The Sport-Touring Divide – Question of the Day

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Sporty sport-tourer or ADV-lite?

Industry trends come and go, but one that’s been sticking around for the last few years is the “adventuresque” sport-tourer. Bikes like the Kawasaki Versys 1000, the Yamaha Tracer 9, or the Suzuki GSX-S1000GX, with long-travel suspension, comfortable ergos and ADV-inspired styling, but designed to do most of their work on paved roads.

Almost every time we write about bikes like these, we can’t help but think about how they have redefined the term “sport-tourer”. Once upon a time, a sport-tourer was a sportbike designed to be comfortable enough to ride for long distances. Nowadays, we have “crossovers”, bikes with sporty performance into an ADV package. Even BMW calls the M 1000 XR, which is probably more at home on a race track than a fire road, a “crossover”, even though the only thing adventure about it is its vestigial beak.

Traditional sport-tourers aren’t as fashionable these days, but they still exist, like Suzuki’s GSX-S1000GT, or Kawasaki’s supercharged H2 SX. Others, like the Yamaha FJR1300 or Kawasaki Concours 14, are slowly fading into history.

So, for our Question of the Day, we ask: do you prefer the traditional sport-tourer, or do you like its evolution into today’s crossovers?

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 55 comments
  • MrFixit MrFixit on Mar 16, 2024

    As above, I like the looks and handling of sport tourers. I toured on a VFR 800 for years and then an FJR for a few more. My old body doesn’t like the riding position any more and I like the option of the occasional dirt shortcut so today my touring rig is a Triumph Tiger 900 GTA.

  • Wal77891101 Wal77891101 6 days ago

    I prefer the traditional fully faired sports touring bike with smooth curves in its styling, with emphasis on sport. I do not at all like the beaky styling recent models have been given.

    I recently acquired a 2007 BMW K1200S. It's a beautiful machine that eats miles up with comfort. The pilot and passenger positions have plenty of room. The Corbin Gunfighter seat it came with is quite hard and places me too far aft when I am fully in the saddle. I addressed this with a thin neoprene seat cushion, which greatly improved my feel and control. The legroom and stance never gave me any problems.

    The fairing provides excellent wind protection, much more than it's appearance would suggest. It came with a slightly taller windscreen that fully deflects the blast of wind perfectly over the top of my helmet. Even my wife on the back says she's out of the wind. She would certainly tell me about it if she was being buffeted around. The expandable BMW panniers do extend into the wind when fully loaded, but don't impact the ride much below triple digit speeds, and they hold more than I expected.

    After taking a long trip to see the eclipse, I think Helibars that use the stock hoses, with about an inch and a quarter lift, a half inch move aft, and an inch and a half more width will have me fitting the bike perfectly.