2013 Motorcycle & Motorcyclist of the Year

By Motorcyclist Staff, Photography by Kevin Wing

Best Touring Bike


Here We Go Again

We're fully expecting a barrage of bitching and a cartload of cavil for picking, once again, the mighty BMW K1600GT as our favorite touring bike. We hear you. Yes, it is fantastically expensive. Yes, it has more plastic than a MasterCard factory. And, yes, it can make you feel like noob in a wet parking lot.

But, but…but. Twist the dial on the 1649cc inline-six, listen to the F1-inspired wail, feel the thrust of more than 100 pound-feet of torque driving 756 pounds of machine forward, and you will start thinking of spaghetti dinners and dropping cable service to swing the payments. And when you're done playing racer boy with all the unsuspecting sportbike riders in your neighborhood, revel in the BMW's incredible comfort, brought in part by the six's eerily smooth nature, superb ergonomics (way better than the GT-L), and sublime aerodynamics.

Add to all that a host of features—available satellite navigation, a great stereo, standard cruise control, highly functional hard luggage, heated seats and grips potent enough you could use them for campside mealmaking—on top of traction control, a steerable headlight, electronically adjustable suspension, and superb brakes with ABS. The K16 is the complete package: superbly built, cleverly engineered, and unexpectedly joyous to ride.

Alternative Take

Yamaha FJR1300

With new ride-by-wire electronics, cruise control, and a few other tweaks, the venerable FJR returns to our attention for a variety of reasons. But the big one is that it isn’t. Big, that is. The FJR feels like a motorcycle. Most of us find the FJR’s size just about perfect for long-distance travel. It’s very comfortable, reasonably fast, and a great value.

By Motorcyclist Staff
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"It's what these guys do: defend old-tech machines by bridging the conversation from clanky machinery to unique engine architecture, significant historical precedent, the serenity of Lake Como, or some other specious attribute meant to make us look past obvious flaws."

Leave out the part about Lake Como - and you're describing a harley rider..
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