especially during nighttime riding, and two settings for engine braking control allowing riders to choose depending on road conditions or their preferences.
Price-wise it is relatively cheaper compared to other touring bikes out in the market today. So if you are looking for a more affordable option, then this might be worth checking out.
- Price Range: $15,000 - $20,000
- Engine: 63 cu-in Four-stroke liquid-cooled
- Power Output: 106 HP
- Torque: 74 lbs-ft
- Weight: 530 lbs
- Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gallons
- Great all-round performance with optimal handling and stability
- Semi-active suspension technology gives the bike optimal performance when traveling over different road surfaces
- Competitively priced
- Highly customizable with a wide range of accessories available from Suzuki dealerships
- High seat height
- Not the most fuel-efficient compared to other touring motorcycles
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley