The Best Sports Touring Motorbikes (2021)

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

Kawasaki H2 SX SE+

What Is It?

In 2018 Kawasaki 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 two 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.

For 2019 the H2 SX SE+ adds electronic semi-active suspension from the ZX-10R SE sports bike, upgraded Brembo Stylema brakes and a "self-healing" paint finish.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £22,000
  • Engine: Inline Four
  • Capacity: 998 cc
  • Power: 197 bhp / 147 kW
  • Top Speed: 185 mph / 298 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 190 miles / 306 km
  • Seat Height: 835 mm / 32.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 262 kg / 578 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.752 bhp/kg

BMW S1000XR

What Is It?

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.

For 2020 there's a new wasp style nose, LED lighting, TFT dash, lighter frame / swingarm / exhaust, cornering ABS, hill hold control, electronic suspension and hill start control. It should prove just as popular as the old model.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £14,290
  • Engine: Inline Four
  • Capacity: 999 cc
  • Power: 162 bhp / 121 kW
  • Top Speed: 160 mph / 257 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 180 miles / 290 km
  • Seat Height: 840 mm / 33.1 inches
  • Wet Weight: 226 kg / 498 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.717 bhp/kg

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

What Is It?

The 2016 1290 Super Duke 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.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £17,250
  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 1,301 cc
  • Power: 170 bhp / 127 kW
  • Top Speed: 185 mph / 298 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 200 miles / 322 km
  • Seat Height: 835 mm / 32.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 228 kg / 503 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.746 bhp/kg

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT

What Is It?

New for 2021, the GSX-S1000GT replaces the ageing GSX-S1000F. It features all the tech you would expect, apart from cornering ABS / traction control, including a really nice TFT dash, an up / down quickshifter, LED lighting, ride modes and cruise control.

If the Ninja 1000SX appeals to you on value for money grounds then it's well worth a test ride and it looks great.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £11,600
  • Engine: Inline Four
  • Capacity: 999 cc
  • Power: 150 bhp / 112 kW
  • Top Speed: 155 mph / 249 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 170 miles / 274 km
  • Seat Height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 226 kg / 498 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.664 bhp/kg

Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

What Is It?

The super popular Z1000SX is now in the Ninja camp for 2020 with an up to date 4.3" TFT dash, cruise control, LED lighting, a quickshifter and a comfier seat. Owners love the SX and consider it to be a perfect all rounder.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £11,300
  • Engine: Inline Four
  • Capacity: 1,043 cc
  • Power: 140 bhp / 104 kW
  • Top Speed: 150 mph / 241 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 170 miles / 274 km
  • Seat Height: 835 mm / 32.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 235 kg / 518 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.596 bhp/kg

Gear

BMW R1250RS

What Is It?

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.

The Exclusive model has the semi-active suspension, keyless start, cruise control and centre stand so that's probably the one to go for. It carries its weight down low due to the Boxer engine design, has a low maintenance shaft final drive and can be spec'd up with full luggage.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £12,415
  • Engine: Boxer VVT
  • Capacity: 1,254 cc
  • Power: 134 bhp / 100 kW
  • Top Speed: 145 mph / 233 km/h
  • Economy: 50 mpg / 5.6 L/100km
  • Range: 200 miles / 322 km
  • Seat Height: 820 mm / 32.3 inches
  • Wet Weight: 243 kg / 536 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.551 bhp/kg

Honda NT1100

What Is It?

The NT1100 reimagines the incredibly popular Africa Twin as a sports tourer with a larger fairing / screen / fuel tank, smaller wheels, less suspension travel, heated grips, luggage rack, centre stand and a quick release pannier system.

The equipment package is similarly generous with traction / wheelie / engine braking / cruise control, plenty of ride modes, a fancy 6.5" TFT dash with connectivity, self cancelling indicators and a 5-level height / angle adjustable screen.

Just like the Africa Twin the awesome DCT automatic transmission is a key option and Honda reckon over 50% of owners will opt for it.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £12,000
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,084 cc
  • Power: 101 bhp / 75 kW
  • Top Speed: 130 mph / 209 km/h
  • Economy: 55 mpg / 5.1 L/100km
  • Range: 250 miles / 402 km
  • Seat Height: 820 mm / 32.3 inches
  • Wet Weight: 238 kg / 525 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.424 bhp/kg

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

What Is It?

The Tracer 9 GT is the sports touring version of the popular MT-09 with longer suspension, more protection, clever pannier mounts, a new cornering headlight and fancy semi-active suspension. It should definitely be on your list to test ride and represents great value for money.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £12,200
  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 889 cc
  • Power: 117 bhp / 87 kW
  • Top Speed: 140 mph / 225 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 180 miles / 290 km
  • Seat Height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 220 kg / 485 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.532 bhp/kg

Ducati SuperSport

What Is It?

If looks are near the top of your sports touring wish list then the 2021 Ducati SuperSport 950 S is a great option. 

It has a lovely single sided swingarm, Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension, a quickshifter and new for 2021 a dual high / low beam LED headlight plus 4.3" TFT dash.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £13,985
  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 937 cc
  • Power: 113 bhp / 84 kW
  • Top Speed: 150 mph / 241 km/h
  • Economy: 55 mpg / 5.1 L/100km
  • Range: 190 miles / 306 km
  • Seat Height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 210 kg / 463 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.538 bhp/kg

Yamaha Tracer 7 GT

What Is It?

For 2021 Yamaha have renamed the popular Tracer 700 to the Tracer 7 then added a GT version with the touring screen, comfort seat and panniers.

With the excellent MT-07 derived engine, solo touring capability and sheer value for money it should definitely be on your shortlist.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £9,000
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 689 cc
  • Power: 72 bhp / 54 kW
  • Top Speed: 120 mph / 193 km/h
  • Economy: 60 mpg / 4.7 L/100km
  • Range: 220 miles / 354 km
  • Seat Height: 840 mm / 33.1 inches
  • Wet Weight: 196 kg / 432 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.367 bhp/kg

Want To See More Bikes Like This?

Head over to the Choose & Compare Tool to see them all.

How Did We Rank Our Top Ten?

We looked at all the best sports tourers you can buy new at a variety of price points and picked the top contenders, taking into account style, power, technology and value for money.

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" 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.