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The Best Touring Motorcycles for the Wide Open Road [2021]

by Octavia Drughi

The go-to resource for planning your motorcycle tours and holidays. Find all you need to know about the top destinations, and routes to make your biking dreams come true.
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Let’s face it: not all motorcycles can be taken out of the city. You need a special one for the open road. 

Don’t settle for less than the very best. The bike you ride can make all the difference during your next adventure motorcycle tour. Touring bikes make long road trips much more comfortable and safe, while your average street bike might leave your muscles cramped and your whole body burned out. 

There are many choices out there, with plenty of key features that’ll help you get the most out of your motorcycle tour. From fast and furious sport bikes to classy tourers and laid-back cruisers, there’s something for every free spirit out there looking to embark on a long, adventure-packed journey. 

So, let’s take a look at the best touring motorcycles of 2020!

 

2021 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide

harley-davidson-electra-glide

  • Engine: 1,746 cc  V-twin
  • Horsepower: 107 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

When we think of motorcycling, we often imagine badass bikers in leather jackets riding Harley-Davidsons. Indeed, the company has something for all occasions. But when it comes to motorcycle touring, the latest Electra Glide takes the prize.

Guaranteeing a smooth and mellow ride, this one’s built for extremely long trips. With one-touch saddlebags, fork-mounted fairing, GPS, infotainment, Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin engine, the Electra Glide is a top-of-the-line touring bike. 

The company has a list price starting at $18,999 for this gem.

 

2021 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

bmw-r1250gs-motorcycle

Image credit: 4Venture

  • Engine: 1,254 cc 4-stroke flat twin
  • Horsepower: 136 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

It might be big, but with its impressive 1254cc, air/liquid-cooled, 4-stroke flat twin engine peaking at 136hp, the BMW R 1200 GS is more agile and faster than you’d probably expect. Released in 2018, it offers an improved experience over its R 1200 predecessor, one of the best touring motorcycles ever created and BMW’s best-selling model for years.

With smooth handling, relaxed seating position, wind and weather protection, heated seating, and grips, this sport touring bike is a great travel companion. 

Thanks to its fully active suspension setup, high seat, and high clearance, the R 1200 RS is prepared for off-road adventure tours too. Moreover, it features BMW’s Automatic Stability Control, selectable power modes, open-air audio system, and improved ShiftCam technology.

The cost to own this beauty starts at $20,345 for the base model.

 

2021 Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200

triumph-tiger-explorer-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,215 cc inline 3-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 137 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

A lightweight adventure touring motorcycle packed with a 1,215cc inline triple engine, the Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 comes with cruise control, cornering ABS, wind protection, WP suspension setup, and shaft drive. You can take this baby off the road and into the dirt, and feel comfortable on the highway too.

The Tiger Explorer 1200 comes in three options, with a starting price of $19,700. 

 

2021 Suzuki V-Strom 1050A/XA

suzuki-v-strom-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,037cc
  • Horsepower: 106 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

A strong adventure sports motorcycle with a 1,037cc, 90-degree V-twin engine, the new generation of V-Strom has comfort and durability written all over it. Featuring fully adjustable suspension, updated traction control system, dirt tires, and two-stage traction control, it’s ready and willing to go off the road and into the dirt.

The V-Strom has an upright seating position, placing the rider high in the saddle while maintaining a low-ground clearance.

This dual-sport motorcycle is a versatile mile-muncher, starting at $16,099.

 

2021 Ducati Multistrada V4

ducati-touring-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,158 cc 90-degree V4 Granturismo
  • Horsepower: 170 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

Known as the Swiss-army knife of motorcycle touring, there’s little that the Ducati Multistrada can’t do. A modern-day classic, this fully customizable sports tourer comes with a 1,262cc, liquid-cooled, L-Twin, Testastretta DVT engine that reaches 170hp. Smaller, great for the open road as well for commuting to work, the Ducati Multistrada is considered by many to be the best combination of sport, touring, and commuting bike available today.

Equipped for long journeys, with a navigation system, rider-assistance radar system, and an outstanding valve clearance check of 60,000 km (36,000 mi), the new Multistrada is sportier, more touring, and the most advanced ever. 

Highly versatile, it features high-tech gadgetry and sophisticated electronics, Skyhook Suspension (DSS) Evolution system, self-adjusting windshield, standard traction control, top-notch ABS system, and integrated cruise control, just to name a few.

The list price starts at $19,995.

 

2021 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS

kawasaki-vulcan-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,700 cc V-twin 4-stroke
  • Horsepower: 73 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed with overdrive and positive neutral finder

The pinnacle of power and luxury, with a powerful 1,700cc, dual-cooled (air and liquid), 52-degree V-twin engine, and a sleek vintage design that will leave you drooling, the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS is a superbike adapted for the long road. Comfortable for both driver and passenger, it offers just about everything you would need on an extended road trip: advanced ABS system, cruise control that can be activated in third gear, and an intercom/headset-compatible audio system.

It offers plenty of storage room in the integrated hard saddlebags, and its top case is large enough to fit two face helmets.

The list price starts at $17,699.

 

2021 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT 

ktm-1290-superduke-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1 301 cc 75-degree V-Twin
  • Horsepower: 175 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

If you’re looking for a reliable bike that will get you from point A to point B fast and safe, look no further than the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. It is considered one of the best sports tourers that money can buy, with a unique mix of the highest-quality components, such as titanium inlet valves. With a 1301cc V-twin engine peaking at 173hp and a large fuel tank (6.1 gallons/23 liters) for fewer stops along the way, long distances are not a problem.

The semi-active electronic suspension with a quick shifter and stable chassis will make rough canyon roads and highways seem like a walk in the park. It also features Bosch's MSC lean-angle-sensitive ABS, electronic cruise control, heated grips, and Hill Hold Control, as well as plenty of gadgets.

The list price for this beauty starts at $17,249.

 

2021 Yamaha FJR1300ES

yamaha-fjr1300-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,298 cc inline 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 141 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

The company’s flagship touring bike, the Yamaha FJR1300 comes with a 1,298cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine with a six-speed transmission that combines speed and comfort for riding long distances in style.

There are plenty of features, from heated seats and grips to traction control, ABS, switchable power modes, and cruise control, folding mirrors, and quick-release luggage mounts. The sport-touring bike also has an electric screen, glove box, and electronically adjustable suspensions.

Sexy and slick, the list price for this beauty starts at $17,999.

» Experience the power of the FJR 1300 on a Yamaha motorcycle tour.

 

Triumph Trophy SE

triumph-trophy-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,215 cc inline four-stroke
  • Horsepower: 134 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

A super touring model with a 1,215cc three-cylinder engine, the Triumph Trophy SE is a mile-chewer. A state-of-the-art motorbike that combines luxury, comfort, and performance, both driver and passenger enjoy ‘armchair ergonomics’ on this one.

This adventure touring motorcycle boasts a complete electronics suite that includes ABS, traction control, cruise control, electrically adjustable windshield, and headlights, adjustable seats, ride-by-wire throttle, tire pressure monitor, and an anti-theft immobilizer.

The list price starts at $19,500.

 

2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited

indian-roadmaster-motorcycle

  • Engine: 1,890 cc Thunderstroke 116 V-twin
  • Horsepower: 92 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed

With a catchy vintage look, the Indian Roadmaster is the touring bike everyone wants to take out for a ride. With a 1,890cc V-twin engine, plush two-up seat with individual heat controls, a classy dash of chrome, and 36+ gallons of storage space, it is built for long distances. 

The Roadmaster is equipped with keyless start, push-button windshield, remote locking hard bags and trunk, integrated GPS, tire-pressure monitoring system, 200-watt stereo with Bluetooth and Pandora, heated seats, and grips.

Comfortable for both rider and passenger, the Roadmaster is a luxury-class motorcycle, with a list price starting at $30,749.

 

2021 Honda Gold Wing

honda-goldwing

  • Engine: 1,833 cc liquid-cooled horizontally opposed six-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 97.9 hp
  • Transmission: 6-speed overdrive 

We cannot make a list of touring bikes without including the legendary motorbike that gave birth to the touring motorcycle category. First introduced in 1975, the Honda Gold Wing is all about riding in style.

With a 1833cc, liquid-cooled, SOHC, six-cylinder engine, and DCT automatic transmission, it delivers all the amenities you could ask for from a touring bike. It has heated grips and seats, satellite navigation system, passenger armrests, wide seats, and low floorboards. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, it is considered an icon in the touring class. It also comes with the first factory production-line airbag in motorcycle history.

Starting in 2020, fog lights are standard equipment on all Gold Wing Tour models.

The Gold Wing comes with a base list price of $23,900.

 


With the right touring motorcycle and the right mindset, all that’s left for you to do is to hop on your bike, join a guided motorcycle tour and hit the road!

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