Adventure Rider
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The buzz about the best Adventure Tourers, by the people who own them (compiled by Baldy.)
Baldy's Adventure Tourer definition: Motorcyles fit for long days that you can take off-road.
BMW R1150GS review
BMW 1150GS
The Land Rover of adventure tourers. It's big, it's gnarly, it looks cool on New York streets dressed in crash bars and brush guards, and dealers dot the globe. Great aftermarket parts selection. More fun than most BMW street bikes on paved twisties but with plenty of suspension travel for nasty roads.

Cons: She's heavy. Not much of a dirt bike but okay for fire roads. The engine is not particularly zippy or smooth and routine service is expensive. 1st gear is too tall. There is some complaining in the forums about wind protection and pinging.

Resources: GS mailing list, GS message forum

BMW GS Adventure
BMW 1150GS Adventure
The 1150GS with a great rugged look, knobbies, lower gear ratio, steel-braided brake lines, a bigger fuel tank, hand guards, White Power rear suspension, crash bars, optional BMW panniers and racks, 12V adapter in the cockpit, EVO brakes with ABS II, capable of running on lower-octane fuel, and a cool-looking black protector on the beak, blue rims and engine... This is the model for riding to exotic destinations or looking supremely gnarly on the streets of New York.

Cons: Same as the GS except first gear is no longer too tall; the knobbies don't last on tarmac.

Resources: GS mailing list, GS message forum

KTM Adventure R review
KTM Adventure R
The bike for dirt lovers who are willing to trade off miles traveled in a day for the best off-road talents of any adventure tourer. It's light despite an impressive 7.4-gallon tank,has incredible suspension and brakes, and exotic good looks.

Cons: Cinder block of a seat, extraordinary height, dirt suspension and limited wind protection make most owners wish for more comfort on the freeway at 75 mph. Vibration drives some owners wild; others say no problem. Expensive maintenance and hard-to-find parts.

Resources: Thumper forum.

Triumph Tiger review
Triumph Tiger
A lighter, smoother, more powerful, somewhat more off-road-capable alternative to the big BMW GS. Fun to ride with generally happy owners. Sexy but quiet exhaust note from its 3-cylinder engine. Decent luggage and heated grips.

Cons: Soggy front suspension. Slightly buzzy above 75 mph, limited wind protection options. Unlike the GS, there is no ABS (useful on pavement). Limited aftermarket and dealer support. Many owners complain bitterly of long-term reliability.

Resources: Tiger mailing list.

BMW F 650 GS  Dakar review
BMW 650 Dakar
If you like BMWs but want something lighter and more off-road capable than the 1150GS-like urban assault vehicles, the Dakar can make it happen with good looks, good add-ons, and goodies like heated grips and ABS, with an alternator big enough to power electric clothing.

Cons: Not quite as off-road capable as the KTMs nor as light and inexpensive as the Kawasaki KLR or Suzuki DR. Some owners complain of lingering surging issues around 3500 RPM.

Resources:, Thumper forum.

Kawasaki KLR650 review
Kawasaki KLR650
Light, durable, immensely off-road capable, yet it can cruise all day at 75 mph in surprising comfort. The Jeep Wrangler of dual-sports, its fanatical users believe it's the best adventure tourer. Solid and reliable water-cooled engine.

Cons: We're not talkin' style here... But it's charming in a Hummer sort of way. Not much room for a passenger. Lame front brake (but there's a kit to improve it), alternator has just enough juice for heated grips and a vest--maybe--but nothing more. Everything vibrates off without Locktite.

Resources: KLR mailing list, Flipr's World.

Suzuki V-Strom Review
Suzuki V-Strom
The V-Strom is rapidly gaining a foothold among the ADVrider faithful because of it's great engine, great handling, and low cost. Its 1000cc v-twin puts it in the same class as the big BMW GS, but you can tell at a glance it's 90% street, which it does so very well, and 10% dirt, where it handles well but looks ever so fragile.

Cons: The gap between 1st & 2nd is large for dirt, the cast aluminum wheels, limited suspension travel, plastic fairing and sparse engine/radiator protection will keep it on the street most of the time, or dead.

Resources: Yahoo V-Strom group.

BMW RT review
What's this 100% road, 0% dirt motorcycle doing here? This is the bike for llooooonnnggg days where wind protection and passenger comfort are premium and no dirt's in sight. You do lose adventure points, yes, but you don't risk automatic disqualification as with a Gold Wing. It has great handling, comfort, reliability, fit and finish...but be careful or you'll get soft.

Cons: Not the rugged exterior you'd want for riding through India, nor for riding the washboard roads of Baja. There have been questions about surging & pinging--and genuine rants about the brakes.

Resources:, a website dedicated to the RT. RT forum at ADVrider.

KTM LC8 review
More than any other new adventure bike, this one captured the imagination of ADVriders for its jaw-dropping power-to-weight ratio and sky-high expectations for handling in the dirt. It's powered by what looks to be a sweet v-twin, but the rest of the bike is expected to be like the Adventure R (great for the dirt, tolerable on the road).

Cons: Limited wind protection, little after-market support, parts will be scarce, maintenance expensive; it's probably a serious dual-purpose bike not made for long-range adventure touring.

Resources: Other beastly adventure bike forum.

Suzuki DR650 review
Suzuki DR650

The only air-cooled single on this list, making it the lightest, and simplest to maintain.

It's affordable, reliable, fun, and has enough aftermarket parts--including windscreens, center stands, larger gas tanks, and racks--to satisfy most people.

Cons: Neither a work of art nor a status symbol. The seat is not particularly comfortable and the standard tank is only 3.2 gallons.

Chopperman's Goose
The Goose

The what?

This is Chopperman's adventure ride. And it's easy to see why... He's an adventure even with no bike; pair him with a nostaligic, vintage bike that may not return him home and the result is pure poetry.


Resources: Serious Guzzi eye candy gallery.

online photo albums