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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.

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 »

2010 BMW R1200GS/Adventure Review

BMW R1200GS right side beauty

Arden Kysely
June 20, 2011

photography by Kevin Wing and Jonathan Beck [This 2010 BMW R1200GS/Adventure Road Test was originally published in the August 2010 issue of Rider magazine] Standing beside the mud-splattered, BMW 2010 R 1200 GS in my garage, I was losing my patience. A friend who races dirt bikes—those skinny, lightweight... Read more »

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 Road Test

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 left side action

Greg Drevenstedt
June 14, 2011

  We motorcyclists are a lucky lot. The source of our passion is, in most cases, inexpensive, fuel efficient, reliable and a fount of endless joy and fascination. Vintage machines, racebikes and customs may or may not fulfill any of these criteria, but street-legal motorcycles that rolled off the... Read more »

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 and 800XC Road Test

Triumph Tiger 800XC right side action offroad

Rider Magazine
June 7, 2011

photography by Paul Barshon and Alessio Barbanti [This 2011 Triumph Tiger 800 and 800XC Road Test was originally published as a Ridden & Rated in the March 2011 issue of Rider magazine] With Metzeler Karoo knobbies fitted, the Tiger 800XC felt very maneuverable and capable off-road. The larger 21-inch... Read more »

2011 BMW F800R Road Test

BMW F 800 R left side beauty

Rider Magazine
June 6, 2011

photography by Rich Cox [This 2011 BMW F800R Road Test was originally published in the March 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Whenever I cram too many alphanumeric motorcycle models into a conversation, my girlfriend, Carrie, rolls her eyes and says, “It’s all beeps and whistles, dude.” I can hardly... Read more »

2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré Road Test

2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré left side action

Rider Magazine
June 6, 2011

photography by Riles & Nelson [This 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré Road Test was originally published as a Ridden & Rated in the February 2011 issue of Rider magazine] Big adventure bikes make great sport tourers thanks to powerful engines, pavement-eating suspension, comfortable ergonomics and... Read more »

2010 BMW R 1200 GS Road Test

2010 BMW R 1200 GS off road

Arden Kysely
August 6, 2010

photography by Kevin Wing and Jonathan Beck [This 2010 BMW R 1200 GS Road Test was originally published in the August 2010 issue of Rider magazine] 2010 BMW R 1200 GS off road. Standing beside the mud-splattered, 2010 BMW R 1200 GS in my garage, I was losing my patience. A friend who races dirt bikes—those... Read more »

2010 Ducati Multistrada S Touring Road Test

2010 Ducati Multistrada S Touring

Mark Tuttle
May 5, 2010

  When Ducati introduced the Multistrada 1000 for 2003, it was really launching the Italian company’s first street supermoto bike, but no one was associating larger, twin-cylinder street-worthy bikes with the concept behind the grassroots supermoto singles just yet. Declaring it equally at home... Read more »

2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796 Road Test

2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796

Rider Magazine
November 16, 2009

photography by Milagro [This 2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796 Road Test was originally published in the January 2010 issue of Rider magazine] 2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796 Ducatis tend to come in two sizes: small and large. You select the one that suits your appetite, like lunch- and dinner-sized entrées.... Read more »

2009 KTM 690 Enduro R Road Test

2009 KTM 690 Enduro R

Arden Kysely
October 20, 2009

[This 2009 KTM 690 Enduro R Road Test was originally published in the December 2009 issue of Rider magazine] If dirt’s your game, the 2009 KTM 690 Enduro R has the chops to take you anywhere you want to go (within its 150-mile range), no questions asked. The knobby-shod R will suck up any street chores... 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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