Dear MOby,

I just read John Burns’ review of the new 2018 Venture. It struck a chord with me. I’ve owned three different Ventures – an ’83, a ’93, and a ’99. Loved all of them. I currently own a Victory Cross Country Tour (among other ponies) and love it too. I was very intrigued with the new Venture cuz I’ve always been such a fan.

I think I’ll “get by” with my Victory a couple years until Yamaha irons out the kinks. But I did have a question: Why oh why are motorcycles so damn heavy? BMW has a great ride with all the bells and whistles at about 600 pounds or so with the RT. I think I would love the new Venture, but why does it have to weigh half a ton? BTW, I’ve also owned a couple Gold Wings, which were also half a ton, and moved into the XC cuz it was sub-900 lbs.

It just seems to me that, with today’s technology, someone could build a “big” V-Twin tourer that weighed in at 600 lbs or so and did everything. Smaller engine, one liter or so, 50+ mpg, “engine-transmission-stressed member-frame” (unibody?) construction, etc. Doesn’t anyone besides BMW make “efficiency” part of the solution? I guess the American buyer just wants BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER. Anyway, I’m a Motorcycle.com fan and appreciate John’s write up.

Thanks,
Jeff


Dear Jeff,

Maybe because the American buyer doesn’t just want BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER, they’re getting BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER, and need more room. Yamaha said they wanted plenty of room for two on the new Venture, so they stretched it out and widened the seats to make room – basically the opposite of American Airlines. As the bike gets bigger, so does the load it can carry.

Let’s also not forget all the luxury accoutrements that touring riders now expect from their rigs. An audio systems with four speakers adds pounds, as does a CB radio, electrically adjustable windscreen and even an electrically assisted reverse drive system.

Sure they could make it lighter, but it’s like Kaz Yoshima used to say: lightness is the most expensive thing. A Venture made mostly of carbon fiber would weigh, ahhh, well if they were able to make it 82% as heavy as the new Venture, like BMW did with its S1000RR HP4 Race compared to the standard S1000RR, then, well, the Venture Carbon would still weigh 790 pounds instead of 963. But it would cost even more than the $95,000 HP4.

http://www.motorcycle.com/features/exploring-lightweight-materials-motorcycles.html

And once you’re bumping up against 800 pounds, what’s another 160? Just more of you to love, dear. The new Venture is definitely a heavyweight, but not so radical a departure as the number “963” at first seems. It’s just continuing a theme. By the way, your Cross Country Tour scales in somewhere around 880 pounds with its tank full (according to Victory).

Anyway you answered your own question, speaking of the BMW R1200RT (MO’s Sport-Tourer of 2014). The beauty of the thing is, if you don’t want a 900-lb touring bike, there’s now also a shedload of sport-touring choices that offer almost as much comfort (especially if you don’t often carry a passenger). We haven’t managed to tear ourselves away for a nice luxo sport-touring shootout since 2014, but that’s a fantastic bunch of bikes, most of them in the 650-pound range. Here’s another S/T shootout from later in 2014 when we got our hands on the new BMW RT.

The Triumph Trophy SE didn’t win our last sport-touring comparison – mostly because it leans more toward tourer than sport. The SE comes with a torquey 1215cc Triple, tail trunk, tire-pressure monitors, Bluetooth sound system, cruise control, electronic suspension, heated seats, 12v outlets front and rear, USB port… it’s a great choice if you want a “small” (664 lb wet) touring bike.

The Triumph Trophy SE didn’t win our last sport-touring comparison – mostly because it leans more toward tourer than sport. The SE comes with a torquey 1215cc Triple, tail trunk, tire-pressure monitors, Bluetooth sound system, cruise control, electronic suspension, heated seats, 12v outlets front and rear, USB port… it’s a great choice if you want a “small” (664 lb wet) touring bike.

Maybe what it comes down to is a point Yamaha made during the new Star Venture’s coming-out party. Many times when it comes to big touring bikes, it’s the passenger who makes the buying decision (or at least heavily influences it). If Mama likes the Star Venture better than Brand B or C, well, many of us do what we have to do to maintain domestic bliss, don’t we? When it comes to long-distance happiness for two, the 900-lb biggies are hard to beat, except maybe with a car. And that’s no fun at all.


Send your moto-related questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com. If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least make you feel temporarily better by thinking you’re talking to somebody who knows what they’re talking about even if we don’t. It’s the thought that counts.

Recent Ask MOs:
Ask MO Anything: Is New Or Used Better?
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  • JMDGT

    If you are going straight and it’s windy a half ton tessie makes sense. Didn’t Burns ride the biggest homemade motorcycle in the world once?

  • John A. Smith

    I kind of feel the same way. I had an ST1300 I bought about ten years ago because it was the lightest thing approaching a full touring bike that I could tolerate. At least the weight was low and it handled nicely. I’ve tried the Road Glide and the Gold Wing. Below 20mph? No thanks. Because of all the huge touring bikes I gave up, bought a ZX-14R, and bagged it. More power than I need, but at least it’s comfortable and handles comparably well against every touring bike on the market. I thought that adventure bikes might be an answer, but they’re turning into pigs, too.

    • Glenn Lutic

      My 2006 Honda Goldwing handles BETTER than my 1993 Honda ST1100 at low speeds did. Whoever engineered the current Goldwing is a Genius.

      • sgray44444

        I owned a 95 ST and I’m not surprised. I never like anything about that bike.

    • sgray44444

      You have done exactly what I’ve been thinking about for a couple years with the ZX. Could you provide any information on your mods? I think the 14 and the Busa are pretty comfortable, even if they’re not quite fast enough (joking, of course).

  • John B.

    My local dealer in Dallas is offering a $6,000 plus discount on 2017 Triumph Trophy SE ABS models in stock. That’s a $12,999.00 sale price, which sounds like a bargain to me. BMW 1600s have similar discounts for 2016 models.

    • john burns

      Love it.

    • Kevin Duke

      I’d have difficulty buying a touring bike that’s not a K16…

      • John B.

        Wow, that’s definitive Kevin!

        I rode my Concours about 1,250 miles in two days on my way home from vacation in Colorado, and I have to say a few more creature comforts would be nice on these long trips.

        Specifically, with a little more leg room, a little better wind protection, a more comfortable seat, a bluetooth sound system, heated seats, cruise control, and navigation, I could ride forever. Yes, the K1600s fit that description and then some; and, with substantial discounts on 2016 models the price is better than ever.

        PS – I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say about the new K 1600 B cruiser.

        • toomanycrayons

          “Specifically, with a little more leg room, a little better wind protection, a more comfortable seat, a bluetooth sound system, heated seats, cruise control, and navigation, I could ride forever.”-John B.

          Isn’t that called a Toyota Corolla XLE? Pick a colour…

          • John B.

            Possibly. But it also describes among other motorcycles the BMW K 1600, Yamaha FJR1300ES, Triumph Trophy, Yamaha Star Venture, and various HD and Indian motorcycles. That is to say, the characteristics I described do not transform a motorcycle into a car.

            Try riding 700 miles in a day across the desert southwest in 100 plus degree temperatures while managing spinal stenosis and lumbar disc degeneration, and you will better understand why a little more comfort and convenience can be a good thing.

          • toomanycrayons

            “That is to say, the characteristics I described do not transform a motorcycle into a car.”-John B.

            True. Motorcycles fall over. Just kidding, they lean, too. Needs transform motorcycles into cars. You seem to be keeping that under control through shear grit. Enjoy the ride. Happy is the best revenge.

          • John B.

            And aspirin; let’s not forget aspirin. Cheers!

          • appliance5000

            OK – I’ll try that and get back to you.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Why are they discounting a 2017 model by $6,000?

      • DickRuble

        ’cause they’re that good..

      • John B.

        The dealer nearest to me sells BMW, Ducati, and Triumph, and their showroom is jam packed with new inventory. I gather they need to move some inventory, and discounts are one way to do that. I do not think the Trophy is selling well, but (IMO) that does not mean it’s not a good motorcycle. It would be difficult to find a better luxury tourer/sport tourer selling for $12,999.

  • Gruf Rude

    Just got back from a 1000 mile, 4 day weekend ride to the Top o the Rockies BMW rally on my ’84 R100RS.
    Weighs 500 pounds, has nice hard luggage, great weather protection, gets 50 MPG, and rolls smoothly through the mountain twisties on reasonably inexpensive, long-lasting tires. It doesn’t have a computer, cruise control, stereo or communication systems, but it is still getting the job done and is sized proportionally to me (small), but still big enough to carry me and my (also small) wife comfortably.
    As Burns points out, bikes get bigger as people get bigger; I’ve stuck with the RS in large part because I’m small…

    • Jon Jones

      Great to tour on a trusted older bike. My ’91 ST1100 is one my favorites. Did lots of touring on my tired ’80 GS1000GT. And my GS1000EC.

      Point here: Just ride what you have and enjoy it.

    • TC

      I had a R100RS, had to whip it like a twenty dollar mule to get it over a mountain pass. I’ll take the extra 40 hp that my R1200ST makes, at the same weight.

      • Gruf Rude

        I bought my RS from a guy who told me he “just couldn’t keep up with his friends in the mountains.” Turned out diaphragms in both carbs had one-inch rips . . .

        • TC

          67 crankshaft hp, about 55 at the rear wheel, without a split diaphragm. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the four R100s that I owned, but they are not nearly as powerful as the newer BMW’s and about the same weight. Still, I’d take an old R bike over a 1000 lb touring behemoth.

  • Mark D

    There’s no such thing as a “touring” bike. You can tour on any bike! I rode a 500cc Ninja 500 across the continent.

    Now, was it easy and comfortable? NO! It was cramped and terrible! That’s why you buy 900 lb bikes for similar feats.

  • John B.

    Will someone please tell me what model year we’re currently in; 2018 or 2017, or both?

    • DickRuble

      Depends.. If it’s a Harley, that would be 1923..

      • John B.

        Okay, now that’s funny!

        Those Harley people sure do seem to be having fun though.

        • DickRuble

          “Harley-Davidson Shares Plunge On Sales Figures; Production Cuts Planned” — this morning in the news…

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Shares go up and down. Nobody cares. People get laid off in slow quarters. Improves efficiency and the bottom line. Still plan to sell up to 269,000 bikes, same as last year. You perhaps didn’t see where Indian sales were down 13% in 2016? Milwaukee Eight sales are going through the roof. Model changeover time is always risky as the previous model sales are cannibalized by waiting for the new models to come out. No biggie. You will have to wait another 100 years and Harley will still be beating the Japanese and Europeans in the big bike market.

          • Jason

            From the Polaris 2Q Financial Report:

            “Motorcycle segment sales, including its PG&A related sales in the second quarter of 2017, was $198.0 million, a decrease of 13 percent compared to $228.4 million reported in the second quarter of 2016, which included $6.2 million of Victory motorcycle wholegood, accessory and apparel sales versus $54.0 million of Victory sales reported in the second quarter of 2016. INDIAN MOTORCYCLE WHOLEGOOD SALES INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE SECOND QUARTER driven by new product introductions and increased awareness of the brand. This increase was more than offset by significantly lower Slingshot® sales.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You are absolutely right. By Indian I meant Polaris motorcycle segment sales which includes Slingshot. 13% decline for Polaris vs 6.2% decline for HD.

          • Jason

            How is the decline in sales of 3-wheeled cars even remotely related to the sales of 2-wheeled motorcycles?

            For sales of motorcycles (vehicles with 2 wheels):
            Sales of Indian motorcycles are up
            Sales of Ducati motorcycles are up
            Sales of Triumph motorcycles are up
            Sales of BMW motorcycles are up
            Sales of KTM motorcycles are up.
            All of the above brands are seeing record year over year sales

            Sales of Harley Davidson motorcycles are DOWN. These are the facts no matter how you want to try to spin them.

            I want to see Harley succeed but to do so they are going to need to make some changes.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Without numbers this is all gibberish. Harley sold 136,437 bikes in the last six months. How many bikes did all these other companies sell?

          • Jason

            BMW sold 88,389 bikes in Q1 and Q2 of 2017 (Up 5.9%) You can look up the rest yourself.

            Harley sold 136,437 bikes in Q1 and Q2 of 2017 (Down 5.7%) and they are on their 10th consecutive quarter of falling year over years sales.

          • sgray44444

            Are you a rabid fanboy, or on the marketing payroll?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Just stating the facts. And I hate companies like Polaris that hide the facts. They shut down Victory without any warning to customers or dealers. Up to the last minute they were saying that Victory was doing well, just like they are saying Indian is doing well. Who is going to trust them now? I like Harley because they are open and honest about their business. They tell it like it is. I don’t like to associate with dishonest companies.

          • Jason

            More like misstating the facts. You have been all over the net saying that Indian sales are down and Harley sales are up. Both of those statements are false. .

          • sgray44444

            I totally agree about Polaris. I wouldn’t buy an Indian because of their track record. They don’t support their products over time. Just ask any V92C owner about parts availability.

          • Mister X

            You like Harley because they are “open and honest about their business”?
            Buell, funny boy, Buell.
            Nothing honest about purchasing controlling shares in a brand/company and then killing it.
            Erik Buell would have never sold it to Harley if he knew that was going to happen.
            Now Harley is struggling in the market because they refused to diversify their customer base, tough toenails, buddy, they did it to themselves.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Harley sank a ton of money into Buell but there was no way to make money from it. They had to cut their losses at some point. Buell has had the same luck with everybody else. If Erik Buell was doing so well, why did he sell it to Harley?

    • john burns

      actually new Venture is a 2018 my bad.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Some weight adds stability on windy days and smoothness on bumpy roads. But sometimes I’m a bit uncomfortable about the amount of effort involved to resolve the problem of additional mass. I’m truly amazed how stonking powerful those 6-piston monoblock calipers on vfr1200f are, how much kinetic energy they can convert into heat… But the truth is, I don’t really think (or feel) they allow that beast to stop any better than my cb400. Can’t get rid of the feeling that big bikes kinda unnecessarily devour themselves.

    • Jon Jones

      Good post. It’s amazing just how good quality modern brakes are. One finger can easily slow a large bike with no theatrics.

  • allworld

    I know there is a market for the bigger touring bikes, and I personally love to tour on my bikes. I don’t think I will ever be attracted to this type of touring bike, for a number of reasons.
    I can’t see myself owning a big RV either……… For me less is more, (fun).

  • SRMark

    A couple of years ago a buddy of mine, his wife and a few friends when on what he called a “tiddler tour”. The couple started in Ocean City, MD and rode cross country on their not-quite matching Honda CB250Rs. Other riders had similarly sized bikes. Those little bikes and their adventurous riders went to the top of Pike’s Peak among other challenging places. Staying mostly to the back roads so as not to get run over by the big rigs on the interstate, they got to see many an interesting place. When they hit the Pacific, they turned around and rode back home.
    Touring is what you make it.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      An exception to the rule for sure.

    • Gee S

      I know this buddy. 😉 I’ve been planning to ride up the hill to see his garage of too many motos.

      Where you at, SRMark?

      • SRMark

        About 20 miles west of him.

        • Gee S

          Nice country — I’m about 70 miles east, In Frederick County.

          Small Virtual World. 😉

          • SRMark

            If you make it to the big bike garage let me know. I’ll bring the beer.

          • Gee S

            Headed up there with my son in the morning. Nice day for a ride. Beer optional. 😉

          • SRMark

            I’m in Morgantown so I’ll miss being there

          • SRMark

            I’m in Morgantown so I’ll miss being there

  • It’s definitely all about the passenger. Wifey doesn’t (currently) ride with me so I get my pick of the litter, but if she starts riding with me, especially on long distance trips, I’ll almost certainly have to ditch my R1200GS for a Harley or Gold Wing.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      GS is an exceptionally comfortable motorcycle with huge storage capacity. 80% of rental bikes in Europe are GS’es. Do you really need to ditch it for a car-on-two-wheels?

      • If my wife is not comfortable? Yes.

        As the rider, I find the GS has all-day multi-day comfort. Fairly certain I could ride out a full tank and not feel like I needed a break. But as the article points out, when going 2-up, the choice of ride often depends on pillion comfort. Some pillions are fine on the back of a DL650, but some need a bit more plush in the tush for that trek down the interstate.

        I find H-Ds and GoldWings to be obese, archaic, and damn ugly to boot. I don’t ever want to own or ride one. But I’d also love for my wife to join me on my road trips and I’ll buy whatever bike I need so that she is comfortable on those long multi-day rides. Maybe she’ll be fine on the GS, or maybe an RT or a K bike would work for her. But if she needs an RGU or GoldWing to be comfortable, well, I’ll bite the bullet.

        I mean, probably I’d keep the GS for myself and buy a lay-z-boy on wheels as well for 2-up!

        • Old MOron

          Everybody is different, but some of the best times my wife and I have spent together have been on the road. I hope your wife saddles up with you, and I hope you both love it.

          • Thanks! I hope so too. She was interested when I first started riding (relative newbie … 2011) but she has some nurse friends who I think told her some horror stories. But she’s slowly coming around … showing some interest again.

          • Ok Campers

            After 40 years of riding on the back, last year my wife told me she didn’t want to ride anymore. This was two hours into our two-up ride from our home in NC to undetermined points West. (The year before, we had gone for 6 weeks, covered 6000 miles and 12 states and intended to do something similar, again. In the planning stages, my wife was all for it.) So we headed back home and after some significant moping and pouting by me, she stated that she preferred to have the creature comforts (A/C and weather protection, mainly), security and control that her car provided when SHE drove. That made sense to me. So I rode the bike and she followed in her car. The added expense of having a car following was offset by the cost we would’ve had were she riding her own bike (we’d tried that years ago…..no good), and the convenience of having additional space for gear and souvenirs, etc…..and the enjoyment my wife got from “being in control.” In a month or so, we will be repeating the adventure…………………..

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Don’t buy a bike just because you think she will ride with you. if she changes her mind after the first ride, you will be stuck with a bike you don’t like.

          • Fivespeed302

            Or a wife you’d rather leave at home.

          • TC

            One good thing about two up motorcycle touring compared to travelling in a car, you can’t hear her talk, unless you make the mistake of getting an intercom.

      • DeadArmadillo

        I used to have a 1200 RT, while a buddy had a GS. After riding each other’s bikes fo about 20 miles, he opined that his GS was like riding a horse while the RT was like sitting in an office chair.

    • Jason

      My wife and I have done three 2-week tours in Europe on various models of the BMW R1200GS. Six to 12 hour days and not (much) complaining about comfort from my wife.

      This past spring we rented an Indian Chieftain for 4 days and we both couldn’t wait to get off the thing. An hour was too long. Both rider and passenger have their legs too far forward to be able to raise up to absorb bumps and the bike has limited suspension travel. That sends every bump right up the spine. We actually skipped riding the 3rd day because our backs were so sore.

      There is a lot more to comfort than the size of the seat.

  • Eivind

    Ducati already makes a relatively light weight Big Twin tourer… The Xdiavel weighs in at 545 pounds wet, with an engine that makes you feel most other bikes have their handbrake jammed on. If I only could afford one… In the meantime I’m stuck with my Duc Monster 1200 S at 465 wet pounds.

  • John Langdell

    Yamaha makes an excellent touring bike, the FJR1300. I have one, 45,000 miles of happy touring since 2014. If you want a sled, buy a sled, if you want to tour I suggest an FJR.

    • TC

      I guess you bought one of the later ones without the ball roasting heated gas tank. Cause the touring ain’t happy when the boys are on fire.

    • The Deplorable Jay Stevens

      I just returned from a 6000 mile trip on my ’13 FJR: TX -> ND -> WA -> CA and back to TX.

      Bike worked great except I need a better seat.

      In the ’70’s, I rode all over the eastern US on a 650 cc Bonneville. The FJR was better.

  • Sheldon Goff

    They could make them about 500lbs, but they’d cost over $100k.
    Lots of stuff on a new touring bike, stuff is heavy.

  • Douglas

    Ever notice how spotless aircraft hangar floors are? And that’s a neat mini-Citation Mustang Investments has there. Now if ya wanna go cross-country, that’s the way to do it. Weather too hot, too cold, rainy?….not a problem. Bad roads, detours, wrecks, no sweat. Things usually serene at 35k ft, tho’ it can get a little bumpy sometimes.

    I don’t do much long-distance riding any more, but prefer a fairly stout mount for the autobahns where I dwell (I-35,40&44), as it’s usually pretty windy, and that bulk helps. Still have my ’07 Vulcan Nomad (hasn’t turned 24k yet, but close) and it’s as good for just regular mile-gobbling as anything I’ve tried….lotsa room, great seat & position, smooth, good wind protection and plenty of room for take-alongs (has a rack & tail bag along w/the saddlebags). So I’m stayin’ put, as tempting as some of the new motors are….

  • Ron Austin

    My first generation Yamaha FZ1 is the definition of a sport tourer. Add some luggage and you’re good to go just about anywhere. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d2411a96cd4647e1de8d065bdf6940df0cf0a6ccb8676e575bf413907970d4d.jpg

  • LS650

    Or you could just tour on a smaller lighter bike. I have a 650 with saddlebags that weighs 515 lbs with a full tank of gas – and I can tour on it just fine.
    The manufacturers only make these behemoths because people keep buying them.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      People keep buying them because that is exactly what they need. Riding across the country fully loaded with your significant other in complete comfort is what this bike does best. Single guys can ride anything they want.

      • Anton

        Those “single” guys with fast bikes are getting hit on by your siggy when you ain’t around. Ouch.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I am sorry about your experience. I have always ridden by myself in 250,000 miles of riding.

    • appliance5000

      A 515lb 650 is bit of a porker in its own right.

      • LS650

        Well, yes, exactly.

  • Jon Jones

    “Maybe because the American buyer doesn’t just want BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER, they’re getting BIGGER BIGGER BIGGER, and need more room.”

    Perfect and frighteningly true. Our nation is a big, fat mess.

  • If light is the most expensive, then you can see the mindset used in designing the bike. BTW, the GTL and GT are lighter than the GTL exclusive. I’d rather have the GT. Save some weight and better riding position for me. I hate bucket seats anyway. Just doesn’t work. lastly, you have to ask yourself, does all that extra weight transfer into load capacity? Maybe not. My RT weighs 570 and has a load capacity of 520. All that extra weight is mostly penalty, just like on people.

  • Paul Kenyon

    Folks I know are talking about going smaller to go longer such as touring on dual sports under 400 CC and weighing in at or under around 300#. It’s also where one puts the weight, lower being far better. So I’ll design my pannier gear to ride low and keep tools, anything made of steel, even lower. And the D/S goes where even my SV650 won’t. Crazy? Iron Butt? I’ve heard those terms hurled at those folks, but I went around the world on a bicycle (under 25# + 40# of carefully chosen gear) so going small may only mean going shorter distances each day. And it’s about meeting the people, isn’t it? At least for some of us. And electronics keeps getting smaller. Heated seats? As if that were a heavy item. Of course, I’m a camper at heart. Not everyone is. The Long Way ‘Round guys showed what a big GS BMW can’t do (that a Russian made 650 could easily and, anyway, who wants to go across Mongolia fer Crise’ sake? …Ahem, I do.) But on the smooth, broad highways across the US? Yup, you win that one. (Almost) all the comfort of a VW bug and the wind in your hair. Then again, I thought motorcycling was about getting off highways and onto less traveled roads….

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Important thing is the seat. Small bikes tend to have narrower seats which will start hurting after 50 or 100 miles. Touring bikes have large comfortable seats. Also freeway speeds. You need a bike that can easily do at least 80 mph fully loaded with passenger and gear. The passenger seat also needs to be more comfortable which is only on touring bikes. Two adults = close to 400 lbs plus 200 lbs of gear + panniers + rack = 700 lbs. Dual sports are not practical for long distance touring.

  • Glenn Lutic

    Having had a 2006 Honda G/Wing for 2 years now, after 20 years on a 1993 Honda ST1100, I am kinda torn. The ST was more fun in the corners, as well as going at a higher rate of speed. The Goldwing is great for allowing me to stick to the speed limits, or close to them, when I want to. I always seemed to go too fast on the ST1100. The heated seat and grips are nice, as is the added comfort. Handling is great on the Goldwing at any speed. It could use more ground clearance though. I was kinda intimidated about riding a Goldwing, for the first 1/2 mile! After that, I saw it was super well engineered. Couldn’t believe how well it handled. Reminds me of those inflatable punching bags I had as a kid.
    In the new Goldwing, Honda could release two models. One, a six cylinder 1000 pound super luxury tourer. The other, an 1100 c.c. V4. Make it lighter, quicker, better handling. The ST1100 or ST1300 powerplant would be fine. Have cruise control, heated seat/grips, adjustable ergo’s, then call it a day. It would be under 700 pounds, as well as being under $18,000.00 USD.

    • Vrooom

      Sounds like you are describing the ST1300 with a couple of additions. Or the Concours, FJR, etc.

      • Glenn Lutic

        Yes, basically. The ST1100/1300 series were too Spartan. I’d have liked stock heated grips, seat, cruise control, better seat, with backrest, highway pegs, as well as more fairing protection. If a new Goldwing is released, they could chop off 2 cylinders, then call it an Interstate. Or the new St1200! Then make different trim levels. If the manufacturers would listen to ordinary riders, we’d have had a new FJ1200 in 1995. Would have a KTM beating dual sport as well.

  • James Stewart

    Me: “Honey, you’re too fat – you gotta downsize so we can tour on a smaller, lighter bike!”
    Wife: “Downsize? Well I can start by helping you downsize your net worth – how’s 50% sound?”

    • Fivespeed302

      Wow, I didn’t know a gym membership was that expensive!

  • Scott Silvers

    Honda GL500…………remember that? It is possible.

    • toomanycrayons

      Riders now look at their “inner” touring bike, and they don’t see this anymore:

      http://kickstart.bikeexif.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/honda_cx500_cafe_racer.jpg

      Is this the real problem?

      “Study finds 90 percent of American men overfat”

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170724105111.htm

      • Sayyed Bashir

        No, bigger is better. And manufacturers make more money on bigger bikes, even though it takes the same effort to make big or small bikes.

    • Ok Campers

      Rode my 1982 Honda GL 500 Interstate two up roundtrp from our home in South Florida to Mackinac City, Michigan back in early ’80s and never considered the bike’s size to be a negative. Today’s fascination with the “necessity” of having bikes equipped like RVs leads me to conclude that either today’s touring riders have lost focus on at least one lure of motorcycle touring, it’s simplicity, or, being 70 years old, life has passed me by…………………………..

      • toomanycrayons

        “…either today’s touring riders have lost focus on at least one lure of motorcycle touring, it’s simplicity, or, being 70 years old, life has passed me by…………………………..”-Ok Campers

        Well, if it has, it sure wanted to be noticed.

  • Nataraj Hauser

    Honda CTX700 (mine is the faired version with hard bags). 500 lbs wet. My NOS 2014 was $7k out the door. Edited to add that I get 65 mpg pretty consistently.

  • Navroze Contractor

    These bikes have become big, ugly and horrible looking.. its what Americans want, so let them have it. BIG< UGLY and HORRIBLE…

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Americans want big bikes and big trucks because America is a big country with big distances to travel. Big and heavy = more comfortable and stable, plus more space to carry things. Ugly and horrible is in the eye of the beholder. This bike is different but not ugly. A bike that is different gets everyone’s attention.

      • Jason

        Big does not equal more comfortable. Both the Road King and Chieftain I rented were horrible uncomfortable and didn’t stop, turn or go. Pure examples of form over function.

  • DAVID

    Very true 600lbs for a touring bike with today’s tech is where they should weigh, not 800+ some even weigh close to that 1,000 lbs!!!! SERIOUSLY. I just got rid of my concours after I dropped it twice it made my bad leg even worse. Those big touring bikes are more comfortable cross country!! but for the working class how many people really take those big touring bikes cross country “maybe once”, then just weekend trips, for just weekend trips you can get that ninja 1000 or a supersport just saying from my personal experience.

    • The Deplorable Jay Stevens

      “Those big touring bikes are more comfortable cross country!! but for the working class how many people really take those big touring bikes cross country ‘maybe once’,”

      I’m retired. My FJR has been across the country at least twice a year since I bought it in 2014.

  • Vrooom

    I just can’t ever see owning a 900 lb. bike. Or an 800 lbs. bike for that matter. I have a few sport tourers, but none exceeding 700 lbs, and they seem porky. My V-Strom or Ducati ST4s is what I take when I go touring solo. Those are a bit over 500 lbs. wet. Some consider that heavy.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      My Harley Softail is 700 lbs, but feels lighter than the KTM 1190 R (which is 535 lbs) due to its low center of gravity and low seat height. It also feels more planted on the road at high speed with better traction.

  • John B.

    I just know John Burns is working on the sequel to this article, entitled: “Why are American Motorcyclists So Damn Fat?” It cracks me up when a guy who is 60 pounds overweight changes out the exhaust on his motorcycle to save 18 pounds and add a couple horsepower.

    • BDan75

      Hey, it’s easier than dropping those 18 lbs., and permanent to boot!

  • BDan75

    Over a period of about three years I tried pretty hard to enjoy long-distance motorcycle touring, but I finally had to admit that it’s just not my thing. Not even with smaller bikes on two-lane roads. Suppose the first clue should have been that I find long-distance car travel tedious and annoying (though I’ve never tried a Miata…), and a bike takes the PITA aspects of that and multiplies them several-fold.

    At least in my opinion. Obviously lots of people love it, though. I have several bikes and am lucky enough to ride most days, but I’m leaving the touring to those guys from now on.

    But maybe with one of these monsters (or a K1600), instead of a Connie….

  • TC

    I bought a Yamaha FJR1300 when it came out, partially because it was lighter than the ST1300 by about 100 lbs. But at 650 lbs wet, it was still kind of a pig. I ride mostly solo, so a bike in the 550 lb range suits me fine. I think some riders buy 950 lb touring bikes for the same reason that some truck owners buy full loaded diesel crewcabs, they want bragging rights and don’t know any better.

  • Wererat

    2012 Ninja 250 + Zero Gravity windscreen + Alu-Rack + Coocase = sub-400lb touring bike. Really ought to replace the seat if I were doing long stints.

  • KLRJUNE .

    Big butts and big egos, that’s why they are.

  • Steve Clark

    I am happy with my 82 Honda GL500I Silverwing”two-cyl Goldwing”.475 lbs, 50 hp @ 9800rpm, full faring and trunk,A turbulence free wind screen(not shield), detachable suitcases and a trunk extender that you can ride two.I like 50mpg+ ,air ride ,shaft drive and a nimble fun to ride tour bike way ahead of its time.I get more comments on it everywhere I go,”What is that?” I tell them Hondas first V-twin design and an early sport tour bike.

  • Gee S

    Its always a question of what you NEED versus what you WANT.

    For me, anyway, the needs are simple — smooth, unstressed motor, good (preferably variable) weather protection for when things go bad (cause they ALWAYS go bad), good saddle with reasonable legroom, structurally strong luggage, and… in the US anyway…. cruise control.

    My K1200LT has all of that. While its a shame that it weighs in at 850 lbs fueled, but the combination of good structure and suspension design means it handles well on back roads, and can also handle being ridden two up and packed up like a mule.

    I’d had classic Beemers before this bike, and got so good at replacing saddlebag frame latches I could have worked at a dealership. When BMW rolled out this bike in 1999, this publicity shot of the design for the luggage subrame (sexy, non?) really did it for me. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d662c3e7c67bd36662dffe4ca547fe1d84fc8d0b4e772e394ad66ac6d281d93.jpg
    A bike that was built from the ground up to carry a load spoke to me. The test ride that had me going around 90 degree corners two up at 80 plus miles per hour sealed the deal.

    Would it be better if it weighed less? Maybe. But it does the job I need it to do. At the end of an 800 mile day, I’m pissed I ran out of day before I ran out of bike.

    • You might like the RT. I actually went to the dealer to try a LT and it had been EOL, so all they had were R bikes. Still have the RT and the lack of weight (coming from a 2007 Nomad) was transformative. It does everything well.

  • YourDogmaBites

    People should ride whatever works for them. I’d never criticize someone whose idea of what constitutes a good bike differs from mine. I’ve ridden a 99 Valkyrie since it was new, about 700 lbs., and it works great for me, long distance or local. I’m thinking of getting a K1600 GTL, cause I do more two-up touring now… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75fb4acd0ddea7dfe796d14826f7c7d9f8ef331b5794cbe10204907477deb97b.jpg

  • Tom Rhodes

    Own a ’02 Royal Star Venture, reason was mama was most comfortable on it’s seat, it beat out a ’15 Gold Wing and ’14 Road Glide. Traded in a great sport tourer the GSX1250FA that I miss but she could only do about an hour on the back of that, and 10 hr rides are not a problem with the Venture.