Jun 20, 2024
What Motorcycle is Best for Long Rides?

Planning a long motorcycle ride can be an exciting adventure. But with so many motorcycle options available, choosing the right one for long distances can feel overwhelming. What motorcycle is best for long rides? This article explores different motorcycle types ideal for touring, helping you find your perfect match for comfort, performance, and storage capacity.

Considering Your Needs

Before diving into specific motorcycles, consider your individual needs and preferences for a long ride.

Experience level:

Are you a seasoned rider or a beginner?

Trip destination:

Are you planning a highway cruise or an off-road adventure?

Travel style:

Do you prefer fast-paced riding or a more relaxed touring experience?

Passenger and luggage:

Will you be riding solo or with a passenger? How much luggage will you need to carry?

Once you answer these questions, you can narrow down the motorcycle types that best suit your riding style and trip itinerary.

Best Motorcycles for Long Rides

Touring Motorcycles: Built for Comfort and Distance

Touring motorcycles are specifically designed for long-distance comfort and performance. They typically offer:

  • Large, comfortable seats: Designed for rider and passenger comfort on extended rides.
  • Upright riding position: Reduces back strain and fatigue.
  • Wind protection: Large fairings offer protection from wind and weather.
  • Luggage capacity: Saddlebags and hard-shell cases provide ample storage space for gear.

Here are some popular  motorcycle options:

  • Full-dress touring motorcycles: These are the ultimate touring machines, known for their luxurious comfort and extensive features.
  • Sport touring motorcycles: Offer a blend of sportbike performance and touring comfort, ideal for riders who enjoy spirited riding on long trips.
  • Adventure touring motorcycles: Combine touring comfort with off-road capability, perfect for exploring unpaved roads and remote destinations.

Full-Dress Touring Motorcycles: The Kings of the Road

Full-dress touring motorcycles are the undisputed champions of long-distance comfort.

  • Luxurious amenities: Heated seats, cruise control, and stereos are common features.
  • Superior weather protection: Large fairings and windshields offer excellent protection from wind, rain, and road debris.
  • Storage space galore: Saddlebags, top cases, and trunk space offer ample room for luggage.

Pros: Ideal for long highway rides, comfortable for rider and passenger, excellent weather protection, plenty of storage space.

Cons: Large and heavy, can be challenging to maneuver at low speeds, expensive.

Sport Touring Motorcycles: Performance Meets Comfort

Sport touring motorcycles offer a compromise between sportbike performance and touring comfort.

  • Sporty handling: Provides a more engaging riding experience than full-dress tourers.
  • Wind protection: Fairings offer wind protection while maintaining a sportier look.
  • Luggage capacity: While not as spacious as full-dress tourers, sport touring motorcycles offer enough storage for multi-day trips.

Pros: Good balance of comfort and performance, suitable for spirited riding on long distances, better handling than full-dress tourers.

Cons: Less comfortable than full-dress tourers, may not offer as much weather protection, storage capacity might be limited for extended trips.

Adventure Touring Motorcycles: Go Anywhere, Do Anything

Adventure touring motorcycles combine touring comfort with off-road capability.

  • Long-travel suspension: Provides a comfortable ride on rough roads.
  • Upright riding position: Offers good control over rough terrain.
  • Luggage capacity: Built-in luggage racks and pannier systems allow you to carry all your gear for adventure riding.

Pros: Versatility for on-road and off-road riding, good ground clearance for rough roads, good luggage capacity for extended adventures.

Cons: Can be tall and intimidating for shorter riders, may not be as comfortable as full-dress tourers for long highway rides.

Cruisers: Comfort and Style for Laid-Back Touring

Cruisers offer a relaxed riding position and stylish design, making them popular choices for long rides.

  • Relaxed riding position: Cruisers feature forward-mounted footpegs and low seats for a laid-back feel.
  • Good wind protection: Many cruisers come with fairings or windshields for added comfort on highway rides.
  • Luggage options: While storage capacity may vary, saddlebags and sissy bars with luggage racks can provide enough space for essentials.

Pros: Comfortable riding position, stylish design, good highway cruising capabilities.

Cons: Less wind protection than touring motorcycles, may not be ideal for long days in the saddle, limited storage capacity for extended trips.

Important Considerations for Long-Distance Motorcycle Travel

Choosing the perfect motorcycle for long rides depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • Safety: Always prioritize safety when choosing a motorcycle. Look for models with good safety features like anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and traction control.
  • Ergonomics: The motorcycle should fit your body size and riding style. A comfortable riding position is crucial for preventing fatigue on long journeys.
  • Reliability: Choose a motorcycle with a reputation for reliability to minimize the chance of breakdowns on your trip.
  • Maintenance: Consider how easy or difficult it is to maintain the motorcycle. If you’re comfortable doing your own maintenance, that can be a factor in your decision.
  • Budget: Motorcycles range in price from very affordable to quite expensive. Determine your budget before you start shopping.

Beyond Motorcycles: Preparing for a Long Ride

Once you’ve chosen your motorcycle, here are some things to keep in mind to prepare for a long ride:

  • Gear: Invest in high-quality safety gear, including a helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots.
  • Route planning: Plan your route carefully, considering factors like distance, terrain, and rest stops.
  • Physical fitness: Long-distance motorcycle riding can be physically demanding. Build up your endurance with regular rides before your trip.
  • Maintenance: Get your motorcycle serviced before your trip to ensure everything is in good working order.
  • Pack smart: Pack light but bring all the essentials you’ll need for your trip, including tools, a first-aid kit, and rain gear.

By carefully considering your needs, researching different motorcycle types, and planning ahead, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable long-distance motorcycle adventure.

The Joy of Long-Distance Motorcycle Travel

Motorcycle touring can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The open road, beautiful sceneries, and sense of freedom make it a unique way to travel.

  • Explore new places: Motorcycles allow you to explore destinations inaccessible by car. Enjoy the feeling of discovery and adventure.

  • Connect with nature: Feel the wind in your hair and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the open road.

  • Challenge yourself: Long-distance motorcycle travel requires planning, preparation, and physical endurance. The sense of accomplishment upon reaching your destination is unmatched.

Motorcycle touring can be a safe and enjoyable experience for riders who are prepared. Research different motorcycle types, prioritize safety, and plan your trip carefully to create lasting memories on the open road.

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