Touring on motorcycles is one of the best ways to get away from it all. From the many machines available, there are a few that stand out from the crowd in a whole new way, without serving up the niggles and demanding attention like most customs do. Choosing one of these motorcycles can make along distance highway journey nothing short of a grand touring experience.
Taking to the highways to ride off into the distance is a lot more engaging when you’re astride a couple of the world’s finest motorcycles, more so if they sport engines with more cylinders than the conventional lot.
Touring the country has always been a dream for many. While a lot of people decide they want to do more than just dream and go get a highway tourer and set off. However, if you’re one to wonder about real world reliability, performance and most importantly, comfort; you need to look past the plethora of V-twin highway bruisers and peek into the not so crowded sport touring segment.
It’s always easy to walk into a Harley-Davidson dealership seeking the ultimate motorcycle. Once you’re in there though, the choice is all the more difficult, and it turns into a proverbial kid in a candy store situation. Yes, there are many motorcycles that may appeal to every sense, but how many will actually be useful for the cross country journey you have planned? You see, while there are several fantastic options to choose from, what you can do to make your search easier is to look at the unconventional lot. The lot in question here makes use of not two, or four cylinder engines, but the rarified six cylinder variety; and there are just two of these established contenders — the Honda GL1800 Gold Wing and the BMW K 1600 GTL.
Engineering and Equipment:
The fact that these motorcycles use six cylinder engines underlines their inherent smooth ride and exceptional response. The power comes in strong but in a very linear manner and shows little sign of tapering off, even in the high end of the rev range. However, that isn’t the key here; the engine torque is. What is most needed for highway touring and especially pulling off overtaking maneuvers is a good bottom or mid range surge of torque. Effortless acceleration is an important aspect of long journeys and it is definitely one of the strong points of these two motorcycles.
The Honda Gold Wing has been around for a while now; continuously receiving significant upgrades which help make it more modern and suited to longer stints on the road. It features everything from extremely comfortable seats and audio to optional navigation, XM radio, ABS and even an industry first motorcycle airbag. While there are many features that most other touring motorcycles offer, the one aspect that sets the Gold Wing apart is the horizontally opposed 1832cc six-cylinder engine. With a 2 valves / cylinder configuration, it manages an output of 118 hp at just 5,500 rpm and 123 lb/ft of torque coming in at 4,000 rpm. These numbers are significant when it comes to long distance touring and it manages to stay on the power quite easily while ensuring that there is never any shortfall in acceleration. The transmission is a 5-speed unit that sends the power to the rear wheel via a drive shaft. The Gold Wing also has an electric reverse drive to make taking care of the big rig a bit easier.
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