Touring Motorcycles:
The Joys of the Open Road

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🕐 7 June 2019

Ask anyone that’s ridden a touring motorcycle what the experience is like and they will tell you it is complete freedom. Getting out of the city and taking in the beauty of the world is a breath-taking experience. To fully enjoy it, you need to invest in a high-quality touring bike. Let’s grab a closer look at what makes touring motorcycles so special, where the best places to ride them are and why many different generations of riders are getting on board.

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What is a Touring Motorcycle?

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Just like RoadRUNNER suggests, ten varying people will offer ten different definitions of what a touring bike is. In fact, the editors at RoadRUNNER state that “virtually any type of motorcycle can be an enjoyable touring bike.”

What they found is that most touring bikes have similar qualities to them. They can go a longer distance on a tank of fuel than other bikes. They are also comfortable to ride for extended times. Because most riders need to carry more during these trips, touring bikes contain more carrying capacity. Finally, this line-up of motorcycles needs to be reliable.

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Why Do People Like Touring Motorcycles?

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While there is a time and a place to have the fastest bike in the neighbourhood, there are also times to just slow life down a bit. Not all bikes are created the same, which is seen in a touring bike. 

On a touring motorcycle, long trips are safer and more comfortable than ever before. If you spend a long time on the back of a sport bike, you quickly realise that your body burns out. On top of that, your muscles end up cramped and the ride isn’t that pleasurable.

Anyone who desires to have a free spirit quickly gets on board with touring bikes. It’s the perfect way to enjoy an adventure-packed long-distance journey like never before.

What Makes a Touring Bike so Special?

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Between the cool wind, the engine’s roar and the open road, there’s no limit to what can be explored. Bikers live for these long trips that invite them to experience something new.

With the right bike, you can see places you’ve always dreamt about at your own pace. It’s not only life-changing, but the journey is often filled with surprises. 

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Best Touring Bike for the Trip

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Between the cool wind, the engine’s roar and the open road, there’s no limit to what can be explored. Bikers live for these long trips that invite them to experience something new.

With the right bike, you can see places you’ve always dreamt about at your own pace. It’s not only life-changing, but the journey is often filled with surprises. 

Best Touring Bike for the Trip

While numerous bikes work well for touring, we can’t help but be partial to the Honda Gold Wing. With an 1833cc engine that accelerates smoothly to a comfortable cruising speed, this isn’t your average bike.

This legendary motorcycle was the reason for a touring category in the first place. It’s been around since 1975 and has allowed riders to travel in style ever since.

This bike features a flat-six engine with some high-class amenities to boot. Riders enjoy the heated grips, passenger armrests, low floorboards, wide seats and satellite navigation as well. The tour model also comes complete with the first factory production airbag in motorcycle history. As well as all of this, the Gold Wing’s infotainment system is equipped with Apple CarPlay to help reduce fatigue on those long, sprawling journeys.

After all of these years of perfection, the Honda Gold Wing has become the standard that all touring bikes are judged against. Amongst the competition, there’s nothing that supplies as much reliability, refinement, performance and comfort combined.

Furthermore, it’s simple to add on to this Honda. Aftermarket parts include upgraded seats, touring tyres, touring windshields and Bluetooth communication systems. You can also add on progressive suspension components, a RAM mount for portable devices, HID and LED upgraded lighting as well as highway pegs.

Of course, you don’t need to take our word for it. Even RideApart says, “riding a Gold Wing makes a statement.”

Best UK Roads for a Touring Bike

Once you’ve decided on the best touring bike for your next trip, it’s time to plan a destination. We have a few favourites that you might want to ride your Gold Wing on.

1. Antrim Coast Road, Northern Ireland

It doesn’t matter how you travel this road; it’s worth every minute. This road hugs tightly to the coastline in Northern Ireland starting at Larne and ending at Giant’s Causeway. Along the way, we encourage you to stop and visit the seaside villages. 

To get the most of this trip, you want to take the route two times. The first time you take it, you want to pay close attention to the views. The second time you ride, we recommend putting everything you have into the twists and turns along the way. If you breathe in the sea air and let yourself go, it feels just like you are a part of the water.

2. North Coast 500, Scotland

Don’t just take an afternoon ride; extend it out a full week. The North Coast 500 has been around since 2014. That’s why the North Highland Initiative created the over 500-mile route.

You won’t find many corners that test your abilities. Instead, you are going to have the time to immerse yourself in the visions above the Highlands. Start your journey at the Inverness Castle and make sure you stop off at Durness, John O’Groats and Dornoch along the way.

If you need help with the planning, the North Coast 500 website has a pre-designed Motorcyclist’s Itinerary waiting for you. Their five-day plan puts you into the action with awe-inspiring sea views, stops at famous inns and plenty of castle sightings. 

3. A470, Cardiff to Llandudno, Wales

Along the A470 from Cardiff to Glan Conwy Trunk Road, you will find two coastlines and an additional two National Parks. As you leave Cardiff, you will follow the road as it takes you under the M4. From here, it rolls along the Taff Valley until you reach Merthyr Tydfil.

After you are done exploring this old mining town, you will come across the Brecon Beacons and pass Storey Arms. Next, enjoy the turns and twists that lead to Builth Wells. Many people prefer to take a detour at this point to the Abergwesyn Pass.

If you have extra time, it’s also recommended that you leave the route to see the reservoirs in the Elan Valley. Once you arrive at the Llandudno coast, you will have ridden at least 180 miles full of changing scenery.

Why Do People Over 40 Want to Ride a Touring Motorcycle?

According to The Motley Fool, the median age of motorcycle owners is now 47. That’s a massive jump from 1990 when the average age was 32. So why is this older generation so interested in touring bikes? Let’s take a look at several reasons.

Increase in Financial Freedom

Many baby boomers didn’t have the financial freedom to enjoy riding in their 20s or 30s. Now with retirement saved for and their mortgage dwindling down, they finally have the money to invest in what they love.

Increase in Maturity

As age increases, so does maturity. Many men and women of these ages find themselves in a predicament of wanting to ride, but not interested in the speedy sports bikes. A touring motorcycle appeals to them because it provides open road freedom without the feeling of danger and immaturity.

Relaxation & Stress Relief

Getting on the back of a bike and touring the countryside reduces stress. In fact, Slipstreamer agrees that riding a motorcycle impacts mental health. As you cruise down the scenic routes, stress melts away. That’s because the body releases endorphins that improve your mood. 

As people in this age bracket seek to live longer and healthier, riding bikes seems to fit the plan perfectly. Slowing down and enjoying life is done easily from the back of a tourer.

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Tips for Enjoying a Motorcycle Tour

1. Try Out Varying Types of Baggage

You might want to head out on a few smaller trips and test out different baggage types. From saddlebags, tank bags and tail bags, you have a lot of options available to you. What might seem like a good idea at first, might not work when push comes to shove.

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2. Consider Your Clothing Choice

Just as crucial as your baggage is the choice you make in clothing. Obviously, helmets are a must-have if you want to arrive home safely. Aside from that, you should also consider wearing gloves. If you crash, your first instinct will be to put your hands down. A quality set of gloves will protect your fragile skin.

You also want to evaluate your need for protective clothing such as jackets, suits and pants. The body armour protects you, and will give you extra piece of mind. Finally, invest in a high-quality set of waterproof boots for even more peace of mind.

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3. Plan Your Route

Finding places to sleep, restaurants to eat at and where to fuel up are all things you should consider before heading out. If you plan to ride into unfamiliar territory, you don’t want to end up stuck without a place to go. 

Try to plan 150 miles per day, at the most. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time to enjoy the scenery and local sights. You might also find yourself tired if you attempt to go much further than this in a day. By giving yourself plenty of flexibility, you can make a last-minute decision to stop and see something else that catches your eye.

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4. Travel with a First Aid Kit

You never know when an emergency will strike. By having a few essentials with you on the road, you ensure that a small incident doesn’t derail your plans. For more information on rider safety check out our article on the Biker Down Safety Course

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5. Always Inspect the Bike Before Riding

It’s imperative that you give your bike a quick inspection before you head out each day. Check the tyre pressures, lights and ensure everything is functional. It’s most important to stay safe on the road and a few minutes each day helps to protect you. More essential motorcycle maintenance tips can be found here.

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Enjoy Your Next Trip on a Touring Motorcyce

Whether you plan to head out on a Honda Gold Wing or some other touring bike, we hope you enjoy the ride. Take time to explore the unknown and push your boundaries to the limit. You never know what you will find, who you will meet and what you will experience along the way. If you take the time to smell the roses, it’s guaranteed you’ll create memories that last forever.

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