Many motorcyclists enjoy cross-country trips. For generations, the “road trip” has offered riders a way to enjoy their bike, see America, and have the road-trip adventure of a lifetime. A long motorcycle trip can broaden your horizons and give you a new verve for life. Whether you’re taking a journey of self-discovery or hitting the road for vacation, long rides are easier on a “touring” bike.
Long Rides on Touring Bikes
If “crotch rocket” bikes are the sprinters of the motorcycle world, touring bikes are the distance runners. These machines are built to be comfortably ridden for long distances. Often built larger to accommodate a less compact riding posture, they’re great for extended trips straight from the factory, or after they’re modified with touring motorcycle upgrades that offer the amenities you want. If you’re yearning for the open highway, here are some of the best bikes for your trip.
1. Indian Roadmaster
If you could ride a bike from the silver screen of Hollywood’s golden age on today’s highways, it would look a lot like an Indian Roadmaster. The Roadmaster features spacious styling that pleases riders and their passengers, but there’s nothing vintage about the bike’s features.
From heated seats to the integrated navigation system, to a Bluetooth and Pandora-enabled 200-watt stereo, this bike is packed with options that would make a luxury sedan blush. It’s perfect for the traditionalist who wants to ride in comfort.
2. Honda Goldwing
This iconic bike created the touring class. For over 40 years, the Goldwing has motored down the highways and byways with plenty of room for two people to see America together.
While the most recent adaptation of the bike keeps the traditional Goldwing lines, it pushes the envelope with cutting-edge tech options and an industry-first production airbag. This bike is right for riders who are looking for a friendly foray into touring bikes.
3. Harley-Davidson Electra Glide
It may not be the first touring model, but the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide is the bar by which other touring bikes are measured. This road machine is built for maximum comfort over long distances.
Many electronic bells and whistles, like an infotainment system and GPS navigation, are available, and the Milwaukee-Eight motor is a well-known power producer that won’t let you down. The Electra Glide is a great all-around choice for touring in comfort and style.
4. Yamaha FJR1300
Designed as a sport touring bike, the FJR 1300 is a favorite with the import crowd. Sharing much of the sporty styling of Yamaha’s famous crotch rockets, it adds travel-worthy features like an electronic suspension and quick-release luggage mounts.
Features like folding mirrors and switchable power modes help the bike change easily from a long-distance traveler to a street bike, making it a good choice for riders who want comfort until they reach their destination, and want excellent performance once they’re there.
5. Victory Cross Country Tour
With this bike from Victory, long trips on a motorcycle don’t have to carry light loads. It’s hard saddlebags and trunk offer the largest amount of cargo space for a touring bike, while the massive 1731cc V-twin motor ensures that extra gear doesn’t weigh you down.
Designed with an aerodynamic batwing fairing that adds a classic flair that is tempered by a touch of modern design, this bike was built for the longest rides. If you need a bike for a seemingly never-ending journey, this one is for you.
6. BMW R 1200 RS
While other cruisers may sport bigger motors, this sport touring bike rides on a high chassis, making off-road adventures possible if highways aren’t exciting enough for your trip. The bike has a high seat, high clearance, and an active suspension to help keep the wheels under you.
The bike’s power plant offers a modest but sufficient 125 horsepower and agility that make it a fun ride. It also offers enough protection from the elements to get you through most types of inclement weather. However, it lacks extra storage space and roominess of other touring bikes. If you’re up for whatever the road throws at you, this is bike is a great option.
Earl Baldwin is a long time car enthusiast with a fledgling collection of classics. He also has a passion for writing about exotic cars, aftermarket modifications, and car movies. When he’s not writing, he’s checking out classics at automotive events or cruising around town in one of his own.