2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
Kawasaki leaps ahead to its 2022 model-year lineup with a new KLR 650 family. The base model comes with a number of improvements to the engine and electronics, all wrapped up under new bodywork. Fuel injection replaces the carburetor this year to modernize the powerplant along with a new instrument panel and updated lighting that does the same for the rest of the bike. If the base model isn’t exactly as adventure-tastic as you’d like, the factory put together an “Adventure” accessory pack and a touring “Traveler” trim package for a pair of bona fide adventure bikes that are good to go right off the showroom floor.
2018 - 2020 BMW R nineT Urban GS
BMW expanded its R nineT lineup ahead of the 2017 model year with the Urban G/S that brings old school adventure bike looks to the table along with the same modern performance as the rest of the line. Power comes from an 1,170 cc flat-twin engine that adds character and historical panache at the same time to make the “GS” something of a rolling tribute piece. Although the “GS” sports some special gear that sets it apart from the rest of the range, it’s still just a platform that can be shifted between the stock road-running setup and a more off-road friendly build for what is, essentially, two bikes in one. Rider safety is also available in varying levels, so I would argue that this ride is probably appropriate for riders that land near the bottom of the experience scale along with riders who are looking to cross between the black and the brown.
2021 Honda NC750X
Honda’s adventuresome NC750X got a facelift ahead of the 2021 model-year that includes refined front fairings for improved penetration and an enlarged cargo space to contribute to its utility as both an adventure bike and a commuter cycle. The engine also enjoyed a few mechanical tweaks along with an improved electronic-control system, and the lump lost some weight so even more of that power is converted into acceleration. A new slipper-type clutch and re-calibrated transmission completes the MY2021 package with a concurrent gain in safety. Shorter gear-ratios for the first three gears let you come out of the hole like a champ while remaining in the usable powerband.
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special
Harley-Davidson’s design team pulled out all the stops for its “Special” version of the new Pan America 1250 platform, and it shows throughout the details. Electronic suspension controls join with a TPMS and high-output, adaptive headlight that responds to changes in lean angle as you stoop to a corner. The addition of heated hand grips and brush guards increase the Special’s cold-weather and off-road utility, plus it rolls with a center stand that helps ease the pain of trail-side stops. To enhance its adventure worthiness, the engine has a variable valve-timing feature that broadens the tractable power band, and the suspension sports an optional Adaptive Ride Height feature in an industry first. The Special is a more appropriate machine for riders who are more likely to head off-road than its more street-centric base model sibling, the Pan America 1250.
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250
No doubt about it, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company is breaking new ground nowadays as part of its “100 new bikes” initiative, and look no further than the new Pan America 1250 for one of the most obvious examples thereof. That’s right sports fans, H-D takes on the adventure bike segment with its very own entry that is a standalone machine with no direct connection to the rest of the lineup. An all-new Revolution Max 1250 engine powers this line with H-D’s new RDRS as part of the stock package to make the Pan America a technological marvel.
2021 BMW G 310 GS
BMW gave its all-surface G 310 GS a soft body redesign ahead of MY2021 along with a handful of drivetrain upgrades to boot. The factory offers the G 310 GS in a pair of standard paint packages, but adds a two-tone 40th anniversary paint package with historical roots all its own. Comfort and safety also saw a buff with a number of new-for-2021 features on Beemer’s littlest GS.
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4
Ducati rolls into 2021 on its fourth generation Multistrada that reaffirms Duc’s position as a world leader in motorcycle development and production. Aptly named “many roads” in translation, the newly updated Multistrada V4 stable covers not only a range of riding surfaces, but a span of rider types as well, something that will hold it in good stead on the global stage. This family also has the distinction of being the first motorcycle equipped with front and rear radar that enables an automatic station-keeping system in traffic, much like many of the higher-quality automobiles that are currently on the market. The line includes a trio of sub-models, the Multistrada V4, V4 S, and V4 S Sport.
2017 - 2020 Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Kawasaki entered the 2017 model year with an eye toward the small-displacement adventure-bike market, and the all-new Versys-X 300 was its weapon of choice for this new front. The “X” joined the rest of the Versys adventure-bike lineup with the characteristic family flylines atop unique features all its own. Most apparent was the 296 cc engine attractive to riders looking to enter the adventure world as well as the young adults emerging as the new generation of pragmatic buyers.
2017 - 2020 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS
BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it entered the 2017 model year with the addition of the adventuresome G 310 GS. The “GS” builds on the success of the “R” with a few subtle changes that shift the design toward the adventure bike end of the spectrum. Sharing the same 313 cc engine, the G 310 pair head into the low-displacement market alongside some hot competition.
2016 - 2021 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
The Super Ténéré ES returned in 2019 without its stablemate, the Super Ténéré. The “ES” carries into 2021 bringing all the adventure capability that gave the Ténéré its name. A compact 1,199 cc parallel-twin engine coupled with the wide-ratio six-speed transmission takes you over hill and dale and back to the pavement with aplomb. Its narrow chassis and low center of gravity make the Super Ténéré easy to handle as well as maneuverable and nimble on twisty roads. Named after the Ténéré desert region in the Sahara, the Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES from Yamaha give you on-road and off-road confidence wherever your journey takes you.
2018 - 2020 Honda NC750X
Honda introduced the NC750X to the U.S. market in 2018 to solidify its position in the adventure-commuter sector. Like its predecessor, the NC700X, the new sled is built for comfortable riding with a capacity for touring. The new engine lends it a sportier attitude with 54 horsepower on tap and a two-level torque control to help you keep it under control.
2019 - 2021 Honda CB500X
Honda brushed up its CB500X ahead of MY2019 with a number of improvements that came hot on the heels of the buffs it got just the year before. A number of engine tweaks net a small gain in torque, along with a larger front wheel to better tackle road bumps and light terrain. The ’stop’ was boosted right along with the ’go’ in the form of a few refinements in the electronics department, as well as the hardware. Improvements in the suspension and rider’s triangle do their bit to increase rideability and comfort on Honda’s new smallish-displacement adventure bike.
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
Austrian manufacturer KTM teases us with a glimpse into its 2020 lineup by releasing the details on the top-shelf 790 Adventure R “Rally” model. KTM’s not-inconsiderable experience with off-road bikes is readily apparent in this special, limited-edition build that takes an already capable machine and pushes it over the top. Far from being the two-wheeled equivalent of a soccer mom’s SUV, the Rally brings true globetrotting ability to the table with a potent powerplant, extended-travel suspension and weight-saving measures that deliver Dakar-worthy performance. This is a preview as the machine is slated for release in the near future, so get ready to place your order with the quickness when that day arrives, because this mid-size racer is bound to sell out fast.
2019 - 2020 KTM 790 Adventure / 790 Adventure R
KTM hit 2019 with a new platform for adventure fans: the 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R. The factory credits its own customer base with the design of this new adventuresome duo, as they’re both based on direct feedback from same. As a result, they come off the showroom floor with a definite head start in the comfort and rideability departments.
2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has been making progress on its “100 new bikes” initiative, and while some of them have been variations on existing platforms, the new-for-next-year Pan America represents a net-new direction for Milwaukee. This marks a radical departure from the norm for The MoCo as it’s what you might call an actual proper adventure bike. It’s built with an off-road bias to a degree far beyond the flat-track bike or any Sportster-with-knobbies homemade scrambler, and it sports plenty of that rally-type style with a brand-new V-Twin powerplant as the icing on the cake.
2020 KTM 390 Adventure
KTM builds on the success of its 790 Adventure with the new 2020 390 Adventure model. The 390 Adventure borrows elements from its larger-displacement siblings for much of its design DNA. It’s built with a definite off-road bias, but with the promise of good road manners. A torquey thumper provides the power with the bare minimum in the way of safety or ride-quality features to deliver an essential riding experience.
2017 - 2020 KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Many adventure-bike manufacturers try to cover all the bases with a single model, but Austrian bikebuilder KTM splits its efforts to produce the 1290 Super Adventure S. Released for MY2017, KTM built the “S” to deliver long-distance comfort for riders who are looking for more than they can get from one of the Dukes. Wind protection, storage options and electronic safety systems take care of the usual ride-ability concerns, but this is a KTM folks, so you know it’s going to be very well-endowed in the power department as well, to the point of qualifying as a ’super’ adventure.
Top Speed Top Six Adventure motorcycles to consider for beginners
If carving up terrains was your idea of motorcycling, adventure motorcycles are a bipartisan look at how to tackle paved roads and dirt. With long travel suspensions, and a higher riding position, these machines can take your motorcycling learning curve through a multitude of terrains, teaching you some of the biggest lessons travelling on two wheels can.
With having a lot to carry around to fight a multitude of terrains, they are usually an expensive affair (easily 14 grand or more for the latest top-spec models). Luckily, manufacturers have been recognizing this and have been tweaking things around to offer more affordable options to give not so fortunate riders and the young guns to experience the thrill of finding our way through the unknown on two-wheels.
2020 Triumph Tiger 1200 Desert
There’s nothing quite like a special-edition to spruce up a model family, and Triumph takes that to the bank with its new top-shelf Tiger 1200 Desert Edition. The “Desert” builds on the mid-grade, off-road-centric Tiger 1200 XCx with titanium and carbon-fiber touches and a model-specific “Sandstorm” paint package with Desert Edition graphics to set it apart visually from the pack. Of course, the factory maintains its premium electronics suite and active suspension system, and it drives it all with its proven 1,215 cc triple.