It’s hard to think of a better, more enjoyable way to see the country than from the back of a motorcycle, and anyone can understand why. The feeling of the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin as you ride is unlike anything else. To the most avid riders, the whole experience is basically synonymous with the concept of freedom itself. However, it’s important to understand that not all bikes are created equally when it comes to touring. Here’s a closer look at what might make a given motorcycle the best touring motorcycle for you, as well as a showcase of some amazing options to consider.

What Makes a Motorcycle Ideal for Touring?

Although no two people are necessarily going to agree on everything about what makes a bike the best motorcycle for long distance rides, there are definitely a few characteristics you’ll want to consider when it comes to your own pick. The following are some really good examples to keep in mind.

  • Great touring motorcycles come attached to a nice range for obvious reasons. Six gallons isn’t a bad ballpark figure to keep in mind as you evaluate your options.
  • Good touring motorcycles handle well. You never know when you’ll have to tackle an extra-challenging corner or find yourself on the road under unusual conditions.
  • The bike you choose should be reliable, visible, and easy to operate on every level. 
  • Storage is a must if you’re touring, as is comfort. Ideally, your touring bike should be comfortable enough to seat two, as well as come attached to enough storage to carry all of your necessities with ease.

The following bikes are some of the best touring options on the market today, as they fit most of the above criteria, not to mention a few more. It would be hard to go wrong with any one of them.

1. Indian Roadmaster 

Some people are complete suckers for big, bold bikes with V-twin engines, especially when it comes to the touring experience. If that sounds like you, then you’ll love the Indian Roadmaster. To begin with, it’s the type of bike that’s absolutely beautiful thanks to its leather seating, shiny chrome detailing, and beautiful paintwork, so it will definitely make you feel like you own the road and then some while you’re riding it. It’s also amazing when it comes to logging plenty of miles on the road at a stretch in comfort, style, and ease. This is the case whether you’re going it completely alone or happen to have brought a passenger along for the ride. It sounds amazing as well.

2. KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is obviously a sport bike, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s just like every other sport bike you might be familiar with. It’s comfortable and practical enough to make an excellent touring bike. However, it’s super fast, so it’s a great pick for riders in search of the best touring motorcycle built for speed. It also comes with plenty of luggage space, so you’ll easily be able to bring everything you need along for the ride. It’s not as well-protected from the elements and weather as other options might be, but this may not be a problem for bikers looking to tour mild areas under excellent weather conditions.

3. Honda Gold Wing Tour

When the average biker pictures the quintessential touring motorcycle, the chances are pretty good that the Honda Gold Wing comes immediately to mind and with good reason. It’s basically the running gold standard to which every other touring bike aspires. The Gold Wing Tour runs like a dream, is reliable, and handles the road like a dream come true. It’s also comfortable, fast, safe, and packed with cushy technological features that virtually ensure a hassle-free trip. In fact, if you’re having trouble deciding which of your options is really the best motorcycle for long distance rides, you could easily pick the Honda Gold Wing without regretting it for an instant. Yes, it comes at a heftier price tag than some of the alternatives, but most Gold Wing owners would agree that it’s well worth it.

4. Kawasaki Vulcan 1700

Don’t quite have the coin to drop on a Honda Gold Wing? Interested in an option with that iconic V-twin engine on board, but at a more economical price tag than an Indian or similar option? You’ll want to take a closer look at the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 for sure. It’s definitely equipped with all the features you’d expect a good touring bike to have, including plenty of storage space, a fantastic sound system, and so forth. It’s also as reliable and easy to handle as every other vehicle bearing the famous Kawasaki name. Plus, that V-twin engine is really something special.

5. Honda CTX1300

It may not be quite as sexy as the Gold Wing, but the CTX1300 is definitely a viable touring option for bikers who swear by the Honda name. It’s an especially good fit for riders who appreciate a bike that reaches outside some of the usual boxes, especially if they’re suckers for a good cruiser. Standout features of the CTX1300 include a killer stereo system, a shaft drive, and plenty of substantial storage for all your needs. Best of all, it is a Honda, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll still be able to trust it with your riding experience decades from now. Definitely give it a second look if you’ve explored all of your other options, but prefer a little something different.

Although any of the above options would definitely be considered comfortable enough as is for touring, it never hurts to know even more about how to make a motorcycle ride more comfortable. Before you set out on your biggest, lengthiest adventures, spend a little time getting to know your bike and zeroing in on any possible features that could stand to be more comfort-driven. Then make a few upgrades with the best aftermarket parts for touring motorcycles from At that point, the road is yours for the taking!

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