Top 5 Best Cross-Country Motorcycles in 2021. A Helpful Guide


Motorcycle cross country

Cross-country motorcycling is probably one of the most satisfying forms of going on a road trip. With the range of modern motorcycles available for this type of long-distance riding, you have many choices open to you.

My top 5 best cross-country motorcycles for 2021 will allow you to choose a total on-road/off-road experience.

Here is my selection of the best cross-country motorcycles for 2021:

  1. Harley-Davidson Road Glide
  2. Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
  3. Yamaha Star Venture
  4. Triumph Tiger 1200 XRX
  5. BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

Cross-country motorcycle riding has different connotations for different people. It could mean riding wilderness trails, while to others, it may mean a road trip on open highways. Fortunately, whatever your definition of cross-country riding is, there is a bike for you that will enable you to get the most excitement and satisfaction out of this great activity.

1. Harley-Davidson Road Glide

If your idea of cross-country biking is making long-distance road trips, then this American-made beauty must be situated at the top of your list of motorcycles to consider.

Long hours on the road can cause rider fatigue, making you less attentive to the traffic and road conditions, and may also make you feel exhausted at the end of the day. Touring bikes are designed to provide the rider with comfort over these many hours on the road and reduce fatigue.

The first aspect of the Road Glide that you will notice is the comfortable riding position. The position is upright in a comfortable, natural sitting position. The seat has support for the small of your back, and the aerodynamic windshield will protect you from the constant wind pressure of highway riding.

The Harley Davidson Road Glide comes with a sound system built into the bike as well as Bluetooth hands-free kit for your mobile phone, rider and passenger intercom, and a USB port to charge your phone.

The packing space on the bike is bountiful and should give you enough room to pack clothes and gear for at least a few days out on the road.

The motor on the Road Glide is a powerful 1868cc of brute power that will give you enough power to soar up steep hills and maintain steady highway speeds on the flats with ease!

Weighing in at 424KG the bike is heavy but this is not at all noticeable when out on the open road. It is very well balanced and the ergonomic design has been well thought out.

When I took one of these out for a test ride, I was very impressed with the bike’s handling and how easy it was to read the controls.

2. Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse

The Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse is an American-made motorcycle that is great for long-haul open road riding.

Taking a tour along the famed Route 66 would be a pleasure if this beast were underneath you! The sitting position on this bike is in the natural sitting position, which will keep you comfortable on the road for hours. The seat can be heated and cooled via your control station and will provide added comfort no matter the weather!

The wide fairing has an electronically adjustable windshield that gives you the ability to alter the windshield’s height while on the go. The bike also has adjustable air vents to keep both the rider and passenger in comfort. 

The control center comes with built-in GPS turn-by-turn navigation, Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile phone, and a premium 200 Watt sound system that automatically adjusts for road-noise, wind, and engine noise.

The packing space on the Dark Horse offers a generous 36+ gallons of cargo area, which is weatherproof and comes with remote locking features.

The motor in the Indian is a 1890cc displacement engine (116 CU in) that will give you ample power for cross-country style riding. It has 126 ft-lbs of torque at 2900 RPM and has a 20.8 Lt (5.5 gallons) fuel capacity.

The seat height is 26.5 inches and the bike weighs 403KG with a full tank of fuel.

With a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty, you can feel the open road begging to be toured with this beauty!

3. Yamaha Star Venture

The Yamaha Star Venture is a luxury motorcycle that screams road trips when you look at it! This bike is made for comfort for long-distance travel with features that allow you to arrive at your destination fresh as a daisy!

The Star Venture is a big bike and can be challenging to park and maneuver by hand; however, Yamaha has got your back with a parking-assist electric motor that provides forward and reverse movement to make parking a breeze.

The wide fairing not only makes the bike an imposing presence on the road but provides superior wind protection for both the rider and passenger. The bank of 4 LED-powered headlights helps you to see and be seen, even at night.

The luggage system is a generous 37.3 gallons and can be adjusted to over 38 gallons with the Transcontinental Package, giving you more packing space and additional fog lights, and an alarmed security system.

The bike incorporates Yamaha’s Smartkey system, which allows you to access luggage compartments or start the motorcycle while the key fob is in your pocket.

The control system provides touch screen control, handlebar, or voice control of the sound system and the bike’s computer. You can even electronically monitor the tire pressure. The control system incorporates a USB port for your mobile phone and Bluetooth capability, and a rider to passenger communication system.

The powerhouse of the Star Venture is a powerful 1854cc displacement V-twin motor that gives great power, even when the Star Venture is fully loaded.

Traction control, cruise control, and several computerized riding modes help to make long-distance riding effortless no matter the conditions. The seat height is 27.4 inches, and the bike weighs 963 lbs or 436 KG.

4. Triumph Tiger 1200 XRT

If your cross-country riding is a bit more adventurous and you prefer to go off the beaten track as well as long distances on asphalt, then an adventure bike such as the Triumph Tiger 1200 XTR is up for the challenge!

These adventure motorcycles incorporate the years of technology expertise that Triumph has garnered over decades of producing reliable, quality motorcycles. And with 24 Pounds lighter than its predecessor, its handling and manoeuvrability have been transformed for the better.

The Tiger 1200 features innovative adaptive cornering lighting for enhanced visibility at night, keyless ignition, an onboard computer that allows for riding mode selection, cruise control, and clutch-assist for clutchless up and down gear shifts.

The computer allows for selecting different riding modes; Road/Off­road/Off-Road Pro/Sport/Track/Rider-Customizable will automatically make adjustments to the bike’s performance, braking, and suspension to suit the riding conditions. You can also input your own riding preferences.

The 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel help with the comfort and manoeuvrability of the bike over gravel tracks and more challenging off-road situations. The Triumph Tiger 1200 also features ABS and traction control, which can be turned off if required, which is a nice improvement.

The powerful 1215cc displacement engine has been significantly upgraded, offering 141 BHP with 90 FT-Ibs of torque at 7600 RPM has more than enough grunt for the dirt and the open road.

Paniers can be fitted on the sides and a tail box for added packing space to give you the storage space you need for extended road trips, but they do come at an extra cost.

This motorcycle is as at home on the asphalt as it is in the dirt. The XRT allows the rider to travel off-road and paved roads with the same control and comfort, which allows you to include some off-road riding on your cross-country adventure.

This motorcycle is definitely worth a test ride.

5. BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

We would be remiss, and our list would not be complete if we did not include a BMW adventure bike in our lineup of best cross-country bikes, and this offering by BMW for 2021 lives up to expectations.

The BMW R series have their heritage in the famed Paris-Dakar cross-country races, where these machines proved their worth on mixed terrain and excelled in off and on-road performance.

The riding position on the BMW R 1250GS Adventure is the typical comfortable upright riding position, but you can also easily and comfortably stand on the footpegs for off-road riding.

The BMW, as you would expect, is packed with quality German technology and engineering. There are rider assistance systems such as advanced lighting technology, selectable computerized riding modes, USB ports to charge your mobile phone, and other items.

There are also rider comfort systems such as seat heating systems and adjustable seat and handlebar heights included in the design.

The 1254cc displacement motor offers power and a smooth ride, whether on the road or off-road. The flexible configuration of the cargo compartments allows you to configure the bike for your comfort.

There is a wide range of seat heights to choose from (790-910mm), so this bike is perfect for the shorter and taller rider, and BMW’s LED lighting technology offers superior illumination.

The bike has 136 BHP at 7,550 RPM and offers 105 lbs of torque at the same RPM. With a 7.9 gallon tank (35.9 Litres), you can travel plenty of miles before having to stop for refuelling.

Conclusion

Cross-country riding can be as rough or as comfortable as you want to make it. From road trips incorporating the highways of the world to taking the road less traveled or going completely off-road across the country, the bikes available for these adventures are as diverse as the terrain that they travel.

If you are a die-hard biker, there is no better way to take on a cross-country trip on a two-wheeled machine that will give you the thrill of freedom while you enjoy the trip.

Happy riding!

References

Harley Davidson Road Glide Limited

Indian Motorcycle Roadmaster Dark Horse

Yamaha Motorsports Star Venture

Triumph Motorcycles 1200 Tiger XTR

BMW Motorcycles R1200 GS Adventure

Robert Blake

Hi, I'm Robert and I've been riding motorcycles for nearly 2 decades. The intention of this blog is to give reliable up to date information to other motorcyclists who are looking for answers about all different aspects of motorcycling. All the information is either from my personal experience or investigational work I have carried out myself. Happy Riding!

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