Prime options for when you want to crunch miles, not vertebrae.
One of the coolest things about bikes is that you can absolutely love more than one, for a multitude of different reasons. Maybe you have a bike that’s been passed down in the family, and even though the electrics need some work and it has a nice oil puddle where it sits, you just don’t have the heart to let it go. While you might not trust it to go on any long trips any time soon, it’s a lot easier (and usually less expensive) to find space for multiple bikes than it is with multiple cars.
Still, the bike you take to track days or the one you take trail riding probably isn’t the same one you want to munch miles with. With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 bikes that are available in 2023 that should help you eat up those miles (or kilometers, up to you) in total comfort, and maybe even before you know it.
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Ducati Multistrada V2 S
While Ducati might be known for its sportbikes, the latest version of the Multistrada V2 S kept the 937cc Testastretta engine, but gave the composition some important tweaks. For one, it smoothed out the gearbox to give a more pleasant riding experience. It also revised ergonomics, offering ride heights between 31.1 inches and 32.6 inches—after all, comfort for a tall rider and a short rider often don’t come in the same dimensions.
Ducati also shaved a total of 11 pounds off the latest Multistrada V2 S, coming up with a bike that weighs a claimed 445 pounds dry. The full electronics suite gives riders options for Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro riding, and of course, we can’t forget the Ducati Skyhook Suspension EVO on the V2 S. This might be the least expensive member of the Multistrada family that Ducati currently offers, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the team from Borgo Panigale skimped on the rider comforts.
One of the things that helps make touring more comfortable is aerodynamic fairings—like the ones you’ll find on the GSX-S1000GT+. Built around the same 999cc inline-four engine found in the GSX-R1000, you get a whole host of function and comfort additions that make the cockpit a great place to spend hours at a time.
Suzuki’s Clutch Assist System with Quick Shift makes shifting a snap, and you also get nice features like cruise control, a fully-adjustable KYB suspension, Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, ABS, ride modes, and a 6.5-inch TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity. Oh, and did we mention that those color-matched side cases come standard on this machine? Leave them at home, or load them up for your next getaway—your choice.
Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
If you love the ZX-14’s bonkers 1,352cc inline four-cylinder engine, but you wish it came in a nicely-outfitted sport touring package, congratulations: the Concours 14 ABS is here for you. What’s better than power, aerodynamic fairings, rider comfort, and plenty of storage space for the items you want to bring on your journey? The added bonus of a thoroughly reliable and low-maintenance shaft drive.
While this isn’t the only bike on this list with shaft drive, if that’s a feature you’re looking for, it’s definitely a bike to consider. That said, if you’re looking for something lightweight, this is not your bike. The curb weight tips the scales at 672.5 pounds without the saddlebags, and 690.2 pounds with them installed.
Honda Gold Wing
Honda’s stalwart big boxer touring bike is a perennial favorite among riders in the market for this type of bike for multiple reasons, not the least of which is its combination of power, comfort, and shaft-driven reliability. In 2023, the base model is the Gold Wing Automatic DCT, but you could also spend a little more and bump up to the Gold Wing Tour, which adds a passenger seat and capacious top box. Get a little spendier and you can have the Gold Wing Tour Automatic DCT or Tour Airbag Automatic DCT if you prefer.
Honda’s double wishbone front suspension ensures comfort for both rider and passenger, while features like Hill Start Assist and an electric windscreen only serve to strengthen an already formidable touring package. Seat height is a very approachable 29.3 inches, but curb weight is an extremely hefty 804 pounds.
As far as sport touring machines go, the FJR is a classic. Powered by a 1,298cc inline four-cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox, it also comes with all the comforts most riders expect from a modern bike in this category. Traction control, cruise control, ride modes, lean-angle-sensitive LED lighting, a push-button adjustable windscreen, and more all come standard—as do the hard side bags. This bike also comes with a shaft drive and heated grips as standard features.
MV Agusta Turismo Veloce
MSRP: $21,398 is the starting price for the Lusso
If you want the thrill of a triple in an extremely sporty sport-touring package, look no further than the Turismo Veloce. Its 798cc three-cylinder mill puts out a claimed 110 horsepower at 10,150 rpm, and has a dry weight of 192 kilograms—or just over 423 pounds. Want to make life easier and/or sportier on yourself? For a bit more money, you can opt for the Turismo Veloce Lusso SCS (that’s the semi-automatic clutch system), or the RC SCS.
Now, obviously, if you load it up with luggage and/or a passenger, that weight will increase—but what you find comfortable all depends on finding the right balance between sportiness, comfort, and power, right? Also, we know that aesthetics are completely subjective, but the Turismo Veloce is easily among the prettiest bikes on this list.
Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello S
The V100 Mandello S represents a massive leap forward for Moto Guzzi—and indeed, for sport touring fans, as well. Featuring an all-new, 1,042cc 90-degree V-twin engine that outputs a claimed 115 horsepower at 8,700 rpm and 105 newton-meters (or 77-ish pound feet) of torque at 6,750 rpm that’s mated to a six-speed gearbox, the V100 Mandello S packs bells and whistles galore.
Those familiar with other Guzzis won’t be surprised about the shaft drive, but what if we told you that the V100 Mandello S also gets a semi-active Ohlins suspension, Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, adaptive aerodynamics, cruise control, LED lighting, heated grips, an electronically-adjustable windscreen, and an up and down quickshifter fitted as standard equipment? You don’t have to pinch yourself, Moto Guzzi is completely living in the present and we are here for it.
BMW K 1600 GT
The K 1600 GT boasts BMW’s inimitable 1,649cc six-cylinder engine, which makes a claimed 160 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 132.7 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm. It’s mated to a six-speed gearbox, and this machine is shaft-driven. The front suspension utilizes BMW’s Duolever system, while the rear is a Paralever setup. Curb weight is 756.2 pounds, hard side cases included.
While the base K 1600 GT is nice, you can of course up the comfort and touring capabilities with some of BMW’s additional packages that offer things like Shift Assist Pro (look ma, no clutch), or the Option 719 line of accessories. Want a more bagger look, or plan to ride extensively two-up? Opt for the K 1600 B or K 1600 GTL instead—BMW’s not here to tell you how to tour, it just wants to help you do it.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Speaking of bells and whistles, the 1290 Super Adventure S is KTM’s entry into that particular category. It’s powered by KTM’s 1,301cc V-twin LC8 engine, which is mated to a six-speed Pankl transmission and Pasc slipper clutch. Features include a semi-active suspension, adaptive cruise control, an illuminated menu switch on the bars (crucial in low-light conditions), adjustable windscreen, adjustable footpegs, LED lighting, a massive 7-inch TFT display, and even a USB phone pocket to keep your phone charged while you’re on the go.
Rider aids include traction control, cornering ABS, and a tire pressure monitoring system. It also has self-cancelling turn signals, which could just spoil you for other bikes you might have that don’t have this feature. A host of side and top case options, as well as other accessories, are available both from KTM and from aftermarket manufacturers—but be aware that none of those storage options comes stock at this price.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special
The latest and greatest technological breakthroughs don’t always automatically equate with comfort—but in the case of Harley-Davidson, the Pan America 1250 Special represents an impressive leap forward in comfort, capability, and even accessibility—adaptive ride height, anyone?
Tall riders may not care all that much, but for shorter riders, the system (even though it’s a $1,200 option) is nothing short (ha) of a revelation. When you’re talking about the concept of comfort, one question you need to ask is, “comfortable for whom?” As we’ve said before, different riders have different requirements and comfort levels—and this bike does a lot to satisfy a wide range of riders.
There is, of course, more to the Pan America 1250 Special than that. It’s powered by the MoCo’s Revolution Max 1250 engine, which makes a claimed 150 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 94 pound-feet of torque. Features include a semi-active suspension, radially-mounted monoblock brake calipers, LED lighting, 6.8-inch TFT display, tire pressure monitoring system, ABS, electronic linked braking, traction control, hill hold control, drag-torque slip control system, wheelie control, and cruise control. Luggage and a full host of accessories are available both from Harley and on the aftermarket, if you so desire.