1988 - 1999 Suzuki DR Big
Suzuki arguably launched the adventure-bike genre all the way back in 1988 with its DR750S “Big” model. Also called the “Desert Express,” it delivered long range off-road performance and comfort superior to that which you could expect from the enduro-style bikes of the day. The factory boosted the displacement ahead of the 1990 model year to set up a decade-long reign as the grand-daddy of dual-sports.
2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 / 950 S
Ducati spruced up its base mid-size 950 Multistrada ahead of MY2019 with a host of electronic rider aids, and in a first for the 950 range, the builder in Bologna put together an “S” variant with even more top-shelf fandanglery for your riding pleasure. The 950 range offers an alternative to riders for whom the 1260 model is just a little too much to handle, and that makes it more suitable for the folks who are looking for a commuter-friendly, everyday ride. Street-oriented adventure bikes are rapidly replacing standards and sport-tourers as the favored choice du jour for urban travelers and weekend warriors, so this is an increasingly important bracket in which to perform.
2019 KTM 690 Enduro R
The 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R joins its streetwise sibling, the 690 SMC R, in an effort to finish covering all the bases. As its diabolically clever name suggests, the “Enduro” is set up to be street legal so you can drive it down to your favorite off-road locale and skip the trailer and tow vehicle. Far from being just another dual-sport, the Enduro rocks the same top-shelf electronic rider aids as the SMC R to give it a safety and stability far beyond the norm for an off-road machine. The factory also chucked a new frame and top-shelf, WP XPLOR suspension at it to sweeten the deal.
2019 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard
Harley-Davidson Motor Company rolled out a mid-year release with a new addition to its touring line, the Electra Glide Standard. This new model strikes a balance between comfort and fandanglery with all the essentials you need for cruising/touring and none of the fluff. It rocks the relatively new Milwaukee-Eight 107 powerplant and all the ride-quality controls associated with the revamped touring line, but leaves the Infotainment gear on the shelf to deliver a refined-yet-raw riding experience.
2020 Zero Motorcycles SR/F
Zero Motorcycles ramps up its streetbike game yet again with the all new SR/F model slated for 2020 that brings even more of the yummy-goodness to the table that made them the world’s top EV bike builder. Top-shelf tech rides on a new chassis with — you guessed it — a new electric drive motor and power-storage unit deliver more performance and range than its previous top-line naked streetbike, the SR. Best of all, the SR/F’s looks are comparable to the smokerbikes in the naked genre, so it’s even more palatable to the masses in general who have yet to embrace the EV bike technology.
2019 Arcimoto FUV Evergreen
Arcimoto expands its Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) footprint in 2019 with its new Evergreen Edition. The “EE” serves as the flagship for the Oregon-based builder as it seeks to drive a new type of commuter market; the plug-n-play urban rider. Yeah, I say “rider” because the two-up seating is arranged in tandem and the main control is a handlebar, not a wheel, but the thing doesn’t lean so it’s similar to Can-Am’s Spyder in that regard. A 100-mile range and interstate-capable top speed makes it suitable for most commutes, and since the charging system’s power requirements are so user-friendly, you can easily plug up away from the house without benefit of charging station.
2019 Moto Guzzi V85 TT / TT Adventure
After what feels like years of teasing, Moto Guzzi finally lets loose of its all-new V85 TT Adventure into the V85 TT stable. This isn’t exactly new territory for the manufacturer in Mandello, but the factory has kept its cards close to the vest up ’til now. We know it runs an all-new, purpose-built powerplant with some electronic ride-enhancement features and wireless connectivity so your bike networks through your smartphone. It comes in two varieties; a streetwise version for urban commutes and road trips, and a rally-style package that has more of an off-road bent for adventures off the beaten path along with its own graphics package and palette.
2019 Piaggio MP3 Sport 500 hpe
Piaggio Group continues to expand its Delta-scooter program with an all-new High Performance Engine that falls in the 500 cc range to bring even more power and fuel economy to the MP3 family. The MP3 Sport 500 hpe boasts top-shelf shocks and front brakes along with four distinct and dedicated paint and trim packages, but the real gem here is the “Sport Advanced” model that adds even more value with LED tech and even a reverse gear. Of course, all of this is on top of its general design that is already a shot of Pure-D awesomesauce that puts it in a league almost all its own.
2019 KTM 690 SMC R
KTM souped up its SuperMoto-tastic 690 SMC R for an MY2019 return with more of everything that made its predecessor a success. That’s right; a new powerplant drives KTM’s newest version of its popular jackass bike, and it comes with backup from new control and ride-quality electronics that helps you safely get the most out of the machine. Whether you’re into drifting around turns or trick-riding shenanigans, this hooligan bike has something to offer.
2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-R10 SE
Most of the major players have a street-legal racebike replica on the market for relatively ordinary Joes/Janes, and for Kawasaki, that distinction falls to the 2018 Ninja ZX-10R Special Edition. The SE borrows its plant from the Kawasaki Racing Team’s WSBK liter-bike race program along with top-shelf electronic rider aids that add safety and value. Plus, this model comes stock with Kawi’s Electronic Control Suspension system that delivers three separate modes, each with their own performance profile for quick switchups. Best of all, the Ninja ZX-10R SE is priced with us mere mortals in mind, having a sticker in the lower five-digit range instead of the six figures a few manufacturers demand for their equivalent machine.
2017 - 2019 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 & 1000XT
Suzuki hits MY2019 with its V-Strom 1000 along with the off-road-tastic 1000XT added to the adventure stable last year 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.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE+
Kawasaki beefed up its Ninja lineup ahead of MY2019 with the upgraded H2 SX SE+. Competition is fierce at the top of the liter-bike range, but Kawi has a not-so-secret weapon in its fight for street dominance in the form of a supercharger (compressor) that significantly boosts performance. The electronic suite received a buff as well with electronic suspension control bundled with new riding modes and the ability to network with your smartphone. Plus, it rocks a “self-repairing” finish that resists dings and scratches to help it keep its curb value.
2018 - 2019 Energica Eva EsseEsse9
EV superbike-builder Energica hit the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori in Milan in 2017 with its newest effort, the Eva EsseEsse9. Astute readers who are familiar with the brand will recognize the “Eva” moniker as belonging to one of the previously existing models, but this new variant goes in a slightly different temporal direction with its design. It brings 133 pound-feet of torque to the table as soon as you crack the “throttle” — or whatever we’re supposed to call the motor control — and 109 horsepower to move the all-electric ride.
2019 BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
BMW Motorrad refined its top-end adventure bike lineup ahead of MY2019 with the R 1250 GS Adventure. It builds on the base R 1250 GS platform with a handful of off-roadtastic features on top of the extensive fandanglery already associated with this family, plus an increase in both power and torque from a new, higher-displacement, Shift-Cam engine. In addition to the stock equipment, Beemer offers extensive customization options through its accessory catalog to turn the “Adventure” into a technological marvel on wheels.