I have waxed lyrical about the venerable FJR1300 on many an occasion, and I’m going to here as well. Sure, it’s barely changed over the course of its near 20-year history, but why would you? This Yamaha is stable, comfortable, and capable. The electronically adjustable suspension makes short work of any graded surface, and the aerodynamic protection offered by the fairing is brilliant. The cruise control is effective and smooth, even in mountainous regions. The torquey motor makes progress easy and the excellent handling requires very little attention even on tight mountain roads, leaving you free to soak in the views.
Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
Recent upgrades to the CVO suspension and Milwaukee Eight engine helped elevate Harley-Davidson’s CVO line-up into a genuinely comfortable bike. One of the innovative ways the CVO Limited improves your comfort is by improving your posture. At $44,039 it immediately removes all the extra width from your wallet, helping you sit more evenly on the seat. If you can afford one though, the CVO is an excellent bike for long highway rides. It is a little heavy, but that doesn’t matter when you’re cruising the vastness of the USA. The tombstone fairing could stop a hurricane, and the thick, heated seat is designed specifically to coddle North American backsides for hours on end.
The Indian line-up is often overlooked, but the Chieftain is a seriously good rig. It’s ultra comfortable thanks to an enormous leather seat with option heating and surprisingly good suspension. The bigger of the two V-twin engines is the better one, and is built to thrum with confident effortlessness over huge distances. That 116 ci engine is a $2,000 premium over the $21,999 base Chieftain. An extensive accessories catalogue makes it easy to build the Chieftain out to suit your own personal touring style.
BMW R 1250 GS
BMW’s R 1250 GS is arguably the most lusted-after adventure bike there is. The flagship BMW has a dual personality: living room comfort on the highway and Sherpa-like capability on the trails. I’ve seen firsthand as BMW R 1250 GS riders embarrass enduro bikes on rocky cliff climbs and watched in awe as those same riders saddled up and headed out for the 1,000+ mile ride home the next morning. If you want to sit on a bike in comfort all day, but don't want to put up with a luxobarge this $17,695 BMW is the best way to do it.
Triumph Tiger 800
Of course the land that brought us tea and crumpets would be able to make a motorcycle that you can ride for hours on end in cheerful contentment. The middleweight adventure touring class is a bit of a Goldilocks case. The Triumph Tiger gets you luxury and capability with a $12,000 price tag in a package that is accessible for all levels of rider and capable off road. The road-focused edition has compliant and plush road manners as well as a host of handy rider aids. The hand guards and screen keep you protected from the elements and help leave you fresh at day’s end.
Suzuki V-Strom 650
There are two types of people in this world, and both of them love the Suzuki V-Strom 650. The stock seat is a dream, and the upright riding position is great for long hauling. It is well balanced and capable so you never have to work hard riding the little Suzuki adventure bike. There are also a host of accessories aimed at comfort and wind protection that make it easy to set up the ‘Strom for lengthy quests.
The NC700X is dead … long live the NC750X! With or without the extra 5 in the name, there's a reason we include this humble little Honda in virtually every list we make. Pricing for 2020 hasn’t been announced but even if the 2019 price of $8.099 gets a bump, the NC750X is a bit of a bargain. It is available with a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) that allows for easy one-hand riding. Spacious ergonomics are comfy over distance, the slim, relatively low seat means nearly anyone can manage one and the tiny screen does a better job than it looks like it should, directing air onto the top of your shoulders and leaving your helmet buffet free. The NC is also more agile than it looks, carving soft roads and canyons with equal grace.
Honda Gold Wing Tour
Won’t somebody think of the children? Or at the very least, the passengers? There’re not a lot of bikes that support the pillion as well as they coddle the rider and the Honda Gold Wing Tour is perhaps the best of all of them. Even the base $23,800 Gold Wing is blessed with a car-like infotainment system that makes navigation, communications and media entertainment a breeze, as well as Honda’s famous easy-riding personality, and all Gold Wings have good handling, and solid engine. It’s the Tour that makes for the best two-up riding though.
Kawasaki H2 SX
High-powered sport tourers are not new by any stretch. There’s the Hayabusa, there used to be the Honda CBR1100XX, and Kawasaki still produces the Concours 14. Well, all of those have been eclipsed by the supercharged Kawasaki H2 SX. This rig is more powerful than its Concours 14 sibling, and lighter too. Both of which make for confidence-inspiring touring. This Kawasaki is a great option if you've got a long trip to good roads, then want to seriously enjoy those good roads once you're there. If you lean a little bit further to the “sport” side of “sport touring” you will probably enjoy the H2 SX. Also: Superchargers for the win.
BMW K 1600 Grand America
There are lots of ways to approach comfort. You can build a bike that is feature-packed. You can build a bike with a perfect seating position and supportive seat. You can build a bike that is easy to ride. Or, you can go the BMW route and do all of it. The K 1600 Grand America handles better than most cruisers I’ve ridden, and the combination of foot down and foot-forward controls makes it easy to shift positions while out on the road. Nothing this big feels this light and flickable, which means you never feel like you’re working hard. The monstrous inline six is a powerhouse of confident torque too.
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