Monday, February 16, 2009

Ten Motorcycle Tour Models Reviewed

I've used articles by Alan Liptrot before, here's another that I think is worth the read. Ride Safe!

Ten Motorcycle Tourers by Alan Liptrot
Selecting a Tourer is a very personal thing, and I’m not saying that these ten machines are the best. Some may not be still in production, but they are all available, albeit second hand.


The only bit of kit that Honda’s Flagship is missing is an ashtray, and they’re probably working on that at the moment. This bike has been around a long time in one guise or another, but you only have to see the number of owners clubs and members to realise that its popularity isn’t waning yet. A high-tech aluminium chassis keeps the weight down, providing a surprising turn of speed. This is the ultimate tourer, but just too bulky looking for some people.

Although still quite heavy, this bike is more economical than the Goldwing. Looking around, it seems to be one of the most popular tourers around and rightly so if it’s power you want, but it needs a little care on the twisties. Newer models are fitted with a reverse gear.


It’s big, it’s brash and it’s American. Definitely built for comfort, not speed, but will turn more heads than you can shake a stick at. 110mph from a 1449cc engine says it all. One of the advantages of owning this machine is the minimal depreciation, and you’re always going have something to talk about to any passing stranger.

Oodles of acceleration, limited vibration and a truly versatile character. But having said that, if you’re on the short side, forget it. Being a shorty myself, I think it’s a shame that motorcycle manufacturers exclude a huge section of potential customers by having a high seat. However, the taller motorcyclists I know assure me that this is an exceptional bike. I’ll just have to take their word for it.

This is one of the most silky, comfortable, fast machines you’re ever likely to have the pleasure of putting your bum on. Even with two up it handles superbly. If you’re thinking about buying a tourer, this has to be worth considering.

This shaft driven offering from Yamaha was specifically built with touring in mind. The huge capacity tank and hard luggage are just part of the deal. Loads of power from the reliable engine will get you out of trouble, but that doesn’t mean it’s thirsty. The FJR represents value for money and I like it.

An excellent value for money, shaft driven bike from Moto Guzzi. With a range in the region of 200 miles and a comfortable riding position, this is a true tourer. Some harshly describe this as the poor man’s BMW, but let’s get one thing straight; it’s shaft driven, but it’s not a BMW.

Sadly discontinued in 2002, the Trophy is still worth considering if you can find a decent second hand model. It’s a heavy bike, but it’s much cheaper than say, the Pan’s and you’ll still be getting a lot of bike for your money. For such a big bike, the cornering capabilities and general handling are pretty good, and you could do far worse than go for one of these, especially if you are on a limited budget.

This mid size tourer can turn its hand to anything; ideal for commuting on a daily basis and touring across Europe, and the 54 litres of colour coded luggage will help. Low service costs and insurance group make the Deauville very attractive. The build quality of this shaft driven machine is legendary, making it high on would be adventurers’ short lists.

A faster, lighter and much welcome successor to the R1150RT, this machine is not just a good tourer, it’s a good bike. One nice innovation on this bike is the height adjustable seat (there I go again). The Telelever/Paralever suspension provides excellent handling as you would expect from a BMW. Expect to pay a decent price for a second hand one, as these bikes hold their money, but if it’s in good condition you’re going to be the owner one nice bike.

Well, there are ten bikes for you, and they all have something to offer whatever your circumstances. If your favourite was not included, I apologise.

Alan Liptrot is the founder of Motorbike The Company offers guided motorcycle tours in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

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