You know the score. You want to ride a fun bike, but man, they just aren’t comfortable. Some hurt your wrists, some vibrate so much your hands go numb. Others cramp your legs or send road shocks straight up your spine. Some riding positions feel like you’re holding a constant row and, engaging your lats for days at a time just doesn’t work. Here’s 10 bikes that don’t do any of that.
BMW R 1200 GS
This right here is what makes the GS so damn popular. For people aging out of sport bikes or dual sports or cruisers or whatever, the GS asks you to give up very little in the way of performance, handling or on-road fun and, in return delivers both armchair-like comfortable and a commanding, dynamic riding position complete with excellent control and vision. If you want to sit on a bike in comfort all day, but don’t want to put up with a luxobarge, this is the best way to do it.
Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX
Like an R 1200 GS with more character, telescopic forks and an enormous 8.5 gallon tank. You can use all that fuel capacity too, because the Stelvio’s gigantic seat is one of the most comfortable perches in motorcycling. Wes did a 700 mile day through the Italian and Swiss Alps a while back and, aside from a very sore wallet from the Euro price fuel bills, emerged at dinner as fresh as when he’d left breakfast.
Triumph Tiger 800 XC
Starting to get a sense of what the Adventure Touring class is actually about? The Tiger is a fast, fun, nimble, practical bike that also just so happens to be all day comfortable. The XC spec nets you taller suspension which is also considerably more plush, hand guards to keep the wind off and a larger screen. Plenty of room to spread out, despite the mid-size capacity.
Honda Gold Wing F6B
Why the F6B over the regular Gold Wing? Well, not only is it a useful 62lbs lighter (improving agility and handling), but that little chopped screen does a great job of air management. The RideApart Staff strongly prefers looking over a screen as opposed to looking through one and that little strip of plastic direct air blast over the shoulders while leaving your helmet in clean, undisturbed air. The regular Gold Wing remains the better choice for all-day passenger comfort though.
Suzuki V-Strom 650 Adventure
Spec’ing up to the Adventure model nets you bag so wide that they make lane splitting an utter impossibility, but also a large, adjustable screen and what we think is the most comfortable seat in motorcycling. Like the other ADV bikes here you sit upright, with your feet under you and your hands stretched out to wide bars. A perfect riding position for both comfort and control.
There’s a reason we include this humble little Honda in virtually every list we make. Regardless of price, it’s one of the most broadly capable bikes out there. That it’s accessible to new riders is a huge bonus, as is its very affordable $7,500 price tag. Spacious ergonomics are comfy over distance, the slim, relatively low seat means nearly anyone can manage one and excellent fuel economy carries you a long way between stops. The tiny screen does a better job than it looks like it should, directing air onto the top of your shoulders and leaving your helmet buffet free.
It’s easy to forget about the FJR1300. Not only is it now 12 years old, but it’s specs no longer grab any sort of headlines. But, what’s now a relatively humble, simple package just so also happens to be completely comfy over long distances. The torquey motor makes progress easy and the excellent handling requires very little attention even on tight mountain roads, leaving you free to soak in the views.
Despite being co-opted by the poseur market, these bike weren’t meant to parade slowly through Daytona Beach, they were made to cross continents at high speeds. Sorta an Aston Martin on two wheels, just with the world’s most hideous headlights and graphics. A great option if you’ve got a long trip to good roads, then want to seriously enjoy those good roads once you’re there. Also a great step up from an uncomfortable sport bike to something with a forward leaning, sport riding position that’s actually humane.
Ducati Multistrada 1200
Rather than try and chase a faux off-road image in its Adventure Tourer, Ducati instead decided to pack superbike performance into a bike that’s comfortable. That’s probably more revolutionary than it sounds, on the road you’ll be faster on this than you will be on an 1199 and you’ll be that fast without instantaneous aches, pains and numbness.
BMW K 1600 GTL
A greater sense of urgency makes this big BMW a little less relaxing than Honda’s Gold Wing, but the payoff is greater rider involvement and an overwhelming amount of tech features. The rotating headlight is our favorite part, making night riding nearly as confident as doing so during the day. Like the 7-series on two wheels.