Top 10: Sports Tourers

Best Sports Tourers

Sports Tourers aim to offer the same capabilities as touring bikes with the major sporting credentials of thoroughbred sports bikes, just toned down a bit for the real world. What is a sports tourer?

The Best Sports Touring Motorbikes:

  1. Kawasaki H2 SX SE
  2. BMW S1000XR
  3. KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
  4. Kawasaki Z1000SX
  5. Suzuki GSX-S1000F
  6. BMW R1250RS
  7. Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
  8. Ducati SuperSport
  9. Honda VFR800
  10. Yamaha Tracer 700

Kawasaki H2 SX SE - £18,100

Kawasaki H2 SX SE

Kawasaki H2 SX SE For Sale

New for 2018 Kawasaki have evolved their supercharged H2 sports bike into a more relaxed sports tourer. The H2 SX SE has a less aggressive riding position, taller screen, much higher maximum load from a stronger rear frame and a useful 2 litres of extra fuel capacity. It also comes packed with all the tech you can think of like launch control, a quickshifter, fancy colour TFT dash, heated grips and even LED cornering lights however at 260kg it's pretty heavy.

There's also a more basic H2 SX for £3,000 less which does without the cornering lights, launch control, quickshifter, centre stand, heated grips and the nicer machined wheels from the H2.

  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 998 cc
  • Power: 197 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 260 kg

BMW S1000XR - £12,650

BMW S1000XR

BMW S1000XR For Sale

It's been on sale since 2015 but don't let that put you off. The S1000XR is a well established sports touring/adventure front runner and is powered by a de-tuned version of the engine found in BMW's S1000RR sports bike. It had a small update in 2017 with 5bhp more and a fix for the handlebar vibrations plus the options list is very extensive so you can spec it up with fancy items like electronic semi-active suspension.

  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 999 cc
  • Power: 160 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 840 mm
  • Wet Weight: 228 kg

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT - £16,300

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT For Sale

The 2016 GT is a small evolution of the naked 1290 Super Duke R with a larger 23 litre tank, screen and pannier mount system. It's very well equipped with cornering lights, semi-active suspension, cruise control, ride modes, tyre pressure monitoring and self cancelling indicators however it's somewhat unusual in this list because most of the competition opt for the smooth power of an inline four engine over a V-Twin.

  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 1,301 cc
  • Power: 170 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 228 kg

Kawasaki Z1000SX - £10,000

Kawasaki Z1000SX

Kawasaki Z1000SX For Sale

If you don't actually need close to 200bhp and all the latest gadgets then the 2017 Z1000SX represents great value for money. Kawasaki have been slowly evolving it since 2011 and they are incredibly popular.

  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 1,043 cc
  • Power: 140 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 815 mm
  • Wet Weight: 235 kg

Suzuki GSX-S1000F - £10,300

Suzuki GSX-S1000F

Suzuki GSX-S1000F For Sale

Suzuki followed the recipe to the letter with the 2015 GSX-S1000F by taking their naked GSX-S1000 and adding a fairing. That's probably what the F stands for! Like the Z1000SX it doesn't have all the latest gadgets but you do get 3 level traction control, Brembo brakes and a solid engine. There was a minor update in 2017 with a bit more power and a new slipper clutch.

  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 999 cc
  • Power: 143 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 810 mm
  • Wet Weight: 214 kg

BMW R1250RS - £12,100

BMW R1250RS

BMW R1250RS For Sale

New for 2019, the R1250RS replaces the popular R1200RS with a host of upgrades. The engine now features Variable Valve Timing, there's more power, a full LED headlight and a fancy colour dash. It carries its weight down low due to the Boxer engine design and can be spec'd up with with full luggage. The Exclusive model has the semi-active suspension, keyless start, cruise control and centre stand so that's probably the one to go for.

  • Engine: Boxer
  • Capacity: 1,254 cc
  • Power: 134 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 820 mm
  • Wet Weight: 243 kg

Yamaha Tracer 900 GT - £10,650

Yamaha Tracer 900 GT

Yamaha Tracer 900 GT For Sale

This bike should definitely be on your list to test ride. New for 2018 the Tracer 900 GT is £1,400 more expensive than the excellent Tracer 900 but you get the quick release panniers, quickshifter, cruise control, heated grips, a better fork and the colour TFT dash from the MT-10 SP. That's a lot of extra kit for the money.

  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 847 cc
  • Power: 114 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 850 mm
  • Wet Weight: 227 kg

Ducati SuperSport - £11,800

Ducati SuperSport

Ducati SuperSport For Sale

If looks are near the top of your sports touring wish list then the 2017 Ducati SuperSport is a great option. It's has Brembo brakes, riding modes and a lovely single-sided swingarm. There's also a £1,300 more SuperSport S with fully adjustable Ohlins suspension, a quickshifter and white paint scheme with red wheels.

  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 937 cc
  • Power: 113 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 810 mm
  • Wet Weight: 210 kg

Honda VFR800 - £11,250

Honda VFR800

Honda VFR800 For Sale

It shares the lovely single-sided swingarm design with the Ducati SuperSport but the Honda VFR800 is unique on this list because it's powered by a compact V4 engine with Variable Valve Timing (VVT). While it was introduced in 2014, with only a minor update in 2017, the model has been slowly evolving since 2001 and has a massive following due to the change in engine character from frugal to full sports bike power when the VTEC kicks in.

  • Engine: V4
  • Capacity: 782 cc
  • Power: 104 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 789 mm
  • Wet Weight: 242 kg

Yamaha Tracer 700 - £7,300

Yamaha Tracer 700

Yamaha Tracer 700 For Sale

Last but not least is the 2016 Yamaha Tracer 700 which is based on the best selling naked MT-07. With only 74bhp on tap it's probably best suited to solo touring and it doesn't have masses of equipment to boast about but the engine is renowned for being excellent. From 2019 the Tracer 700 GT includes the panniers, comfort seat and larger screen.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 689 cc
  • Power: 74 bhp
  • Licence: A2 (Restricted)
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 196 kg

What Is A Sports Tourer?

What is a sports touring motorbike?

Sport Touring bikes are usually slightly modified high end sports bikes, such as the Kawasaki Z1000SX, however some are designed specifically for the job like the Honda VFR800. They aim to offer the same capabilities as touring bikes but without sacrificing any of the sportiness in the process, so they tend to be a bit lighter and corner well but aren't as comfortable.

Compared to the sports bike donor, or sometimes a "designed from scratch" sporty naked bike, the riding position tends to be a bit more relaxed, there's better wind protection, much better pillion provision and usually a whole quick release pannier system designed in.

Check out the other types of motorbikes.