Motorcycles are great fun to ride no matter what your age. But while some younger riders seek out bikes with blistering acceleration and top speeds near 200 miles per hour (mph), riders over age 40 often prefer bikes that combine the thrills of motorcycling with a measure of comfort and practicality. Here are our picks for the very best “motorcycles for grown-ups”…
Entry-level bike that isn’t boring: Yamaha MT-07. Many new bikes priced less than $10,000 are underpowered, unexciting and—often—uncomfortable. This Yamaha is the exception. It has undeniable spirit and very satisfying riding dynamics, plus suspension that’s smooth and composed, compared with other bikes in its price range. The styling is distinctive without being overly showy. $7,599.* YamahaMotorSports.com
Almost-silent, almost-maintenance-free magic of electric: Alta Redshift SM. If you want a motorcycle that hums discreetly, rather than growls, and needs almost no maintenance, the US-made, electric-powered Redshift SM is the place to start. Its excellent handling and astonishing acceleration transform short trips into joyous experiences. It’s not appropriate for long journeys—the battery’s range is around 60 miles under typical commuting conditions, less if you ride aggressively—and unlike the other bikes in this article, it seats only one. A full recharge takes around six hours. The Redshift SM is 100% electric, so you never have to buy gas or change oil. $13,495. AltaMotors.co
Classic cruiser: Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Classic. Harley completely redesigned this cruiser for 2018, improving its handling, braking and suspension—the riding dynamics are now as impressive as the eye-catching, chrome-laden styling. It’s a big bike, but its low center of gravity and low seat position make it relatively easy to manage. It’s a big, beautiful American bike, with plenty of power even when there’s a passenger on board. From $18,999. Harley-Davidson.com
Bike that offers the comforts of a car: Honda Gold Wing. The Gold Wing’s comfortable seats for both rider and passenger, compliant suspension, abundant storage and famed reliability have for decades made it the bike of choice for long trips. It was completely redesigned for 2018 and now has surprisingly good handling for a bike its size, too—adding to the fun. The Gold Wing’s list of available tech features rivals that of some cars. Example: It’s the first motorcycle to offer Apple CarPlay—riders can use voice commands to control maps, music, phone calls and more. Prices start at $23,500 and can climb above $30,000 for fully equipped models. Powersports.Honda.com
*Prices here are manufacturers’ suggested retail prices. As with cars, it may be possible to negotiate.