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Thread: What is the most popular touring motorcycle?

  1. #1
    P Monk
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    What is the most popular touring motorcycle?

    Just back from a trip through California, Oregon, Washington volcanos. Covered 6,174 miles from Orange Texas. This is just an observation, but by far most of the motorcycles I saw on the trip were HD touring bikes.
    I saw a few BMW's and a very few Honda Goldwings. Especially absent were the new GW with their limited luggage capacity. I thoroughly enjoyed my R1200RT on the trip, and I know the number of HD's might be skewed some because Sturgis Rally is about to get underway, but there are a lot of HD riders out there enjoying the roads.
    P. Monk
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  2. #2
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    I believe your impression is about spot on, regardless of the Sturgis Rally. Harleys do seem to be far and away the most common bikes on the open road. I have been observing that for about the past 40-50 years. One thing to consider though, are the variants of Japanese touring-cruisers that mimic a Harley with batwing fairings and such; if you are not watching very closely on the road, you can sometimes mistake one of the Harley-wannabees for the real deal.

    I've never owned a Harley, but have ridden quite a few over the years. They are comfortable, carry a fair amount of stuff, have good noise (music) makers, and are dead-reliable. Plus, no matter where in the USA you happen to be on a motorcycle road trip, you can always find someone to work on one if something happens. These are all points that help make them popular to the majority of two-wheel travelers. Now, on the other hand a lesser number of two-wheel travelers will opt for something "exotic" and less main-stream, like Goldwings, BMWs and such.
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  3. #3
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    When we're on trips the touring bikes we see most often are Full Dress Harleys.
    Seems like the Goldwing market dried up a long time ago.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  4. #4
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    Definitely Harley.
    I talk to a few different dealers and they all say the same thing. They sell way more Harley baggers than all the rest of the line up. If you can assume that goes across the nation there are maybe 100,000 new Harley baggers out there every year. If you took all the other brands that build a touring rig I doubt their total sales of touring bikes would add up to what HD puts on the street.

    Harley is an alright bike, I have been running HD baggers for 15 years. Compared to what else is out there they are under powered, and ride rough. They don't do high speed interstate very well. A good headwind will really make one struggle. A bit anemic in high elevations. Great for back roads, flower sniffing type rides.

    I have a '16 Limited in my garage along with my '18 RT. Since I bought the RT the Harley does move much. The performance and ride comfort of the RT is miles ahead of the Harley if you can adjust to the sportbike style seating position. You can not even begin to compare the suspension differences. It is like comparing an old farm truck to a Cadillac.
    Last edited by PoorUB; 08-04-2019 at 01:25 PM.
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  5. #5
    We live 25 miles north of the west entrance to Big Bend National Park in the Texas Big Bend. We do see, and hear the racket of, a lot of HD bikes. But given that they outsell BMW 20 to 1 that is not surprising. What we also see are a whole lot of big dual-sport bikes. Big metal top boxes, metal panniers, etc. We see folks riding Old Ore Road, or West River Road, or Glenn Springs Road with big GSs where I wouldn't take my 250 Sherpa. We also see large numbers of small dual sport bikes - many trailered south and then back north after a romp in the National Park or Big Bend Ranch State Park.

    We also travel mostly the west most of the summer and there we also see big dual sport bikes and HD bikes. Also a number of BMW and metric sport touring bikes that as I meet them with a 140 mph speed differential I am hard pressed to identify. But I agree Goldwing bikes are getting more scarce.

    As a bit of an aside but interesting, it is 80 miles from Alpine, Texas south to the park. There is a roadside park 25 miles south of Alpine. That becomes rest stop one for many HD riders. Our driveway, another 28 miles south, is a long horseshoe drive, over 600 feet long. That becomes rest stop two for many of them.

    When I see a big group smokin' and jokin' I sometimes go out to welcome them to the Big Bend. They are nervous as the "owner" approaches, but a few bits of conversation soon make everything OK. I offer water, coffee, tea etc. It becomes all just fine. I do laugh at doo rags and assless chaps and high-rise handlebars and the pap smear leg position, but all in all my experiences with riders in the big bend is positive. The guy who needed a board to keep his head studs from backing out is another story, but his wife who has probably been charged for a serious crime by now since she missed work and probably got fired because his HD was failing him ...

    Life where we live is interesting. I keep gas, tools, a lift, coffee, water beer, and other things on hand just in case. My favorite was the F250 van of bicycle racers that had a blowout, and a jack that was junk. We tried two of my jacks before they could mount a bald spare. But when I went out to retrieve my jack I found a complimentary quart of good Irish Whiskey as my reward for being a helpful guy who let them use my jack. Yes!! Karma!
    Last edited by PGlaves; 03-13-2020 at 04:01 AM.
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  6. #6
    I have ridden several brands. Most H/D riding was [city] as per my job. I have traveled quite-a-bit on BMW , and some on Jap bikes of different designs. Standard, sport-touring ? and one cruiser.

    Another more recent purchase was of a Victory Crossroads .... and i have to say it is pretty damn comfortable, plenty of power, [for me anyway] and carries a good amount of luggage . Recent bouts of arthritis have taken me from riding lately, but that aside & even considering it.....it [the Vic] has by far the most comfortable [stock] seat in the biz.

    If my bones/joints would cooperate [and get me back out there] it would be my ride of choice .... particularly for travel.

    I do wish it weighed less but that is minor.

    Am seriously thinking about selling both my BMW's & keeping the Vic.....just in case i get some relief from Arther ....
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  7. #7
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
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    I agree

    I just got back from a 6 month 10,000 mile RV trip from Texas to Glacier NP back South to El Paso then to New York City and back to Texas via Florida. I started 1st. Sept and ended in Feb. I hardly saw any motorcycles but when I did it was Harleys and not just one but in packs. I did see the blurr of a couple of lone bmw riders but not many at all.

    I agree that most bikes on the road are Harleys; I've passed a million of them on my '78rs.
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  8. #8
    Registered User tanker4me's Avatar
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    When I'm on the road I see Harleys and a variety of sport bikes , but doubt that many are far from home.

    From talking to riders that converted to newer GS boxers from other brands including several that were hard core Harley dudes, it is as good a riding/touring bike as there is.
    (which is why I refuse to test ride one)

    Bill
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    Last edited by tanker4me; 03-13-2020 at 04:45 AM.
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  9. #9
    I belong to 4 riding groups that regularly post weekend rides. I show up on the GS, the only GS in any of the groups. 70-75% of the motors are HD in all groups, and nearly a 1/3 of them are trikes in one group. Last weekend the group I tagged along with was nearly all HD, one Hyabusa [ sp ], my GS and a very nice 2019 v85TT moto guzzi [ it's like a mini gs with the features and hard aluminum bags ].

    Each group ride has anywhere from 12-20 bikes on the ride with many more members than that. These are just weekend day rides. So I've met 4 groups, won't ride with one of them again [ 15-20 over posted on the highways is their norm ] and that's not the ride I'm looking for. They make far too many stops, ride too fast.

    One guy has shown up on 3 different group rides on a Boss Hog custom v8 trike. One armed, the controls are custom and he does just fine. Last weekend I mentioned I'd seen him with 3 different groups now and his reply was "still trying to find my right group". At the end of the day, we both agreed this last ride group was good to go, and 80% were HD's, once again.

    Rode HD dressers for years back in the 70's/80's. Not since, nor will I entertain owning another. So in 4 fairly large ride groups, 80% on average are HD's and 1/3 of them are trikes. One group did have 5 can am's along, they all seemed to be happy with their ride [ I ask most motors about their rides ].

    There's never one person who snubs anyone's choice of ride in the 4 groups I've ridden with. The HD guys really don't give the GS much of a notice, but I'm always checking out the HD's, some are pretty tricked out [ in their own HD way ].
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  10. #10
    Registered User snotty54's Avatar
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    Joint pain

    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    I have ridden several brands. Most H/D riding was [city] as per my job. I have traveled quite-a-bit on BMW , and some on Jap bikes of different designs. Standard, sport-touring ? and one cruiser.

    Another more recent purchase was of a Victory Crossroads .... and i have to say it is pretty damn comfortable, plenty of power, [for me anyway] and carries a good amount of luggage . Recent bouts of arthritis have taken me from riding lately, but that aside & even considering it.....it [the Vic] has by far the most comfortable [stock] seat in the biz.

    If my bones/joints would cooperate [and get me back out there] it would be my ride of choice .... particularly for travel.

    I do wish it weighed less but that is minor.

    Am seriously thinking about selling both my BMW's & keeping the Vic.....just in case i get some relief from Arther ....
    You might want to google "night shades", which are 4 foods that contribute to arthritic pain. An older woman in my Pilates Class told me about it when I was bitching about joint pain and I stopped eating Night Shades about 1.5 years ago. It made a remarkable difference in about a month. Tough though. Night Shades = Tamatoes (spaghetti, pizza, salads, sandwichs), potatoes (any form, chips, fries, etc.), egg plant and bell peppers (in everything, have to pick them out when eating dishes cooked with them). I find myself picking one of the 4 out of almost everything I'm eating, but...., life is better!

    I want to preserve my ability to ride as long as I can, one aspect of the relief from joint pain, which afflicts all of us, especially over 70. Check it out.

    Scotty

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    Scotty
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  11. #11
    Registered User jonnybow's Avatar
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    Well, I'd have to believe that by the numbers, you'll be more likely to see more HD than any other simply because there are far more HD bikes sold that all others (probably) combined.
    Now, getting down to numbers.....there are also more HD bikes for sale each year with less than 5000 miles on them than other bikes. With that info (that isn't proven fact, just guess work) I'd say that as far as true touring miles logged, there's no way that the average HD has more true touring miles than BMW bikes do.
    I have owned a few HD's and in my travels, most guys I see do under 2000 miles a year on their bikes and very rarely leave home to ride. Sure, trailering to Daytona for a week to ride 400 miles is a big accomplishment but realistically, not many have a bunch of miles on them. Even full dress HD bikes never go far from home.
    Jon
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  12. #12
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snotty54 View Post
    You might want to google "night shades", which are 4 foods that contribute to arthritic pain. An older woman in my Pilates Class told me about it when I was bitching about joint pain and I stopped eating Night Shades about 1.5 years ago. It made a remarkable difference in about a month. Tough though. Night Shades = Tamatoes (spaghetti, pizza, salads, sandwichs), potatoes (any form, chips, fries, etc.), egg plant and bell peppers (in everything, have to pick them out when eating dishes cooked with them). I find myself picking one of the 4 out of almost everything I'm eating, but...., life is better!

    I want to preserve my ability to ride as long as I can, one aspect of the relief from joint pain, which afflicts all of us, especially over 70. Check it out.

    Scotty

    scott-blowholes_8mar20.jpg
    IF you haven't already, you might also consider eliminating gluten from your diet. For many people, gluten can be a strong contributor to joint pain.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  13. #13
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powwow View Post
    IF you haven't already, you might also consider eliminating gluten from your diet. For many people, gluten can be a strong contributor to joint pain.
    My wife tries to avoid gluten and night shades due to her arthritis.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  14. #14
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    My wife tries to avoid gluten and night shades due to her arthritis.
    My wife and I have been gluten free for about 5 years now (joint pain for my wife...just general allergy for me). We finally convinced my 87 year old mother to give it a try about two years ago and it's made a significant difference in her arthritis pain.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  15. #15
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    My wife tries to avoid gluten and night shades due to her arthritis.
    For my wife, eliminating night shades has helped reduce the frequency of migraines. Previously, she was diagnosed with a wheat allergy which causes respiratory problems like asthma. In any case, during the switch to gluten-free, she found a strong correlation between her migraines and various gluten-free products. Eliminating those with potato starch (which is a large number of the available products) has helped with the migraines.

    Strange, she never had a migraine before we got married......
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