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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.

2016 BMW S 1000 XR | First Ride Review

2016 BMW S 1000 XR

Greg Drevenstedt
July 3, 2015

Based on the 160-horsepower in-line four from the S 1000 R naked sportbike, the all-new S 1000 XR adventure tourer delivers serious performance. Photography by Kevin Wing Thirty-five years ago, BMW created the adventure-touring segment when it introduced the R80G/S (Gelände/Strasse is German for “terrain/road”).... Read more »

2015 Suzuki V-Strom 650XT ABS — First Ride Review

New to the lineup for 2015, the V-Strom 650XT has a beak like the DL1000, plus spoked wheels, aluminum side cases, engine guards and a touring windscreen.

Mark Tuttle
May 8, 2015

New to the lineup for 2015, the V-Strom 650XT has a beak like the DL1000, plus spoked wheels, aluminum side cases, engine guards and a touring windscreen. (Photography by Kevin Wing) The Suzuki V-Strom 650 occupies the middleweight niche between lighter dual-sports and larger adventure tourers, and its... Read more »

2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT / S | First Ride Review

2015 Multistrada 1200 DVT

Mark Tuttle
March 17, 2015

Funny how things come full circle if you just wait long enough, isn’t it? In the 1950s and ’60s, a British or American twin or single was often used for all kinds of riding, even if it wasn’t necessarily cut out for it. Then in the ’80s we marveled as specialization crept in and the street motorcycle... Read more »

2016* Aprilia Caponord Rally – First Ride Review

The active suspension adapts automatically to deliver taut and well-controlled sport riding, plush open-road cruising and compliant comfort over the biggest bumps and deepest potholes we could find.

Ken Lee
February 25, 2015

Even with its stronger emphasis on adventure duties, the Rally serves as an excellent street ride, giving up nothing in terms of hard-charging twisty road capabilities or long-range comfort. Aprilia is on the move and seriously courting the long-range crowd, first with the 2015 Caponord 1200 ABS Travel... Read more »

2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure — First Ride Review

The 1290 Super Adventure is more powerful, sophisticated and comfortable than the 1190 Adventure it’s based on.

Greg Drevenstedt
February 19, 2015

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure might be the most powerful and sophisticated adventure bike ever made. It certainly is one of the most exciting to ride. (Photography by Francesc Monterro and Sebas Romero) With triple-digit rear-wheel horsepower, state-of-the-art electronics and enough comfort, range and... Read more »

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure / R — Long-term Review

2014 KTM 1190 Adventure R (Photo by Mark Tuttle)

Greg Drevenstedt
January 19, 2015

Chasing the sunset on the 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure. (Photo by Kevin Wing) Photos by Kevin Wing, Rich Cox, Mark Tuttle and Greg Drevenstedt Any day now, our long-term 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure test bike will be going back, and we sure will miss it. The big, orange beast is actually the third in a series... Read more »

2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx and Tiger 800 XCx – First Ride Review

2015-Triumph-Tiger-800-XRx-featured

Greg Drevenstedt
November 21, 2014

photography by Alessio Barbanti and Paul Barshon In late 2010, at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, Triumph pulled the covers off two all-new middleweight adventure tourers, the street-oriented Tiger 800 and off-road-ready Tiger 800 XC, and a few weeks later it hosted a world press launch for both bikes... Read more »

2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XR and XC – First Look Review

2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx

Rider Magazine Staff
November 4, 2014

2015 Triumph Tiger 800 XRx in Caspian Blue Triumph’s Tiger 800 and Tiger 800 XC adventure tourers, introduced for 2011, impressed us with their torquey in-line triples, good handling and versatility, earning Rider’s 2011 Motorcycle of the Year award. The street-focused Tiger 800 had cast wheels... Read more »

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 »

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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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