Honda Gold Wing Tour
Honda shows its commitment to continual improvement with its 2020 array of top-shelf, tour-tastic Gold Wing models. The Gold Wing range received a handful of improvements to include reworked heads and cylinders that reduce the weight of the drivetrain plus stock foglights and revised ergonomics to boost performance, safety, and comfort across the boards. Of course, this comes on top of the speed and handling for which the Gold Wings have long been famous to make it a serious competitor in the U.S. touring market.
2020 Indian Roadmaster
Indian Motorcycle made a number of changes to its touring lineup ahead of MY2020 including a new powerplant for its full-dress Roadmaster. The base-model Roadmaster hits important historical high notes and maintains the full-size front fairing, but the real news here is the addition of the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine that toes the family line and pumps out over 120 pounds of stump-pulling torque. Comfort and luxury for the every-rider are the hallmarks of the Roadmaster, and it delivers with its usual style and aplomb.
2020 Indian Challenger Limited
No doubt about it, Indian Motorcycle entered a new chapter with its all-new Challenger line and PowerPlus engine, and so far, the toppest-shelfest example of that combination is the 2020 Challenger Limited. It has that custom bagger style that Americans like so much along with a host of electronic goodies that improve safety and comfort over the long haul. Of course, the 120-plus pound-feet of torque it brings to the table doesn’t hurt at all, neither does all the historical Easter eggs the factory scattered about to tie into its own storied history.
2020 Indian Challenger Dark Horse
Indian Motorcycle rolls into MY2020 with an all-new model family – the Challenger – that comes complete with a new look, powerful 122-horsepower PowerPlus engine and improved safety equipment to keep America’s oldest bike builder competitive against challengers domestic and abroad. The inaugural year sees a trio of packages ready for public consumption, but it’s the sinister, boulevard-bruiser blackout Dark Horse version we’re going to look at today. Like the rest of the Dark Horse category, it makes a visceral connection to the custom-life underbelly of American motorcycling and brings a showroom-custom vibe to the new Challenger line.
2020 Indian Challenger
Indian Motorcycle rolls into MY2020 with a net-new bagger family that also boasts an all-new powerplant with some serious ride-quality and safety features as the icing on the cake. The “Challenger” range marks a new era for America’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer with impressive power numbers and a look that’s borrows from the past even while it reaches for new territory and, I’m sure the factory hopes, an expanded buyer base. Fixed fairings, new electronics, and a powerful engine are the hallmarks of this machine, and it’ll be interesting to see how it performs in the market against its longtime domestic foe, Harley-Davidson.
2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour
Ducati’s Multistrada lineup is widely considered to be among the most capable touring-adventure bikes in the world, and the Italian giant ramps up the pressure another notch with its new-for-2020 Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour. Top-shelf features and long-distance, globetrotting comfort are the hallmarks of this new bike. It carries the Testastretta DVT engine with over 150 horsepower on tap, so this is far from an all-show/no-go sort of machine. Unique livery and striking graphics compliment the typically sensuous lines and curves that define Ducati’s look.
2015 - 2020 Suzuki Boulevard C50 / Boulevard C50T
Suzuki unveiled the Boulevard C50 back in 2005 after renaming its “Volusia” bike of prior model years. The C50 and C50T carry straight through into 2020 with a mid-displacement engine to serve as Suzuki’s mid-size cruiser and weekend tour bike. Smooth acceleration and comfortable seating combine with laced wheels and classic styling to keep the C50s on the list of middleweight contenders in the two-wheeled market.
2018 - 2020 Yamaha Star Venture
Yamaha took a little hiatus from the full-dresser market to the tune of almost a half-decade, but the Tuning Fork Company broke its fast in 2018 with the release of the all-new Star Venture. This ride clearly comes geared to take on Harley-Davidson’s touring line in general, and the Road Glide Ultra specifically. Ambitious? You betcha, but Yamaha did its homework and put together a machine that brings a torquey, big-inch, V-twin to the U.S. market in a rather tour-tastic package with over 35 gallons of dry storage across the two hard bags and trunk box on the base model with additional storage available as part of the “Transcontinental Option Package.” The very name speaks volumes.
2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited
Harley-Davidson kicked its Road Glide Ultra to the curb from its touring lineup ahead of MY2020 in favor of its new FLTRK Road Glide Limited. The Road Glide Limited takes touring comfort and safety up a notch with a host of new electronic features to go with its already-fabulous Infotainment system, and it all comes wrapped in a premium paint along with special bits of bling to finish off the package. Best of all, Harley powers the Road Glide Limited with its second largest production engine, the 1,868 cc Milwaukee-Eight 114 that brings over 100 pounds o’ grunt to the table for your touring enjoyment.
2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
KTM has proven itself capable of producing competitive dirtbikes and popular streetbikes, and 2019 sees a next-gen Gran Turismo that targets the sport-tour genre for domination. Sure, the previous model set a pretty high standard, especially if you like your sport-tour Super Duke GT. Comfort and convenience were buffed along with the instrumentation, all with even more race-tacular tendencies due to the revised V-Twin powerplant and improved electronic aids
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide / Road Glide Special
Harley-Davidson brought its Road Glide and Road Glide Special into the 2018 model year with the base-model Glide more or less a direct carryover in everything but color selection. However, the “Special” rocks a host of improvements from last year, and for 2019, comes with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 in its standard equipment package. With improved suspension from Showa cushioning the ride, this pair is ripe for customization and gives prospective bike builders a blank canvas with which to work.
2011 - 2019 BMW K 1600 GTL
BMW Motorrad embraces the American style for its full-dress tourbikes, and the K 1600 GTL represents the pinnacle of that genre. Built for luxe comfort with an eye toward safety, the “GTL” brings all the top-shelf gadgets to the table along with over a liter-and-a-half of flat-six performance placing it well into the power-tourer bracket. The factory also blessed it with the “Spezial” treatment that brings factory-custom touches to lend the line an extra element of exclusivity.
2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Roadmaster Elite
Indian Motorcycle offers the Roadmaster Elite as its flagship tourer with all the best gear and a custom finish. A full-on dresser, the “RE” brings long-range comfort and secure dry storage to the table along with a robust electronics suite that contains both safety and infotainment features. Real, hand-laid gold leaf makes each of the limited-edition models a one-of-a-kind machine with an extra element of exclusivity about it.
2018 Yamaha Star Eluder
Inside every full dresser is a bagger begging to get out, and for Yamaha’s Transcontinental touring line, that distinction falls to the Star Eluder. Power comes from a massive V-twin lump, and it carries an electronics suite that includes safety-related features under ride-by-wire control plus some ride-quality items that let you dial in for preference and conditions. All that comes coupled with long-distance/cold-weather comfort and infotainment system to round out the Eluder as a potential tourbike and a solid candidate as a commuter.
2015 - 2019 Yamaha FJR1300
The biggest sport-tourer in Yamaha’s lineup are better than ever. In 2016, the FJR1300A and its stablemate the FJR1300ES saw some evolutionary changes that brought just enough tweaks to make them smoother, more comfortable rides. Probably the biggest change in that update was in the transmission with the addition of a sixth gear and adding a slipper clutch to reduce hand fatigue at the clutch lever. Both of these tourers run a 1,298 cc liquid-cooled four-banger and come on a sportbike frame for a bit more thrill than just a tourbike.
2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company beefed up its fixed-fairing Road Glide Ultra ahead of MY2019 with new electronic features along with a larger, more powerful Milwaukee-Eight powerplant. Built for long-distance work, the “Ultra” pulls from the top shelf for its touring tenacity with plenty of lockable dry storage and cushy appointments that let you share the fun with a friend in style and comfort. The factory adds the contemporary fairing to classic Harley looks to make the new Ultra a truly modern ride, but with the deep roots we expect from the MoCo.
2016 - 2019 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
Powered by a 1,380 cc engine that delivers plenty of torque at low-low rpm, the Eldorado from Moto Guzzi is as much classic as it is classy. Living up to its reputation as a heavyweight touring cruiser, the Eldorado carries the elegant look with white-wall tires on spoke wheels, fuel tank with chromium sides, and oversize saddle along with riders modes and adjustable traction control for a bike made for the open road.
2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Road King / Road King Special
Harley-Davidson made some fairly major changes for MY2018, but the Road King stands firmly unchanged as a link to the past with a heritage that arguably started in 1958 with the Duo-Glide. The base-model comes equipped the 107 cubic-inch Milwaukee-Eight, though for 2019, the factory graced the Road King Special with the Milwaukee-Eight 114. Engine output places them well within the power-tourer bracket with a whopping 111 pound-feet of torque on tap (123 pound-feet for the Special) to push its curb weight that you may as well call it half-a-ton with a rider plus whatever is in your bags and on the pillion.
2019 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard
Harley-Davidson Motor Company rolled out a mid-year release with a new addition to its touring line, the Electra Glide Standard. This new model strikes a balance between comfort and fandanglery with all the essentials you need for cruising/touring and none of the fluff. It rocks the relatively new Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant and all the ride-quality controls associated with the revamped touring line, but leaves the Infotainment gear on the shelf to deliver a refined-yet-raw riding experience.
2018 - 2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX / H2 SX SE
Brand new in 2018, the Ninja H2 SX and H2 SX SE from Kawasaki present as a sort of hypersport-next-door with large-ish windshield and relaxed rider’s triangle that is part of the comfort-oriented features package. This new line adds a dose of “super” to the sport-touring genre with its supercharged four-banger that cranks out a generous 101 pounds o’ grunt with enough electronic fandanglery to help you tame the beast, or at least protect you from yourself somewhat. Commuter or ’really’ fast tourbike, the SX siblings cover a lot of everyday-riding ground for riders who are looking for more than run-of-the-mill performance.
2018 - 2019 BMW K 1600 Grand America
BMW paid close attention to the custom culture surrounding tour bikes as well as the popular factory features from the competition to come up with the K 1600 Grand America. Not only does the bike provide the look and functionality we tend to expect from our touring machines, but it pushes well into the power-tourer bracket with 160 ponies on tap. The factory wraps up the package with an enviable electronics suite further improved upon with a whole host of factory options. Make no mistake; this is one high-caliber weapon of mass seduction, and it’s aimed straight at the Heartland, so let’s see if we can gauge how true Beemer’s aim is with its latest effort to score a slice of the American tour-bike market.
2017 - 2019 BMW K 1600 GT
BMW’s K 1600 GT moved into its seventh year of production in 2017 with a fresh rebuild that the Bayerische carries right on into MY2019. A six-cylinder engine puts it in the power-tourer category in both the torque and horsepower columns for solid performance even in spite of its not-inconsiderable heft. Built for touring, it strikes a balance between storage and aesthetics for a sort of “Euro-bagger” look that compares well with Honda’s new bagger-tastic Goldwing since both leave off the top case for their fully dressed, top-shelf models. This Bavarian bruiser brings a dark-and-swanky attitude to the table with the performance to back it up.