The Best Adventure Motorcycles

Welcome to the Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide. Here you’ll find our top adventure bikes of the year, and a selection of excellent machines from the light, middle and heavyweight categories. Here are the best adventure motorcycles on the market today. 

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide

Contents

What you’ll find in this guide

Welcome to the best adventure motorcycles guide. There are so many excellent machines out there, if we included every one this article would go on forever. So, we’ve condensed it to showcase the best adventure bikes of this year and what’s currently in production. We will update the article every year with the latest offerings. And we’ve also included an ‘older models’ section for worthy bikes that have been discontinued.

To keep things simple, here’s what you’ll find in this guide. 

  • Our favourite bikes in production this year (2023).
  • An overall selection of the best adventure bikes split into three categories: lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight.
  • A selection of older adventure bikes no longer in production.

What we mean by ‘Adventure Motorcycles’

Mad or Nomad focuses on adventure bikes for round the world travel. So, our motorcycle articles are on RTW bikes that are well suited and up to the challenge of overlanding long distances, can be easily used off-road, can take a battering, have a readily available supply of spare parts and are fixable the world over… But, this article isn’t focused on RTW bikes.

This guide takes all two-wheeled machines with the ‘adventure bike’ sticker into consideration – whether you’re a road going adventure rider or a dune demon. You’ll find the best of the bunch below.

If you’re specifically after RTW bikes, have a read of our Best Round the World Bikes article. And if you need a hand choosing an adventure bike for travelling, then we have a packed guide explaining all of the considerations and things to look out for to help you find the right bike for your needs. 

Or, if you’re just interested in what’s new and the very latest adventure bikes released this year, check out the New Bikes guide. 

And for all our adventure motorcycle guides in one place, have a look at the comprehensive Adventure Motorcycle Guides section. 

The Best Adventure Motorcycles of 2023

Here’s our selection of the best adventure bikes in production and on the market today. You’ll find why we chose them and more info in their corresponding sections below.

The Best Lightweight Adventure Motorcycles

Single-cylinder, 125cc-600cc, >190kg

Honda CRF300L

Released: 2021, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 286cc single-cylinder, Power/ torque: 27bhp/ 26.6 ft-lb, Tank: 7.8L, Seat height: 880mm, Weight: 142kg, Suspension: front 43mm USD forks non-adjustable/ rear monoshock preload-adjustable, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Honda CRF300L Adventure Motorcycle

Despite its small size, the Honda CRF250L packed a huge punch and quickly cemented itself as more than just a new trailie. It became a proper adventure bike – harking back to the days where overlanders would travel the world on lightweight, simple and small capacity motorcycles. And people loved it for that, it turned into a go anywhere, do anything machine and its popularity rose the world over. 

I tested the CRF250L on the UK press launch for MCN back in 2012 and knew it was going to be special, but had no idea it would be this successful. Fast forward 10 years and it’s only gone from strength to strength.

Honda capitalised on the bike’s success by releasing the 250 Rally and in 2021 the upgraded 300L and 300 Rally succeeded the 250 range.

And Honda didn’t just slap on a few new stickers and try to sell us a ‘new bike’ either. The 300 range gets a big bag of improvements…  

The 300L has been treated to a 36.4cc engine capacity increase, a little bump in bhp and torque and a boost to the midrange. The gears have been reworked so it’s comfier cruising in 6th and quicker at accelerating through the rest – and there’s a new slip-assist clutch too. The chassis has been tweaked by improving the frame’s thickness and a redesign of the swingarm for off-roading and it’s also made the bike 2.15kg lighter. The suspension stroke has been increased up front and at the rear by 10 and 20mm for dirt riding too – meaning Honda has put a lot of effort into making it even better off-road.

Honda’s single-cylinder CRF range may be small, but it’s the real deal when it comes to adventure riding and travel. Light, easy to work on, Honda reliability, go anywhere and do anything machines and the CRF300L deserves the top spot in this list.

Honda CRF300 Rally

Released: 2021, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 286cc single-cylinder, Power/ torque: 27bhp/ 26.6 ft-lb, Tank: 12.8L, Seat height: 885mm, Weight: 153kg, Suspension: front 43mm USD forks non-adj/ rear monoshock preload-adj, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Honda CRF300 Rally

While the 300L is geared more towards off-roading, the Rally version takes on long-range riding and comfort. It’s beefier and bigger with a larger tank, wider seat, stronger brakes, higher ground clearance and also gets treated to its own set of goodies like a proper alloy bashplate and a 4kg diet.

Royal Enfield Himalayan

Released: 2016, Last updated: 2022, Engine: 411cc single-cylinder, Power/ torque: 24bhp/ 23.6 ft-lb, Tank: 15L, Seat height: 800mm, Weight: 185kg, Suspension: front 41mm forks / rear monoshock, Tyres: 21/17

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Royal Enfield Himalayan

Back in 2015, I flew to India to test ride the Himalayan for MCN. Except, it wasn’t a normal new bike launch – instead, Royal Enfield arranged for two weeks of riding the bike through the Himalayas – that’s how confident Royal Enfield were with their latest offering. And they hit the money on the head with this one because there’s nothing else like it…

Adventure bikes today veer on the heavy side, are dripping in electronics and are expensive – so expensive that riding them off-road will have you wincing over every rut and stone chip. But the Himalayan is something else; it’s incredibly simple, does away with all the complicated gizmos, is competitively priced and, due to its simple design, it begs for off-road action with next to zero consequences.

It’s back to basics and that’s why people love it. The Himalayan isn’t going to rip your arm of or have you grinning from ear to ear on fast roads, but if you want an adventure bike to travel on at an easy pace, take you anywhere and do away with all the mod cons. Then this one’s for you.

READ MORE: Royal Enfield Himalayan Review

AJP PR7 Adventure 650

Released: 2019, Engine: 600cc single-cylinder, Power/ torque: 48bhp/ 42.8 ft-lb, Tank: 17L, Seat height: 920mm, Weight: 165kg, Suspension: front 48mm USD forks fully adjustable / rear progressive fully adjustable, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: AJP PR7 650 Adventure

The AJP PR7 Adventure is a no-nonsense adventure bike with its loyalties tipped way in favour of off-road enthusiasts. The Portuguese firm have been producing enduro and supermoto bikes for the last 30 years, and have finally decided to turn one of their bikes into something a little different… the PR7 Adventure.

Why is it a little different? Because it’s the only bike like it on this list. There are no other new adventure bikes in production today that are as off-road focused as the PR7. The AJP is packed with dirt riding goodies like the fully adjustable front and rear Sachs suspension, Dakar rally style setup, throbbing single-cylinder motor and there’s no unnecessary for off-road electronics like traction control. 

If you’re off-road focused, fancy a crack at the Trans Euro Trail or want to explore serious dirt trails on your adventures, consider the AJP.

READ MORE: AJP PR7 Adventure Review

Older models

Honda CRF250L / CRF250 Rally

The Honda CRF250L and Rally aren’t exactly ‘older models’ having only been released in 2012 and ceasing production around 2020. But they have been succeeded by the new CRF300L and Rally, which are bigger and better.

But that doesn’t stop the 250 from being a formidable adventure bike – whether you want to ride round the world, tour Europe or explore your local green lanes – the CRF250 is a do-it-all adventure bike.

READ: CRF250 Rally Review

Suzuki DRZ400 / DR650

No adventure bike list would be complete without a mention of the Suzuki DRZ400. The DRZ is practically adventure bike royalty because it’s cheap, simple, easy to work on, packs a punch, is lightweight and can handle itself off-road.

The Suzuki DR650 makes it onto this list for the same reasons as the DRZ400, though they’re nowhere near as common today. But it’d be rude not to include it.

READ: Suzuki DRZ400 Review
READ: Suzuki DR650SE Review

KTM 640 Adventure

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: KTM 640 Adveenture

KTM’s 640 Adventure is what I’d call a proper adventure bike. Single-cylinder, mountains of ground clearance, light, excellent off-road and well setup for long distance travel too. If the KTM 690 Enduro R is the CRF250L, the 640 Adventure is the CRF250 Rally.

The Best Middleweight Adventure Motorcycles

Two cylinders and up, 600 – 900cc, 190kg – 230kg

Honda CB500X

Released: 2013, Last updated: 2022, Engine: 471cc parallel-twin, Power/ torque: 47bhp/ 31.7 ft-lb, Tank: 17.7L, Seat height: 830mm, Weight: 199kg, Suspension: front 41mm USD forks preload adjustable / rear monoshock preload adjustable, Tyres: 19/17

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Honda CB500X

Yes, the CB500X has an engine under the 600cc middleweight threshold we’ve set for this guide. But more importantly, it has two cylinders and weighs 200kg so it has to start school a year early and go in with the middleweight boys.

Upgraded and relaunched in 2022, the new Honda CB500X is an entry-level, smooth motorcycle geared more towards road riding than off-roading. But that’s okay, because with its 19-inch front, decent enough ground clearance, new big Showa USD forks and dual twin piston callipers up front it can still easily and comfortably take you off-road.

If you’re looking for your first big bike (it’s A2 compliant), will mainly be riding on road with the occasional trails and want to cut your teeth on an easy going and fun twin, then this is it.

READ MORE: Honda CB500X Review

Yamaha Tenere 700

Released: 2019, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 689cc parallel-twin, Power/ torque: 72bhp/ 50 ft-lb, Tank: 16L, Seat height: 880mm, Weight: 205kg, Suspension: front 43mm KYB USD forks / rear sachs monoshock, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Yamaha Tenere 700

One of the most hyped up and marketed motorcycles to be released in years is the Yamaha Tenere 700. It’s still a new player on the adventure bike scene but already the bike has made a huge impact. People love it as its off-road focused, beautifully styled in rally clothing and takes a step back towards the simplicity of pure adventure bikes with its lack of electronics and rider aids.

Built around the fun twin-cylinder MT-07 motor, the Tenere is kitted out with a proper off-road focused chassis with long travel, adjustable springs, more than enough power and torque and heavy-duty brakes.

If you’re going to be riding on the rough stuff just as much as asphalt (if not more), want a twin, are happy without all the electronics and want an affordable proper adventure bike, the Tenere is the one for you.

READ MORE: Yamaha Tenere 700 Review

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally

Released: 2020, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 888cc in-line three-cylinder, Power/ torque: 94bhp/ 64.17 ft-lb, Tank: 20L, Seat height: 830mm, Weight: 220kg, Suspension: front 45mm Marzocchi USD forks – rebound and compression adjustable (manual) / rear Marzocchi – preload and rebound adjustable (electronic), Tyres: 19/17

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

The excellent Tiger 800 range was replaced in 2020 with the new Tiger 900. It comes in four iterations. The Rally and Rally Pro are both intended for off-roading and the GT and GT Pro for road riding. So, much like the previous 800 X range, but the difference is, the 900 isn’t a redesign – it’s a completely new bike from the ground up with a huge spec list of improvements.

You’ve got a new (88cc bigger) beautifully tuned, silky smooth and torquier three-cylinder engine with its new T-plane crank. There’s a new chassis, swish dash with rider modes, adjustable suspension and it’s lighter and better on and off-road. If you’re a fan of the Tiger range, then you’ll want to try one of these.

Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

Released: 2017, Engine: 645cc V-twin, Power/ torque: 71bhp/ 45 ft-lb, Tank: 20L, Seat height: 830mm, Weight: 216kg, Suspension: front telescopic forks / rear monoshock – preload adjustable, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Suzuki V-Strom 650XT

The Suzuki V-Strom is not going to knock your socks off. Twisting the throttle won’t rip your arm off either and you’re not going to be entering any off-road rallies with it. But that’s not what it’s for, nor what it’s pretending to be. Instead, you’ve got an incredibly easy to use and simple machine that does everything well.

It’s well priced with a dependable and proven engine, excellent fuel consumption, big tank and enough power to stick a smile on your face. It’s a versatile workhorse and when you slap goodies on it like the wire wheels, luggage racks and crash protection – that makes it an excellent all-round adventure bike too.

Suzuki has released the all-new 800 DE, which may overtake this 650 XT model. For more info, check out the New Adventure Bikes [2023] guide. 

READ MORE: Suzuki V-Strom 650 Review

KTM 890 Adventure

Released: 2021, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 889cc parallel-twin, Power/ torque: 104bhp/ 73.8 ft-lb, Tank: 20L, Seat height: 880mm, Weight: 210kg, Suspension: front 48mm WP XPLOR forks – fully adjustable / rear WP XPLOR shock – fully adjustable, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: KTM 890 Adventure

KTM released the 790 Adventure back in 2018 in response to Yamaha’s Tenere 700. But now KTM have taken things a huge step further with the 890 by producing a roided up middleweight bursting with power (103bhp!) and an exquisite range of premium extras.

There are three 890 options: the Adventure, R and R Rally. They all come with rider modes including cornering ABS, posh TFT displays and excellent suspension setups. But the Adventure model is arguably more road focused while the Rs get premium, fully adjustable suspension and a range of extras – the eye-watering price tags match the packages.

Make no mistake, even the standard Adventure is a cut above the rest in this section. If you’re after the baddest, newest, most tech savvy and off-road hungry middleweight adventure bike then this is it.

2023 updates: Fairings, TFT display, windshield and suspension upgrades. 

BMW F850GS Adventure

Released: 2018, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 853cc parallel-twin, Power/ torque: 94bhp/ 68 ft-lb, Tank: 15L, Seat height: 835mm, Weight: 229kg, Suspension: front 43mm USD forks / rear single shock – preload and rebound adjustable, Tyres: 21/17

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: BMW F850GS Adventure

The original F800GS came out in 2008 and has been going until 2019 when the F850GS Adventure replaced it with an all-new bike.

First up is the obvious 55cc engine capacity increase and engine tweaks for a smoother ride, especially in the low to mid-range. It gets a trickle more power and torque and better fuel consumption too (note the fuel tank has been moved from under the seat to up front).

It’s also treated to a new frame, better suspension and a host of other tweaks and mods to make the new F850GS Adventure more user friendly, smoother and better off and on road. Want a big BMW GS but without all the weight and expense? This is your middleweight option.

Kawasaki KLR650

Released: 2022, Engine: 652cc single-cylinder, Power/ torque: bhp not provided by Kawasaki, but we estimate 40bhp/ 39.1 ft-lb, Tank: 23L, Seat height: 871mm, Weight: 208/213/220kg (dependent on model), Suspension: front 41mm telescopic forks / rear Uni-track monoshock – preload and rebound adjustable, Tyres: 21/17

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Kawasaki-KLR-650

The legendary Kawasaki KLR was first built way back in the 1980s, where it has lived for 30 years pretty much untouched until now in 2022. It’s always been a simple go anywhere and do anything bike and that’s why people love it.

But, emission standards have forced Kawasaki’s hand and it’s now been upgraded with a new LCD dash, an ABS option, fuel injection, one piece frame, new fuel tank and fairings, clutch updates, more mid-range power, new seat, wider bars and pegs, screen and a few more tweaks.

You’ll find more info on the KLR in the Best Round the World Motorcycles guide. 

Older models

Triumph Tiger 800 XCX

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Triumph Tiger 800XCx

It’s strange having the Tiger 800 in the older model list. I test rode the new 800 range on the UK press launch back when it was released in 2019 and it feels too early to have it discontinued. It’s a brilliant bike and especially good on road. There’s nothing like that smooth creamy triple. And taking it on the rough stuff is just as impressive.

READ: Triumph Tiger 800 Review

Yamaha XT660R / XT660Z

The Yamaha XT660R (enduro) and Z (adventure) have been taking travellers round the world for a long time. The motor is ancient, but bullet proof, the bikes are simple and easy to work on, reliable and tough. They’re not off-road racing machines and they’re also not the best road going bikes either with their big thumping single-cylinder motors. But they are reliable, fun and do it all adventure bikes.

READ: Yamaha XT660R Review

BMW F800GS Adventure

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: BMW F800GS

The BMW F800GS was replaced in 2019 with the F850GS Adventure. The outgoing model has been a hugely popular choice for adventure riders since its inception in 2009 and has held a top seat in the middleweight category since. It’s more than capable off-road and is an excellent long distance road bike with decent tractable power delivery and an absolutely huge range of customisable extras.

READ: BMW 800GS Adventure Review

The Best Heavyweight Adventure Motorcycles

Two cylinders and up, 900cc +, 230kg +

BMW R1250GS Adventure

Released: 2019, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 1254cc boxer-twin, Power/ torque: 134bhp/ 106 ft-lb, Tank: 30L, Seat height: 890mm, Weight: 268kg, Suspension: front 37mm telelever – optional dynamic ESA / rear paralever – preload and rebound adjustable and optional dynamic ESA, Tyres: 19/17

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: BMW R1250GS Adventure

I’m sure you’ve already been introduced. The mighty GS pretty much invented the adventure bike market as we know it today and BMW have been fine tuning their flagship model since the 1150 in 2002. The latest iteration released in 2019 is the 1250. With it, you get a bigger motor (84cc increase), 11bhp more power and a 14% increase in torque over the previous R1200GS model thanks to BMW’s state of the art ShiftCam technology.

Even though the suspension, chassis, rider aids and general layout remain the same, the changes to the engine make a huge difference to the riding experience. So, if you’re after a new heavyweight adventure bike, are considering the GS – and can stomach the hefty price tag, then it’s worth going for the 1250.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

Released: 2015, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 1301cc V-twin, Power/ torque: 160bhp/ 101 ft-lb, Tank: 23L, Seat height: 880mm, Weight: 221kg, Suspension: front 48mm WP USD forks – compression, rebound and preload adjustable / rear WP monoshock – compression, rebound and preload adjustable , Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Remember the KTM 990? The original carburetted version before the new fuel injected model took over? What a bike! Then the 1090 and 1190. Well, they’ve all been replaced with KTM’s biggest ever machine – the 1290 Super Adventure R. This is a behemoth of a bike and takes on BMW’s mighty GS Adventure.

And KTM aren’t messing about… the 1290 is a serious machine capable of anything you throw at it. It’s well setup for road riding (if you’re predominately going to be on tarmac then opt for the ‘S’ model instead of the more off-road focused ‘R’ with a larger tank, smaller wheels and semi-active suspension. Either way, the 1290 has a comfortable riding position, hefty fuel tank, swish electronics and riding modes including cornering ABS and much more.

If you’re wondering where this bike stands, it’s a lighter and more powerful and torquier motorcycle than the R1250GS. So if you’ve got an itchy wrist and like getting on the gas, but want a heavyweight bike for adventure motorcycle touring with off-road capabilities, then this might be for you.

Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin

Model: 2020, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 1084cc parallel-twin, Power/ torque: 100bhp/ 78 ft-lb, Tank: 18.8L, Seat height: 850mm, Weight: 226kg, Suspension: front 45mm Showa USD forks – fully adjustable / rear Showa monoshock – fully adjustable, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin

The Honda Africa Twin takes a step back from the conventional heavyweight spec sheet. We’re now up to Honda’s third iteration of the Africa Twin since it was re-launched in 2016 in CRF1000L guise. Now as the 1100L, Honda have taken the bike even further down the off-road route. There is the CRF1100L Adventure Sports model for those who are more road biased, but for the purpose of this article, we’re sticking with the off-road focused Africa Twin model.

The new for 2020 Twin gets an engine capacity increase to 1084cc, giving it 6.8bhp more power and 4.4 ft-lbs of torque. It also gets a very slight weight reduction and higher bars, new TFT screen to match its mates in this sector, cornering ABS, cruise control, traction control, riding/power/braking and user modes and the option to switch the rear wheel ABS off.

Overall, the Honda Africa Twin is a lighter and more off-road focused motorcycle than its competitors in the heavyweight division. It used to be a simpler machine too, but with the latest update it has gained a selection of new electronics to bring it more in line with the current range of heavyweights. 

The Honda Africa Twin is well suited for those who like to ride on the rough stuff just as much as the road and aren’t after the touring focused luxuries of the GS or the mad power of the KTM Super Adventure. It’s a capable adventure bike with a more balanced mix of capabilities from off-roading and trail riding to touring and scratching mountain bends. 

V Strom 1050 DE (previously 1050 XT)

Released: 2023, Engine: 1037cc liquid-cooled V-twin, Power: 105.5 bhp, Torque: 73.8 ft-lbs, Wet weight: 252kg, Seat height: 880mm, Tank capacity: 20 litres, Front suspension: Fully adjustable KYB upside down forks, Rear suspension: Preload adjustable KYB link type suspension, Tyres: 21 front, 17 rear

Suzuki 1050 DE 2023

In 2022, the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT held this spot in our best adventure bikes article. However, now in 2023 the improved 1050 DE model has taken its spot. 

Before the 1050 XT, it was the V-Strom 1000 – a great all-round adventure bike. Much like the middleweight 650XT listed above in the middleweight section, it wasn’t exceptional in any one area, but instead, was a versatile workhorse – and competitively priced too.

Suzuki upped their game with the 1050 XT and treated their new Strom to rider aids to keep it in line with the competition. It received reworked suspension for a firmer ride, but engine remained the same with tweaks to get it through Euro5 with a slight increase to power and modifications to give it a torquier delivery.

Easy going, fun, punchy motor and well-priced. The Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT was a do-it-all all-rounder. But it didn’t quite cut it off-road. 

But now for 2023, the 1050 DE model has addressed the XT’s shortcomings and is far more dirt focused. For all the new changes to the Suzuki 1050 DE, check out the New Adventure Bikes [2023] guide.

Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro

Model: 2022, Last updated: 2023, Engine: 1160cc inline three-cylinder, Power/ torque: 148bhp/ 95.9 ft-lb, Tank: 20L, Seat height: 875-895mm, Weight: 249kg, Suspension: front 49mm Showa forks – semi-active / rear Showa monoshock – semi-active and electronic preload adjustable, Tyres: 21/18

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro

The old top-heavy tourer that was the Triumph Explorer had a complete overhaul for 2022. It has shed 25kg, has a completely new chassis, posh new Showa semi-active suspension, a seriously classy electronics package and a new motor. The new 1160cc T-plane crank engine is aimed at adventure riders with more low-down grunt. And there’s also an ‘Explorer’ model with a 30-litre tank, which clearly directly targets BMW’s Adventure model.

It’s too early to say how good this new Triumph Tiger 1200 really is. But if its as good as its spec sheet says it is, BMW might have a serious contender on their hands.

Older models

KTM 1190 Adventure R

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: KTM 1190 Adventure R

It’s a shame KTM discontinued the 1190. It has been going since 2013 when it took over from the excellent 990 Adventure. At 230kg and with 150bhp it was a monster of an adventure bike, quick on road and an off-road weapon.

READ: KTM 1190R Adventure Review

BMW R1200GS

The Best Adventure Motorcycles Guide: BMW R1200GS Adventure

The famed R1200GS from 2013 was an excellent motorcycle, made even better with the 2017 upgrades. This is the bike most people know and love and has opened the world up to many adventure riders and tourers. And even if you don’t ride off-road or travel on your bike, the GS is still an exceptional all-round motorcycle and the perfect everyday machine.  

READ: BMW R1200GS Rallye Review

More on Adventure Motorcycles

Thanks for checking out the Best Adventure Motorcycles guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on adventure motorcycles that we recommend you read next. 

Liked that? Try these next…

Are you looking for a new adventure motorcycle? If you have any questions, think we’ve missed a bike off this list, or just want to share your thoughts, then please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! 

30 thoughts on “The Best Adventure Motorcycles”

  1. I just bought a new Triumph Tiger Rally 900….Gotta love it…plenty under the hood at a seat height that even I can handle…it’s a great bike !!!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Sam,
      Ah that’s awesome!!! The Tigers are such an awesome range – such a great motor too. Glad to hear you’re getting on with it. Have you got any trips planned with it?
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
    • Hi Dave!
      Thanks for your comment, glad you found this helpful.
      What bikes are on your shortlist?
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
  2. Great list. I am thinking about bying a used adventure capable bike and try out some TET trails in Europe. Do you know if there are any off-road/adventure motorcycles with easy maintenance? Were you don’t have to dismount the whole bike just to get to the air filter. It seems like the manufacturers have forgotten about maintenance all together. It should really be easy to clean air filter, change spark plugs and check valve adjustment.

    Best regards
    Mikael

    Reply
    • Hi Mikael, thanks for your comment.
      Great to hear you’re planning on buying an adventure bike for the TET.
      Sure, there are plenty of bikes, but it all depends on your other requirements, for example, are you after a single or twin-cylinder bike? Is this bike just for the TET or are you also going to be touring/ road riding etc.
      I’d say the most easily accessible bikes are single cylinders like the Yamaha XT660 or a CRF250/300L or Rally, but again, it all depends on your budget and what exactly you’re after.
      Check out this guide: How to Choose an Adventure Motorcycle for Travelling
      And also, i’d have a read of our Adventure Motorcycle Reviews section as there are loads of bike reviews in there from proper travellers who discuss maintenance on their bikes and a lot of them would be suitable for the TET.
      You can find both guides in the Adventure Motorcycle Resources section.
      I hope this helps,

      And ps. you are 100% right about manufacturers forgetting about ease of maintenance – it’s almost as if they make it hard so we have to take our bikes to their dealers!
      Cheers and all the best to you mate,
      Andy

      Reply
      • Thank you for fast response 😊👍🏻🏍💨
        I have a Triumph Tiger 955i 2004 now, but i realise i need a bit more off-road capabilities. I kind of like the triple motor though, but when i look on the 800xc for example, i get just tired when i see the work needed just to get to the airfilter.
        I used to ride mx and enduro many years ago, and it was just a plastic lid to get the air filter out. Now with this bikes its really an adventure just to maintain them 😄😄😄.

        Give me a analog two cylinder four stroke engine without digital settings. You can just use the throttle, and the brakes when you want to change speed and traction 😄👍🏻, not software.
        Something simple, but sturdy and a bit refined would be nice. Made for 50/50 driving.

        Reply
  3. Great summary of the options available. Adventure riding can mean so may different things. The bike I’d choose for a south-east Asia trip is different than what I’d choose for a European journey. And finally, if you are really doing a RTW, the criteria would be slightly different again. For shorter trips, availability of parts or service isn’t that important. For a longer journey, it’s something to consider. I’m in favour of bikes that are available in whatever country you plan to ride in. So a BWM is fine in Europe but less so in South-East Asia (unless you have time to wait for parts or are with a tour company that can support you). Historically the Honda CRF250 has been a favourite of mine but the seat is not great for long trips (yes, this can be fixed). Also, it’s not sold in South-America so parts are surprisingly hard to get. The Himalayan is a bike I’m growing more fond of. Sold in a surprisingly large number of countries now and very comfortable for long trips. No to big but still big enough for mountain climbs.

    Thanks again for the very complete summary

    Reply
  4. good afternoon. Excellent review thanks. I choose a motorcycle for a round the world trip from Europe. The budget is about 15,000, I travel with a passenger. I start from Asia. Settled on new Honda XL750 Transalp or used BMW F 850 GS Adventure. I don’t really like heavy bikes. I will try to choose good roads. What do you advise ? I am 180 cm and with 100,000 km experience.

    Reply
    • Hi Stanislav, thanks for your comment.
      Happy to help, but it’s a broad question and so i’ve got a few questions for you first…
      + Just to check, you’re asking which bike to buy out of the Honda XL750 Transalp versus BMW F 850 GS?
      + And you plan on riding round the world from Europe or Asia? Where from exactly, where to and for how long?
      + What is your current motorcycle and what adventure style bikes are you used to?
      + Have you test ridden either bike?

      ps. in the meantime, you may find this article interesting: How to Choose an Adventure Motorcycle for Travelling and check out the Round the World Motorcycle Travel Guides section for loads of guides on RTW travel.

      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
      • Thank you very much for your answer. I live in Lugano in Switzerland and will start from home. I have traveled all over Europe and will pass Europe quickly, entering Turkey and further to Iran. I will travel for a few months, leave the motorcycle, come back in a few months, continue on my way and so on. I want to go to Australia and then to America.
        A year ago I bought a Ducati Multistrada V4, an excellent motorcycle, I rode it a lot in Europe, but I think it will be difficult in Asia and I don’t want to leave it there and be at home without a motorcycle. I traveled many countries on different motorcycles, of course, my Ducati is more convenient for Europe, and in Asia I went to Royal Endfield and other 600-700 cc. I was sitting on a Honda 850, but I didn’t drive. I drove a BMW, worse than 1000 cc, but probably more convenient to repair, cheaper and easier to drive on bad roads.
        I think it will be easier to repair the BMW 850 adventure, because Honda is a new motorcycle and probably not tested. You can buy them for the same amount, but BMW is probably better. Please tell me.

        Reply
        • Hi Stanislav,
          What a beautiful part of the world you’re from! I love Lugano. Sounds like a good plan – travelling for a few months, leaving the bike and returning. That’s great you’re planning on heading to Australia and America, we’re also on a round the world trip and just shipped our bike from Indonesia to Australia – we’ll then head to NZ and ship to America after too. We have lots of guides on the site on this so hopefully they help with your planning.

          Anyway, back to your question. Yes, as much as the Multi is a brilliant bike (I love that bike too, I used to ride the Multi Enduro – one of my favourites), it would definitely not be a good choice for Asia.

          I wouldn’t say the BMW 850 is going to be easier to repair than the Honda. BMW parts are always expensive and more difficult to source. It’s a bigger bike too so it’s not going to be any easier to ride on roads through Asia and Southeast Asia than the Transalp. Even though the Honda is new, I would still trust its reliability and it’d probably still be easier to source parts for it.

          In your case, what’s more important is your pillion and gear. Riding two-up means a lot more kit to carry, and if you’re covering long distances through Asia and planning on riding rough roads, you’re going to want to make your pillion as comfortable as possible and make sure you can get the luggage and pannier racks for the Honda first as that will be an important deciding factor.

          If it were me, I would go for the Transalp for a round the world ride (lighter by about 20kg is a big bonus). But as you are riding two-up, I suggest researching what luggage you want to use, figure out how much kit you’re going to take and what luggage options you have for both bikes. Make sure you can carry what you need on the Transalp and the right pannier racks are manufactured for it. Then take your pillion for a test ride on both bikes to see which is most comfortable for you.

          You sound like an experienced biker, so a test ride on both bikes is going to be your deciding factor because you’re not going to go wrong with either bike.

          Reply
  5. Honda Africa or Honda Tenere are best for really long and unpredictable roads.
    If you do not foresee a lot of highway speeds then Tenere. Especially that you have the Strada and want a lighter bike.

    Reply
    • Hi Sunny, I assume you mean Honda Africa Twin or Yamaha Tenere? If so, yes, I agree – they are both excellent adventure bikes and well suited for big trips and long rides. Bear in mind Stanislav is travelling two-up, so the Africa Twin might be the better option. Cheers!
      Andy

      Reply
  6. thank you so much, it’s good to have the right advice for preparing such a trip. now I’m going on short two or four day trips and I’ll take a BMW 850 for them. I want to fly to Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. Honda will appear in the spring and try it.

    Reply
  7. Yes I did mean Yamaha Tenere 700, apologies.
    I have been on a BMW 850GS and I did not like low torque down low, and vibes up there at high speed. I felt it needed a third cylinder, for better balance.

    Reply
    • Hi Sunny, that’s very interesting – and you’re not the first person i’ve heard say that! What are you currently riding?
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
    • Hi Kristian, I’ve ridden the little KTM plenty of times and reckon it’s essentially a (very fun) road going bike with minimal off-road capabilities (and with awkward ergonomics for standing on the pegs). However, this Best Adventure Bikes article takes all bikes with the Adv bike sticker into consideration – road and off-road based, so it does seem fair that it’d be considered. So tell us, do you own a 390 and what do you think of it?
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
  8. Hi there, just had my Tiger Rally Pro stolen, great bike, felt very easy to handle and balanced. I used to have a Tiger explorer before that but downsized because it was so top heavy. If I want to go back up to a larger bike for longer trips, I was wondering which bike has the weight low down.
    I also want a bigger tank, 30l is great, it says here the ktm superadventure has a 28? I looked on the website which says 23?

    Reply
    • Hi Chris, sorry to hear you had your Tiger stolen, that’s bad news! Yeah, good point on the Explorer, they’re notoriously top heavy – but ultra smooth and brilliant touring bikes nonetheless.
      You’re right on the 23 litres, typo that’s been corrected now, thank you. And you’re also pointing in the right direction with the SA, the 2021 onwards models aren’t particularly top heavy – especially when compared to the Explorer and I would even say when compared to the GS. They’re absolutely loaded with power too, so it depends what you’re using the bike for.
      Cheers and all the best,
      Andy

      Reply
  9. Hi Andy,
    Love the reviews. I have a Honda CRF250 Rally which is great entry level, light, easy to maintain but and can go everywhere basically when on a forest ride – stuff you have to think twice on a larger bike. The drawback…. long sections on dirt roads and also country tar where the bigger bikes in the group are more comfortable with the speed.
    What would be the options to step up – I guess something that retains the light weight advantages, stays true to the offroading side, keeps things like a bit of single track in play, but offer a bit more power for roads? DR650 or the AJP seem like a decent step up options from the reviews? Or are the benefits minimal?

    Reply
    • Hi James,
      Great to hear you have a 250 Rally – great bikes! And yes, you’re absolutely right, great trail bikes but of course they’ll struggle on smoother stuff keeping up with fellow riders.
      Excellent question! And yes, you’re right again – the Suzuki DR650 and AJP PR7 are natural progressions. Unfortunately we don’t have the DR650 in the UK, so AJP would be the way to go. Even though it’s still a single-cylinder, it’s a massive jump up from the 250 Rally, so I would definitely not say the benefits are minimal – especially if you’re looking to use this as a primarily off-road bike. You will certainly notice the difference. Another option is the KTM 690 Enduro – that’s far more of an aggressive off-roader and the comparison between the 250 there would be like chalk and cheese.
      Cheers
      Andy

      Reply
  10. Hi Andy

    Im actually in Australia so the DR650 are far more widely available. I think the KTMs are great but as an Enduro would it cut it comfort wise on say a 700km 3-day adventure ride on a mix of surfaces? Bush, trail and tar?

    Reply
    • Oh well if you’re in Australia then the DR650 is perfect! Have you read the DR650 Review on our site? The reviewers solely rode that bike on a 30K trip around Australia.
      Quite a few people have ridden around the world on a 690, but it won’t be anywhere near as comfy as a 650. It’s a sacrifice and balance, if you want to tip the scales in comfort and less in off-road capability, then DR. If you want to ride hard and fast off-road and less comfort then 690. But in my opinion, it sounds like the DR650 is the way to go for you.
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply

Leave a comment