Touring de Force | Top 10 BEST Mid-size Sports Tourers of 2023 [500-800cc]

You don't need to buy big to go big when it comes to Sports Tourers... as our Top 10 Best Mid-Size Sports Tourers of 2023 show

Triumph Tiger Sport 660.jpg

Summer is just around the corner and if you're a biker with an intrepid streak, the time has come for you to begin planning those picturesque sun-baked tours on your mile-munching, no-nonsense Sports Tourer motorcycle.

A category defined by its size - let's call them XL, L and M - it matters not whether you prefer a beefy, high-performance machine like the 'XL' KTM 1290 Super GT, a well-kitted out all-rounder like the 'L' Yamaha Tracer 9 or prefer something more compact - such as the segment we're focusing on here - like the 'M' sized Kawasaki Versys 650, the same key values apply throughout; practicality, durability and comfort.

That said, if anything, models in the Mid-Size Sports Tourer class have to work even harder, multi-tasking between urban commuting and longer distance journeys. It is a high bar our Top 10 here must strive for, but only one can be #1. Read on to find out which comes with Visordown's seal of approval...

10 - Benelli TRK 502

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel 
£5,999499cc47bhp45Nm @5000rpm219kg800mm20 L

If there has been an influx of new models entering the mid-range Sports Tourer segment  from the likes of Moto Morini and Voge then one of the reasons - you might be surprised to learn - is because of this, the Benelli TRK 502.

You wouldn’t think it to look at it, but the TRK 502 - launched in 2018 - helped establish the market for sports tourers at the lower end of the mid-capacity bracket, providing an affordable, yet practical and versatile option for those unable to stretch to the likes of a Kawasaki Versys 650 and Yamaha Tracer 7.

It doesn’t hurt that it is built in China, keeping costs down further to just under £6,000, making it a particularly popular model in Asia and parts of Europe right now. 

In the context of its very obvious brief - cheap, easy to ride, economical and practical enough for longer journeys - the Benelli TRK 502 is a worthy consideration, but it also looks dated, is ponderous on the road and feels more budget than rivals.

9 - Voge 500 DS

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£5,399471cc46bhp44Nm @7000rpm195kg785mm16.5 L

The latest Chinese manufacturer looking to make headway in the European market, Voge is one of the world’s youngest company’s too, only launched in 2018 as a ‘premium’ subsidiary of Loncin.

It’s also a distant cousin of Lexmoto, with whom Voge shares its distribution network, which should help the brand get off the ground in the UK too, though we’ll use the word ‘premium’ with a pinch of salt.

Indeed, in this company, the firm’s entry-level sports tourer, the Voge 500 DS, is definitely the budget consideration of the mid-capacity sector.

This is no bad thing though and at just £5,399 the 500 DS is excellent value, undercutting its most like-for-like rival - the Honda CB500X - by more than £1k. You won’t get the same feel of quality as its Japanese counterpart, but there is no denying the CB500X has definitely lended some inspiration to the handsome, albeit bland, design.

Conveniently available on an A2 licence, the 500 DS offers decent performance and versatility. If you can’t stretch your budget, then the Voge 500 DS is a lot of motorcycle for the money, but if it can the Honda is a substantially superior choice.

8 - CFMoto 650GT

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£6,199649cc62bhp59Nm @7000rpm226kg795mm19 L

Something of an anomaly in the mid-capacity segment, the CFMoto 650 GT presents shades of the Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX in that it blends a bit of sportsbike into its Sports Tourer silhouette.

Essentially a faired version of the 650 NK, the 650 GT - available alongside the sister soft-roading 650MT - has still undergone a fairly significant transformation and though it is now looking its age, it still has a more dynamic look than some of its dowdier rivals.

Alas, its dated underpinnings betray it on the road with the 649cc 62bhp engine feeling a touch breathless when lugging the hefty kerb weight around. 

However, it is good value at £6,199 and is well-equipped too with LED headlights, adjustable screen, TFT dashboard and KYB forks, while it also scores with its 19 litre fuel tank, one of the largest in the class.

7 - Suzuki V-Strom 650

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£7,999645cc70bhp62Nm @6300rpm213kg835mm20 L

The Suzuki V-Strom 800DE may be arriving in dealerships about now, but its 650cc V-Twin predecessor remains on sale for now as a more affordable option.

Though partly pitched to the mid-capacity adventure segment, the standard Suzuki V-Strom 650 arguably does a better impression of a sports tourer, even if that extra go-anywhere ability does show in its £7,999 price tag, which is high for a model that can trace its roots back to 2004.

Even so, the V-Strom 650 retains a loyal following, adored for its eager - and now almost unique - 70bhp V-Twin engine and sprightly handling that has endured all these years.

The rugged styling, though dated, is synonymously V-Strom and it comes with a host of luggage options to enhance what is already a fairly practical machine, while that off-roading ability does come in handy once in a while too.

6 - Honda NC750X

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£7,849745cc58bhp69Nm @4750rpm214kg800mm14 L

An oft-forgotten model in Honda’s expansive range, the Honda NC750X has long been difficult to pigeon-hole, sitting a little awkwardly between a Sports Tourer and being a more versatile naked motorcycle.

Look at it a different way though, and that identity crisis is exactly what makes the NC750X appealing to some, even if it perhaps works better as a more practical urban commuting sprinter than a cross-country runner.

Upgraded from 700cc to 750cc in 2021, another round of updates for 2023 added new colour options - which do their bit popping what is a handsome, if unassuming looking machine - while standard kit includes Honda Selectable Torque Control, throttle-by-wire, LED lighting and the option of a Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT).

On the downside, at £7,849, it represents a £1,200 premium over the sister CB500X which - if you don’t need the extra power - is the more logical choice.

5 - Moto Morini X-Cape 650

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£6,999649cc59bhp56Nm @ 7000rpm227kg820mm18 L

Similar to the V-Strom 650 by pitching both to the Sports Tourer and ADV classes, the Moto Morini X-Cape 650 may not present itself as an obvious choice here but with a price tag of just £6,999, it represents an excellent value option.

Under the skin, the X-Cape 650 impresses with the inclusion Marzocchi front forks, Brembo brakes, Bosch ABS and Pirelli tyres, while a 7” TFT dashboard, LED headlights, adjustable windscreen and USB chargers belie that competitive price further.

While Moto Morini might consider the X-Cape 650 to have the Yamaha Tenere 700 in its sights, in reality it is better suited to asphalt, being comfortable and composed for long distance riding, even if the 649cc engine needs to be worked hard to get the most from its 59bhp.

Throw in decent fit and finish and the Moto Morini X-Cape 650 is worth the consideration.

4 - Kawasaki Versys 650

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£8,349649cc66bhp61Nm @7000rpm217kg845mm21 L

The swiss-army knife of motorcycles, the Kawasaki Versys 650 is quite possibly the most Kawasaki motorcycle Kawasaki has ever produced. Let me explain…

Updated in 2022 to bring its design into sharper line with the rest of the range, there Versys 650 is unmistakable in its handsome appearance - even without that pearly green paint job - while it feels well put together, is comfortable and compliant to ride, should prove reliable, is versatile (it is named Versys, after all…) and offers the largest fuel tank in its class at 21-litres.

Indeed, while it’s not cheap at £8,349, equipment includes a TFT dashboard, Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC), LED lighting and smartphone connectivity. Basically, the Versys 650 will tick most boxes on the proverbial wish list.

It sounds like the perfect motorcycle and in many ways the Kawasaki Versys 650, it just lacks a certain joie de vivre that makes our top three just a touch more appealing.

Visordown Preview | Kawasaki Versys 650 [2022]

3 - Honda CB500X

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£6,699471cc47bhp43Nm @6500rpm199kg830mm17.5 L

We’re big fans of Honda’s rather anomalous ‘500’ range of models, of which there are now five following the recent addition of the CL500 scrambler, but for us the best of the quintet is the Honda CB500X soft-roading compact tourer.

Kudos to whoever’s shrewd decision it was to pitch a range of mid-capacity models at the 500 (or rather, the 471cc) end of the scale, which slashes costs and adds a quality option to a subsection of the class somewhat lacking in them.

Priced at £6,699, the Honda CB500X was last updated in 2022 and features Showa forks, full LED lighting, a 19-inch front wheel for light ventures off road and LCD dashboard.

On the road, the 199kg CB500X feels light and nimble, and while its 47bhp is indeed underpowered compared with the Tracer 7 and Tiger Sport 660, it is therefore A2 licence compatible.

As such, the question here is whether you need the extra 200cc offered by its distant-ish Yamaha, Triumph and Kawasaki rivals. If you do, then pick one of the aforementioned three, if not, the CB500X is a fine choice.

Visordown Review | Honda CB500X [2022]

2 - Triumph Tiger Sport 660

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel 
£8,945660cc80bhp64Nm @6250rpm206kg835mm17 L

Triumph brings a little bit of prestige to what is a fairly humdrum class with the launch of the Triumph Tiger Sport 660, its more practical spin-off from the brilliant Trident 660 naked.

An intriguing proposition in a category largely dominated by its Japanese rivals, the Tiger Sport 660 - as with most Triumphs - swerves the norm with its offering of a triple-cylinder engine, in this case the frisky and audibly-satisfying 660cc, which at 80bhp, helps put the Sport in Sports Tourer more convincingly than any other rival.

It’s similarly impressive in the twisty stuff without feeling too cumbersome in the urban environments, while fit and finish is a cut above most too.

The downsides? Well, while the Trident 660 is understatedly attractive, the Tiger Sport 660 is just understated (trans: dull) to look at and while it feels like a quality product, it is reflected in its aspirational £8,945 price tag.

Visordown Review | Triumph Tiger Sport 660 [2022]

1 - Yamaha Tracer 7

PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel
£8,810689cc72bhp67Nm @6500rpm197kg835mm17 L

They came for its Mid-Size Sports Tourer throne, but the Yamaha Tracer 7 is still sitting pretty at the head of our ranking.

A model that really is hard to fault, the well thought-out Tracer 7 sees off stiff opposition largely thanks to the added attention to detail Yamaha has clearly paid to ensure it is as practical, comfortable and versatile as it can be.

With prices starting at £8,810, recent updates have freshened things up with revised brakes, tweaked suspension, a new 5” TFT display and Bluetooth connectivity the highlights. Meanwhile, the flagship Tracer 7 GT - a £900 premium - adds larger cases, a more durable windscreen and a more rigid rear-end to handle added ballast.

Weighing less than 200kg, the Tracer 7 is sprightly through bends, but displays the maturity of the larger Tracer 9 on the straight and narrow, while the 689cc CP2 engine offers a fizzy 72bhp on tap to make it feel like a true all-rounder.

Put simply, Yamaha has distilled its experience in this sector into the 2023 Yamaha Tracer 7… and it shows.

Visordown Preview | 2023 Yamaha Tracer 7 and Tracer 7 GT

* Prices correct at time of writing [April 2023]

 Top 10 Mid-size Sports Tourers 2023 | Key Specifications and Technical Details Comparison

 PriceEngineBHPTorqueWeightSeat HeightFuel Cap
10Benelli TRK 502£5,999499cc47bhp45Nm @5000rpm219kg800mm20 L
9Voge 500DS£5,399471cc46bhp44Nm @7000rpm195kg785mm16.5 L
8CFMoto 650GT£6,199649cc62bhp59Nm @7000rpm226kg795mm19 L
7Suzuki V-Strom 650£7,999645cc70bhp62Nm @6300rpm213kg835mm20 L
6Moto Morini X-Cape 650£6,999649cc59bhp56Nm @7000rpm227kg820mm18 L
5Honda NC750X£7,849745cc58bhp69Nm @4750rpm214kg800mm14 L
4Kawasaki Versys 650£8,349649cc66bhp61Nm @7000rpm217kg845mm21 L
3Honda CB500X£6,699471cc47bhp43Nm @6500rpm199kg830mm17.5 L
2Triumph Tiger Sport 660£8,945660cc80bhp64Nm @6250rpm206kg835mm17 L
1Yamaha Tracer 7£8,810689cc72bhp67Nm @6500rpm197kg835mm17 L