Talking the Torque | Top 10 BEST Plus-size Tourers & Power Cruisers of 2023

The United Kingdom may not have Route 66 but when it comes to traversing the length of the M1 and M6, which Tourer or Power Cruiser will do it best?

Harley-Davidson Road Glide

The United Kingdom is a small country that thinks big.

Take our roads as an example. Sure, England, Scotland and Wales are island-bound and our version of Route 66 is the essentially the less evocative M1, but we pack some brilliant routes on this land.

And brilliant routes mean there are adventures to be had on two wheels. With this in mind, it’s no surprise to learn that models like the BMW R 1250, Yamaha Tracer and Kawasaki Versys are popular buys.

But why not think bigger? You know, the motorcycles that talk the torquey torque, devour all-you-can-eat miles, intimidate small cars at the lights and lavishly luxuriate your posterior.

So come join us by settling in for the long haul to find out which Plus-size Tourer and Power Cruisers we want to go the distance on…

10. Ducati Diavel

Now, we don’t imagine Ducati will be too disheartened at seeing its ageing, yet still devilishly handsome Diavel propping up the ranking here because in a few weeks time there will be a brand-new generation making its bow… and this time it’ll come with the Italian firm’s meaty V4 engine.

But that will be then and this is now, and right now this is the Ducati Diavel you can buy.

So if patience isn’t your virtue, the Diavel - which means devil in Bolognese - still makes a tasty choice if you want the meat of a beefy Italian head turner without the hunching posture of a Panigale.

While we’re frothing at the prospect of a Diavel V4, the current 1260cc twin pulls hard yet feels smooth, while - being a Ducati - it handles with vigour and poise belying its 244kg heft.

Naturally, this is less a Tourer, and very much more of a Power Cruiser but the Diavel still has impressive pulling power and laid back refinement to match, even if you will need to get a bit creative or pack light for more substantial trips.

If versatility is Numero Uno on your Tourer must haves, then vote with your head and get a Multistrada… just be prepared for your heart to be a sore loser

9. Suzuki Hayabusa

The Suzuki Hayabusa. Is it a sportsbike? Is it a tourer? Does it matter…?

Well, no not really, if anything, the Hayabusa - with its iconic mantle as one of the fastest production motorcycles in the world - makes it the ideal Touring Motorcycle if you’re looking to get to your destination as quickly as possible.

Sure, if your life is all about the journey and not the destination, then the Hayabusa might represent too much of a temptation for you to enjoy said journey in a blur.

But if you take it down a notch, then the Hayabusa has some worthy qualities as a more docile motorcycle, not least with this latest generation model, which has softened some of its predecessors edges to be more comfortable, more predictable and more refined.

It won’t pamper you like a Honda Goldwing, but with 190bhp and a 186mph limited top speed from its muscular 1340cc engine, so long as you’d rather have your spine tingled rather than massaged, the Hayabusa can be a proper touring de force.

8. Indian Pursuit

The first of two entries from Indian Motorcycle, the recently launched 2022 Indian Pursuit is the trussed up, tech-laden, seat backed version of the Challenger [see below].

Weighing in at 416kg, the Pursuit makes no excuses for its purpose as a motorcycle designed to be as plush and as practical as a machine on two wheels could possibly be.

First and foremost, it is deliciously comfortable, while the kit levels on the flagship Premium trim unfurl to include a 200-watt stereo, cruise control, heated seats, LEDs, keyless ignition, tyre pressure sensors, satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility.

The Pursuit also rides with some gusto with the better weight distribution brought on by the altered dimensions giving the handling an edge over the lighter Challenger, though at £27,695 it sure isn’t cheap though

7. Kawasaki H2 SX SE

Having bid a teary Sayonara to the Kawasaki ZX-14R a couple of years back, into its place comes a spiritual successor in the Kawasaki H2 SX SE.

Sure, it’s not ‘quite’ the behemoth of its predecessor, but rest assured the H2 SX SE is a multi-talented motorcycle.

Brand new for 2022, the Kawasaki H2 SX SE might be a bit alphabet soup in name and at a starting price of £24,579 rising to £26,429 for the Performance Tourer trim, you might need a lie down before signing on the dotted line.

However, every effort has gone into making this an ultra advanced modern motorcycle, notably its A.R.A.S radar assisted cruise control and blind spot detection device.

With safety more guaranteed than ever, you can focus on enjoying the H2 SX SE’s other details, such as its swanky new SPIN infotainment system and Skyhook suspension, while it is arguably blessed with the most cohesive rendition of Kawasaki’s in-your-face Sugomi design philosophy.

While it may not be quite as bonkers as its pure breed H2 brother, the supercharged 200bhp engine is still capable of inducing a mountain range of pimply goosebumps if you want it to.

6. Indian Challenger

We’ve had the Pursuit and now we have the Challenger, Indian’s throw down challenge to the Harley-Davidson Road Glide.

If the Road Glide has been something of a default choice for years, the Indian Challenger makes a strong alternative case - or ‘bagger’ because bagger… case. Oh, never mind.

Something of an iron fist in a velvet glove, the 1800cc wafts with the road surface, yet takes on a surprisingly sporty personality when you push on. After all, if the Challenger can tackle Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew in the weird yet wonderful King of the Baggers racing series, then who are we to suggest what it can and cannot do at full pelt.

Cheaper than the Pursuit at just over £25,000, the Challenger still feels plush without the excess, while kit levels are generous. 

On the downside, while it isn’t easy to make a full dresser tourer look desirable, the Challenger’s looks are exactly that, with its fussy face being rather much in your face.

5. Harley-Davidson Road King

Think big, beefy Touring motorcycles and you think Harley-Davidson. 

Along with its signature cruisers, these elbows out, feet flat Tourers are Harley’s signature. It means it has to get the basics right, which is why we’ve plumped for the entry-level model, the Road King here.

In Standard trim, the Road King is classic Harley, all polished chrome and stripped back front fascia available at just over £22,000. It’s the blank canvas for you to put your individual customising stamp on it. 

But if you’d rather not have go through the rigmarole of picking through the options list, then the dressed up Special at just under £24,000 is the way to go. 

Either way, both models are sumptuously comfortable, the Milwaukee-Eight Twin 114 engine is audible pleasure and it pulls like a herd of oxon.

Downsides, it’s heavy and feels a touch basic, while the fit and finish could be better, but if you want your motorcycle to make a statement, few do so better than a Harley-D

4. BMW K1600 GTL

The go to Tourer for many of you out there, the BMW K1600 is the German marque’s quiet giant, available to those who find the R1250 RT just a bit, you know, unadventurous.

It’s getting a bit long in the tooth, with BMW not deviating too far from the script when it updated the range - comprising the standard GT, the B for Bagger, the grand, American-style Grand America and this, the full dresser GTL.

Yours for just over £22,000, the K1600 GTL offers up plenty of oomph from its 160hp six-cylinder engine, even if it lacks some charisma, while it handles with more eagerness than a Harley or Indian.

Most of the 2021 updates centred on improved tech and gadgetry, with a veritable smorgasbord of features now thrown in, including a 10 inch TFT dashboard, a more premium sound system and adaptive headlights.

3. Harley-Davidson Road Glide

It’s called the Road King, but if you really want to rule the road with a Harley Tourer, then the Road Glide is the superior choice.

For many, you’ll have decided you want a Harley-Davidson Road Glide before you’ve tried it. It’s the archetype Tourer, curated from decades of experience creating the ultimate Tourer… it means Harley-Davidson knows what its customers want.

So what do you get? Well, for sure it is instantly recognisable in its imposing way, its brimming with character in the way it looks and rides, plus it’s supremely comfortable and the Milwaukee Eight 114 engine is well proven.

In Special trim it is not cheap at almost £27,000 but the Road Glide is filled to the brim with kit, including a Boom Box sound system. 

It isn’t light either at a mammoth 423kg but think of it as a sumo wrestler… the Road Glide won’t out manoevure you in a fight, but if it does catch you, boy does it pack a punch.

2.  Triumph Rocket 3

We’ll be honest, we’re being a little creative with the term ‘Big Tourer’ for this countdown, but what’s wrong with a little imagination…?

Take the Triumph Rocket 3… sure, it’s no longer a bagger style Tourer, nor is it a Sporty number… but it IS a big, powerful, comfortable, premium, statement making and surprisingly practical motorcycle that will go the distance and do it in style. 

Indeed, the latest generation 2020 Rocket 3 has deviated away from its more Harley-targeted predecessor but it’s a far better motorcycle for it.

With its enormous 2458cc engine, the Rocket 3 has a robust 167bhp and a whopping 221Nm of torque. In fact, you can legitimately pull a caravan with it, which in fact may make it the best touring motorcycle in the world for that alone. 

It feels high-end too, while the low-fi steampunk look is a vast improvement over the more fuddy duddy ‘Britain does America’ look of the model it replaced.

1 - Honda Goldwing

It’s big, it’s brash, it’s… Japanese. 

Yes, trust Honda to take a good hard look at what its rivals are doing and produce something superior.

The Honda Goldwing is more than simply a motorcycle. It’s a veritable institution and it is the Tourer we would like to take with us to the ends of the earth.

No expense has been spared on the Goldwing being every inch the flagship of Honda’s expansive and varied range, with the latest generation model feeling every minute of what is almost 50 years of experience manufacturing it.

Today’s model packs an 1800cc flat six engine producing 125bhp, which with its 385kg weight - which is a fair chunk less than its Harley and Indian rivals - means it handles better and picks up quicker yet cruises free of fuss, especially its seamless DCT transmission.

It’s packed with impressive features, from the infotainment system, to myriad electronic aids and full of practical touches. Plus, of all the motorcycles here, the fit and finish is superior.

If you want bells and whistles then the Goldwing is eye-wateringly pricey at more than £30,000… but the Goldwing in base trim at just under £23,000 gets you many of these great qualities without breaking the bank… more cracking it a little.