Top 10 Best Touring Bikes (2021)

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You can tour on almost any bike however some are more suited to it than others. It's all about storage, range, comfort and gadgets. What is a touring bike?

The Best Touring Bikes:

Honda Goldwing

What Is It?

When you think about touring bikes you inevitably think about the Honda Goldwing first and this one is all new for 2018. It has a new chassis, advanced new suspension setup, smaller engine with more power, full LED lighting, smaller overall dimensions and up to 38 kg shaved off the weight!

All of the latest tech is there including a few notable systems you might not expect. There's hill start assist, which is useful for a bike weighing in at 365 kg, a massive 7" colour TFT dash and if you opt for the automatic DCT gearbox it will even walk itself slowly forwards or backwards to make parking easier.

If you plan on taking a pillion the range topping Tour version includes what can only be described as an armchair with a 50 litre boot behind it and even an airbag fitted on top of the fuel tank, although at a shade under £30,000 it's a serious investment!

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £22,850
  • Engine: Flat Six
  • Capacity: 1,833 cc
  • Power: 125 bhp / 93 kW
  • Top Speed: 130 mph / 209 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 210 miles / 338 km
  • Seat Height: 745 mm / 29.3 inches
  • Wet Weight: 365 kg / 805 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.342 bhp/kg

BMW K1600GTL

What Is It?

Pretty much the only rival to the Honda Goldwing, the 2017 K1600 is powered by an inline six cylinder engine famed for endless amounts of smooth power.

It's roughly the same weight as the Goldwing and features masses of advanced tech including a fancy adaptive cornering headlight and a system to quickly send an SOS call from the handlebar or automatically if you crash. 

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £21,355
  • Engine: Inline Six
  • Capacity: 1,649 cc
  • Power: 160 bhp / 119 kW
  • Top Speed: 160 mph / 257 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 230 miles / 370 km
  • Seat Height: 750 mm / 29.5 inches
  • Wet Weight: 350 kg / 772 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.457 bhp/kg

BMW K1600GT

What Is It?

It's essentially the same bike as the GTL but without the top box and the minor mods that make the GTL better for really long distances two up. It's also £1,250 cheaper and a hefty 16 kg lighter. If you can handle slightly less storage the K1600B is a cooler option.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £19,840
  • Engine: Inline Six
  • Capacity: 1,649 cc
  • Power: 160 bhp / 119 kW
  • Top Speed: 160 mph / 257 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 230 miles / 370 km
  • Seat Height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 334 kg / 736 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.479 bhp/kg

BMW K1600B

What Is It?

The B stands for Bagger, which is usually a US style cruiser bike modified with fixed side panniers to make it more touring friendly. In this case BMW took the K1600GT, then made a few changes to "Baggerise" it with a blacked out engine, lower and straighter exhausts, lower screen, 7 cm lower pillion seat and fixed panniers with a more streamlined design.

The end result is a much lower back end and cleaner lines to make it look cooler. The K1600 Grand America is essentially the K1600B with a top box and taller screen.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £20,730
  • Engine: Inline Six
  • Capacity: 1,649 cc
  • Power: 158 bhp / 118 kW
  • Top Speed: 160 mph / 257 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 230 miles / 370 km
  • Seat Height: 780 mm / 30.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 336 kg / 741 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.470 bhp/kg

BMW R1250RT

What Is It?

The R1200RT has been slowly evolving since 2005 and is loved by the public and police forces alike. For 2019 BMW has evolved it into the R1250RT by swapping the engine for a new 1,254 cc Boxer design with ShiftCam technology (Variable Valve Timing).

It still features all the cool tech from the old model such as hill start assist, dynamic brake light system, huge colour TFT dash and cornering ABS so should definitely be on your test ride list.

For 2021 it gains radar based active cruise control, a massive 10" TFT dash, full LED lighting and a cool USB / wireless charging glovebox for your phone.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £15,820
  • Engine: Boxer VVT
  • Capacity: 1,254 cc
  • Power: 134 bhp / 100 kW
  • Top Speed: 125 mph / 201 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 250 miles / 402 km
  • Seat Height: 805 mm / 31.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 279 kg / 615 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.480 bhp/kg

Gear

BMW R1250GS

What Is It?

The R1250GS is an adventure bike but it's just as good when it comes to touring. The model continually tops the UK best sellers chart, has a massive following around the world and can be totally customised using the BMW parts catalogue.

Looking back a major update in 2017 evolved the previous R1200GS with shiny new looks, reduced vibration and plenty of new high tech options like hill start control and self levelling suspension; both incredibly useful on a bike which weighs a quarter of a ton before two people and a full luggage accompaniment are added into the mix.

Fast forward to 2019 and BMW have replaced it with the evolutionary R1250GS. The bike is essentially the same winning formula as before but gets a brand new engine with Variable Valve Timing tech (BMW ShiftCam). It has a bit more power and fuel efficiency at the expense of another 5 kg added to the weight (and the best part of £20,000 new fully spec'd up).

If you intend on doing lots of proper off-road work they offer a version called the R1250GS Adventure (R1250GSA) which has a larger tank, lots of drop protection and more ground clearance although it's another 8kg heavier.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £13,705
  • Engine: Boxer VVT
  • Capacity: 1,254 cc
  • Power: 134 bhp / 100 kW
  • Top Speed: 125 mph / 201 km/h
  • Economy: 50 mpg / 5.6 L/100km
  • Range: 220 miles / 354 km
  • Seat Height: 850 mm / 33.5 inches
  • Wet Weight: 249 kg / 549 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.538 bhp/kg

Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX

What Is It?

Before the 2020 jump into camp Ninja the Z1000SX was a solid contender for your sports tourer shortlist. It's been evolving over four generations since 2011 and is a solid all round touring option at a reasonable price. Just don't expect to be the only one on the road with one.

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

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

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 sell well.

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

Honda CB500X

What Is It?

The Honda CB500X has been around since 2013 and in that time has gathered a massive fan base, for very good reason. It's a cunning mix of A2 compliance, value for money, comfort, handling and incredible economy.

For 2019 it gets taller suspension, a modern slip / assist clutch, LED indicators, new dash, a gear position indicator and a 19" front wheel. For 2022 Honda have listen to owners and added a Showa SFF-BP fork, dual front discs, a lighter swingarm and improved LED headlight.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £6,200
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 471 cc
  • Power: 47 bhp / 35 kW
  • Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 km/h
  • Economy: 85 mpg / 3.3 L/100km
  • Range: 330 miles / 531 km
  • Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 197 kg / 434 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.239 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 touring bikes 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 Touring Motorbike?

What is a touring motorbike?

Touring bikes are all about luggage capacity, range, comfort for two, all the toys you could want and sometimes even camping gear to boot.

They aren't about light weight performance or, like sports tourers, a compromise between sportiness and outright touring capability. Unfortunately there is a down side to all that capability; they tend to be some of the heaviest bikes on the road.

Some are built specifically for the job, like the Honda Goldwing, while others are based around sports tourers or adventure bikes like the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT. They often feature fixed panniers or a fancy system to remove the luggage quickly without ruining the looks of the bike.

Cruiser derived tourers are sometimes referred to as "baggers" or "fully dressed", such as the Indian Roadmaster.

Check out the other types of motorbikes.