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, the World’s Greatest Detective while Bizarro World had Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective. Today the term Bizarro World is used to refer to something that is opposite of our expectations or weirdly inverted.
I’m sorry to inform you that the adventure riding community is currently stuck in its own version of Bizarro World. I say that because of how reality is skewed when it comes to “adventure bikes.” Call a motorcycle an “adventure bike” and suddenly reasonable expectations are set aside, replaced with odd standards and unrealistic promises.
The latest proof is a first impression review of the new BMW F850GS adventure bike by Cycle News. They proclaim it the “middleweight master” and claim it is “the kind of adventure bike the GS label promises—a true go-anywhere machine.” Sounds pretty good, right? Well, hold on. They go on to tell us that BMW has completely redesigned the 2019 model which “has resulted in an increase in mass from 478 pounds to 504 pounds ready to ride.”
504 lbs ready to ride?!!!? My God, man, do you guys even know what the word “middleweight” means?
If 500+ lbs is middleweight, how much does a heavyweight adventure bike weigh? Motorcyclist magazine reports that the 2017 BMW R1200GS weighs 538 lbs. Similarly, Cycle World says the 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 weighs 534 lbs. It’s reasonable to assume that these 1200cc behemoths comprise the heavyweight class of adventure bikes. And they all weigh more than 500 lbs.
So, heavyweights weighs 500+ lbs and the new middleweight master also weighs 500+ lbs? What kind of bizarro world are we living in that both heavyweights and middleweights are 500+ lbs with only about a 5% difference in weight? It’s madness, I say. It’s the living embodiment of Bizarro World.
Let me inject a little sanity into the discussion and bring you back to Planet Earth. Heavyweights weigh 500-550 lbs. Middleweights weigh 400-450 lbs. Lightweights weigh 300-350 lbs. I don’t care what size the engine is, it doesn’t determine what weight class a motorcycle is in. The actual weight of the bike determines what weight class it is in. Any bike that weighs 500 or more lbs is a heavyweight, no matter what size engine it has.
Don’t get sucked into Bizarro World. Don’t fall for a banana in your tailpipe. A 500+ lb bike is not a middleweight, no matter what Bizarro Writer tells you.