You can tour on any bike, right? Well, yes you can, but in the same way that you can also cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat, would you want to?
If you have serious miles to cover you should be doing it sat on a heated seat, letting the electronically-adjustable suspension soak up the bumps, listening to your favourite tunes through crystal clear stereo sound, and with cruise control doing the hard work for you.
After all, you deserve it.
Palatial squashy seats, engines that could pull a cruise liner, and accessory lists as long as their wheelbases, this is a world where bigger, fatter and more-er is definitely better, this is the world of luxury super tourers.
Here are six of the best:
BMW K1600GT – from £17,245
Reverse gear, hill start control, adaptive headlight, daytime running lights, keyless ignition, a quickshifter and central locking… the K1600 GT LE’s spec and options lists are quite something, and so is the engine and chassis: gobs of creamy power and torque, and a tight, poised and capable chassis will whisk two people and luggage across a continent with ease, and let them have plenty of fun in the mountains at the other end. Gran Turismo, indeed.
Honda GoldWing – £24,999
The daddy of big tourers, Honda’s Goldwing has been around since flares were fashionable (the first time round) and has been refined, tweaked and made bigger and better ever since.
There’s a new model on the way for 2018, which is sharper, more compact and lighter; has four-valves per cylinder, ride-by-wire throttle and four riding modes; Honda Selectable Torque Control and Hill Start Assist; electrically adjustable suepension; electric screen, Smart Key and Apple CarPlay; optional Dual Clutch Transmission, and an airbag.
Harley-Davidson Road Glide – From £23,995
Big, heavy, loud and unmistakably Harley, the Road Glide is for those who want to really feel like their riding a bike, bit still want to be comfortable and cocooned from the whirling world around them. There’s Barcalounger levels of comfort; a massive fairing to keep the wind and weather off; enough luggage capacity for Imelda Marcos, and an entertainment system to keep you amused en-route. The real star of the show though is the new Milwaukee-Eight engine: liquid-cooled, 107 cu in, 111 ft-lb of torque and a slipper clutch – it goes as well as it sounds.
Indian Roadmaster Elite – From £30,299
The Roadmaster should really be bought in Selfridges, not in a bike dealer, such is the opulence therein. The spec sheet is second only to the attention to detail Indian have worked into it: a custom-inspired two-tone paintjob with real 23K gold leaf badging, 20 layers of hand painted silver pearl, silver glitter, clear coats and black crystal-like glass flakes; gold-spun engine covers; lashings of deep chrome; leather passenger armrests and an illuminated ‘War Bonnet’ on the front fender.
Kawasaki VN1700 Classic Tourer – from £13,599
Classic by name and by nature, the Voyager has all the ingredients of a traditional touring cruiser: lazy, torquey, liquid-cooled V-twin motor; big, squishy tyres, suspension and seats to soak up the bumps; cruise control; adjustable, handlebar-mounted screen and fork-mounted wind deflectors to keep the weather off; and plenty of storage in the hard panniers. Sit back, relax and let the countryside glide past.
BMW R1200RT LE – from £16,270
It’s no surprise BMW have two bikes in our list: big, comfy touring barges is what Bavaria do best. The RT, like the Goldwing, has been refined and improved to the far end over the years, and as a result, there are few bikes better to much miles on. Two riding modes, traction control, electric screen and ABS as standard; semi-active suspension, hill start, gear shift assist; heated grips and seat; cruise control, central locking and tyre pressure control, all pulled along by the fabulous latest generation, liquid-cooled Boxer motor. Just großartig.