Sports tourers 101


Less focused than a sports bike, not quite as heavy or bulbous as a full-blown tourer. Sports tourers are a compromise, often built around a former sports bike overtaken by technology. Flexible engines, reasonable comfort, but sprightly in the corners too, with decent suspension and brakes.

Good for:

Every day and longer distance sporty riding, maybe with a pillion too. Many sports tourers started life as sports bikes, but as chassis design gets more radical and engines get revvier, these once-supreme bikes move down a rung on the ladder. Which means that many are more sports than tour. ]

Not so good for:

Being quite as comfy as a tourer or as nimble as a sports bike. Sports tourers will always be a compromise. You’ll only notice the lack of sportiness on a racetrack. On the road, they’re as quick as anything of similar capacity. Check out the pillion accommodation – some are much better than others.

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Honda’s VFR750 and 800 have always been well regarded. Triumph’s Sprint ST is another excellent bike, although both are maybe a little ambitious for a first big bike. Yamaha’s Fazer 600 (especially the 1998-2002 model) and XJ6 Diversion are both superb, as is Suzuki’s GSX650F or the faired versions of the Bandit range. BMW’s F800S is another brilliant bike and also one of the most economical machines around. For more experienced sports tourers, Honda’s VFR1200, Suzuki’s 1300cc Hayabusa, BMW’s K1300S or Kawasaki’s ZZ-R1400 are the ultimate.


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