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Dual–Sport + Adventure Motorcycles

Dual–Sport + Adventure Motorcycles are street–legal motorcycles that are designed for use both on– and off–road (the “dual” in dual–sport or dual–purpose). Dual–sport motorcycle guides discuss the fact that these are typically single–cylinder motorbikes with engine displacements ranging from 250cc to 650cc. Adventure motorcycles, also known as adventurer tourers or travel enduros, have larger, multi–cylinder engines (650cc and up) and are often equipped for long–distance travel with windshields, comfortable seats, saddlebags or side cases. Due to the rigors of off–road use, dual–sport and adventure motorcycles often have durable bodywork and protective elements such as hand guards, engine guards and skid plates – something to look for when reading Dual–Sport + Adventure Motorcycle reviews. Their tires often have a large–block tread pattern that provide grip on pavement and in dirt or gravel; those ridden almost exclusively off–road usually run knobby tires like those found on dirt bikes.

CSC Motorcycles to Import the RX-3 Cyclone, a 250cc Adventure Bike

CSC RX-3 Cyclone

Press Release
September 4, 2014

CSC RX-3 Cyclone CSC Motorcycles, based in Azusa, California, announced today that it is bringing in the first shipment of 250cc RX-3 Cyclone adventure touring motorcycles to the United States. The Cyclone, manufactured for CSC by Chinese manufacturer Zongshen, is being certified for highway use in the... Read more »

2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure – First Look

2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Greg Drevenstedt
August 21, 2014

2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure With 131 horsepower and 80 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, few would accuse KTM’s 1190 Adventure of being down on power. But for some, a lot of power just isn’t enough. And for those intrepid souls KTM will offer a larger-displacement model called the 1290... Read more »

Adventure Shootout: BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, KTM 1190 Adventure, Yamaha Super Ténéré ES

These three big, capable adventure tourers offer enough power, comfort and features for any journey.

Greg Drevenstedt
August 6, 2014

These three big, capable adventure tourers offer enough power, comfort and features for any journey. (Photos by Rich Cox) Although they represent a small minority of motorcycle sales, large-displacement adventure tourers have surged in popularity recently. Buyers are drawn to their one-bike-does-it-all... Read more »

2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES Review

2014 Yamaha Super Ténéré ES

Greg Drevenstedt
August 6, 2014

With a name and styling inspired by its Dakar Rally-winning machines from the ‘90s, Yamaha’s Super Ténéré is available in standard and ES (electronic suspension) versions. (Photos by Rich Cox) Named after a dune-filled region of the Sahara, Yamaha’s Super Ténéré rumbled onto the adventure-touring... Read more »

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure Review

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure

Greg Drevenstedt
August 6, 2014

The 1190 Adventure is the latest entrant in the burgeoning ADV segment, offering a unique combination of power, sophistication and on-/off-road performance (Photos by Rich Cox). After years of building the most off-road-oriented of the big dualies with its 950/990 Adventure models, KTM balanced the scales... Read more »

2014 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Review

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

Greg Drevenstedt
August 6, 2014

BMW invented the travel enduro segment with its R80G/S in 1980, and the boxer-powered, shaft-driven machine has been steadily refined and improved ever since. (Photos by Rich Cox) Introduced for 2013 on the R 1200 GS, the latest version of BMW’s air/liquid-cooled boxer twin powers two updated 2014... Read more »

2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack—Road Test

2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack

Greg Drevenstedt
July 8, 2014

Revived in name but all-new in execution, the Caponord splits the difference between an adventure bike and a sport tourer. (Kevin Wing and Courtesy Aprilia) Norway’s Nordkapp (North Cape) is a 1,000-foot cliff overlooking the frigid Barents Sea, reached by riding through a 4.3-mile undersea tunnel... Read more »

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure R Road Test

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure R

Greg Drevenstedt
June 24, 2014

The 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure R is a powerful, capable street machine, but where it really shines is off-road. Photography by the author and Mark Tuttle Since its introduction in early 2013, KTM’s 1190 Adventure has created a lot of buzz in the burgeoning adventure-touring segment. Its superbike-based,... Read more »

2014 Kawasaki KLR650 New Edition – First Ride Review

Stiffer suspension and a new seat have transformed Kawasaki's venerable KLR650.

Greg Drevenstedt
April 14, 2014

Stiffer suspension and a new seat have transformed Kawasaki’s venerable KLR650. Photography by Alfonse Palaima Kawasaki’s KLR650 has secured a place of honor in the pantheon of great motorcycles. Not because it’s the fastest or the most stylish or the most sophisticated in its class. In fact,... Read more »

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure—Road Test

ktm 1190 Adventure

Mark Tuttle
April 1, 2014

New LED daytime running light surrounds the lowerof the two stacked headlights and increases daytime conspicuity; it can be switched off. As liter-class adventure-touring bikes have been getting more and more street oriented, the KTM 990 Adventure clung to its Dakar racing roots right through 2012. While... Read more »

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Dual–Sport + Adventure Motorcycles, Who Uses Them?

Dual–Sport + Adventure Motorcycles are increasingly popular because of their versatility, as emphasized by road tests on these motorbikes. According to data from the Motorcycle Industry Council, they accounted for 6.3% of all motorcycle unit sales in 2012. They are street–legal and designed to be ridden both on– and off–road, allowing riders to use one motorcycle for almost all types of riding. Like Swiss Army knives and Jeeps, dual–sport and adventure motorcycles are tough and ready for anything. They typically have large–diameter front wheels (19– or 21–inch) that easily roll over obstacles, long–travel suspension that soaks up large bumps, and heavy–duty frames and components. Because of their large front wheels and long–travel suspension, they often have tall seat heights (32 inches and up) that can make them impractical for smaller or shorter riders. Reviews frequently discuss the features that Dual–sport and adventure riders are known for, such as adding “farkles,” accessories that combine “function” and “sparkle,” like auxiliary lights, bolt–on protective pieces and GPS navigation units, to their bikes.


Dual–Sport + Adventure Motorcycle Standouts

The Kawasaki KLR650, a 650cc single–cylinder dual–sport motorcycle that has been in production since 1987 with remarkably few changes, has been the top–selling dual–sport motorcycle for many years due to its performance in road tests, reliability and low sticker price. Other popular dual–sport motorcycles are the Honda XR650L and CRF250L, Kawasaki KLX250S, KTM 690 Enduro R, Suzuki DR650 and DR–Z400S, and Yamaha WR250R. BMW invented the adventure touring segment with its 1980 R80G/S, where G/S stands for Gelände/Strasse (German for off–road/road). Today its R 1200 GS carries on that tradition and is one of the most popular adventure touring motorcycles, along with other BMWs such as the F 800 GS and G 650 GS. Other popular adventure motorcycles discussed in guides include the Ducati Multistrada 1200, KTM 1190 Adventure, Suzuki V–Strom 650/1000, Triumph Tiger 800/XC and Tiger Explorer, and Yamaha Super Ténéré.

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