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 R1200RS
  7. Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
  8. Ducati SuperSport
  9. Honda VFR800
  10. Yamaha Tracer 700

1

Kawasaki H2 SX SE

The best sports tourer for tall riders

Kawasaki H2 SX SE

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.

  • New: £18,100
  • Used: TBC
  • Engine: Inline 4
  • Capacity: 998 cc
  • Licence: A
  • Power: 197 bhp
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 260 kg

2

BMW S1000XR

The best sports tourer for pillions / two-up

BMW S1000XR

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.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 160 bhp
  • Seat Height: 840 mm
  • Wet Weight: 228 kg

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3

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

One of the most powerful sports tourers

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

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.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 170 bhp
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 228 kg

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4

Kawasaki Z1000SX

One of the most popular sports tourers

Kawasaki Z1000SX

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.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 140 bhp
  • Seat Height: 815 mm
  • Wet Weight: 235 kg

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5

Suzuki GSX-S1000F

One of the best value sports tourers

Suzuki GSX-S1000F

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.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 143 bhp
  • Seat Height: 810 mm
  • Wet Weight: 214 kg

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6

BMW R1200RS

The best sports tourer with shaft drive

BMW R1200RS

The R1200RS is essentially the naked 2015 R1200R with a fairing and that's a good thing. Both models have a large fan base, carry their 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, cruise control, centre stand and luggage platform so that's probably the one to go for. 2017 saw a small update to reduce vibrations and introduced two new options in the form of a dynamic brake light and cornering ABS.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 123 bhp
  • Seat Height: 820 mm
  • Wet Weight: 236 kg

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7

Yamaha Tracer 900 GT

The best middleweight sports tourer

Yamaha Tracer 900 GT

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.

  • New: £10,650
  • Used: TBC
  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 847 cc
  • Licence: A
  • Power: 114 bhp
  • Seat Height: 850 mm
  • Wet Weight: 227 kg

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8

Ducati SuperSport

The best looking sports tourer

Ducati SuperSport

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.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 113 bhp
  • Seat Height: 810 mm
  • Wet Weight: 210 kg

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9

Honda VFR800

The best sports tourer for short riders

Honda VFR800

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.

  • Licence: A
  • Power: 104 bhp
  • Seat Height: 789 mm
  • Wet Weight: 242 kg

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10

Yamaha Tracer 700

The best sports tourer for beginners / new riders

Yamaha Tracer 700

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.

  • New: £7,300
  • Used: £5,950-£4,350
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 689 cc
  • Licence: A2 (Restricted)
  • Power: 74 bhp
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 196 kg

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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.

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