Want To Start Adventure Motorcycle Travel Today?
Adventure motorcycle riding is a form of motorcycle touring that can range from paved and unpaved roads. From cross-country or “Trans-America” style trips to full-on out in the wild explorations.
The SUVs of the motorcycle world, Adv Bikes have come a long way since the R80 GS was introduced by BMW Motorrad. 1980 was the year, and I’m pretty sure that no one back then would have imagined that these motorcycles would turn out to be the jack-of-all-trades for many bike riders.
Nowadays, as Adv Bikes evolved into technologically advanced rides, the search for that one perfect bike, that can take you anywhere from twisty mountain routes to gravel roads and finally setting up camp in a forest or by the lake, has become real.
Manufacturers present us now with a wide range of options in their line-ups, that are bound to confuse even the most experienced rider.
There is no perfect adv bike. Our experience at 2WheelsOnRoad is that you can do an adventure motorcycle travel with pretty much anything that has two wheels and an engine.
Of course, knowing your limitations and having the proper planning helps a great deal on the enjoyment of the experience as a whole, and it all gets eased by choosing a motorcycle that can help you get there, rather than presenting you with even more challenges to overcome.
Having said that, the best adventure bikes are not only those, that offer the best balance between power, agility, and luggage capacity, but also the ones that you can handle skillfully while enjoying a thrill ride.
Also, there is no perfect time to start adventure motorcycle traveling.
It’s just one of those things that you either do or you don’t. Either you feel it and let it become a part of you, or you just fall back into everyday life.
Should You Start Today?
There are times in our lives that we simply got to ask ourselves:
Do I really want to do it?
Will it make me happy?
Would I enjoy not postponing what I want to do?
If your answer to those questions was Yes, you are fully ready to take the next step into one of the most fulfilling experiences in the world. Adventure motorcycle traveling. There is no other activity that I’m aware of that can connect traveling, outdoors, landscapes, exploration, natural living, in a meditation-like state experience like this one.
So with no further ado:
5 Adv Bikes to Start Adventure Motorcycle Travel Now
Here are 5 Adv Bikes to start adventure motorcycle travel today:
BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
The BMW R1250GS is one of the best adventure bikes to travel on a long-distance trip. It has a comfortable seating position, great wind protection, and it´s a tank.
GS stands for Gelände/Straße or off-road/road. What or means is that BMW wants the GS series ready to go anywhere, and that is precisely what the GS delivers.
Forty years of research are reflected on the full-sized R1250GS.
With a big boxer/twin-engine with 1,254ccs, balanced power delivery is achieved using the BMW ShiftCam Variable Engine Timing.
The Beemer has Automatic Stability Control and two ride modes standard with the bike. A full set of electronic controls are in place to help you through your ride.
Hugely popular among riders, especially long-distance tourers, it boasts a wide array of features such as an adjustable windscreen, adaptive headlights, BMW’s Cruising Light-equipped LED indicators, a TFT display, DTC and ABS Pro brakes. On top of that, you can add crash bars, a skid plate, hard cases, and a whole lot of other parts.
Engine: Air & Liquid-Cooled 1,254cc DOHC Boxer Twin
Power: 136hp & 105ft-lbs
Curb Weight: 591lbs/268kg
Suspension Travel: 210mm Front / 220mm Rear
Ground Clearance: 185mm
Seat height: 33.5″ / 34.3″ (850 mm / 870 mm) (OE lowered suspension 31.5″ / 32.3″ – 800 mm / 820 mm)
KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, with its 1,301 cc inline-four engine, is a current model from the Austrian manufacturer KTM. It is powered by a full-liquid-cooled, 75° V-twin engine fully redesigned from the previous generation. An all-new cylinder head, state-of-the-art dual plug ignition, and a large volume cylinder reinforce the rider feeling of the KTM ready to race moto.
Loaded with electronics, the Austrian powerhouse has plenty of riding aides easily controllable on the 7″ TFT display. Different riding modes, with MTC (Motorcycle Traction Control), hill hold control, ABS, off-road traction control help the riding aides to be even more effective in different riding conditions and terrains. The TFT display itself is loaded with information and provides information easily, even when riding.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R performance is what you would expect from this manufacturer. Simply world-class.
Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,301cc DOHC 75° V-Twin
Power: 160hp & 101.8ft-lbs
Dry Weight: 487.2lbs/221kg (23lts of fuel)
Suspension Travel: 220mm Front / 220mm Rear
Ground Clearance: 242mm
Honda Africa Twin CRL1100L
The Japanese manufacturer decided to have an Africa Twin rebirth in 2016. With legions of fans, this Dakar rally descendant is a serious adv bike.
The most recent model is lighter and incorporates a larger pack of electronic aids, just like its European counterparts.
Powered by a 1,084cc parallel-twin that boasts 100.5hp the Africa Twin is a “true all-arounder”, as Honda states. It is also available with a six-speed manual or six-speed DCT automatic transmissions. Whether you choose the dual-clutch or the six-speed manual transmission, it won’t disappoint you.
Three levels of engine braking, seven levels of tractions control, and six riding modes electronically aid the riders.
Front and rear suspensions with active suspension and damping system (Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment – a six-axis IMU-regulated system), have four adjustable spring pre-load and damping modes, and four preset riding modes.
A 6.5” TFT touchscreen “communicates” with you throughout the ride.
Engine: Liquid-Cooled 1,084cc SOHC Parallel-Twin
Power: 100.5hp & 77.5ft-lbs
Curb Weight: 530lbs/240kg
Suspension Travel: 231mm Front / 221mm Rear
Ground Clearance: 250mm
KTM 890 Adventure R
Long were the rumors that KTM was to launch a middleweight adventure motorcycle. They ended up transforming into reality with the 790 Adventure, and now they have refined into the 890 Adventure R.
For some riders, having a heavyweight full-on long-range adv bike just doesn’t cut the deal. Either by doing their riding more off-road or because they want a lighter bike, they rather have a middle point solution that still checks all the boxes. Plus considering the price tags on the larger models like the KTM 1290 Super Adventure or the BMW R1250GS, suddenly a middleweight adventure motorcycle sounds much more appealing to a whole set of riders that otherwise wouldn’t pick them as the first choice.
KTM and Yamaha as well understood that a new segment was opening right under the flagship adv bikes. One that would even “bite the toes” of motorcycles such as the Africa Twin.
With an 889,0 cc parallel-twin engine delivering 103,3hp along with a lighter weight, the Austrian midweight adv bike is ready to outmaneuver the bigger bikes on harsher terrain conditions.
The transmission is composed of a mechanically actuated sliding PASC™ clutch 6-speed sequential gearbox. Quickshifter+ technology is presented as an optional.
Relying on WP Suspensions with 9.4 inches of travel both from and rear, not only the comfort is assured, but also the ability to perform on and off-road.
As on the bigger sister, there are Riding Modes available to be selected from the 5″ TFT Display. The traction control system from Bosch (Bosch traction control system ABSBosch 9.1 MP, which includes Cornering-ABS and offroad mode, which you can turn off) gives you the option to control the delivery output of the engine to the rear wheel, allowing it to be automatically adapted to the riding conditions.
The characteristic LED lighting that composes the KTM style composes the package.
Engine: 889,0 cc Liquid cooled, 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOCH parallel twin
Power: 103,3 cv / 77,0 kw
Curb Weight: 464lb/210kg
Suspension Travel: 9.4 inches of travel front and rear
Ground Clearance: 263mm
Yamaha Tenere 700
Was this the most talked-about bike a few years back? “The T7 is coming!” “Yamaha is launching the T7!” “It’s going to be at EICMA!” Well, it wasn’t. But it sure is available now.
The “smaller” of the adv bikes presented here, can not be taken for the little one. Because it’s not. You might just enjoy the Yamaha Tenere 700 more than you think.
The engine is a proven block. A 689cc parallel-twin that also equips the MT-07. It delivers 73hp and 50lb of torque.
The motorcycle itself is one of the most competent and reliable, off-road capable middleweight adventure motorcycles out there. Lightweight and capable of a good ample torque, this is a bike with proper off-road ergonomics. A big windshield, a large amount of ground clearance, and a slim bodywork make the Tenere 700 very maneuverable both on the tarmac and out of it.
A navigation tower, Dakar-style, houses the LED headlights and LCD gauges. It does not have the number of technological aides that the bigger bikes have, but I believe that Yamaha wanted to make a simpler bike that could be repaired anywhere in the world without too much fuss.
It still has an OFF-ROAD mode, but it’s limited to the disconnecting of ABS. It disconnects the ABS completely, while it would be nice to be able to turn it off only on the rear wheel.
Now for the price. Simply unbeatable. At 9999$ is half, yes, half of the top-tier long-range adventure bikes. And it will get you to the same places, probably even more if you are venturing off the beaten track.
Engine: Liquid-Cooled 689cc DOHC Twin Parallel-Twin
Power: 72.1hp & 50.15ft-lbs
Curb Weight: 452lbs/205kg
Suspension Travel: 211mm Front / 200mm Rear
Ground Clearance: 239mm