Motorcycles that are amazing for couples
There is a common misconception that motorcyclists are lone riders and are self-centered with no particular interest in their partners. If you are a rider, you probably know that this is a common motorcycle myth and that we all long to ride with our better half on a multi-day trip.
But not all motorcycles are made for pillion riders, in fact, a motorcycle by definition is chiefly meant for a single rider.
So if you are a motorcyclist and you are planning to buy a motorcycle so that you and your beloved better half can hop on together; in today’s blog, we will be sharing some of the amazing motorcycles for couples. These bikes are stylish, comfortable, as well as safe for two-up riding. So let’s take a look.
Best motorcycles for couples
KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Based on the radical naked bike 1290 Super Duke R, the Super Duke GT developed by KTM is a sport touring version that comes with numerous functional & technical upgrades.
The cockpit is characterized by a 6.5-inch TFT display and the color screen promises the best readability, even in direct sunlight. With the help of illuminated menu switch on the left side of the handlebar, riders can scroll through various menus and functions of the bike.
The seating for the rider as well as the pillion is quite comfortable and ideally shaped for long distance commuting.
Coming to the electronics; a so-called IMU box (IMU = Inertial Measurement Unit) from Bosch is used in the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. It recognizes the riding style with the help of gyro sensors and thus creates the prerequisites for the Bosch MSC (motorcycle stability control). This system is responsible for controlling ABS (cornering) and traction control depending on the lean angle.
The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT has three riding modes; “Sport”, “Street” and “Rain”, which regulate power delivery and traction control. Not to forget, a powerful two cylinder 75° V engine with a displacement of 1301cc that outputs a combined power of 127 kW (173 HP) at 9,500 RPM.
Moto Guzzi California
For motorcyclists, the name Moto Guzzi alone triggers happiness! This oldest motorcycle manufacturer from Europe builds genuine classics that are by far the most ideal bikes for couples.
The history of California goes back to 1970s, when Moto Guzzi provided the Los Angeles police with motorcycles that had lots of touring accessories. Today’s version offers a downright opulent look with whitewall tires, classic spoked wheels, lots of chrome, and curved fenders. Together with the wide and low seat at a height of 74 centimeters and curved antler handlebars, what is offered is reminiscent of the Harley Heritage models!
From the large displacement of 1388cc, the Guzzi draws 71 kW / 96 PS and a very decent torque of 120 Newton meters, which is available at 2,750 RPM. The typical high-torque allows idle start, and the linear power delivery ensures good controllability over the entire speed range. Thanks to ride-by-wire, cruise control, and three driving modes, the character of the engine and the power delivery is more American than ever!
BMW R1250 RT
Even better than the K 1600 GT with its six-cylinder engine, the R 1250 RT, is more balanced, efficient and performs better when it comes to driving comfort; its wind and weather protection is almost comparable to its rival Goldwing and the response behavior of the Telelever / Paralever is simply perfect. The RT, which weighs 279 kilograms without additional accessories, shines with driving dynamics at GS level: It is not possible to drive more inconspicuously faster on winding roads than with an R 1250 RT.
Powered by a 1,254cc engine, the bike outputs 136 Horses of power at 7,750 RPM and 143 NM of maximum torque at 6,250 RPM. In addition, the bike provides noticeably more power in the lower revs; 110 NM is available from 2,000 RPM and a whopping 120 NM from 3,500 RPM. The power pack is combined with a revised six-speed gearbox and a slipper clutch. To adapt to the individual rider’s needs, there are two driving modes as a standard in addition to the automatic stability control, ABS Pro, and hill start assistance.
The cockpit includes a 5.7-inch color TFT display with an analog speedometer and tachometer. The base version is available in two colors, plus there are two style variants; Sport and Elegance, and of course, the new BMW R 1250 RT can also be extensively customized as per couple’s requirements.
Triumph Bonneville T120
With the Bonneville, Triumph seems to have hit the mark; it offers pure retro charm, plenty of torque, and endless accessories.
When it comes to building motorcycles that come across as super-classic, but are completely up-to-date in terms of driving dynamics, Triumph definitely leads the rank. With the Bonnevilles, Triumph has laid the foundation for the retro bike trend and is in huge demand in Europe as well as North American market.
Everything has been done right compared to its predecessor to make the new T120 a more agile motorcycle. The T120 has lost a remarkable 7 kilograms and now weighs just 236 kilograms, thanks to its new aluminum rims (18″ X 2.75″ front and 17″ X 4.25″ rear). You will definitely feel this weight reduction while maneuvering around. Besides, the braking system is now more improved and comes with a higher-quality Brembo double disc brake with a diameter of 310 mm and 2-piston floating calipers. The massive 1200 cc two-cylinder engine is beyond any doubt thanks to its enormous maximum torque of 105 NM, which is available at just 3,500 RPM.
To top it all, features like cruise control, heated grips, USB charger, and a soft saddle makes it ideal for couples.
Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited
The 2021 Road Glide Limited edition is a great touring bike similar to the one Harley’s used to produce back in 2015. It is the best way to go on a long distance cruise with your partner as it offers a ton of storage space for all of your stuff, it is a lot more comfortable, and offers a smoother ride.
It is a fully equipped long-haul motorcycle with premium comfort and a superb Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine (one of the largest cubic capacity engines found in the Harley-Davidson family of touring motorcycles). With this powertrain, the rider gets maximum acceleration dynamics and impressive torque for high-speed starts. The full power of the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited is controlled by the Reflex Linked Brembo brakes, which are equipped with an optional ABS system. Also integrated on the 2021 Road Glide Limited is the Reflex Defensive Rider Systems, which utilizes brake, engine and traction control for greater efficiency in a variety of conditions.
Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited’s standard package includes the Boom Box GTS media infotainment system with digital display; a system that features a sleek, user-friendly interface, modern design and advanced features for traveling comfort. In addition, the Road Glide Limited also comes standard with Daymaker LED optics, heated handlebars and a spacious rear storage compartment.
Honda Gold Wing
Speaking of Gold Wing, a sports cruiser that has long reigned as the flagship model of the Honda line-up, its history began with the GL1000, which was launched in the United States in 1975. Since then, it has continued to evolve as a model that can easily handle long-distance running as a classic tourer required in North America. Thanks to the noticeably low center of gravity and very low seat height (745mm), the Gold Wing can be maneuvered comfortably, even by less experienced short-inseam riders.
Read more: Best motorcycles for short riders
The latest technology enhances elegance and at the same time makes it lighter and sportier. The body, which has a sharp styling while showing the elegance of the Gold Wing, is 38kg lighter than before. The water-cooled OHC horizontally opposed 6-cylinder 1833cc engine produces 126 PS at 5,500 RPM and peak torque of 170 NM at 4,000 RPM. In addition to a manual 6-speed and a 3rd generation 7-speed DCT, it is equipped with riding modes that can be switched between 4 types (ride-by-wire technology).
The seat of course gives a feeling that you are sitting comfortably on a couch, but it also has necessary hardness suitable for active riders.
BMW K 1600 GTL
The K1600GTL’s maximum output of 160PS is the same as the parallel 4-cylinder K1300GT, which disappeared from the catalog a while ago. But of course, the feeling is completely different. The K1600GTL is equipped with a parallel 6-cylinder that completely eliminates 1st and 2nd order vibration.
There is almost no threat of kick backs (as it accelerates gently every time), which is often felt in a high-powered parallel 4-cylinder bike. So even though it has a maximum torque of 175NM, you can open the throttle without hesitation in any speed range, and you can easily use 5,000 to 8,500 RPM, which is the best part of this engine.
In addition to the engine, this bike is equipped with different riding modes (road / dynamic / rain), adaptive headlights that illuminate along the direction of travel, and a multi-controller that allows easy operation of various settings.
The sophistication of the cockpit is truly BMW; even though it is equipped with various systems, there is no obscurity. The TFT color display installed between the analog speed and tachometers not only displays basic information such as trip odometer, remaining fuel, and gear position, but also DTC, ESA II, engine characteristics, grip / seat heater, etc. The built-in navigation system also includes anti-theft measures.
Furthermore, the front and rear seats are integrated, but the seat heater can adjust the temperature separately.
Yamaha Star Venture
Yamaha released the flagship model “Star Venture” in the cruiser category equipped with an air-cooled V-twin 1,854cc engine for North American market. It was launched in response to the market demand for a model that is reliable and enjoyable to ride, and simultaneously allows you to enjoy long-distance motorcycle touring.
In the United States, which is the main target market for Star Venture, the cruiser category accounts for about half of the total demand, and the fully-dressed cruiser is particularly popular among couples who wish to ride together on some of the best roads of North America.
Equipped with latest infotainment system that ensures a comfortable journey, the 7-inch display touch panel and switches enable operation and use of audio and navigation systems, heater, and communication (telephone / wireless / conversation with pillion / SMS reception). It is a system that makes touring fun and ensures minimum distraction for the rider.
The engine is a 1,854cc air-cooled OHV / V-twin 4-valve. The intake system, cam profile, port shape, etc. have been upgraded to achieve excellent torque characteristics and exhaust sound. And thanks to the Yamaha’s Chip Controlled Throttle; you can enjoy a smooth response from the bike.
Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
In the Indian motorcycle line-up, the Roadmaster series is, as the name implies, the finest touring model. The massive torque of 168 NM produced by the air-cooled V-twin “Thunder Stroke 116” engine with a displacement of 1,890cc, allows its huge body (weighing around 400 kg), to cruise comfortably. Although it looks like a traditional touring model, it is equipped with ride mode selection mechanism (3 types) & Rear Cylinder Deactivation system (which automatically shuts one cylinder when the vehicle is stopped).
The Roadmaster line-up of touring has undergone a major upgrade in 2021, with the intention of giving it a premium feel. The new addition is Roadmaster Limited, which features gloss paint, a chrome finish, a flowing fairing design, open front fenders, and a smart saddle bag. This limited edition model is created in collaboration with Tennessee’s whiskey brand Jack Daniels (the first distillery in the United States), Indian Motorcycle (the first motorcycle manufacturer in the United States) and Clockworks Custom Cycle (Only 107 units are produced worldwide).
The first impression of the NC700X, which debuted in 2012, was that it was “great and easy to handle, but not fun to operate.” However, with the 750cc in 2014 and minor changes in 2016, the sportiness of NC steadily increased, and with a complete upgrade this year, it has evolved into an orthodox tourer that gives you a rush both with its characteristics and handling.
The engine is designed to be easy during low to medium speed range, so it goes well with the DCT. The start acceleration has also become significantly stronger and of the four riding modes; “Standard” automatically shifts up at about 3000 RPM’s.
The bike may look like an adventure tourer, but is definitely naked sports. Its handling emphasizes straight-line stability, and there is no worry even at a deep bank angle as it runs through the winding road. The luggage box, which is a major feature of NC, has been expanded to 23L, you also get grip heater as standard. The seat height is suppressed to 800mm, and the steering angle is 35 degrees, which is adequate for a comfortable journey.
Regarding the power unit, there is no change in the bore & stroke (77 x 80 mm) and the compression ratio (10.7: 1), but the maximum output has improved from 54 PS / 6250 RPM to 58 PS / 6750 RPM by adopting a lightweight piston and upgrading the intake and exhaust system.
Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT
Kawasaki has enjoyed a good reputation among cruiser fans for many years. After all, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer has already delighted riders with marvels like the VN 2000. But Kawasaki also has another marvel to offer in moderate category; The VN 900.
A good handful of years ago, the Japanese custom bikes were only associated with high displacement engines (VTX 1800, 1670 Road Star Warrior or VN 2000), since it was the only thing that mattered to riders back then. In recent years, Kawasaki decided to step away from the league of manufacturing large twin cylinder and started focusing on the medium displacement.
Inspired by the VN 1600 and 1700, this mid-range classic bike ultimately allows you to afford a pretty beast without making a deep hole in your pocket.
VN 900 classic is an elegant motorcycle having chrome in all the right places, and even though it may not showcase the same amount of torque as its bigger brother, still the power is sufficiently enough to give you a rush.
When it comes to pillion comfort; the seat itself is more than generous and there is a decent cushion for enhanced comfort. The seating position is quite low (680mm) and thus ideal for shorter riders as well.
Royal Enfield Continental GT
Let us clear one thing first; this is not a retro motorcycle, but a freshly launched motorcycle from Royal Enfield known as Continental GT. And this is a production bike, not a special or limited edition. It’s a cafe racer with a 648cc single overhead cam four-stroke engine, which looks very similar to the 1965 model of the same name, but is equipped with modern components, mostly from Italy: Pirelli Sport Demon tires, double Paioli shock absorbers, discs, and a Brembo front brake caliper. Fuel injection and ignition is supplied by Keihin.
However, the Continental GT requires a fair amount of skill and experience to grab a breeze on open and winding roads. You need to find a way to be fast in corners, build trajectories without harsh braking, accurately metering the force of the front brake and combining it with engine braking. The soft-but-long shifting gearbox is so precise that you can naturally afford to downshift without a clutch.
All in all, this is a motorcycle that revives the emotions of the 60’s without the problems typical of that era.
Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager ABS
There is only one answer to wanderlust couples; the Vulcan 1700 Voyager. Embark on a journey with this fully equipped custom cruiser that has a classic and distinct appearance.
Between the VN900 and the VN2000, the Japanese brand decided to put a brand new VN1700 series. The eight-valve engine (based on the 1600 and 2000) is compact and equipped with all the latest technology that Kawasaki currently offers, including ETV (Electronic throttle valve system)
The engine of the Voyager which outputs at 73 Horses and a maximum of 136 NM is combined with a 6-speed gearbox (6th gear is designed as overdrive).
The pilot and pillion seats are separated from each other in steps and are wide, butt-shaped, with an extra cushion to ensure complete comfort. In addition, the Voyager offers all the equipment suitable for couples; side cases, 50-liter top case (space for two integral helmets), integrated passenger backrest, LED rear light strip, storage compartments, high (and wide) windshield, adjustable ventilation (since it gets pretty hot in summers while sitting behind a rider), and protective bars on the front and back.
Bottom Line: Motorcycling with a pillion
While riding with a pillion passenger, the handling of the machine changes significantly depending on the weight. This effects the axle load distribution and thus the driving physics. The rear wheel exerts force more heavily because of the extra weight and can influence the driving line. Therefore, the suspension elements must be adapted to the additional load before commencing on a trip with a pillion.
A slight increase in tire pressure is also necessary; at least 0.2 bar more as compared to solo riding, but should not exceed the maximum tire pressure as recommended by the brand.
A real driving experience can only be achieved when the rider and pillion act as a team. The pillion must always look over the rider’s shoulder, and most importantly, s/he should never counteract while leaning as this can lead to an accident.
Lastly, not only just the rider but the pillion passenger should also wear complete motorcycle gear.