Which motorcycles have the most comfortable ride?

A combination of stiffly sprung modern motorcycles and old war wounds have many mature-aged riders searching for motorcycles with the most comfortable ride.

I’ve ridden a lot of different bikes over the years and what stands out is how soft old bikes were and how stiff modern bikes are.

This trend is to improve handling and cope with larger and heavier riders. However, it presents problems for riders who suffer from old motorcycle injuries or arthritis.

You could buy an old bike with sagging springs for a softer ride, but they handle poorly. The soft springs also mean you hit the bump stops which pounds your body every time you clout a reasonably sized bump or pothole. And isn’t that a too-frequent occurrence!

If you want a bike that handles yet still has a plush ride, there are some modern motorcycles that offer both.

But first let’s rule out bikes that are uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable bikes

Ducati boss Claudio Domenicali with a Panigale V4 R

That means just about every over-sprung, under-damped Ducati and most sports bikes, except those special editions with uprated suspension from experts such as Ohlins, Sachs, Kayaba, etc.

It also means ruling out “slammed” cruisers such as many of Harley’s line-up, especially anything with the word “Lo” in the model name.

In fact, many cruisers that are considered comfortable have short rear springs that won’t save your spine if you hit a big bump.

Making a bike more comfortable

If you can’t find a comfy bike, get one with decent-length springs and fit better suspension with decent damping.

You can also buy aftermarket comfort seats or get the seat reupholstered.

Ducati GT1000 carbon wheels farkle project tall used comfortable
Ergo Seats added more padding to my hard Ducati GT1000 seat

Some people swear by seat cushions such as Airhawks and sheepskins. However, I find they slip and move around which tends to divorce you from what the bike is doing.

That’s fine if comfort is your only consideration, but I like to be able to feel the bike so I can control it.

It’s not just the rear suspension that causes problems. Harsh forks can have a jackhammer effect on your hands.

You can overcome this with thicker aftermarket grips or “Grip Puppies” which are thick coverings for the existing grips.

Soft Grip for chronic pain comfortable
Soft Grip 

Comfortable bikes

So which bikes are comfortable straight off the showroom floor?

You can’t tell from just pushing down on the forks or jumping on the bike in the shop. You need to go for a long test ride over bumpy stretches of road.

Look for bikes that have suspension adjustment and then get it professionally set up for your weight.

There are also many models that come with electronic suspension that you can adjust on the fly from “sport” mode to “touring” or “comfort”.

Electronic suspension comfortable
Electronic suspension

Obviously, touring bikes often come with plusher suspension, more adjustment and well-padded seats.

Adventure motorbikes also have a good ride on bad roads with their extended suspension, although that makes them very tall in the saddle.

Top 10 comfy bikes

Here is our top 10 most comfortable bikes.

1 BMW R 1250 GS: The telelever front suspension sets this apart from other adventure models. It also has ride-ranging electronic suspension adjustment.

BMW R 1250 GS Ballina Motorcycles comfortable
BMW R 1250 GS

2 Honda Gold Wing: This has long been known as a lounge chair for the open road. Not only does it soak up the bumps, but cossets the rider in a bubble of luxury.

2018 GL1800 Goldwing Tour - Grand America comfortable
Honda GL1800 Goldwing

3 BMW K 1600 GTL: Like the Gold Wing, this bike has all the luxuries.

BMW K 1600 GTL Motorrad comfortable
BMW K 1600 GTL

4 Indian Chief: The entire range of Chief models ride on plush suspension and high-profile tyres.

Indian Chiefs comfortable
Indian Chief Classic, Vintage and Chieftain

5 KTM 1290 Super Adventure: Four damping settings make this suitable for the roughest terrain.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure comfortable
KTM 1290 Super Adventure

6 Triumph Tiger 800XCx: Seat and suspenders are plush enough to cope with the toughest off-road terrain.

Triumph Tiger 800 XCx comfortable
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx

7 Suzuki V-Strom 650 and 1000: Always a great adventure favourite it now rides even better with more padding in the seat.

Suzuki V-Strom 1000 comfortable
Suzuki V-Strom 1000

8 Yamaha FJR1300A: Rider and pillion will enjoy the ride and thermal comforts, although it’s best for tall riders. Cops love ’em!

Riding the Yamaha FJR1300Aat launch comfortable
Yamaha FJR1300A

9 Kawasaki GTR1400: There are good reasons why many Iron Butt riders choose this highway mile-muncher. Ergos and ride are great for long distances at high speeds.

Malcolm Milne has more than 300,000km on the odo on his 2007 Kawasaki 1400GTR
Malcolm Milne has more than 300,000km on the odo on his 2007 Kawasaki GTR1400

10 Moto Guzzi California: The Italians are not known for comfy riding positions, but this is a rare exception.

Moto Guzzi California comfortable
Moto Guzzi California

What’s the most comfortable motorcycle in your view? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

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