With this month’s Buyer’s Guides focusing on Touring (Touring America: Buyers Guide, And Advice, Motorcycle Touring: Do-It-Yourself Touring) concocting a touring-focused Top 10 seemed more than appropriate. Large-displacement tourers are abundant and receive lots of press, especially in our bigger-is-better country. Choosing 10 mid-displacement bikes to shoehorn into the category turns out to be more difficult than one might think. The 10 bikes here represent more of what’s available in the category rather than a rating countdown from 10 to one. So, in alphabetical order we give you 10 sub-1000cc bikes that span a wide range of sporting, as well as, touring capabilities.

  • SteveSweetz

    Man, I was so ready to rant about the V-Strom 650 beating the Versys 650 when the Versys pretty handily beat it in that last comparo…but then I went back to the beginning of the list and read the line about it just being alphabetical instead of a ranking.

    Now what am I going to get irrationally angry about for 2 minutes on the internet?

    • Goose

      How about the guys at MO being a little chickens**t and not ranking the bikes?

      • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

        How you would objectively rank a KLR against a VFR?

        • Goose

          Hey, I’m not the highly trained professional…

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Did you do any more upgrades on your Vfr?

      • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

        This isn’t even a test , let alone e a shootout or comparo. It is simply a list of bikes. A ranking would be pretty bad form without some actual head-to-head testing.

  • Old MOron

    “We’ll know how well the MV measures against its competition when we conduct our upcoming multi-bike Adventure-Touring shootouts. Stay tuned.”

    Oh please, oh pleasssse…

  • fastfreddie

    900 is mid displacement?

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      Yes, there are approximately ten from 649cc – 990cc and ten more above 990cc. I’d say 900 is close to smack-dab in the “middle”.

  • Esteban Arino

    And the Yamaha sports a centerstand which makes on road chain maintenance and tire plugging so much easier. In fact the centerstand should be required for admission to this class period!

    • fastfreddie

      Has the viffer done away with the centerstand?

      • Rick Vera

        It’s a $149 accessory from Honda; it’s not standard on either base or deluxe.

        • fastfreddie

          Why oh why.Same as on my hornet then.Should be standard on such bikes IMO

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          Actually mine came with one. It’s standard – ultra handy too.

    • Errol Smith

      Granted I had a buddy helping, but on a recent trip through Canada on my 2014 Ninja 1000 I would hold on to the grab rail and lift the bike onto the side stand. While the rear was lifted in the air, my friend would rotate the wheel and lube the chain.

      Meanwhile, my friend with his 2002 VFR800 would just rotate the bike up onto the centerstand and leisurely lube his chain as if it were no big deal.

  • JMDonald

    Like a moth to a flame I am drawn to the VFR.

    • fastfreddie

      I would consider the cb 919 (hornet 900). And get the usual upgrade and use the spares on petrol,beer and accomodation

    • Rick Vera

      I too am drawn to the Interceptor but fall out of love with it when I realize it’s the bike it is, and not the bike I want it to be.

      First, the engine. I love the idea of a V4, especially when the alternatives are inline-4s. However, the barely massaged over engine from 2002 doesn’t impress much. Sure the FJ engine has more displacement, but a mere 65 mL, and it’s pumping out +10 lb-ft and +10 hp without the valve tricks of VTEC. Speaking of, the labor hours for a valve lash adjustment on these VTEC V4 engines are 7-8 hours. No thanks. On top of that—and I wonder if the engine has a role in this—there’s its portly weight.

      It isn’t as light as it looks. At 529 lbs, the 462 lb FJ-09 and 510 lb Nina 1000 (with ~120 rwhp), you would think this sub-800cc sport bike with an aluminum frame should be about 50 lbs less. Then there’s the refinement aspect. It surely has a silky smooth V4 and its abrupt power deliver when it switches from 2v/cyl to 4v/cyl has been remedied, but its bags (like all Honda panniers) are a bit awkward, the switchgear a little odd (so I hear with the TC button), and a riding triangle that is perhaps more aggressive than what its power:weight merit.

      Then I forget it all over again and, like you, am drawn back to it like a moth to a flame.

      • JMDonald

        I owned a 2002 and loved it but hated it at the same time. It seems I am more enamored with the idea of the VFR than with the bike itself.

        • Ser Samsquamsh

          The new one is more like ‘sexy librarian’.

      • Errol Smith

        I was not impressed coming off my 2014 Ninja 1000 and hopping on to a friends 2002 VFR800. Like JMDonald, I too was enamored with the idea of the V4. This bike had aftermarket Leo Vince cans, but you’d never know by hearing it. The whole bike with it’s lack of sound and bland power delivery just felt boring to me.

        Until VTEC kicked in. For that last ~4000 rpm, it felt like an actual sport bike. The Leo Vince slipons sang the song of the V4. Had my hands not been busy holding on, I would have happily given it a standing ovation for such a marvelous performance. Like all things, this too had to end as I shifted up two gears. The bike’s character resembled that of a depressed sloth whose prozac had just worn off. I was happy to return to my Ninja with it’s quirky character and torque everywhere nature.

      • Ser Samsquamsh

        Have you looked at a VFR in person? It’s really pretty. It runs on regular pump gas, gets 50mpg and is fast enough to get me my fair share of tickets. It’s smooth and doesn’t get blown around even in a gale.

  • Reid

    There’s an old dude in my town who rides his KLR everywhere, all the time, no matter the weather or season. He’s my local motorcycling hero. By pure happenstance I ended up on the same bumpy backroad as him one Saturday and we rode along together for probably 20 miles. The weather started to look bad so we decided to speed up to get back to town before a storm broke, and I was utterly amazed by his abilities and the capabilities of his KLR, given the modest specs of the machine. He said later that it’s all about tires and not riding with your bags everywhere. On a joy ride down a less than stellar road, the old Kawasaki proves its worth.

  • Bugra Demirel

    Versys won midsize urbane Adventure test. But V-strom here is in better position?

  • Sentinel

    Only the Versys and the Tiger of any real interest to me. All the rest have issues and assorted pitfalls that keep me away.

  • Michael Olson

    It’s interesting for someone who’s been away from bikes for a while to see that 800cc’s are considered “mid-sized”. The first time I toured across the US was on a Suzuki GT-550. I was quite comfortable and managed to cross the Tioga pass with no problem. The next big trip was on a GT-750, which at the time was a big bike. It pushed the Windjammer through the air with ease.

    All that being said, the new bikes are definitely better, and a few extra cc’s certainly doesn’t hurt, but I think I’d still be OK in the 650 to 800cc range for crossing the country!

    • Errol Smith

      I’m sure you had no trouble keeping up with the 55 mph national speed limit. With parts of the country having an official 85 mph speed limit (and parts of Nevada having an unofficial 85 mph speed limit) bigger is definitely better.

  • Nikolai

    For the love of cycles, why on earth would a site with legit content resort to the clickbait slide layout from hell?