10 Bikes That Are Actually Comfortable
List Updated April 2017
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 R 1200 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, it delivers both armchair-like comfort 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. (Also, the idea that it's a bike for folks getting up there in age is outdated. If you can afford a GS, it's definitely a bike that should be on your list. –Ed.)
Triumph Tiger 800 XRT
Starting to get a sense of what the adventure touring class is actually about? Offering full ADV luxury with a middleweight price (and weight) the Tiger 800 XRT is a fast, fun, nimble, practical bike that also just so happens to be all day comfortable. The XRT spec nets you a road-focused suspension, which is also considerably more plush, as well hand guards to keep the wind off, and a larger screen. There's plenty of room to spread out, despite the mid-size capacity, and the bike is packed with rider aids.
Suzuki V-Strom 650
Ah, the beloved Wee-Strom. Recently updated to look almost exactly like its 1000cc sibling, the V-Strom 650 has long been the weapon of choice for Iron Butt riders and cross-country jaunters. As far as stock seats go, the Strom's easily one of the most comfortable 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. Accessory heated grips and handguards help to keep hands cozy over the long haul.
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 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. But if it's not enough, there are a number of aftermarket screens that can help you wage war against the elements.
Honda Gold Wing F6B
We've long been a fan of the F6B. Why the ginormous bagger over the regular Gold Wing? Well, not only is it a useful 62 lbs lighter (improving agility and handling), but that little chopped screen does a great job of air management. Most members of the RideApart staff prefer looking over a screen as opposed to looking through one, and that little strip of plastic directs air blast over the shoulders while leaving your helmet in clean, undisturbed air. Arguably, the regular Gold Wing remains the better choice for all-day passenger comfort, though.
Indian Chieftain Limited
Speaking of baggers, the Indian Chieftain remains one of the very best. Ultra comfortable thanks to an enormous leather seat (throw in some extra cash and you can get a heated version), and top-notch suspension, the enormous V-twin powered machine is built to cover huge distances. We prefer the more bad-ass look of the cut-fendered Chieftain Limited, which offers all the amenities of the standard with a little more attitude. The electronically adjustable screen may be a little low for taller riders, but Indian will be happy to show you the accessories catalog, so you can choose one more to your liking.
Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
So expensive, but soooo worth it, the top-of-the line Harley tourer is a couch that takes you places. Sure, hate all you want, but when you ride through a storm unfazed – thanks to hurricane-stopping fairing, heated seats, and heated grips – it will all make sense. Harley overhauled all of its touring line-up recently, installing the hardy Milwaukee Eight V-twin engine, as well as upgrading suspension to ensure that the chiropractors who used to prey upon Harley owners are now out of work. Our only complaint is that its screen is not electronically adjustable. Oh, and the bike is kind of heavy.
It's easy to forget about the FJR1300. Quietly updated in 2016 is pushing close to legal driving age. Its specs no longer grab headlines, but it still 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. The FLR1300's cruise control, meanwhile, remains one of the best in the biz.
Kawasaki Concours 14 (aka GTR1400)
Like the aforementioned FJR1300 the trusty Connie has been around a long time, picking up a lot of fans along the way, and it, too, is a little long in the tooth – the sport-touring market not being what it once was. But, also, like the Yam, it was made to cross continents at high speeds. Sort of an Aston Martin on two wheels. 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.
BMW K 1600 GTL Exclusive
A greater sense of urgency makes this big (and we do mean big) BMW a little less relaxing than Honda's Gold Wing, but not by much. And 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.