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13 Best Sports Touring Motorcycles

Sport touring bikes combine the best of sport motorcycles with touring bikes offering sports bike enthusiasts the opportunity go longer distances in a greater degree of comfort.

Many leading manufacturers of the top sports bikes also make a sports tourer version and so riders don’t have to abandon their favourite company in search of a touring motorcycle.

In a quest to find the best sports touring motorcycle of all time we have pulled together a list of the best current models available and the best used touring bikes that are no longer available.

Let’s get started.

Best Current Sports Tourers

Kawasaki H2 SX SE+

the H2 SX SE is the ultimate sport touring motorcycle today
The Kawasaki H2 SX SE+

What could be cooler than the big bad Ninja H2? Not much I hear you say, and yes you are correct but I would argue there is one exception.

Here we have the Ninja H2 SX, the version that you can actually ride long distances without breaking your back or wrists.

It has been updated for the 2022 model with TFT dash, keyless start, hill hold control, heated grips, electric semi active suspension, Brembo brakes (Stylema front calipers) and self healing paint.

This adds to the already cornering ABS, launch control, quick shifter and LED cornering lights. Improved electronics has allowed for 3-level adaptive cruise control thanks to front and rear sensors. These sensors send warning signals to be displayed in the side mirrors if there is a collision risk or blind spot detection.

Of course you would really expect the Ninja H2 SX to be a quality touring motorcycle just like the standard H2 is an impeccable sports bike and the Z H2 an amazing naked bike, so the top of the line electronics from Kawasaki is no surprise.

The Ninja H2 SX is more sporty than some of the other sport touring motorcycles on the list and with the turbo engine that is probably for the best as it encourages spirited riding.

Specs

  • Engine – Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke In-Line Four with Supercharger

  • Capacity – 998cc

  • Max Power – 197 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 136Nm

  • Top Speed – 186mph

  • Curb Weight – 590.9lbs

  • Seat Height – 32.9″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.0 Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$27,500

£24,579

BMW S1000XR

BMW S1000XR is the sports tourer version of the S1000RR
BMW S1000XR is the tourer version of the S1000RR

The only thing lacking with the BMW S1000XR is the traditional BMW Boxer engine. However, that has no impact on the bikes ability to be an awesome sports tourer based on the flagship S1000RR.

Like the S1000 R naked version, the engine is a detuned version of the inline four 999cc S1000RR engine, the power is spread more equally to make it more usable in everyday riding situations.

The top speed has suffered a little and peak power but the delivery is important to be functional as a touring motorcycle. BMW claim the S1000XR has the ‘widest usable speed range in its class’.

The latest model is 22lbs lighter than the predecessor which has helped with increased acceleration, better agility, shorter braking distances and easier handling. It has also received new brakes.

You get all the top kit as standard equipment with the S1000XR that you expect from a BMW motorcycle these days: TFT dash with BMW Motorrad Connectivity, ride modes, LED headlight and a whole host of accessories from the BMW catalogue to make the bike your own.

Specs

  • Engine – Water/oil-cooled 4-cylinder 4-stroke in-line engine, four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts

  • Capacity – 999cc

  • Max Power – 165 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 113Nm

  • Top Speed – 124mph +

  • Curb Weight – 498lbs

  • Seat Height – 33″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.2 Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$16,945

£14,290

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT sport tourer
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The closest in style to contemporary adventure bikes, the Super Duke GT is one of the best sport touring motorcycles around.

The Super Duke GT is a development of the naked 1290 Super Duke R. You get a larger fuel tank, windscreen and pannier mount system, new wheels, new TFT dash, new screen and new advanced Sat Nav technology all for 2022.

As standard self cancelling indicators, led lights, cornering lights, power modes, cruise control, semi active suspension, are all included.

Unlike other sport tourer bikes on the list the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is powered by a V-twin engine. The V-twin is however, very smooth, it has impressive power deliver and peak torque.

KTM market the bike as “a comfortable ballistic missile” and I suggest that is a safe assessment, the engine is a monster, if you want to crunch miles quickly, this is the bike for the task, and it has all the practical features you need to make it as comfortable as you can be.

Specs

  • Engine – LC8 V-twin

  • Capacity – 1,301cc

  • Max Power – 175 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 141Nm

  • Top Speed – 185mph

  • Curb Weight – 503lbs

  • Seat Height – 32.9″

  • Fuel Capacity -5.05 Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$ Price to be confirmed as we are still awaiting the model to be made available in the US

£17,949

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT sport touring motorcycle
Suzuki GSX-S1000GT

The GT version replaced the GSX-S1000F in 2021 and it is a visually special motorcycle and a stunning machine.

Differences are subtle between this touring motorcycle and the racing GSX-R1000 so much so, I would say you could hit the track on the GT if you fancied it.

I think Suzuki’s greatest strength these days is producing motorcycles that are of a high standard for a great price, the value for money is unrivalled by the competition.

You have hard luggage capability, cruise control, comfort seat and pillion seat along with a 6.5″ TFT dash that has smartphone compatibility.

Upon release in the UK this year the GT sold incredibly well with dealers struggling to keep models in their storefronts for potential owners to view and demo.

The GT has everything that a best sports tourer needs including the Suzuki Intelligent Ride System, a Quick shifter, Traction Control and different Suzuki riding modes.

Suzuki have also produced a wide range of accessories, from luggage to protection options and extra added comforts like heated grips. This allows owners to customise the bike to suit, keeping it as stripped back as they like to enhance the Gixxer spirit, or fully load it up for the best touring experience.

Specs

  • Engine – 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, DOHC

  • Capacity – 999cc

  • Max Power – 150 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 106Nm

  • Top Speed – 155mph

  • Curb Weight – 498lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.9″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.0Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$13,149

£11,999

Kawasaki Ninja S1000SX

Kawasaki Ninja S1000SX sports tourer
Kawasaki Ninja S1000SX

The closest in competition to the Suzuki GT is the Ninja S1000SX from a price perspective, if you like the GT or the Ninja you should definitely take them both out side by side to see which comes out on top for rideability and features.

The SX has been upgraded with a new TFT dash, LED lighting and other small additions to make it an excellent all rounder.

It is unmistakeably a Ninja with a less aggressive riding position, it is also slightly less intimidating than its bigger brother the H2.

Quick shifter, traction control, cornering management function, intelligent anti-lock brakes, electronic throttle valves, integrated ride modes, assist and slipper clutch are just some of the features that make the SX a brilliant touring motorcycle.

Like the Suzuki the SX manages to combine its extra touring features into an undeniably sports focused motorcycle, hit the track if you want to and the bike can do it.

Specs

  • Engine – Inline-Four cylinder, DFI

  • Capacity – 1,043cc

  • Max Power – 140 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 111Nm

  • Top Speed – 155mph

  • Curb Weight – 513lbs

  • Seat Height – 32.2″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.0Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$13,199

£11,829

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

The Yamaha Tracer 9 GT uses the same highly rated triple cylinder engine as the MT09 and XSR900
The Yamaha Tracer 9 GT uses the same highly rated triple cylinder engine as the MT09 and XSR900

If you are a fan of Yamaha naked bikes then you are sure to enjoy the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, the sports tourer version built off the MT’s foundation which offers the ultimate sport touring experience.

For 2022 Yamaha have implemented a new 890cc engine which has seen all the crucial parts of the motor be redesigned from the pistons to the crankcase.

They have also partnered with KYB to deliver electronic suspension for a sporty yet comfortable ride. Using all the information from the IMU, ECU, Hydraulic Unit then the Suspension Control System tailors the setup to suit the riding conditions for optimum performance.

The bike has also had full LED lighting fitted including cornering lights and a full electronics package with all the modern amenities you would expect from a top sport tourer.

Yamaha also include side cases as standard for carrying your luggage so without doing anything else from the shop floor the bike is ready to take you the distance.

Specs

  • Engine – Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder; 4 valves per cylinder

  • Capacity – 890cc

  • Max Power – 117 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 93Nm

  • Top Speed – 140mph

  • Weight Wet – 484lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.9″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.0Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$14,999

£12,700

Ducati Supersport 950 S

Ducati Supersport 950 S
Ducati Supersport 950 S

Now unless you are looking at the Ducati Multistrada or the Hypermotard you wouldn’t necessarily think of them as producing suitable touring bikes. Of course the Multistrada is an Adventure bike and the Hypermotard a Dual Sport.

Arguably putting the Supersport 950 S into the category of sport touring motorcycles is a stretch but why can’t a sexy Italian V-twin be a sport tourer?

If style is more your focus over and above practicality than the Supersport slides right on in there.

It does have the most neutral and upright ergonomics of Ducati’s sportsbikes and there are some practical features for a touring motorcycle such as: quality wind protection from new fairings, top Ohlins suspension, LED headlight, some cool electronics as standard.

You can also add on touring accessories from the catalogue which include heated grips, tall windshield and hard sidebags.

I have to say that I am the type of rider to throw practicality to the wind and opt for the Ducati Supersport on the basis it is just stunning taking style ques from the Panigale line.

Specs

  • Engine – Ducati Testastretta 11° twin-cylinder

  • Capacity – 937cc

  • Max Power – 113 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 93Nm

  • Top Speed – 150mph

  • Weight – 463lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.9″

  • Fuel Capacity – 4.2Gal

MSRP for 2022 Base Model

$14,195

£13,895

Best Used Sports Tourers

Honda VFR800F

Honda VFR800F
Honda VFR800F

At one time the Honda VFR800 was the class leading sport touring bike, that isn’t the case these days. However, it still holds it own and has a lot to offer.

First of all it is just an incredibly comfortable motorcycle, a spacious seat with plenty of room to move around as you ride.

It is a very simple design, dare I say it without feeding into the Honda stereotype, a bit boring. However, to redeem the VFR it is incredibly practical and the bodywork keeps the wind off with ease, there is no mistaking the VFR as anything but a sports tourer in a very traditional sense.

If you are looking to pick one of these up going for the last generation from 2014 would be the best bet as for the most modern ride, everything except the frame and engine was upgraded. Better suspension, a new swingarm, new wheels, traction control, heated grips and self cancelling indicators were added.

Specs

  • Engine – 16-valve, liquid-cooled V4

  • Capacity – 782cc

  • Max Power – 105 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 75Nm

  • Top Speed – 150 horsepower

  • Weight – 533lbs

  • Seat Height – 31″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.8Gal

Average Used Prices

$7,500-$8,000

£2,500-£8,000

Triumph Sprint GT

Triumph GT Sprint 1050 makes a great sports tourer for those on a budget
Triumph GT Sprint 1050

A list of the best sport touring motorcycles wouldn’t be complete without nodding to the Kings of British motorcycling, Triumph.

If you are looking for a serious adventure tourer the Triumph Tiger is the way to go these days but for a long time the Triumph Sprint GT was the boss of sport touring motorcycles and is well worth a look.

The shining factor of this sport touring Triumph was 200 mile range before fuel fill ups along with huge hard side bags fitted as standard.

The fairing on the Sprint is huge offering good wind protection and the gel seat is a welcome comfort.

Specs

  • Engine – 12-valve, fuel-injected triple

  • Capacity – 1050cc

  • Max Power – 123 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 101 Nm

  • Top Speed – 160mph

  • Weight – 462lbs

  • Seat Height – 32″

  • Fuel Capacity – 4.3Gal

Average Used Prices

$4,000-$5,000

£3,500-£5,500

Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa

Not a conventional sports tourer but the original Busa is capable of long distance touring with an effortlessly easy sporty look.

The latest generation has not long been released but if you want to save some money, opting for a used model is the way to go.

The engine will soak up fast long distance miles with ease and the power is there to use in every situation you come across.

It is a huge motorcycle suitable for rider and passenger along with a load of luggage.

The money you save by buying a used Hayabusa you can spend on accessories to load the bike with useful touring features.

Specs

  • Engine – 16-valve, fuel-injected inline four

  • Capacity – 1,299cc

  • Max Power -175 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 150Nm

  • Top Speed – 194mph

  • Weight – 586lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.4″

  • Fuel Capacity – 5.2Gal

Average Used Prices

$7,000-$15,000

£6,000-£16,000

Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird

Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird
Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird

It wouldn’t be right to mention the Hayabusa without considering the Blackbird after all the Busa was inspired by a Falcon bird that preys on Blackbirds.

The Honda Blackbird is another big spacious motorcycle with plenty of room for rider, passenger and luggage and the monster engine will carry the weight with no issues.

Like the Sprint and Busa, the Blackbirds fairings are huge and offer excellent protection from the elements.

You get Honda’s renowned reliability and an engine that will go on longer than most riders can, plus the Blackbird is one of the cheapest used sport touring motorcycles that money can buy, its a lot of bang for the buck at that.

Specs

  • Engine – Four-stroke, transverse four-cylinder, DOHC

  • Capacity – 1,137cc

  • Max Power – 141 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 124Nm

  • Top Speed – 188mph

  • Weight – 490lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.9″

  • Fuel Capacity – 4.9Gal

Average Used Prices

$3,500-$6,000

£3,500-£4,500

Yamaha FJR1300

Yamaha FJR1300
Yamaha FJR1300

For 2016 Yamaha upgraded the FJR1300 with a glove box, heated screen and heated grips this was very much the cherry on top of the cake for an already excellent sport touring bike.

The 1,298cc is loaded with torque and the power delivery is incredibly smooth so pulling off in any gear and getting up to speed is a breeze.

The FJR is big but handles very well for its size, while the Blackbird arguably has heavy steering the FJR is pretty light considering and handles like a dream.

Brakes are excellent you also get a slipper clutch and electronically adjustable suspension and cruise control. So if you want all the modern amenities but to save a few dollars the FJR could be a solid choice.

Specs

  • Engine – Four-stroke, liquid cooled, inline four

  • Capacity – 1,298cc

  • Max Power – 146 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 134Nm

  • Top Speed – 154mph

  • Weight – 654lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.6″

  • Fuel Capacity – 6.6Gal

Average Used Prices

$5,000-$14,000

£4,000-£12,000

Honda ST1300 (Pan-European)

Honda ST1300 Pan European is a great budget sports tourer
Honda ST1300

Maybe a little old school but from personal experience I can confirm this is a great bike, arguably the ST1300 is a slightly toned down and sportier Goldwing.

It is a big sport touring bike, with over 15 years in production to perfect it, the bike is fast, powerful, comfortable, competent and reliable.

The bike is mild mannered despite its big capacity, it as smooth as can be, has a low seat height and the steering is surprisingly light.

My partners Dad has a Pan and having taken it out for a spin as rider and passenger I can confirm it is comfortable for both. Furthermore he did throw it down the road at 40mph which required a few cosmetic bits to be replaced.

The process of stripping it down and getting it back to a high standard was pretty seamless and cheap to do so that’s always a bonus and it has run sweet as a nut since.

Specs

  • Engine – V4, 16 Valves

  • Capacity – 1,261cc

  • Max Power – 125 horsepower

  • Max Torque – 124Nm

  • Top Speed – 141mph

  • Weight – 632lbs

  • Seat Height – 31.6″

  • Fuel Capacity – 7.6Gal

Average Used Prices

$2,500-$5,000

£3,200-£6,000

What makes a great sport touring motorcycle?

A sport touring motorcycle doesn’t need much to make it great, just the fundamentals of power, comfort, space, luggage capacity, big fuel tank and good wind protection.

Sports styling is a bonus as without that its just another touring or adventure bike and a reliable solid engine is definitely up there as useful as the plan will be to crunch plenty of miles under the tires.

Whether you are choosing a new or used bike is a completely personal choice and with many of the best used tourers offering top electronics and components there is some merit for opting for an older model.

Top features of the best sport touring motorcycles:

  • Heated grips

  • Comfortable seat and neutral ergonomics

  • Spacious passenger arrangement

  • Modern Electronics/Tech such as: Hill Start Control, Different Riding Modes, Cornering ABS, Cruise Control, electronic suspension or semi active suspension, a full LED headlight

  • Tall windshield and other wind protection

  • LED lighting

  • Quick Shifter

  • Adjustable suspension

  • Decent handling

You don’t need all of these things to have a great riding experience, many riders consider some of the electronics overkill, but it is nice to know that the options are there and you can call on them if needed.

The best manufacturers will offer touring packages or accessories so that you can tailor the bike to your own needs.

Final Thoughts

There are specific touring bikes out there of course and have been for many years. The most well known of these include bikes like the Honda Goldwing and models from the Harley Davidson Bagger range like the Electra-Glide. From the past we have amazing machines such as the Honda VTX 1800, the Yamaha Warrior 1700 and the Suzuki Intruder 1400.

These motorcycles are built for long distance comfort and practicality above anything else, maybe with a bit of style thrown in.

Sports tourers however, bridge the gap for riders who love the power of traditional sportsbikes with added functionality to make riding easier for longer. They also tend to accommodate passengers much better and easier than regular sports models along with enough luggage for 2 people.

It is impossible to pick the best sport touring motorcycle as there are so many good choices to choose from and variations within the list.

The Ducati steals my heart, but my head says the Tracer 9 GT would be the best option for my needs. In terms of a used option, the ST1300/Pan is absolutely my first choice thanks to its comfort alone.

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