A sport touring motorcycle combines the best features of a sport motorcycle and a touring motorcycle. It’s built for both the precise handling of a sport bike and the long-haul comfort of a touring bike. With that combination, these bikes are frankly such a good time that they should all come with a set of Bluetooth motorcycle helmet speakers that will allow you to voice a healthy “woo-hoo!” to your riding buddies through your motorcycle communication system.
Ready to check out the best sport touring motorcycles of 2021? Here are five of the best.
Kawasaki H2 SX SE
If you’re looking for the technological and performance apex of the sport touring motorcycle style, the Kawasaki H2 SX SE might offer the glimpse of the sublime that you seek. This bike is another variant of the H2 hypersport, which is already a wildly powerful sport bike at the top of Kawasaki’s model range. But the SX SE takes it to a whole new level by incorporating elements of touring bike design into this pavement-burning chassis.
Kawasaki has packed this bike with truly awesome touring features, including its proprietary Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) for superior stability and an electronic cruise control to help you take it easy on a long ride. It’s the epitome of the fully loaded touring bike.
Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
The “hypernaked” Yamaha MT-09 has won many hearts with its sleek good looks and badass performance, and the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT is a direct descendant of that much-loved form. It retains the stripped-down styling that characterizes the other models in the series while adding features that are sure to excite both sport and touring riders.
The Tracer 9 GT’s lightweight aluminum frame helps make it among the lightest and most nimble sport tourers, and its Sport and Comfort modes help adjust the suspension style to road conditions. But none of this would matter without a great engine, which is why it’s a relief to see an 800cc liquid-cooled DOHC three-cylinder beast ready for action.
This European beauty puts the power of BMW’s signature boxer engine to work in a package that’s perfect for the adventurous rider. If you’re looking for something that can handle the long haul but is also a blast in the corners, the R1250RT is ready to be your adventure buddy. And thanks to the well-known reliability of BMW bikes, it likely will be for a long time.
BMW has also invested in a new Active Cruise Control system for this model, which gives riders the ability not just to set a speed but to set a following distance from the vehicle in front of them (as determined by radar). On top of that, it packs a massive 10-inch-plus TFT screen that can perform multiple functions at once, establishing this as one of the most technologically advanced tourers around.
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
One of the most common complaints about traditional bikes is their cumbersome weight. Those searching for something lighter as their highway companion might just fall in love when they see the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. The Super Duke series is noted for the extreme lightweight designs that KTM uses to make their bikes accelerate faster and handle better, and the 1290 brings this to the world of sport tourers.
For true touring superbike power, the Super Duke GT is the best rival to the Kawasaki H2 SX SE on this list. Its butt-kicking V-Twin knocks out 175 horsepower and makes other touring motorcycles look like toys, while still offering the comfort necessary for extended rides. That’s something truly worthy of the prestigious KTM name.
If the Honda Gold Wing feels a little too much like driving your home office, the CTX700 might be just the svelte Honda tourer you’re seeking. It’s a true do-it-all motorcycle with a full-fairing sporty style and an extremely beginner-friendly design, thanks to its automatic transmission and anti-lock brake system.
With only a 670cc engine, the CTX700 is the smallest-displacement motorcycle on our list by a considerable margin, but don’t let that fool you. It’s plenty sporty enough for enjoyable riding in whatever environs you find yourself in, and its low center of gravity makes it an exceptionally stable and comfortable ride.
Source: Jaggat Rashidi/Shutterstock
Once you’re astride a touring motorcycle, the next order of business is naturally to find somewhere to go! See our European road trip planning guide if you fancy visiting the Continent, or check the motorcycle camping gear list if you’re headed to the backcountry. Wherever you’re going, don’t forget about the advantages that a motorcycle Bluetooth headset can offer for keeping you in touch with your pack and your world while you’re out on your adventure.