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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.

2012 BMW G 650 GS Sertão Road Test

The 2012 G 650 GS Sertão continues BMW’s lineage of adventure-oriented singles that goes back to the 1993 F 650 Funduro.

Greg Drevenstedt
April 3, 2012

Sertão is Portuguese for hinterlands or back country, particularly the arid badlands of northeastern Brazil, the sort of place the new offroad-ready G 650 GS Sertão is designed to explore. From 2000-2010, the rock-hopping variant of BMW’s F 650 GS was called the Dakar, after the legendary rally that... Read more »

2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer First Ride Review

2012 Triumph Tiger Explorer: Metzeler Tourance EXP street-biased dual-sport radials provide plenty of grip on the road and are adequate offroad.

Greg Drevenstedt
February 27, 2012

Leaned over mid-corner, the toe of my boot scraping the tarmac and adrenalin crackling through my veins, rolling on the throttle induces a deep, guttural bark from the stainless-steel exhaust pipe. The rear tire hits something slick, perhaps a thin line of diesel fuel slopped onto the roadway by that... Read more »

2012 Honda NC700X – First Look

2012 Honda NC700X: A new do-it-all middleweight.

Greg Drevenstedt
January 20, 2012

At the New York stop on the International Motorcycle Shows tour, American Honda is unveiling an all-new model, the 2012 Honda NC700X. First seen at the EICMA show in Italy last October, the NC700X features adventure-bike styling, a new engine, and nimble handling. In addition, the NC700X offers the option... Read more »

2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Road Test

2012 Suzuki V-Strom left side action

Greg Drevenstedt
January 13, 2012

Remember the SV650? When it debuted in 1999, Suzuki’s small-fry naked bike wowed the press and public alike despite having modest power, budget components and no wind protection. Why? The SV650 had that special something not all bikes have. It can’t be bolted on and it doesn’t show up in spec charts.... Read more »

2011 BMW R1200GS Adventure vs. 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré Road Test

2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré and 2011 BMW R1200GS Adventure

Rider Magazine
January 6, 2012

photography by Kevin Wing This 2011 BMW R1200GS Adventure vs. 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré Motorcycle Comparison was originally published in the January 2012 issue of Rider magazine] 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré (left) and 2011 BMW R1200GS Adventure can do it all: touring, sport touring, dual-sporting,... Read more »

2011 BMW G 650 GS Road Test

BMW-G650GS-action2

Greg Drevenstedt
November 25, 2011

When I started working at Rider a few years ago, a friend of mine asked, “Now that riding is work, what will you do for fun?” I scoffed at the suggestion that motorcycling would ever feel like work, but my friend’s comment proved to have merit. Since I ride and write about motorcycles 9-to-5, my... Read more »

2012 KTM Street Bikes – First Look

2012 KTM RC8 R

Rider Magazine
November 23, 2011

2012 KTM RC8 R KTM has streamlined its street bike lineup for 2012, with eight models in four categories. 2012 KTM 990 SMT ABS Two high-spec versions of the 1190 superbike, the RC8 R and RC8 R Race Spec, will be offered but the base-model RC8 superbike has been dropped. The 1,195cc V-twin gets dual-spark... Read more »

2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS First Ride

2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 in action

Rider Magazine
November 9, 2011

photography by John Howell & Enrico Pavia Western North Carolina, home to all-consuming kudzu vines, fertile fields full of King Cotton and roads that wind their way through Appalachian hollows, coves and gaps, is a picture-perfect place to test the 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS, especially in late... Read more »

2012 Husqvarna Dual-Purpose TE Line Revealed

2012 Husqvarna TE449

Rider Magazine
August 31, 2011

2012 Husqvarna TE250 Dirt-aggressive and street-legal, the revamped TE dual-purpose bikes in the 2012 Husqvarna motorcycle lineup are ready to invade the U.S. All four TE models receive new reinforced all-black chromoly frames, silver rims and fresh styling (shared changes with the rest of the 2012 Husqvarna... Read more »

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 vs. Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Road Test

Suzuki V-Strom 650 right side beauty

Rider Magazine
June 21, 2011

photography by Kevin Wing [This 2011 Triumph Tiger 800 vs. Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Road Test Comparison was originally published in the June 2011 issue of Rider magazine] When we first tested the V-Strom 650 in 2004, and for several years thereafter, Suzuki had the middleweight, multicylinder adventure... 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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