Dual sport adventure bikes have been the fastest growing motorcycle segment for the past few years.  As a result, manufacturers have responded with new and/or updated models.

With all the new choices one might ask, “Which dual sport adventure motorcycle is the best?”  The correct answer is, “There isn’t one.”  That’s right, there is no one best motorcycle.  There may be one motorcycle that best meets your needs but there is no one motorcycle that is best for everyone’s needs.  Different motorcycles excel at different things.  Some are best for those who gravitate to trail riding in the woods.  Others are better choices if you ride mostly dirt roads.  Still others excel at long distance travel across roads of varied surfaces.

In the end, I think it comes down to accurately figuring out what kind of riding you are going to be doing most often and then, of the bikes that handle that type of riding best, selecting the one that most appeals to you.

I’ve compiled the following to help you compare the technical specifications and performance data of the most popular dual sport adventure motorcycles.  Hopefully it will prove useful in helping you find the bike that is right for you.

 

Mfg / Model Wet Wt. HP Fuel Capacity Trans-mission 0-60 mph Top Speed Notes
BMW
F650GS ’00 430 38 4.57 5 4.89 105 replaced by new parallel twin F650GS in 2008
F650GS ’08 approx 460 71 4.22 6 not really a 650cc – it’s a detuned 800cc engine
F800GS 490.5 73 4.22 6 120 new in 2008
R1200GS ’08 536 94 5.28 6 3.45 136 updated in 2008
R1200GS ADV ’08 562 105 8.7 6 updated in 2008
G650   X-Challenge

 

 

353 53 2.5 5 new for 2008
Buell
Ulysses 507 82.1 4.4 5 4.27 127 updated in 2008
Honda
CRF230L 267 14.3 3.0 6 12.7 71 new for 2008
XR650L 349 33.3 2.8 5 5.83 98
Mfg / Model Wet Wt. HP Fuel Capacity Trans-mission 0-60 mph Top Speed Notes
Husqvarna
TE610IE 317 50 3.3 6 steadily growing in popularity
Kawasaki
KLX 250 dry 262 approx 17 1.9 6 approx 85 new in 2008
KLR 650 ‘06 409 34.0 6.1 5 6.04 98
KLR 650 ’08 428 36.1 6.1 5 5.88 93 updated in 2008 after 21 years
Versys 650 453 41.5 5 6 4.86 117 Motorcyclist magazine Bike of the Year 2008
KTM
690 Enduro dry 305 claimed 60

 

 

3.17 6 new in 2008
950 Super Enduro dry 405

 

 

98 3.43 6 released in 2007
990 Adventure 520 85.2 5.8 6 3.45 130 upgraded from 950 Adventure
Mfg / Model Wet Wt. HP Fuel Capacity Trans-mission 0-60 mph Top Speed Notes
Suzuki
DRZ400 319 33.4 2.6 5 5/45 94
DR650 368 35.6 3.43 5 5.66 95
DL650 472 62 5.8 6 3.90 115 affectionately known as Wee-Strom
DL1000 523 89.2 5.8 6 3.61 124 called the V-Strom
Yamaha
WR250R 301 24.0 2 6 8.71 88.8 new in 2008
XT250 288 15.4 2.6 5 10.35 76 new in 2008

 

Graph Notes:

Wet weight = weight of the motorcycle ready to ride, i.e. the real weight of the motorcycle

Dry weight = manufacturer’s claimed dry weight (whatever that is) of the motorcycle, usually a much lower weight than the wet weight

Claimed weight = manufacturer’s claimed weight of the motorcycle, but not specified if the bike is in a ready to ride state at this weight

HP = horsepower to the rear wheel.

Claimed HP = manufacturer’s claimed horsepower, often significantly higher than the actual horsepower measured at the rear wheel

Approx HP = my best guess as to the real, rear wheel horsepower output

Fuel Capacity = fuel tank capacity in gallons

Transmission = number of gears

0-60 mph = the amount of time, in seconds, it takes to accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph

Top Speed = fastest speed attainable, in miles per hour