What’s the best two-up? The rider’s view
Of all the bikes here, the Suzuki V-strom 650 is the best for carrying a passenger. It’s physically quite big, so is comfortable and roomy with someone on the back. The engine is smooth, strong and easily pulls the extra weight, but it’s not necessary the fastest. It’s very well balanced and there’s little pitching back and forth from the suspension on and off the throttle. The BMW runs it a close second, though, and these two are a long way clear of the Kawasaki and Yamaha for two-up riding.
The Tracer 700 is fine when riding solo. The engine is sporty and the steering light, but the suspension feels crude, cheap, unrefined and under-damped with a passenger and there’s little easy adjustment in it.
The Kawasaki’s engine is good and the suspension has a better feel to it and sits between the Yamaha and BMW for carrying a passenger.
The Suzuki is every bit as comfy, but the BMW is just that bit smoother for a pillion.
The Tracer is my third choice. It’s small and low, so it’s easy to get on and off, but there’s not much to hold on to, just some weird hornlike handles. With so much wind buffeting you really know about it at high speed and the seat doesn’t hold you reassuringly into place.
I wasn’t keen on the Kawasaki at all, which is why I’ve put it last. The pillion seat perches you so high that it’s harder on your arms to hold on, and the shape of the saddle means you’re constantly sliding forward into the rider. There’s also a lot less rear legroom than the others and more vibes from the engine.
have a clock, or an adjustable screen, but there are loads of official accessories available. It’s a smooth, solid performer and deserves respect.
In terms of engine configuration, power and physical size, the BMW F700GS is a good match for the other bikes here. And like the others it’s aimed at the newer rider, too. But
Each manufacturer offers a full range of official touring, sports and cosmetic accessories. Here are our top picks from each marque:
Kawasaki £550 worth of free touring accessories when you buy a Versys 650 before September 5, 2016, comprising of panniers, interior bags and a tank pad.
Yamaha Quick-release 11-litre tankbag:
£115.99 Padded comfort seat with logo: £128.99 Wider/taller screen: £111.99
Suzuki Centrestand: £185 Heated grips: £225 Lower seat: £149
BMW Tyre pressure control: £210 On-board computer: £160 Traction control: £310
‘The BMW F700GS looks big, but it’s actually surprisingly manageable’