Guide to Long-Distance Touring Motorcycles

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One of the best parts about riding motorcycles is the freedom you feel from exploring the world on two-wheels.

It is one of the best ways to experience the places around you, enjoy the journey, meet new people, and make new memories.

However, the fulfilment and enjoyment you experience on a long distance trip can highly depend on the type of bike you’re riding.

A multi-day motorcycle ride is going to be a much different experience on a comfortable bike vs. something that makes your butt ache after a few hours or a reliable machine vs. something that needs maintenance every 100 miles.

Learn more about what makes a good long distance motorcycle and check out some of the best touring bikes for a variety of needs and riding styles.

What is a Touring Motorcycle?

A touring motorcycle describes a type of bike that is capable and comfortable for riding long distances.

These are the types of bikes you’ll want to look to for multi-day trips or all day rides.

In general, touring motorcycles will feature:

  • Comfortable seating and riding position.
  • Room for luggage and storage.
  • Larger capacity gas tanks and good gas mileage.
  • Powerful engines equipped for long miles and highways speeds.

Some other common features you may find on a touring bike include:

  • Windshields and fairings.
  • GPS.
  • ABS braking.
  • Adjustable suspension.
  • Larger and heavier construction.

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What makes a good long-distance motorcycle?

A good long distance motorcycle is going to have everything you need to get to your destination and enjoy the ride.

If you’re planning on going off-road, you’ll probably want to consider an adventure touring motorcycle.

If you’ll be putting in long miles on the pavement, then cruisers, touring bikes, and sport touring bikes will be the place to look.

Best Motorcycles for Long-Distance Riding

Here are some of our picks for some of the best motorcycles for covering a lot of miles:

  1. BMW R1200RT
  2. BMW K1600GTL
  3. Harley-Davidson Road Glide
  4. Harley-Davidson Electra Glide
  5. Honda Gold Wing
  6. Indian Roadmaster
  7. Kawasaki Concours 14
  8. Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager
  9. Triumph Trophy
  10. Yamaha FJR1300
  11. Yamaha Venture Transcontinental

Throttle Locks for Motorcycle Touring

If you take long rides on your motorcycle where you’re traveling at a steady speed for a while, you’ve probably experienced hand cramps and soreness in your wrist from keeping the throttle in a single position for a long time.

A throttle lock is the next best thing to a full-on cruise control system on your motorcycle.

Simply install the unit on your throttle, lock it at the desired throttle position, and give your hand a rest.

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A throttle lock is device designed to give your hands and wrist a break on long rides.

Without it, you need to keep your wrist in the same position to maintain a constant speed. Doing this for prolonged periods of times can lead to hand cramps, strain, and soreness.

A throttle lock can reduce hand fatigue and cramps on longer riders.

How Does a Motorcycle Throttle Lock Work?

A throttle lock works by:

  • Attaching to the throttle grip, handlebar, or throttle sleeve.
  • Using a thumb or hand operated clamp or friction plate to hold the throttle in a single position.
  • Allowing you to remove your hand from the throttle without loosing speed.

While a throttle lock is not exactly motorcycle cruise control as you’ll still need to adjust the throttle when riding uphill or downhill, it get you pretty close and is perfect for any long stretches of highway.

Some feature a button or other mechanism for engaging and disengaging the lock.

How do you use a throttle lock?

Operating the motorcycle throttle lock is simple.

You’ll simply need to install the device onto your handlebars near the throttle tube.

While riding, you’ll engage the device to increase tension and keep your throttle in place.

Disengage the device to allow the throttle to move freely.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific operation of your device.