Some people just want it all: the power and performance of a sport bike with the comfort and resilience of a touring motorcycle.
Fortunately, since the 90s, the sport touring class has given riders just that with motorcycles that provide speed and agility along with storage, fairings and lower gearing.
Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers have started either abandoning this class or blending it with adventure motorcycles and general sport bikes. If you’re set on this type of bike, here are the 10 best sport touring motorcycles you can buy in 2023.
- Engine: 1254cc, four-stroke boxer
- Max power: 136 hp
- Max torque: 105 lb-ft
- Seat height: 31.7/32.5 inches
- Curb weight: 615 pounds
- MSRP: $19,995
BMW dominates the adventure and sport touring classes, and since its release in 2020, the R1250RT has been BMW’s defining model in that category. It replaced the slightly smaller but similar R1200RT, which was widely regarded as the best sport touring bike in the world.
The R1250RT’s primary mechanical advantage is its high torque curve, which provides consistent power without having to shift gears as often. This makes it ideal for lugging bags and gear through mountain roads. You can relax and worry less about stalling out on a steep switchback.
Of course, BMW also upgrades the tech on this model. It has cruise control, a color display with integrated map navigation, even heated seats. In other words, you get a relaxed ride regardless of the road in addition to the power and agility of a sport bike.
Moto Guzzi Mandello S
- Engine: 1042cc, V-twin
- Max power: 115 hp
- Max torque: 77 lb-ft
- Seat height: 32 inches
- Curb weight: 513 pounds
- MSRP: $17,490
Owing to its Italian origins, the Madello line’s main claim to fame is its excellent handling for the size and weight. While it has the power and resilience for long rides at high speeds, it can also handle narrow, winding roads with ease in addition to dense city traffic.
For the 2023 model, I love a lot of the accessories Moto Guzzi has added. The windscreen and suspension are both electronically adjustable, good for long trips and changing conditions, and you even get a USB charging point made possible by the large alternator.
For sport touring, I specifically recommend the Madello S, but the entire V100 range is great. That includes the Mandello and Mandello Aviazione Navale.
- Engine: 1298cc, inline four-cylinder
- Max power: 141.5 hp
- Max torque: 102 lb-ft
- Seat height: 31.7/32.5 inches
- Curb weight: 642 pounds
- MSRP: $18,299
If you want to lean into the “sport” part of sport touring, the Yamaha FJR1300ES might be your best bet. The large engine is powerful and provides consistent torque across RPMs. It’s a lot of fun to ride on curving traditional highways but is still comfortable and not too demanding.
Another big draw is the tall sixth gear that makes cruising on the interstate a lot easier. It’s good for long cross-country trips.
In fact, this motorcycle’s combination of stability, acceleration, and comfort over long periods have made it a favorite of police departments around the world. The recent models even come with a three-part instrumental panel that displays a wealth of riding information as well as integrated luggage and cruise control.
Yamaha Tracer 9 GT
- Engine: 890cc, inline three-cylinder
- Max power: 115 hp
- Max torque: 64.5 lb-ft
- Seat height: 31.9/32.5 inches
- Curb weight: 485 pounds
- MSRP: $14,999
The Tracer 9 GT is the other sport touring option from Yamaha. Though it’s smaller than the FJR1300, it still provides a good cross between sporty agility and acceleration and smooth, comfortable riding. (Read more about the most comfortable sports bikes.)
It might not be the best choice for cross-country rides, but it’s arguably the better choice for urban commuting or short tours thanks to its lightweight and smaller profile — not to mention the lower price.
Introduced in 2021, the Tracer 9 GT is a complete revamp of the MT-09. It has more power, an increased fuel capacity, and a slicker frame. It also now comes standard with side cases big enough for full-face helmets.
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
- Engine: 1301cc, V-twin
- Max power: 173 hp
- Max torque: 104 lb-ft
- Seat height: 32.9 inches
- Curb weight: 496 pounds
- MSRP: $19,799
It’s amazing how seamlessly KTM was able to blend speed and power with distance on the 1290 Super Duke GT. The large V-twin gives excellent power that’s even enough for the racetrack. Meanwhile, it’s robust enough to take on winding highways for hours at a time. In fact, the service interval is 15,000 kilometers, over 9,000 miles.
On top of all of this, KTM included a color TFT dashboard. This digital display provides navigation, multiple electronically controlled riding modes, and other important riding information. This is an advanced and versatile bike that’s an ideal choice for the modern rider who wants to explore the country and city both.
Ducati Multistrada V4 S
- Engine: 1158cc, V4
- Max power: 170 hp
- Max torque: 92 lb-ft
- Seat height: 33.1/33.9 inches
- Curb weight: 481 pounds
- MSRP: $27,195
You gotta hand it to Ducati, this is an amazing bike.
Granted, you have to pay Ducati prices, but you get an incredibly versatile machine. And at the end of the day, it might not even be as expensive as it seems because it has an insane 60,000-kilometer service interval. That’s 37,000 miles, reflecting the ability of the Granturismo engine to hold up over long distances and demanding trips.
That same engine provides fun power and acceleration with a torque profile and sturdy frame that you can take just about anywhere. You also get a lot of bang for your buck with all the advanced technology, like blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control.
While I personally like the Multistrada V4 S, you can get a similar bike aimed more at off-roading with the Multistrada V4 Rally. At the end of the day, it’s hard to be disappointed with a Ducati.
- Engine: 999cc, four-cylinder
- Max power: 150 hp
- Max torque: 80 lb-ft
- Seat height: 31.9 inches
- Curb weight: 498 pounds
- MSRP: $13,349
The Suzuki GSX-S1000GT+ maintains the tradition of the true sport tourers: the performance of a powerful sport bike with the comfort and long-distance toughness of a touring bike. Namely, check out that insane 150 hp for a sub-1,000 engine. Nevertheless, you get lower gearing for easy commuting and highway rides as well as extensive fairings and storage.
While other manufacturers seem to be abandoning sport tourers, combining them with adventure bikes or lowering the power, Suzuki shows no signs of giving up on the GSX line. In fact, 2021 saw the bike updated with even more horsepower, a sportier design, and an increased fuel tank to five gallons.
Honda NC750X DCT
- Engine: 745cc, parallel-twin
- Max power: 58 hp
- Max torque: 51 lb-ft
- Seat height: 31.6 inches
- Curb weight: 493 pounds
- MSRP: $9,399
Honestly more of an adventure tourer than a true sport tourer, the NC750X still has the comfortable ergonomics and great fuel efficiency of 67 mpg.
It’s just a bit smaller and less powerful than you’d normally expect of a sport tourer, but it still gets a lot of power at low revolutions. While this makes it great for poorly maintained roads, it’s also fun on mountain highways.
The NC750X DCT was primarily designed to compete with the BMW F750GS, but because Honda’s sport touring range is limited, this model is a bit more versatile and provides comfort for longer tours that its competitors may lack. I particularly like the shape of the seat, but the windscreen and streamlined cowl also give you a lot of protection at high speeds without sacrificing agility.
Kawasaki Versys 1000LT
- Engine: 1043cc, four-cylinder
- Max power: 120 hp
- Max torque: 75 lb-ft
- Seat height: 33.1 inches
- Curb weight: 567 pounds
- MSRP: $18,899
Like Honda, Kawasaki has mostly abandoned the sport tourer class, but the Versys 1000LT is still a good option if you love the power of Kawasaki engines and want decent displacement. Its style and riding position are closer to that of an adventure tourer, but it’s still designed for long trips on the highway rather than off-roading.
A lot of riders like the Versys line for sport touring because of its smoother power profile. With lower horsepower, it doesn’t necessarily take off like a dedicated sport bike, but it does provide comfortable torque even at high RPMs, so highway riding in town is still doable. At the same time, the long suspension makes poorly maintained country roads much more manageable.
Triumph Tiger 1200 GT
- Engine: 1160cc, straight-three
- Max power: 147 hp
- Max torque: 95 lb-ft
- Seat height: 33.5/34.5 inches
- Curb weight: 529 pounds
- MSRP: $19,595
Man oh man, is this a bike for long tours. It holds the record for longest distance traveled in 24 hours by a motorcycle at 2,493 miles, set by Ivan Cervantes in June 2023. This bike will take you where you need to go, and comfortably, with cruise and hill control, adaptive cornering lights and blind spot detection. It remains stable on twisting roads, no problem.
As for the sport side, Triumph upped the power for the 2023 model. An hp of 147 is some of the best you’ll find in this class. More of an adventure model, it’s not a racing bike, but it’ll get you up to speed on the Interstate quick.