As an avid motorcyclist with countless miles of open road behind me, I’m often asked, “What’s the best motorcycle for touring?” The question is more complex than it first appears. What are the best lightweight motorcycles for touring? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer because the best choice depends on a range of factors, such as your experience level, comfort preferences, and desired performance characteristics. Above all, if you’re planning on touring, weight becomes an incredibly important consideration. After all, a lighter bike is generally easier to handle and more fuel-efficient – two critical aspects for any long-distance ride.
As we roll into 2023, I’ve rounded up some of the top best lightweight motorcycles that, in my opinion and experience, are particularly well-suited for touring. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or relatively new to the motorcycling scene, I believe you’ll find my insights valuable in your quest for the perfect touring companion.
Light, Lean, and Ready for the Long Haul: Top 4 Best Lightweight Motorcycles for Touring in 2023
1. Honda CB500X
I’ll start with a perennial favorite of mine, the Honda CB500X. With a curb weight of just around 430 pounds and a potent 471cc parallel-twin engine, this motorcycle strikes an excellent balance between agility and power. Its upright seating posture and wide handlebars provide comfort that’s crucial for those multi-hour stints on the highway.
The 2023 model comes with an updated full-color TFT instrument display, providing better visibility and more information at a glance. Also, its 4.6-gallon fuel tank and impressive fuel economy mean fewer stops for refueling – a definite plus on long tours. The available Honda accessories include panniers and top boxes, enhancing its touring credentials.
2. Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Next on the list is the Kawasaki Versys-X 300. This motorcycle is incredibly lightweight, clocking in at around 385 pounds, and is powered by a punchy 296cc parallel-twin engine. Its nimble handling makes it perfect for winding roads or weaving through city traffic.
The 2023 model introduces a few comfort improvements, such as a redesigned seat and an improved windscreen for better wind protection. Furthermore, the Versys-X 300 features a robust rear rack for luggage and an impressive fuel economy, making it an excellent choice for long-haul adventures on a budget.
3. KTM 390 Adventure
The KTM 390 Adventure 2023 is another lightweight motorcycle that’s ideal for touring. Weighing in at about 379 pounds, this bike is both nimble and powerful, thanks to its 373cc single-cylinder engine.
Notably, the 2023 model features an updated electronics package, including a quick-shifter and optional cornering ABS. The long-travel suspension ensures a smooth ride even on rough terrains, and the bike’s overall ergonomics are optimized for long-distance comfort. The 390 Adventure’s luggage system further enhances its touring suitability.
4. Suzuki V-Strom 650
Finally, the Suzuki V-Strom 650, at around 476 pounds, is on the heavier end of the ‘lightweight’ spectrum but still qualifies thanks to its exceptional handling and versatility. Its 645cc V-twin engine offers smooth power delivery, making highway cruising a breeze.
The 2023 model features a new engine map and exhaust system to meet the stricter emission standards without sacrificing power. The bike’s comfortable seating, large fuel tank, and comprehensive instrument display make it an excellent choice for touring. With the addition of Suzuki’s accessory luggage, you’ll be ready for multi-day adventures.
Choosing the best lightweight motorcycle for touring in 2023 involves evaluating each model’s features, comfort, and performance characteristics. These four options, based on my experience and the latest updates, offer excellent touring capabilities without the burden of excess weight. Remember, the “best” motorcycle is a highly personal choice – take your time to test ride and research these models to find your perfect fit. Safe travels!