Expert guide to used sports tourers on a budget

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Blisteringly fast when requested, these high-speed tourers are also sporty enough to enjoy on twisty mountain roads while delivering comfort, luggage-carrying capacity and relaxed riding positions to help ease your journey.

And not just for the rider, for a pillion as well, because touring is an experience best shared.

If you are looking at exploring further afield this summer, one of these big-value machines could make for your ideal travelling companion. And there are some bargains to be had.

Go further on Team Green’s over-looked grand tourer

Kawasaki 1400GTR

Spec: 152.8bhp / 1352cc / 815mm seat height / 300kg kerb weight

The Kawasaki 1400GTR hyper-tourer never really caught the imagination of the bike buying public. Stacked with well thought-out tech and powered by a much-loved ZZR1400-based engine, the GTR is superb at smashing out the miles and makes 100lb.ft of torque, meaning gear-changes are kept to an absolute minimum. Wonderfully relaxed for both rider and pillion, the GTR is quite heavy but once on the go its agile chassis and strong engine quickly make you forget the bulk. And its used price makes it seriously tempting…

Kawasaki 1400GTR used buying advice

● Check features such as tyre pressure monitors, heated grips and keyless ignition all work properly. The electronically adjustable screen can pack up and fixing it can be very costly.
● The remote preload adjuster often seizes and altering the preload to compensate for luggage/a pillion is a handy feature.
● The GTR’s big service (£600) is every 15,000 miles, so factor this into any offer for a bike approaching a multiple of 15,000 miles.

2009-’13 BMW K1300GT – £4,000 – £6,000

The fast, affordable and comfortable K-series option


Spec: 157.8bhp / 1293cc / 820mm seat height / 288kg kerb weight

Billed as a dynamic tourer, the BMW K1300GT is quite a hefty bike but its engine easily shrugs off its bulk and its chassis is certainly happy in the bends. The generous fairing is excellent at keeping you sheltered and you can even adjust the bars for greater comfort. When you look at the GT’s price tag and its features, it certainly makes a very tempting used buy.

BMW K1300GT used buying advice

● The K1300GT introduced a new generation of BMW switchgear, which wasn’t without its faults. Water ingress is quite common, leading to malfunctions. Check that everything is working as they are costly to replace.
● Feel for any weaving at low speed that may hint that the Duo lever front end requires new bearings. They do wear out, especially under the duress of the heavy GT model, and stripping and servicing the system is expensive.

2010-’17 Honda VFR1200F – £3,500 – £8,000

Honda’s surprisingly sporty sports-tourer is now a real steal

Honda VFR1200F

Spec: 170bhp / 1237cc / 815mm seat height / 267kg kerb weight

Hampered by a poor fuel range due to its 18.5-litre tank (it was increased by 0.5 litres in the 2012 update when TC also arrived), the VFR (or ‘viffer’) was meant to replace the Pan European but never hit the mark. Quite sports focused, the VFR’s engine is brisk and its chassis impressive but it isn’t as good as the Pan for smashing out miles but it’s a lot of bike for your cash.

Honda VFR1200F used buying advice

● The rear hub final drive likes to have its oil changed at regular intervals (Honda say every 24,000 miles but owners report every 8000 to be safe) or it can lead to premature wear. There is an oil fill cap that doubles up as an oil level gauge, check what the oil looks like.
● The six-piston calipers are notorious for seizing; something that can lead to warped discs. Get the VFR on its centre stand and look for any signs of warping while listening for a dragging pad.

2002-’16 Honda ST1300 – £3,000 – £10,000

The Pan European is Honda’s quintessential mile-muncher

Honda ST1300

Spec: 125bhp / 1261cc / 790mm seat height / 318kg kerb weight

The Honda ST1300 is a great high-speed mile-muncher that handles far better than its bulky look suggests, thanks to an impressively sporty chassis. The V4 engine is a peach and with a big 29 litre fuel tank and comfortable riding position, stops are kept to a minimum. A question mark hangs over Honda’s combined braking system (ABS was an option) but other than that, the Pan European is a great machine.

Honda ST1300 used buying advice

● Early bikes (pre-2004) suffered quite badly from poor finish, especially in areas such as the fork legs and engine. So check carefully.
● The weight of the Pan is known to warp brake discs, which can be quite a costly item to replace. Feel for a pulsing sensation through the lever at low speed.
● Check the radiator carefully, as dirt builds up in it which can lead to corrosion and holes.

2001-’20 Yamaha FJR1300 – £2,500 – £13,500

Fast and comfortable with a loyal following

Yamaha FJR1300

Spec: 144bhp / 1298cc / 805mm seat height / 292kg kerb weight

The Yamaha FJR1300 was a mainstay of Yamaha’s range for nearly two decades and although replaced by the Tracers, they can’t hold a candle to the FJR in terms of comfort or lazy power. Yamaha always ensured the FJR handled and it may look like a big bike but it is more than happy when the road gets twisty. Reliable and comfortable, the FJR has it all – aside from a sixth gear until 2016.

Yamaha FJR1300 used buying advice

● If you want the AE model with its semi-active suspension (introduced in 2016) be aware the forks aren’t rebuildable and neither is the shock. The forks cost £900 each to replace while the shock is £3000.
● Watch out for seized suspension linkages. Strip and re-grease them every 12,000 miles to be safe.
● The gearbox is clunky but if it feels particularly bad or struggles to go into neutral, change and bleed the clutch fluid as it is prone to overheating.