The Best Motorcycles for Weekend Warriors

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited

Getting Away With Motor

For weekend warriors, Friday evening comes with a Clark Kent-esque transformation from mundane four-wheel commuter to insta-biker. And when they unleash their inner free spirits and speed demons, they sometimes do it on big, beefy touring bikes built for comfort over long distances. Some make their two-wheeled metamorphosis on action bikes built for the trails, others on street bikes, and others while straddling versatile multi-use bikes. This list offers something for everyone and every budget. All manufacturer suggested retail price quotes are for most-current models.

Related: Grab Your Helmet: Epic Motorcycle Rides Across America

2020 Suzuki V-Strom 650
Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.

Suzuki V-Strom 650

Starting MSRP: $9,199
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 is great for weekend warriors and newbies alike not only because of the price, but because it’s a versatile bike with impressive features. It’s a powerful, stylish, fun, and all-around awesome multipurpose motorcycle. Its 645cc, 90-degree V-twin engine delivers real power at high RPMs and impressive torque in the low/mid-RPM range. 

Related: Iconic Motorcycles From the Past 125 Years

2020 Honda NC750X
Honda Motor Europe Ltd.

Honda NC750X

Starting MSRP: $9,399

The class-shifting Honda NC750X was designed to be a do-it-all bike, and there are few scenarios it wasn’t built to handle. Part of the reason for its impressive versatility is the Honda Selectable Torque Control feature, which lets riders adjust slip-control technology based on whether they’re riding on dirt, gravel, or wet or dry pavement.

2019 Can-Am Ryker 600
2019 Can-Am Ryker 600 by Tjhiggin (CC BY-SA)

Can-Am Ryker

Starting MSRP: $9,599
Any list designed for weekend warrior motorcyclists must include a three-wheel option. There are plenty to choose from, but few are more sleek, modern, and affordable than the Can-Am Ryker. Safe, powerful, and easy to ride, its power is transferred through an automatic transmission — no shifting required — and its vehicle stability system keeps all three tires on the road with outstanding traction and control.

2019 Moto Guzzi V7 III Special
Piaggio Group

Moto Guzzi V7 Centenario

Starting MSRP: $11,490
If you’re looking for high technology and a laundry list of modern ride-assist features, this is not the bike for you. A throwback that stands out as one of the most authentic and most affordable retro bikes on the road, the Moto Guzzi V7 Centenario holds closer to the original classic than any others in the long list of V7s in the line. Yes, it’s fully analog, but it’s also fully awesome.

Related: Classic Italian Sports Cars We Wish Were in Our Driveway

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster 2009
Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster 2009 by Thruxton (CC BY)

Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster

Starting MSRP: $13,795
Elegant, classic stylings define the Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster, which comes with a cruiser rider position that’s all its own. It’s comfortable, it handles well, and its twin and single seats are fully adaptable. Its 1200cc Bonneville HT engine with Bobber tune has won the acclaim of critics thanks to its performance, sound, and massively upgraded torque.

2020 Honda Africa Twin
American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda Africa Twin

Starting MSRP: $14,499
For the weekend warrior with an adventurous spirit, the Honda Africa Twin is a light but powerful and capable machine. The off-road-ready bike is packed with tech and Apple CarPlay compatible. Its 1,084cc engine is bigger and more powerful than previous versions and its throttle-by-wire system makes it one of the most versatile bikes in its class. 

Harley-Davidson Low ­Rider S

Harley-Davidson Low ­Rider S

Starting MSRP: $18,199
Classic West Coast style and vaulting-from-a-standstill torque are the trademarks of the all-American cruiser known as the Harley-Davidson Low Rider S. It boasts boatloads of raw power in the form of a Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine with the handling and agility of a sportbike — all with a purely upright ride.

Related: Legendary Harley-Davidsons (and 5 Duds)

BMW R 1250 GS
BMW Group

BMW R 1250 GS

Starting MSRP: $17,995
Anyone shopping for a bike could spend hours trying to find a bad review on the BMW R 1250 GS without much success. One of the most successful adventure bikes on Earth, new models deliver 136 horsepower and 105 foot-pounds of torque. It’s capable on the road and off, the ShiftCam control system has received all kinds of accolades for its flawless power distribution, and it’s still famously comfortable.

Related: Bucket List Experiences for Adrenaline Junkies

YAMAHA FJR1300 by Daniel Levy (CC BY-ND)

Yamaha FJR1300

Starting MSRP: $18,299
The Yamaha FJR1300 is one of the best sport-touring bikes on the market. It’s not cheap, but it certainly gives you your money’s worth. Its 1298cc four-cylinder engine delivers torque and horsepower a-plenty across the RPM spectrum. The bike is brimming with adjustable comfort features that rider and passenger can personalize, and it has a sweet menu of rider-aid technology.

Exploring California with a Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT
Exploring California with a Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT by Franco Folini (CC BY-SA)

Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT+

Starting MSRP: $18,899
There are several options in the Versys 1000 LT line, but they’re all light, comfortable, and powerful considering their engine size. Riders cruise in an upright position and fly forward thanks to a 1,043 cc inline four-cylinder engine. Built for versatility, it adjusts automatically to ride well in the low or mid-to-high RPM ranges.

Indian Chieftain
Indian Motorcycle

Indian Chieftain

Starting MSRP: $22,999
The new-and-improved Indian Chieftain has been redesigned with a more powerful engine, and a recent upgrade also solved long-standing issues with temperature regulation. Its strong, cast-aluminum frame makes for stable cornering even at high speeds, and it’s been hailed for responsive handling.

Related: 50 Best American-Made Products You Can Buy

Honda Gold Wing Tour
2020 Honda Motor Europe Ltd.

Honda Gold Wing Tour

Starting MSRP: $25,600
The Honda Gold Wing Tour has come a long way from its inception as a mid-1970s pioneer at the start of the modern touring movement. Its six-cylinder, 1833cc engine is powerful, smooth, and more than a dozen pounds lighter than on the last model. It’s packed with impressive tech features and was built for cruising in comfort over long distances.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE
Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE by tripu (CC BY-NC)

Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX

Starting MSRP: $28,000
The Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX exists at the intersection of performance and luxury. Its powerful 998cc four-cylinder supercharged engine offers exciting acceleration, but the bike’s wind protection and comfort features make it a prime choice for luxury distance touring. There’s room for two, and it’s packed with a dizzying array of electronics and tech.

BMW K 1600 Grand America
BMW Group

BMW K 1600 Grand America

Starting MSRP: $28,130
Two passengers can chase the horizon for endless miles on the amazing machine that is the BMW K 1600 Grand America. Its powerful but smooth six-cylinder in-line engine is the stuff of legend, and even the base model comes fully equipped. It represents luxury touring at its finest and has been lauded for its nearly vibration-free ride at highway speeds.

Related: Heart-Stopping Roads to Drive Around the World

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited

Starting MSRP: $29,399
The legendary line of Harley touring bikes contains more than a dozen models — including the perennially bestselling bike in the country, the Street Glide — starting at around $22,000 and climbing into the low $50,000s. In the middle is the Road Glide Limited, a fully loaded behemoth that offers an upright ride, floorboards, saddlebags, infotainment, and a passenger seat backrest. Best of all is the Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin engine that backs up all that comfort with plenty of power.

Related: Made in the USA Must-See Factory Tours

Indian Roadmaster
Indian Motorcycle

Indian Roadmaster

Starting MSRP: $31,499
The Indian Roadmaster isn’t cheap, but it is a testament to the get-what-you-pay-for philosophy. Powerful, balanced, and beautiful, the touring bike’s Thunderstroke 116 engine generates 126 foot-pounds of torque for a purring ride no matter the speed and impressive power in the low RPM range. Its cast-aluminum frame is light and strong, the bike is well-balanced, and its two-up premium seats are plush, cozy and fitted with independent heat controls.


Related: 50 Most Beautiful Highway Drives in America