A guide to great tour­ers

Ad­ven­ture bikes are great but for the big­gest miles you want one of these says Phil West

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week in MCN -

BMW R1200RT (2014-cur­rent)

De­fin­i­tive tourer had, un­til this lat­est ver­sion, been some­what over­shad­owed by its ad­ven­ture bike GS brother and still lags be­hind in terms of sales. But this lat­est RT is a phe­nom­e­nal per­former and ar­guably BMW’S best bike. With less weight, more elec­tron­ics, plusher lux­ury and the new 125bhp, liq­uid-cooled ver­sion of the boxer twin, the RT is not just sub­limely com­fort­able, ef­fec­tive and classy, as al­ways, it’s now punchy, nim­ble, in­tu­itive and peer­lessly so­phis­ti­cated.

What you’ll pay to­day From £10,300 for a used one.

But should you? For­get the early sus­pen­sion re­call, it’ll be fixed now, the lat­est RT is as good as tour­ers get.

BMW K1300GT (2009-2013)

Grand tourer based around the K1300’s shaft-drive pow­er­train was sac­ri­ficed pre­ma­turely by BMW to make way for its new fam­ily of six-cylin­der tour­ers, the K1600GT and GTL. A shame, as it’s a great, grunty bike with im­mense mile-eat­ing abil­ity plus all the usual BMW good­ies such as classy lug­gage, op­tions in­clud­ing electronic sus­pen­sion ad­just­ment and a smooth­ness, speed and pres­ence the twin-cylin­der R1200RT just can’t match. What you’ll pay to­day £4500-£8300. But should you? Mile-eaters still don’t come much bet­ter, nor do big, classy BMS come so cheap.

Honda GL1800 Gold­wing (2001-cur­rent)

Cur­rent ver­sion of the tour­ing le­gend that is the Gold­wing is now more than a lit­tle long in the tooth, es­pe­cially com­pared to the bal­lis­tic and giz­mo­laden BM K1600GTL launched in 2011, but it re­mains the de­fin­i­tive and most recog­nised full-dresser of all. No elec­tron­ics or 160bhp, maybe, but oth­er­wise the sump­tu­ous Wing has it all: arm­chair com­fort for two; tur­bine, six­cylin­der drive, a magic car­pet ride and a bet­ter stereo than most cars. Lux­ury.

What you’ll pay to­day £23,499 new. £5600 up for a used ’un. But should you? Still a de­voted fol­low­ing and you can see why. A two-wheeled mo­torhome.

Yamaha FJR1300 (2001-cur­rent)

Shaft-drive tourer was in­tended as a suc­ces­sor to the much-loved FJ1200 but re­ceived a slightly luke­warm re­cep­tion de­spite great han­dling and 146bhp. Over the years it’s gone through two sig­nif­i­cant up­dates (2007 and 2013) and be­come far more re­fined. What you’ll pay to­day £3000-£9000 for a 2001-12 ver­sion; £7900 up for a 2013+ But should you? Now has a de­served fol­low­ing of its own.

Honda ST1300 Pan Euro­pean (2002-cur­rent)

Suc­ces­sor to the ground-break­ing ST1100 may have been big­ger, slicker and with more power (125bhp) but an early han­dling scare (since fixed) meant it never gar­nered the same rep­u­ta­tion. Al­though now ag­ing and from the pre-elec­tron­ics age, it’s ef­fec­tive, classy, com­fort­able and durable. What you’ll pay to­day £14,699 new. From £3300 used. But should you? Solid, de­cent-value per­former.

Kawasaki 1400GTR (2010-cur­rent)

With a smooth and grunty 140bhp, good han­dling, equip­ment in­clud­ing ABS, TCS, elec­tric screen, heated grips and classy build the GTR de­serves to be more pop­u­lar than it is. In­stead it seems to be mostly used by the emer­gency ser­vices and cy­cle race mar­shals who know what a steal the GTR is. What you’ll pay to­day Used from £6000. But should you? A hell of a lot of bike for the money.

Tri­umph Tro­phy 1200 SE (2012-cur­rent)

Bold, Bri­tish at­tempt at out-tour­ing the Bavar­ian boxer ar­guably, briefly, suc­ceeded – un­til BMW brought out the bril­liant all-new RT in 2013. Based around a slick and im­pres­sive, 132bhp shaft-drive triple, it goes and han­dles a treat and is well equipped and comfy.

What you’ll pay to­day £14,299 new, from £7500 used. But should you? Good, but lacks pedi­gree of lat­est RT.

You could buy a GS but the RT is king of com­fort

That pil­lion seat is more comfy than any­thing in DFSÉ

All the big BMW toys and cash left to pay for ho­tels

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