2017 - 2018 Honda X-ADV
Honda blurs the line between the scooter and motorcycle worlds with its genre-bending X-ADV model. The X-ADV brings a scooter-like body together with a proper motorcycle drivetrain that delivers twist-and-forget operation not unlike a CVT-equipped, swingmount scooter. The Red Riders further confuse the issue with dual-purpose tires meant to turn in a decent performance on soft surfaces while maintaining a certain amount of roadworthiness for your urban commute. Chuck in the 745 cc powerplant and you’ve got one confused ride. Perhaps the confusion is all on my end? Let’s dive in and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda X-ADV.
2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XC
After their Bonneville range, it’s the Tiger models that give the British brand their numbers. As regularly updating their line-ups go, Triumph is giving their 2018 Tiger range a host of bells and whistles that will boast of having it ’Transformed,’ with a ’New Tiger Triple Engine’ and ’New Tiger Technology.’ Apart from this, the bodywork also gets mild updates to look fresh for 2018.
Triumph loves them so much that it feels no inhibitions with having six different models each for 1215 cc and 800 cc engine mods for 2018. Both the 1200 and 800 have four road variants (XR, XRx, XRx low, and range-topping XRT), and two off-road ones (XCx and a top-spec XCA). Guess we’ll take the best of them and spread it out for you nice and easy.
That is the Triumph Tiger 1200 XC range. Drumrolls please. The first thing you notice is that name. Previously all the Tigers running on the 1215cc motor had the ‘Explorer’ badging on them. But for 2018, Triumph has made things easier by just sticking to the 1200 branding.
2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
Suzuki hits MY18 with a shiny new V-Strom 1000 after a one-year hiatus, and it seems the factory spent that time wisely. The range retains the V-Strom 1000 and adds the off-road-tastic 1000XT to the adventure mix for the folks who favor the road (or non-road) traveled by few. Power remains the same at the 100-pony mark, but the mill upped its emissions game to meet the current requirements with a new exhaust system. Electronics received a buff as well with a new Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit that refines the ABS system to include lean-sensitive intervention for an extra layer of protection for those times when the available traction is split between steering and braking forces. Overall, the new V-Stroms look to be a little more capable and user friendly than the previous gen with more top-shelf goodies even if the top-end is currently showing a flat growth curve.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and 1000XT.
2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx
Triumph gave its venerable Tiger range an update for 2018 and an upgrade with the all-new Tiger 800 XRx and its vertically-challenged sibling, the XRx Low. These two reside on the second tier of the XR range with numerous features that the base model misses out on such as Riding Modes, DRLs and full-color TFT display to name a few. A next-gen engine churns out 94 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque for greater performance than its predecessor, with the electronic assistance you need to keep it all under control. Built as a street-centric adventure bike, the XRx siblings can double as outstanding commuters. Join me while I check out the details on this dynamic duo.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger 800 XRx.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Multistrada 950
Since it came out back in ’03, Ducati’s Multistrada family has gotten a lot of love from the riding community. It’s seen a number of upgrades and engine changes over the years, and the new-for-2017 “950” serves as the smallest Multistrada model this year. I wouldn’t call this an entry-level bike by any means, but it is the most accessible of Ducati’s multi-bikes, and thus is likely to help bridge the gap for folks looking to test the adventure-bike waters as it were. A 937 cc Testastretta powerplant drives the ride with 100-plus horsepower on tap and a host of safety-related features bundled in with the Ducati Safety Pack. Today I want to check out this newest bit of Ducatisti bait, and see how the genre has continued to evolve.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Multistrada 950.
2017 - 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 650 / V-Strom 650XT
Adventure bikes are definitely a ’thing.’ They aren’t showing any sign of going away anytime soon, and Suzuki’s V-Strom (Deutsch for ’stream’) is definitely one of the major players advancing the cause, as it were. A few years ago, Suzuki made the decision to drop the V-Strom 650 Adventure, and focus its energies on the base model 650 and 650XT. The result is palpable with a number of improvements made in the 2017 model year that will likely endear these rides to their fans even more. Now we have more power, plus a traction control system to help manage said power as well as some nifty aesthetic tweaks and more.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki V-Strom 650 and V-Strom 650XT.
2016 - 2018 Yamaha Super Ténéré / Super Ténéré ES
Launched in 2010, the Super Ténéré and its stablemate, the Super Ténéré ES return for 2018 with all the adventure goodness that gave the Ténéré its name. 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. The compact 1,199 cc parallel-twin engine coupled with the wide-ratio six-speed transmission carries you over hill and dale and back to the pavement with aplomb. The narrow chassis and low center of gravity make the Super Ténéré easy to handle as well as maneuverable and nimble on twisty roads.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Super Ténéré and Super Ténéré ES.
2015 - 2018 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX
Moto Guzzi looks to grab a slice of the adventure-tour market with its Stelvio 1200 NTX. The factory aimed high on this model, with a 1,151 cc, 100-plus horsepower V-twin driving the ride. It followed up with adjustable suspension and electronic,engine-management gadgetry that is comparable to some of the top adventure-tour bikes available on the market today, making this ’Guzzi a serious contender for its share of the market.
Continue reading for my review of the Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX.
2018 Honda NC750X
Honda looks to solidify its position in the adventure-commuter market with the new-to-the-U.S. 2018 NC750X. Like its predecessor, the new sled is built for comfortable riding with a capacity for touring, but 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. Yeah, that’s an improvement of a mere three ponies over the previous gen, but that’s hardly the end of the yummy-goodness Honda packed away on this standard-on-steroids. It won’t be available in U.S. dealerships until mid Summer, but we can take a closer look and make some educated guesses based on the info so far, ’cause after all, our Euro buddies have had access to this ride for a hot minute now and have plenty to say about it.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda NC750X.
2016 - 2017 Honda VFR1200X
Honda brought its VFR1200X — a.k.a. the ’CrossTourer’ in other markets — to the U.S. back in 2016, and it rolled as a direct carryover into the ’17 model year. Built as an adventure bike with a bias toward the blacktop, the “X” sports a powerful, 129-horsepower engine and a choice between a manual, six-speed gearbox and Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission that provides seamless automatic gear changes sans clutch or toe shifter. The factory also sought to boost its tour-ability with its proprietary Selectable Torque Control, adjustable suspension components and a robust accessories lineup that boasts all manner of gadgets meant to expand capabilities and comfort alike. Around the world, the adventure-bike market is expanding like mad, and Honda is even taking some wind out of the X’s sails with its own Africa Twin model, so today I want to see if it has what it takes to compete in this rapidly evolving and expanding market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda VFR1200X.
2015 - 2018 Honda CB500X
Honda’s CB500X pushes the adventure-bike envelope well into entry-level territory with a mid-displacement engine and low-impact price tag meant to bring more riders into the genre. Let’s face it; the one-liter Africa Twin and larger VFR1200X are a lot of bike for new riders who are not — I repeat: NOT — liable to ever see a trek down the Ivory Coast. Could it be used as a trainer for the larger bikes? Certainly, but its main lot in life will be as an urban commuter with the capacity to handle some poorly-maintained roads and the occasional pothole. If it sounds like I’m downplaying the bike a bit, I would submit that the urban adventure ride is about all most of us manage in a lifetime, thus making it good enough for its designed purpose.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500X.
2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports makes the jump from concept to production to further expand the CRF1000L lineup. This newest model — dubbed the CRF1000L2 — brings a decidedly more rugged visage to the table along with the same 998 cc powerplant that drives its more street-centric adventure siblings. I submit to you that the importance of this model goes beyond a handful of special features and a clever name; in a way, it fulfills the promise of the capabilities implicit with the “Africa Twin” moniker. The updated engine churns out 94 ponies with street-knobbies to put the power to the pavement and an updated suspension system to keep the rough roads and trails from rattling the fillings out of your head. What else has Honda done to capitalize on the popularity of its original AT models? Plenty, not only on this specific model, but across the whole range.
Continue reading for my look at the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports.
2018 BMW F 750 GS / F 850 GS
BMW presses on into adventure-bike territory with a new generation of F-GS models, the F 750 GS and F 850 GS. This adventuresome pair follows the same design as it predecessors with the 750 serving as a road tourer and the 850 set up for work in what you might call less-civilized areas be it fire trails, dirt roads or deserts. An all-new powerplant delivers 77 horsepower and 95 horsepower to the 750 and 850 respectively, and each enjoys other features specifically geared to its host’s purpose in life. The newly-redesigned frame and bodywork, in the words of the factory, give the range “a more dynamic and masculine design.” I’m not sure what to do with that since I tend to think of bikes like I think of boats, in the feminine, but I reckon someone at the factory decided to made the range ’identify’ as male this year. Wherever you land on the looks, form follows function on bikes like these (or at least it should) and so it’s the rest of the machine that should matter the most. Let’s dig in and check out the specialized gear and capabilities of these two all-new rides.
Continue reading for my look at the BMW F 750 GS and F 850 GS.
2017 - 2018 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS
BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it moved into 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.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS.
2017 - 2018 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.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Versys X-300.
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys 650 / Versys 650 LT / Versys 1000 LT
Introduced to the U.S. market in 2008, the Versys stable doesn’t really fit into any one slot. Sharing design elements with adventure tourers, sportbikes, and standard bikes, the Versys makes its own class of versatile commuter/weekender/tourer/grocery-getter bikes. Unless you want an all-out go-fast bike, the Versys lineup has a little something for everyone. A water-cooled 649 cc parallel twin drives the 650 and 650 LT and the 1000 LT gets a 1043 cc engine, also water-cooled, though engine size isn’t the only difference. The ’LT’ models are meant to take you on the long haul, but even between these two, one is more ’tourer’ than the other.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Versys 650, Versys 650 LT and Versys 1000 LT.
2016 - 2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XR
It’s really tough to make an adventure bike that will truly do it all and the folks down at Triumph Motorcycles don’t even waste any time trying. While Triumph has the dirt-tastic XC sibling to cover the off-road work, the streetwise Tiger Explorer XR comes set up for more urban/civilized adventures with adjustable WP suspension components and Brembo brakes with ABS protection. A 1,215 cc three-banger mill drives it all with 139 horsepower on tap, enough to push it well into power-tourer territory. There are a number of variants built on the base XR, all of which come with more top-shelf bits, but don’t be fooled into thinking the base model is all that lacking in any department ’cause it seems to have everything one needs to go traipsing hither and yon.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger Explorer XR.
2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XCx / XCa
If the phrase “British Explorers” brings to mind fond memories of Safari hats and 24-7 solar coverage of the Empire, then I’ve another visual for you to plug into the equation; Triumph’s Tiger Explorer XC family. Based on the entry-level XR range, the XC siblings build up to the XCx that adds cornering traction control and ABS to the 139 ponies that reside in the engine cases, and the XCa that expands the yummy-goodness even more with a tire-pressure monitor and two additional rider modes. Is there more? You betcha. Trumpet really went to great lengths to bring top-notch touring capabilities and an adventure-some spirit together.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Tiger Explorer XCx and XCa.
2017 - 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro / Enduro Pro
The Multistrada Enduro serves as a sort of Jack-of-all-trades as far as bikes go, and Ducati expands the family footprint even further for MY18 with the addition of the Enduro Pro. While it’s safe to say the base Enduro is capable of traversing the black as well as the brown, the Pro version brings a decidedly off-road bias to the table, not unlike some of the other serious business dual-surface rides out there. We’ll see for sure here shortly. The new variant has the same 152-horsepower plant as the base Enduro with a handful of useful bits and bobs such as tank protectors, a low-profile windscreen and Rally-style tires that really give it the off-road slant. Today I’m going to check out the Enduros in depth to see what all Duc has done for its dirtiest Jack to date.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro and Enduro Pro.
When you add a Gran Turismo suffix to the name of a bike, it had better be more than just a streetbike with a set of bags, and it seems that KTM agrees. The new-in-2016 Super Duke GT sports the same 1,290 cc, 173-horsepower plant and much the same chassis as the rest of the family, but the factory boosted the tourability with a set of hard-side panniers and cruise control to go along with a host of comfort- and safety-related features, to include ABS, traction control and more. Best of all, the engineers managed to retain much of the sporty attitude and ability associated with the range to produce a true sport-tourer, so without further ado, let’s check out the details.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.