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Top 10 widest bikes

Full-on fatties that make filtering an effing faff. FFS!

2019 Road Glide

BACK IN 1948, a British firm made the narrowest car ever built. The Larmar was just 2’4” across – that’s 711mm – and was intended to be able to fit through a typical garden gate. So when we say that all the bikes on this list of the widest machines currently on sale are ‘wider than a car’, it’s true. Sort of.

In fact there have been a few road-legal cars that are skinnier than the widest of bikes. The Manx-built Peel P50, for instance, probably best-known these days for Jeremy Clarkson driving one around inside the Top Gear offices at BBC Television Centre, is slimmer than half the bikes on this list at 990mm across.

So if you ride to be able to slice through traffic and squeeze through tight gaps, these aren’t the machines for you. But if girth is your yardstick for a bike’s presence, take note, as here are the widest machines you can currently buy.

9=: Yamaha Super Tenere – 980mm

It might be a top 10, but our tenth bike is actually ninth-equal at 980mm across. Yamaha’s well-spec’d but slow-selling Super Tenere XT1200Z Super Tenere is nearly a meter across at 980mm, although at least its height means that the wide bars are going to be above mirror-height of most cars. Of course, once you’ve added massive side cases and strapped on spare tyres, tents and all the other paraphernalia of adventure-touring, it’s going to be wider still…

9=: BMW R1200GS – 980mm

Given that the Super Tenere was designed to be a direct rival to the best-selling BMW R1200GS, it’s no surprise that both bikes measure the same across their beam. Again, the BMW’s tall bars mean it tends not to feel as wide as its dimensions suggest, even though there are also those big boxer cylinders poking out of the sides as well.

6=: Harley-Davidson Softail Slim – 985mm

We jump straight from number nine to sixth-equal, with a spate of bikes sharing the same 985mm breadth. The first is Harley’s oxymoronically-named Softail Slim. Softail Broad would be more accurate, since its wide bars make it a machine that won’t get through many tight spaces. Of course, it’s all comparative – there are plenty more Harleys to come on this list.

6=: BMW R1200RT – 985mm

The combination of a boxer engine and wide, touring bodywork means the R1200RT is one of the broadest BMWs out there. You might have thought that a Honda Gold Wing is wide, but it’s a mere 905mm across – a full 80mm slimmer than the BMW.

6=: Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe – 985mm

Another bike at the 985mm mark, the Harley Softail Deluxe once again suffers from the wide bars that mean you’re sure to clip your brake or clutch lever if you try to squeeze through a too-tight gap.

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