As a cool breeze sweeps across the British Isles, many riders have chosen to tuck their bikes in for the winter. However, if you’re one of the many riders still craving one last adventure in 2015, now is the time to pack your panniers and head southwards for one last cruise around the continent.
From Germany’s smooth autobahns down to the sandy beaches of Spain, Europe plays host to an array of awesome routes for you and your motorbike to explore this autumn. But before you head off on your Kawasaki Ninja or Aprilia 125, it’s probably best to consider investing in a bike that’s a little more suited to the job…
In this guide, we’ll count down from five to one in a bid to highlight our favourite touring bikes available today. From globetrotting BMWs to laid-back Hondas, here are our tour-inspiring picks for 2015.
5. BMW R 1200 GS
As the manufacturer who supplied to Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in their 19,000 mile motorcycle trip around the world back in 2004, BMW know how to design a bike that’s built to last.
In their latest range of ‘travel enduros’, BMW’s R 1200 GS offers a similar high-seated design to those used by McGregor and Boorman – which can be really handy when riding through rocky terrain or sand. Complete with a selection of ‘riding modes’ and a robust frame, the GS is perfect for riders looking to tackle all the terrain that Europe can throw at them.
4. Triumph Tiger Explorer
As far as Triumph are concerned, just because the road ends, when you’re riding a tiger, there’s no reason the adventure has to stop too. Built to rival BMW’s GS, the Tiger has been designed to tackle off-road terrain as well provide extreme comfort, power and tons of ability on tarmac.
Offering an adjustable screen plus a wide fitting fairing, the Triumph Tiger is the perfect bike for cruising through the cooler climates of Britain before your European adventure takes full swing on the continent.
3. Honda Pan European
For years, Honda’s Pan European has been a firm favourite among adventurous riders and touring enthusiasts alike. Providing a level of comfort unrivalled in its class, this machine has been designed to rack up the miles without causing any tedious aches or strains to its rider – meaning you’ll be able to ride for much longer before stopping for any breaks along the way.
Presenting an array of luxurious extras such as heated grips, an adjustable seat and cruise control, the Pan European’s unique blend of power and comfort make it an excellent choice when opting to explore Europe’s long and winding roads.
2. Yamaha FJR 1300 AS
Despite plenty of praise surrounding the fast, smooth and comfortable nature of this machine, the new FJR may be regarded by some as a surprise inclusion at number two on the list. However, when you look closely at this particular bike, through the microscope you’ll see an array of features that justify its place.
Although there’s plenty to be said for its aerodynamic bodywork, futuristic dials and easy-to-use control system, the greatest asset the FJR possesses is its ability to shift gears without ever needing to touch the clutch. Coined by Yamaha as its ‘Chip Controlled Shift’ system (YCC-S), you’ll be able to ride for hours on end without feeling half of the fatigue normally experienced on longer trips.
1. Honda Gold Wing
When it comes to riding in luxury, style and comfort, nothing can compete with Honda’s timeless Gold Wing. Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Gold Wing has been an iconic world leader in terms of touring – and despite their long history of success, there’s no sign of Honda stopping anytime soon!
With a list of features long enough to make other manufacturers blush, today’s Gold Wings include an electronic reversing aid, a built-in audio system with iPod connectivity and an overdrive system that ensures low revs while cruising. All in all, this machine deserves its place at number one – so should you decide to throw yourself into a European excursion this autumn, look no further than this unmistakable bike.