For me, a Sports Tourer should be 70% sport and 30% touring. If it doesn’t come with factory-fit hard luggage then it’s, at best, just a soft sportsbike.
Here’s a full run-down of each of these great bikes:
BMW F800GT Key Specs
The BMW F800GT is actually a bit of a sleeper. Yes, that obedient 800cc engine isn’t going to leave anything for dead but on a twisty road, it’s capable of giving anything a good run for its money and yet it looks so sedate.
With its sportier yet comfortable stance, it can tackle everything, from busy city streets to quiet country roads, Alpine passes, or endless highways. Good wind protection, heated grips as standard and a twanging belt drive make it a great touring option. It’s also A2 licence friendly if you fit a restrictor kit.
Honda VFR800F Key Specs
Life has gone full-circle for Honda’s VFR800. At launch, the 750 created its own niche in a Sportsbike-obsessed market.
Then as engine sizes have drifted ever larger, the VFR800 sits there almost identical to the original bike with a bit of an ‘I told you so’ feel about it.
Honda’s legendary sports tourer might have received its latest major upgrade in 2014, but it’s still a massively popular choice for those who want a properly capable mile-muncher.
Its unmistakable lines combine sharp angles with soft curves in a unique silhouette that pays homage to the classic VFR. Carefully designed ergonomics and upgraded suspension with radial brake calipers facilitate the ride on both city streets and winding roads. A perfect all-rounder with adjustable seat height and optional factory-hard luggage.
Kawasaki Z1000SX Key Specs
Kawasaki’s Z1000SX has been around for a few years now but it’s still a bit of a unique bike. More like the son of a Naked roadster and a Sports Tourer than a Spotsbike and a Tourer, it has an upright riding position but lots of wind protection.
A great mix between super-sport character and daily practicality. Seductive styling, improved IMU-controlled electronics make it a perfect all-rounder. Practical accessories, including factory hard luggage, add comfort to your journey. The cherry on top is the large, plush seat that offers excellent comfort.
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT Key Specs
If you want to get places very quickly indeed then the Super Duke GT is for you. More Sports Adventure Nutter than Sports Tourer but that doesn’t affect its long-range capability.
KTM has reworked its 1290 to offer an even more advanced interpretation of a touring-capable sportsbike. Highlights include revised resonance chambers and titanium inlet valves. An advanced electronic system delivers enhanced performance and riding assistance. To let you exploit the powerful engine to the fullest, the revised Quickshifter+ means superbike riders won’t be able to keep up.
Yamaha Tracer 900GT Key Specs
For me, Yamaha’s Tracer 900 GT is the new face of Sports Touring. No longer using the ‘diluted sportsbike’ recipe, it’s more like an Adventure bike that’s been given road-going focus and a decent engine. It has a great mix of a punchy motor, Adventure-bike riding positon and riding height, yet no silly wheel sizes, a good fairing and really good pillion comfort.
Good at bashing out distance and brilliant on twisty roads. It’s equipped with heated grips, fully adjustable suspension and Yamaha hard luggage, that’s ready to take you wherever you want to go. Easy riding is delivered by a quick shifter, while the incorporated cruise control can make your long-haul rides even more of a breeze.
Whether you want a comfortable sportsbike or a nimble touring bike, the best sports tourers is the one that has the bias best suited to your riding needs.
Which is the best sports tourer though, is down to you. Check out your favourite models at your local dealer, hop on the saddle, and maybe even take it to a test ride before deciding which one to buy.
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