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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.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring – First Ride

Few motorcycles attack corners as well as the Ducati Multistrada 1200.

Greg Drevenstedt
October 25, 2012

Since its 2010 revamp, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 has been busy. It became king of Pikes Peak (spawning an eponymous model version), it helped keep the lights on during the economic downturn (thanks to sales of 20,500 units) and it grew the ranks of Ducatisti. Four out of five Multistrada buyers are... Read more »

2013 Husqvarna TR650 Terra and Strada

2013 Husqvarna TR650 Terra (left) and Strada (right)

Greg Drevenstedt
October 25, 2012

Husqvarna, a formerly Swedish company based in Italy and owned since 2007 by Germans (BMW), has been making motorcycles for 110 years. Best known for its motocross and enduro bikes, Husqvarna offers street-legal dual-sport bikes in its TE line, but they’re of the 90/10 dirt/street variety, fairly hardcore... Read more »

BMW Unveils All-new, Liquid-cooled R 1200 GS

BMW R 1200 GS

Greg Drevenstedt
October 2, 2012

The wait is over. After years of hand-wringing by the Bavarian faithful, months of rampant speculation and numerous leaked spy shots, the all-new BMW R 1200 GS has been officially unveiled at the International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bicycle Fair—better known as Intermot—in Cologne, Germany. It has... Read more »

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 – First Look

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Greg Drevenstedt
October 1, 2012

Three years after the radical remake of Ducati’s Multistrada adventure tourer, the now-Audi-owned Italian company has given the versatile platform a significant upgrade. The grunty Testastretta 11° engine gets a claimed 5-percent boost in torque and now runs more smoothly and efficiently thanks to... Read more »

Ducati Previews The Release Of Their 2013 Multistrada Models

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring and the Multistrada 1200.

Press Release
September 18, 2012

Ducati has given a preview of its highly-anticipated 2013 range by revealing exciting new Multistrada models that introduce new features such as enhanced aesthetics, a second generation Testastretta 11° engine, the very latest ABS and, on the “S” versions, the innovative semi-active suspension system,... Read more »

Road Test: 2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer

With a powerful engine, nimble handling, strong brakes and well-controlled suspension, the Triumph Tiger Explorer mixes sport with adventure.

Greg Drevenstedt
September 5, 2012

After my exhilarating but brief ride on the all-new Triumph Tiger Explorer at its press launch in Spain (Rider, May 2012, and on ridermagazine.com), I waited impatiently for the Explorer to arrive in the U.S., eager to spend quality time together and see if we had the chemistry for a longer-term relationship.... Read more »

Comparison: 2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer vs. 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré

The Super Ténéré has dirt-worthy spoked wheels but a vulnerable undercarriage and its ABS can’t be easily turned off.

Greg Drevenstedt
September 5, 2012

The open-class adventure touring segment has grown from a class of one—the BMW R 1200 GS/Adventure—to a class of five in recent years, with the introduction of the Ducati Multistrada 1200, Moto Guzzi Stelvio, Yamaha Super Ténéré and Triumph Tiger Explorer. We compared the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure... Read more »

Road Test: 2012 Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Holy handling, Batman! The masked Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX carves corners like a bike with a wheelbase much shorter than it’s 60.4 inches.

Mark Tuttle
September 4, 2012

If there are any stretches of paved road left in the U.S. with more than 200 miles between gas stations, I’d sure like to know about them. Highway 140 from Winnemucca, Nevada, to Lakeview, Oregon (part of the historic Winnemucca to the Sea Highway), used to be one, but now there’s gas after about... Read more »

Triumph Announces XC Version of Award Winning Tiger Explorer

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Press Release
September 4, 2012

Triumph Motorcycles increases its range in the Adventure Touring market with the launch of the new Tiger Explorer XC. With a nod to the styling cues of the award-winning Tiger 800 XC, the new Tiger Explorer XC gains a number of enhancements to further heighten its long haul adventure touring appeal. Key... Read more »

2013 BMW F 700 GS and BMW F 800 GS – First Look

2013 BMW F 700 GS and F 800 GS

Greg Drevenstedt
July 2, 2012

BMW’s F-series model family includes four motorcycles powered by the company’s 798cc parallel twin engine: F 800 R, F 800 ST, F 650 GS and F 800 GS. When BMW decided to update the two models in its popular GS enduro line, it also looked to clear up some confusion over model names. Despite being powered... 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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