Skip to main content

Best Sport Touring Motorcycles (2024) + five used picks

Freelance motorcycle journalist, former editor of Bike & What Bike?, ex-Road Test Editor MCN, author of six books and now in need of a holiday.

Posted:

16.04.2024

Top Best Sports Touring Motorcycles in 2024_01

 

You’d be forgiven for thinking that conventional sports-tourers, bikes that blend sporting excitement with a degree of long-distance comfort and versatility, were no more – but you’d be wrong. While it’s true that mature, sophisticated all-rounders such as Honda’s lamented VFR1200F and Yamaha’s FJR1300 have fallen by the wayside, while, to a large degree, the surging popularity of adventure bikes such as BMW’s new R1300GS, which mix distance ability with decent equipment and day-to-day ability have filled the void, in truth, the traditional sports-tourer has been making something of a comeback. BMW still has its classic R1250RS boxer, Kawasaki’s best-selling Ninja 1000SX continues to go from strength to strength, Suzuki has recently introduced its GSX-S1000GT and there are many more, too. 

What we haven’t included here, though, are bargain all-rounders such as Honda’s CBR650F or Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 which are more ‘first big bikes’ than genuine sports-tourers, nor hyperbikes such as Suzuki’s Hayabusa which emphasise speed over true versatility. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of choice – so much in fact that we decided to help by picking – in ascending price order – our 10 of the best. 

  

Top Best Sports Touring Motorcycles in 2024_01

CFMoto 650 GT | £4999

CFMoto’s family of smartly styled 650, 400 and 250 twins and singles are proof that Chinese-built bikes are finally coming of age. The CFMoto 650 GT its range-topper and, although still built down to a price and undeniably a budget offering, it’s also a reasonable performer and a great, entry-level sports-tourer. With 60bhp from its ER-6-alike parallel twin, performance is adequate rather than inspiring but there are two power modes, it handles reasonably enough, has a plush ride, adjustable screen, LED lights, two power points and more. The panniers, however, are extra. But it’s also now cheaper than before and for just under £5000 it is a genuine sports-tourer and a decent introduction to the breed.

  • Engine: 650cc, l/c, parallel twin

  • Power: 60bhp

  • Kerb weight: 212kg

  • Fuel capacity: 19 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: N/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

Triumph Tiger Sport 660 | £8945

‘Adventure sport’ all-rounder was launched in 2022 based on the Hinckley firm’s entry-level 660 Trident and has proved a brilliant best seller. Although adventure-styled, the Tiger Sport 660 has 17-inch road wheels and tyres and its upright posture, roomy comfort, faired comfort makes it more a sports-tourer in the Yamaha Tracer/BMW F900XR mould than any sort of true adventure offering. The 80bhp three-cylinder engine is perky, meaty and characterful, handling is typically Triumph excellent and its versatility, broad appeal and sub-£9K value make it a sure-fire winner. As an entry-level, affordable, British all-rounder you won’t go wrong.

  • Engine: 660cc, l/c, transverse triple

  • Power: 80bhp

  • Kerb weight: 206kg

  • Fuel capacity: 17.2 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: N/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

 

Yamaha Tracer 7 GT | £9716

Yamaha’s Tracer duo, in 689cc twin cylinder form and bigger brother, 889cc three-cylinder trim, have been Europe-wide best-sellers for their combination of value, versatility and fun ever since the first MT-09 Tracer was introduced as a spin-off of the MT-09 roadster in 2015. The Tracer 700 followed in 2016 with 74bhp, easy versatility and a punchy and fun power delivery, was face-lifted and improved for 2020, renamed as simply the Tracer 7 and made Euro5 compliant and has since been updated again with refreshed styling, new 5-inch TFT dash and more. The base version costs a still temptingly affordable £8816. Better still, however, for serious sport-touring types is the up-specced GT version which comes with 20-litre panniers, a high version of the adjustable screen and comfort seat. Larger riders or those riding two-up over long distances may prefer something more substantial, but the Tracer 7 GT is affordable, unintimidating, versatile, great fun and well-equipped, too.

  • Engine: 689cc, l/c, parallel twin

  • Power: 74bhp

  • Kerb weight: 196kg

  • Fuel capacity: 17 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: N/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

BMW F900XR | from £10,350

Introduced in 2020, BMW’s ‘adventure sports’ version of its middleweight F-series, parallel twin platform has proved a surprise star as a Yamaha Tracer-style sport-tourer/all-rounder. Inspired by BMW’s larger, four-cylinder S1000XR, the F900XR has a similar, upright, adventure sports posture but with a revised and enlarged F series parallel twin producing a respectable 104bhp. Its upright gait is comfortable, its handling engaging and versatile. There’s a brilliantly adjustable screen, enough comfort and quality to make distances easy and also enough equipment, such as riding modes, to cosset – yet all for a temptingly low (for a BMW) price. And if all that isn’t enough, being a BMW also means it’s easy to load it up with extras, luggage and gizmos to make it as much of a sports tourer as you want.

  • Engine: 895cc, l/c, parallel twin

  • Power: 104bhp

  • Kerb weight: 219kg

  • Fuel capacity: 15.5 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: Y/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX | from £12,149

A UK best-seller due to its combination of versatility, fun and impressive value ever since its original introduction into the UK in 2010, the Ninja 1000 SX, on face value, is ‘only’ a Z1000 super naked with the addition of a fairing. In reality though, and partly due to a series of significant updates since, it’s so much more than that. The base, four-cylinder, 140bhp rolling chassis is lively and fun; comfort and practicality due to the adjustable screen and slightly more upright riding position is good, and, although no longer quite the bargain it once was, it remains brilliant value. Most recently updated for Euro5 and now called the Ninja 1000 SX (the ‘Z’ prefix is now reserved for Kawasaki’s roadsters) means it’s just as good as ever – although Suzuki’s new GSX-S1000GT runs it close. It also now comes in Ninja 40th Anniversary colours, as shown here.

  • Engine: 1043cc, l/c, transverse four

  • Power: 140bhp

  • Kerb weight: 235kg

  • Fuel capacity: 19 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: N/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello | £12,500

It’s been a long time since Italian legends Moto Guzzi produced a bike that was truly modern and competitive with the best from Europe and Japan but the new V100 Mandello launched in 2022 is exactly that, retains Guzzi ‘signatures’ of a transverse V-twin motor and shaft drive and also happens to be a brilliant sports-tourer. Launched to coincide with the marque’s 100’s anniversary in 2021 (although delayed a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic), the V100 boasts not only an all-new, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-twin with a competitive 113bhp and the latest electronic riding aids (including adaptive winglets!) but delivers a comfortable, upright, sports-tourer riding position, engaging, sure-footed handling and lots of premium touches. Two versions are available: the standard V100 Mandello starting at £12,500 and the upspecced V100 Mandello S from £14,750 with Öhlins semi-active suspension and more premium finishes and components. Both are the most capable, modern, versatile Guzzis in decades, and also great sports-tourers.

  • Engine: 1042cc, l/c, transverse V- twin

  • Power: 113bhp

  • Kerb weight: 233kg

  • Fuel capacity: 17.5 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: Y/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

Suzuki GSX-S1000GT | £12,799

When Suzuki launched its fully updated and facelifted GSX-S1000 affordable super-naked a few years ago, which wowed with its all-round ability and c.£11K price, it was suggested then that, as with the preceding model, a faired, sport-tourer version would soon follow. Sure enough, the GSX-S1000GT, based on the same sure-footed, well-suspended and Brembo-braked chassis plus old but effective long-stroke, 150bhp 2005 GSX-R1000K5 engine, arrived in 2022 and quickly proved to be not just a striking looking and effective sports-tourer but also one of the UK’s most popular bikes, largely due to its affordable price. All of that remains true today, although it price has climbed slightly meaning it no longer undercuts its closest rival: Kawasaki’s similar and well-proven and effective Ninja 1000 SX. Although the Suzuki can’t quite match the Kawasaki’s refinement and spec levels (its screen is non-adjustable, for example) it beats it on power and sporting attitude, a ‘+’ version, comes with panniers and more as standard for £1100 more, while the new-for-2024 GX version adds a more upright stance, semi-active suspension and more for £14,799.

  • Engine: 999cc, l/c, transverse four

  • Power: 150bhp

  • Kerb weight: 226kg

  • Fuel capacity: 19 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: N/N

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

BMW R1250RS | from £13,140

Legions of BMW boxer fans had been yearning for a capable, new RS (BM’s sports-tourer designation, highlighted by the original R100RS of 1976-1989) for years, especially since the preceding R1100/1150RS (1993), R1200ST (2005) and R1200S (2006) all failed to quite hit the mark. Finally, in 2015, and based around the German firm’s latest, liquid-cooled, 125bhp twin, it delivered. That first R1200RS was basically a R1200R roadster with a half-fairing and tweaked ergonomics yet succeeded by being much more than just the sum of its parts with real-world ‘go’ fine handling, lashings of comfort and plenty of touring practicality and accessories. In 2019 it was made even better still with the significantly uprated R1250RS which got the new ‘ShiftCam’ 1250 engine with a sportier 134bhp, slick new TFT dash and uprated styling including an adjustable screen. The base bike is now a brilliant all-round road machine. Load it up with BMW accessories such as panniers, heated grips and electronically adjustable (ESA) suspension and it’s arguably the perfect road bike.

  • Engine: 1254cc, l/c, boxer twin

  • Power: 134bhp

  • Kerb weight: 236kg

  • Fuel capacity: 18 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: Y/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT | from £13,216

As with its little brother, the Tracer 7/700, the Tracer 9, which was originally called the Tracer 900, is one of the most popular sports-tourers around. It dates back to Yamaha’s MT-09 three-cylinder roadster of 2013, which was such a success for its purity, fun and value it spawned the more roomy, half-faired MT-09 Tracer sports-tourer in 2015. That bike immediately became a Europe-wide best seller for the comfort and versatility it added to the base package. It was joined by the first GT version in 2018 which gained fully adjustable suspension, TFT screen, heated grips, quick-shifter, cruise control and panniers along with improved bodywork to go with the same sweet handling, lively yet unintimidating 115bhp triple and decent value. For 2021 it was significantly updated again with new styling, reworked, slightly larger, Euro5-compliant engine and semi-active suspension and for 2023 it was improved further with the addition of the GT+ version with a big 7in TFT dash, adaptive cruise control and more, although that costs over £15K.

  • Engine: 890cc, l/c, transverse triple

  • Power: 119bhp

  • Kerb weight: 223kg

  • Fuel capacity: 18.7 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: Y/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

 

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT | £18,999

Like the Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX (and even Suzuki’s GSX-S1000GT), the Super Duke GT is really a sports-tourer created out of bolting a fairing onto a super naked – in this case KTM’s completely nutty 1290 Super Duke. Being a KTM, however, things aren’t so simple, with the hooligan Austrian firm effectively throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at it in terms of spec, boosting the power to 173bhp and producing, as a result, the lariest, most high tech, hooliganistic sports-tourer around. Yet it’s also one of the best – especially since its 2019 update. Handling, performance and sophistication is second to none and glistens with WP semi-active suspension, class-leading rider aids, rider modes, cornering ABS and more. Yet although there’s only a small fairing/screen and room for small-ish panniers, it’s also surprisingly comfortable, practical, and versatile. It might lack the quieter class and sumptuous luxury of some sports-tourers, but if you want to travel in the most dynamic, thrill-laden way possible, this is the one.

  • Engine: 1301cc, l/c, V-twin

  • Power: 172bhp

  • Kerb weight: 205kg

  • Fuel capacity: 23 litres

  • Adjustable seat/screen: Y/Y

  • Luggage options: Y

 

Best used sports tourers

Fancy a used option? Here’s our five of the best:

 

2010-2015 Honda VFR1200F, £4000-£8000

Slick V4 shaftie lacks tech but is effective, value and has DCT option.

 

2011-2016 Triumph Sprint GT 1050, £3000-£6500

Updated/facelifted ST triple is underrated, effective and a bargain.

 

2015-current MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800, £6000-£16,000

Luxury, exotic, expensive Tracer-style triple makes more sense used.

 

2016-2021 Yamaha FJR1300 AE, £6000-£10,000

Last generation heavyweight four-cylinder is solid and does it all.

 

2018-current Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX, £11,000-£20,000

197bhp supercharged wonder is the best of Kawa’s blower bikes.