Sport Tourers; Where Art Thou?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Rider, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. glynb

    glynb Relentless Underachiever

    Feb 3, 2006
    N/W Louisiana
    I consider the sport touring bike as being the best of all things road bike. Speed and agility, yet the ability to carry a lot of stuff while traveling at high speed in comfort. I also think that the sport touring type is more popular in Europe, and are heavily used there as police bikes. If I'm not mistaken I think BMW came out with the first sport touring type bikes in Europe. In fact the Honda ST1100 was in response to the BMW sport tourers. A main requirement in the development of the ST1100 is that it would be able to go top speed on the Autobahn for hours and miles on end.

    I agree that the sport touring rider is more independent and not drawn to the squid or pirate lifestyle. The sport touring riders I know, including myself, would rather ride solo or with one other rider at most. We also tend to ride a lot of miles, way more than the riders of cruisers and sport bikes.

    Just some observations that I have made since I have owned my sport tourer.
  2. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

    Sep 25, 2003
    Hide Away Hills, Ohio
    In the beginning most bikes were basically what we would now call standards. You toured on them, you raced on them, you commuted on them. Over time designs became more narrowly focused. Sport touring bikes were an attempt to combine some of those categories and make a more usable and comfortable, but high performing bike. And usable they are, but they are a compromise. A comparatively poor performing sport bike combined with a less comfortable touring bike. Or if your an optimist you'd call them a sport bike you can tour on.

    Putting the vastly popular cruiser market aside for a moment, motorcycling is coming full circle. The latest adventure offerings are really quite close in design to standards, albeit a lot larger than they used to be. Upright, comfortable seating positions, modest weather protection, engines tuned for usable power delivery in the low and mid ranges - to me it's all reminiscent of motorcycling from 35 years ago, just modernized quite a bit. I also think at least in this country the future of the sport tourer is going to be even more challenged as a result of the growing popularity of adventure bikes.

    You bought a great bike in that new FJR, and you bought it at the right time. I really don't think the selection is going to grow over time.
  3. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom
    It is 1% of the Market and I think it is OVER represented.

    And that is the reason MOTUS is not going to survive long.
  4. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

    May 1, 2011
    The open road towards the sun !
    Yes, they might well be 1 % of the USA market.........the 1 % who is smart enough to know if you ride a nice rural touring area that has sporty sections to sweep through at reasonably quick speeds, along with rolling relaxing countryside, there is no better single machine to cover all those conditions as best as possible for a single bike.

    Compromise, you bet, but not nearly as bad as the compromise you will have to make on any other style bike over that many different tarmac conditions if you ride the kind of miles most of us dedicated sport tourers ride.
  5. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Feb 14, 2006
    Please, share your IBA number with us. I'm dying here.
  6. Jonesee0505

    Jonesee0505 Adventurer

    Apr 8, 2010
    See my sig line.
    and yours?
  7. Garp

    Garp Long timer

    Apr 26, 2003
    Newtown, CT
    Sounds like the perfect bike for about 1% of the roads then :rofl

    You can try and argue with me, but I should tell you upfront that I own a sport tourer, so by your logic I must be pretty smart :lol3
  8. biker1235

    biker1235 n00b

    Oct 5, 2011
    western NC
    I guess I fit the demographic. Been riding for over 30 years so I'm no longer boy racer but I still like the curves. I have an HD Dynaglide sport. Its a Harley but it does handle well and I can load a lot on her. Most of of us that ride these bikes, ride because we want to. I personally hate the kickstand Harleys. Harley has made several models in this style but none of them has lasted very long. I guess we are part of the 1% does not follow the herd. I thought that was what made riding fun was all the different people and machines out there.
  9. goinssr

    goinssr Crazy S.O.B.

    Jun 1, 2009
    MOTUS will not survive because it offers nothing that is not already out there and it does so at a totally RIDICULOUS price!
  10. cug

    cug --

    May 31, 2009
    Sunny California
    It's the land of the land barges like Gold Wings and 400kg Harleys where an RT is considered a "sport tourer". In comparison it is. But a BMW X5 is also considered a "compact" SUV in this country ...
  11. Husky Varmit

    Husky Varmit Been here awhile

    Oct 20, 2009
    Llano Estacado - Cottle County
    I find a couple of things interesting in your 'research'.

    One clue to the 'sports touring' market is shown in the bikes you listed - 5 RTs and 6 something else. There just aren't many riders who are willing to accept the total annual cost of riding one of these unless you amortize it out over many years. However, it is one of the best choices for planting your butt on and getting to the fun places - then undressing it and enjoying the fun place. (and, yes, I ride one)

    But it is what I don't see on that list that is most curious. Where are the GS bikes. Heck, I can't go anywhere without running to those things. And most of the riders use them as sport tourers.

    Sport tourers or even out right tourers never has been and probably never will be anything more than a small segment of the market. But for those weirdos like me, they will also be the bike closest to the door of the garage. And I will wave back if I see you.
  12. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

    Mar 30, 2005
    Phoenix, in the Arcadia area
    ...and an astronaut rides a sport tourer, and invents words like "farkle.":lol3

    Riding my Concours is better than not riding at all. After I get done with my trip to KC I'm dumping it though.

    Speeds under 100? Boring.
    Commuting every day under 150 miles? Boring.

    Dirt roads? Interesting, but not in a good way since I am well acquainted with how fragile my ZG1000 is.

    I like the bike a lot more now that it's wearing a Gustaffson short shield though. Hated the big Cee Baileys that was on it.
  13. Contevita

    Contevita Cigar Adventurer

    Oct 25, 2011
    Gulfport, MS
    I'm set up for sport-touring and I don't see that many other sport-tour guys around here on the coast. Last week I saw a new Connie and we chatted at a few lights and went our separate ways. I guess it's the heat keeping the locals in cages for the last few weeks; it's hot and humid, I just don't give a shit, I'm riding unless we get a tropical storm or worse.
  14. Sport

    Sport Been here awhile

    Jan 19, 2011
    Heading out next Saturday for another six state 4,000 miler from the Pacific over Donner, to Yellowstone, Beartooth, Glacier, Bonners Ferry, Lolo Pass, all the way across Idaho, then across Oregon thru Crater Lake and Grants Pass into NorCal and down 101 to 1 at Leggett and then down the coast back home. My son is coming this year on his 02 Triumph Sprint RS 955i Triple and I'm taking my Hayabusa which has already been thru eleven states. Only use a large seat bag and tank bag. Not the usual touring bikes but certainly Sport Tourers. With a V1 and a Throttlemeister my Hayabusa is a great touring mount. Fits me just right (long arms) I think is the key. No need for risers or Helibars. No lack of power either...crossing Nevada for example, at pretty much any speed I want.
  15. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa Palanquins RTW

    Mar 4, 2007
    Carried Forth
    In 2010 I did almost 3000 miles on a tour of France and Spain; I was on an 1150GS, but two of the others were on a Haybusa and a Bandit 1250. One brave soul was on a Honda SP1.

    All of the bikes performed well, but the Hayabusa was particularly impressive. I rode it for a while and couldn't believe how good 100ftlb of torque felt :D
  16. BalancePoint

    BalancePoint Mucker

    Mar 30, 2008
    Florida, flatter than hammered shit.
    I can't even see how it's debatable whether the RT is a sport-touring bike. What else could it be called?
  17. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

    Feb 11, 2006
    The Wilds of Western Wisconsin
  18. 625SXC

    625SXC Been here awhile

    Apr 5, 2004
    As a 47 year old guy who enjoys the "SPORT" aspect of riding. My Futura is my ideal bike. It's plenty fast and handles well, But for about $1,000 I am doing an Ohlins kit in the forks and a Wilbers custom made rear shock. These mods are suppose to really improve what I consider good handling. I can ride 2 up easily, Commute to work carrying my lunch and all my crap in the bags, I can put 1,000 miles on easily in a weekend, I can ride the twisties with my younger sport bike hooligan buddies and cruise with my H-D friends too. For me it's the perfect bike. If it were to get totalled the only other bike that really has me looking is a Triumph Sprint GT
  19. jules083

    jules083 Long timer

    Jan 26, 2011
    Richmond, Ohio
    I have wondered the same thing, and I think last weekend I got a little bit of my answer.

    Went on a 'sport' ride through WV. 3 days, 700ish miles, 4 bikes. I was on my FJR, Gary was on his VFR, Cheese on a R-6, and Aaron on a CBR600F4i. Gary knew what the FJR was all about, he has soft luggage for his VFR and rides it the way it's intended. Cheese (known the guy for years, still don't know his real name) and Aaron are basically squids that ride more than most.

    Day one I was getting ribbed about riding the 'land yacht', mostly by cheese. At one point he passed me coming out of a turn on one wheel. Next turn I got him back, and he saw what the big FJR can do when you need it. No wheelie though, I don't trust myself enough to even try one on the street. By the end of the day they were impressed by what the bike was capable of. Granted they were running a faster pace than me, and keeping up with 600's on an FJR is difficult when the roads get tight. There were a few times I just dropped back and let them have at it, and caught back up when they hit traffic or something.

    Camping that night, they were roughing it. I was riding solo with all of my luggage on, so I pulled out my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooler, chair, and hot dog stick. Changed my shoes, took a shower, then rode the bike to the store for groceries and beverages.

    Second day we stopped at a scenic point off of a gravel road, and decided we were going to take an hour or so break. Gary said something like 'I need a beer to wash that gravel down' or something like that. I pulled an ice cold beer out of the cooler and handed it to him, and had a cold mountain dew myself.

    By the end of the third day they were convinced. Gary likes the VFR, but Cheese is looking at ways to make his R6 into a sport tourer. He doesn't have money for a newer bike, so he's planning on bar risers, tank bag, seat options, and luggage. He has a pretty good idea I think for luggage, he's planning on buying a spare rear seat on e-bay or somewhere and bolting a top case of some sort to it. Knowing his budget it'll be something normally seen on a KLR, but it's better than what he had. Aaron was pretty comfortable on the F4I, he said he's getting a tank bag though. Him and cheese both were skeptical about them until I put mine on their bikes and they realized that the bag didn't affect riding at all, but gave something to lean on when you wanted it.

    Point being, I think the reason there aren't many ST bikes is because a lot of people haven't ridden them or been around them much. I had no desire to ever get an FJR until I did a yamaha demo ride at a rally. I honestly wasn't even that interested in the demo ride, I did it just out of curiosity. I had planned on buying one of the new Bandit 1250's to use as a ST bike. In retrospect I think I made a good choice, but I would have been perfectly happy with the Bandit. My biggest issue with the FJR is weight. I'm only 5'9" and 150 lbs, the bike is a bit heavy for me.
  20. dddd

    dddd Been here awhile

    Jan 15, 2012
    Montreal, Canada
    I would say that you are forgetting to count a bunch of bikes:
    fz6r, ninja650, gsx650f, cbf600, and especially vstroms, etc.