We must first define the word “Adventure Bike“. A motorcycle can be attributed with the term “adventure” if it can help you live your Adventure. Your definition of Adventure that is. For some people crossing vast distances in relatively small time is an “Adventure”. For some “Adventure” doesn’t happen before they hit the trail (fire-roads mainly). Finally, there are those that just love the hard technical stuff.
The main thing all these types have in common is the period of this Adventure. We are not talking for a 20km single track here. This is “Enduro” and not “Adventure”. So we have to consider bikes that have an emphasis on long-range performance. We would exclude any 250 cc bike because they lack the ability to cruise comfortably at higher speeds (especially carrying luggage) and can have reduced engine life if ridden frequently on the highway.
Another important factor is “Experience“. Some may be completely new to riding, while others have many years of experience on other types of motorcycles. A KTM 950 Super Enduro, for example, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
These days, there are a lot of different Adventure Bikes on the market to choose from and choosing the right bike for your individual needs can be challenging. For the not so experienced riders, choosing a large single cylinder bike might be the best way to go. A DRZ400, KTM 690 or Husky 701 would be great when the going gets tough and have excellent all-around characteristics. Same goes for the not so gifted in body height. On the other hand, if your Adventures are 70% road / 30% off-road, then a big V-twin would be a nice bet.
The must-have list
Considering all the above, a proper “Adventure Bike” is the one that takes you to new far away locations, lets you spend at least a night under the stars, makes your life easy when unexpected things keep coming your way (it’s an adventure, remember?), makes you feel alive and happy. So, a proper Adventure Bike should:
- Be able to carry all your gear. Camping gear, clothes, extra fuel, personal hygiene stuff, etc.
- Have good tune-able off-road suspension. The gear that you carry varies in every adventure ride you take, so should the suspension change.
- Have at least a 7500 km oil change interval.
- Have at least a 250 km fuel range (a 400-450 km range would be just perfect).
- Have 50-100 hp for off-road use. There is absolutely no need for 160+ hp behemoths in the middle of a forest!
- Be less than 200 kg fully loaded. This is really difficult to accomplish when opting for large cc twins, but in the world of Adventure-Biking, we all have to make compromises according to our needs, the terrain that we are going to travel and the gear that we want to carry.