I like the way things are going in the adventure bike category right now. I like what I think is a trend toward smaller, lighter bikes.
Why, you ask? Because in the past 20 years adventure bikes have become huge bloated pigs that are mostly styled to “look” rugged and adventurous. The real truth is that riding a 525+ lb bike off-pavement is not the best idea. Sure, you can ride them on easy dirt roads, but beyond that things get increasingly dicey. And picking up one after an inevitable fall is a two (or more) man affair.
Until very recently, if you wanted a sub-500 lb multi-cylinder adventure bike your only choice was the Suzuki DL650 V-Strom at 470 lbs. All the other multi-cylinder adventure bikes had real, gassed-up-and-ready-to-ride weights north of 500 lbs. Your only other option in the sub-500 lb category was a thumper such as the KTM 690, Husqvarna 701, or Suzuki DR 650.
Now that all of the motorcycle manufacturers have mature flagship 1000 cc+ adventure models they seem to be turning more of their attention to smaller displacement and lighter adventure bikes. Of note are the new KTM 790 Adventure series and Yamaha 700 Tenere, both of whom are 30-40 lbs under the 500 lb barrier. Honda is rumored to be working on a 790 Africa Twin, which will also hopefully be sub-500 lbs.
My response to all this is, “Great!”. If the adventure riding community embraces the smaller, lighter bikes (i.e. buys them in sufficient quantities) then the manufacturers will respond with even more choices and everybody wins.
Motorcycle news outlets are reporting that Honda is working on a smaller displacement Africa Twin. The speculation is that it will use a modified engine from the Honda NC750. Here is one rendering of what it might look like. I’m …Continue reading →
Cycle World recently reviewed Honda’s new do-it-all dirt bike, the CRF450RX. You can read the article here. I found the opening paragraphs of the review to be particularly interesting. “Has there been a better time to be an off-road rider? Gone …Continue reading →
How about the SWM Superdual X? It’s an Italian 650 dual sport based on the superb 2011 Husqvarna TE630 and, according to Dirt Bike magazine, is a contender to fill the open slot vacated by the discontinued Kawasaki KLR 650. …Continue reading →
Rider magazine has selected the KTM 790 Adventure as its 2019 motorcycle of the year. They said: “ADV bikes have been getting increasingly bloated, however, bigger, more powerful—and heavier—each model year. Hard-core ADV-ers have been clamoring for years, begging for …Continue reading →
KTM’s 2019 790 Adventure R Redefines Off-Road ADV That’s the claim Justin Dawes makes in an article in Motorcyclist magazine. He writes, “Cutting to the point, it’s as close to rally promise as any KTM Adventure has ever achieved. Bull’s-eye. …Continue reading →
Having managed our expectations about this Cycle World article by previously re-writing the title in plain English – Sub-1200cc Heavyweight Adventure Dirt Road Shootout – we are now prepared to discuss some of the particulars of the article. Our goal …Continue reading →
Cycle World recently published a comparison of three adventure bikes – the KTM 1090, the Honda Africa Twin, and the Triumph Tiger 800XCx. Unfortunately, the article was written in “writer speak” potentially making it difficult for the less experienced riders …Continue reading →
For 20 years the mainstream dual sport motorcycle class in the United States has been stuck in a backwater swamp with few signs of life. The last time Honda updated the XR650L was never – it’s been the same bike …Continue reading →
When I was a kid I used to love reading Superman comics. It was there I was introduced to Bizarro World, a place that sort of resembled planet Earth but where everything was oddly different. For example, Earth had Batman, …Continue reading →
“Now… If you up the ante a bit … more like 365 lbs, 200 mile range, 11-12 inches of travel and a Twin engine we’re getting to Unicorn territory.” – cb60130, advrider.com The adventure riding world calls this bike “the unicorn” …Continue reading →
Adventure riders have been longing for “the Unicorn” adventure bike for as long as there have been adventure bikes. What is “the unicorn bike”? It is a lightweight, multi-cylinder, off road biased, adventure bike that can do anything and everything, …Continue reading →
For the past two years or so Yamaha has been teasing us with the Tenere 700 – a multi-cylinder, middleweight, adventure bike with an off-road bias. The rumors have had the adventure riding world drooling at the thought. Imagine – …Continue reading →
The new Honda CRF450L is out (you can buy one now) and the initial reviews have been published. The consensus of the motorcycle press is that despite weighing 30 lbs or so more than the competition the CRF450L is a …Continue reading →