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Is the U.S. Ready to Embrace Adventure Bikes?

Pictured below is a new version of the Suzuki V-Strom 650 that incorporates high quality aluminum bags, as well as a center stand and other features (such as an engine guard).  Unfortunately, this bike is not available here in the United States, at this point.  It was made to feed the huge appetite for adventure motorcycles in Europe, just like the Honda Varadero 1000 pictured above.

We have ridden some of these bikes, and absolutely love them.  You can see our review of the U.S. market V-Strom 650 here, for example.  Nevertheless, U.S. demand for these bikes is tiny compared to demand for this category of motorcycle in Europe.  Why? 

The U.S. market has largely been about cruisers and sport bikes for several years, with most other categories driving relatively few sales.  Although there is some evidence that this is changing, European tastes have traditionally been quite a bit different, and American distributors often reluctant to bring a model to the U.S. even when it sells well in Europe. 

The adventure category (also sometimes referred to as the large enduro or trailie category) might just prove to be very popular in the U.S. in the near future.  A number of Internet forums devoted to this type of motorcycle are quite active, and the bikes themselves do provide practicality, combined with comfort and fun.  Let us know what you think about adventure bikes, and whether the U.S. market for this style of motorcycle should expand in the near future.


  1. Chris says:

    As an avid dirt biker and former cafe racer I dismissed these adventure bikes as being too heavy for serious dirt riding, and too tall for sport riding. I thought they were silly poseur mobiles, kind of a motorcycle version of the yuppafonic Range Rovers and armored up Jeeps that never seem to have any mud under the fenders. Like everyone else I just want the Japanese to bring back the good old Standard bikes.

    But I’m beginning to get the picture. From the comments here I understand these things are actually more comfortable than the somewhat squat riding position of the old Standards. The dirtbike-esque riding position is more comfortable. Is the rear wheel weight bias also similar to a dirtbike (i.e. can you slide and steer with the throttle on loose pack)? I think that’s a lot safer than the front wheel weight bias of sport bikes and standards.

    The looks of these things are still pretty schizophrenic- they can’t seem to decide whether they want to make em look like off roaders or street bikes (like the Honda pictured). And the giant muffler cans are just silly looking and unnecessarily bulky. Which is another reason so many of us want a return of the old standards- they were restrained looking, tasteful form follows function looking. Something the Japanese have gotten way far away from lately.

  2. Ruefus says:

    Adventure bike = the new definition of ‘standard’ type motorcycle in my mind. Except, they’re putting 19’s and 21’s on most of these things. Kind of quaint that they’re staying true to the ‘adventure’ part, but limiting as hell for serious asphalt rubber. Let’s face facts – this is where most of these things live their lives. (GS and KTM Adventure-types, as in REAL off-road capable not withstanding).

    The KTM 990 SMT trips my trigger. Not for that kind of moolah, but the idea is dead-on: Upright and comfy-long distance ergos. Heart of a sport bike. Bags & tall screen – tour. Tailbag & ‘normal’ screen – commute. Strip it – back road hauler, track days in-a-pinch.

    THAT’s a versatile unit.

  3. Poe says:

    Apparently Triumph thinks so… as they’re going to release two brand new ADV bikes here by the end of the year. Depending on the pricing, I may be tempted to trade my naked SV650 for one.

    I FIRMLY believe adventure bikes are increasing in popularity here – and will continue to. The word is getting out about how much fun these bikes are. I have two good friends in their early 50’s who have recently defected from their naked sportbikes to adventure bikes. One went from a Triumph Speed Triple to a BMW F800GS and the other from an Aprilia Tuono to a Suzuki DL1000. I also have another friend in his early 30’s who recently went from a Yamaha R6 to a Suzuki DL1000 and he loves it… so it’s not JUST older riders. I say BRING ’em! The more the merrier.

  4. Tom says:

    Is the US ready for an Adventure bike?

    Short answer: No. Not enough buyers.
    Long answer: Can we get them to sell them in Canada? Then we’ll just go up there and buy one, drive it down.

  5. Tommy says:

    I own a DL1000 V-Strom, a DR650, and a naked/standard sport bike. I love all three, but the DL has the most miles, which should tell you something.

    Maybe this is just my own wishful thinking, but I do believe adventure bikes are the future for the U.S. Aging Baby-Boomers are about the only thing left supporting the cruiser market, and the Gen-xers are outgrowing their sport bikes. When the Millenials begin to have an influence on the market (which is happening already), they will likely split between sport bikes and dual-sport / adventure bikes, leaving demand in the cruiser market diminished as Baby-Boomers hang it up or die off. Perhaps then the European and Japanese manufacturers will begin offering a wider variety of standard and adventure bikes in the U.S. market to fill the void. I just hate it that the U.S. market has not yet woke up to the outstanding quality and practicality offered in adventure and standard types of bikes (I’m embarassed by it, myself). The Baby-Boomers got us into a market “rut” with their irrational adoration of the cruiser. It is up to the Gen-xers and the Millenials to get us out of that rut.

    And, to all you guys who like dual sports but complain about the bike being too tall: deal with it. Take an MSF rider course and learn how to handle a taller bike. U.S. riders are not shorter than European riders (or Asian riders for that matter). If anything, average male and female height in the U.S. is taller than most of the rest of the world. If they can do it, so can you (we).

  6. Scott says:

    I have had a BMW F650 for a few years now, Had a lot of bikes over the years this is by far the most fun to ride yet.

  7. ben K says:

    After switching bikes over and over, I finally purchased a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom this year. It is absolutely everything I had wanted. The comfort level is off the chart compared to a sportbike and compared to a cruiser it is a rocket. I ride it everywhere, on and off road, in good weather and bad. No complaints at all.

    Here in the US, people are spoon fed the latest bland cruiser crap and they seem to eat it up. Whatever…it is their loss. Sooner or later some of those sheep will tire of the silly black leather costumes and the lazy underpowered bikes and try something else…I bet “adv” style bikes will only get more and more popular

  8. Jeff in New Hampshire says:

    I’m ready already. Let’s go!

    My BMW GS handles 90% as well as my sportbikes, tours 90% as well as a Goldwing, plus commutes, travels, off-roads, etc. I’ve owned virtually every style of motorcycle through the years and I’m done with anything other than an adventure style bike. It would be great if we had more choices in the US market (though I love my BMW) The type of riding that this style of bike opens up is simply amazing. Anything from trackdays, to slogging through muddy logging roads and everything in between. It’s a bike that I can ride anywhere, all day, in comfort.

    BTW I’m 5’10”, squarely an average sized American male, and have absolutely no issue with the seat height (with low saddle) on my GS Adventure. I can flat foot a regular GS.

  9. Phil says:

    I went from a sportbike to a VStrom as my main bike 5 years ago. The sportbike made my knee’s hurt too bad after a relatively short period in the saddle. Adventure bikes like the VStrom have a much better riding position and over the long run make the ride much more enjoyable for a middle age rider. You can take it out on the logging roads then immediately hit the twisties and pass those posers on sportbikes without concern. Great power and clearance along with riding position make for an excellent all-around bike IMO.

  10. Ken says:

    I’m a fly fisherman, and I can only dream of all the rivers, lakes, and streams that I can discover off of the beaten path with one of these adventure bikes. I got my deposite ready for a new Yamaha Super Tenere 1200, just as soon as they decide to bring them into the States. YAMAHA!!!! HURRY UP ALREADY AND BRING THE SUPER TENERE INTO THE STATES!!!

  11. Mr. Mike says:

    Just finished a 6000 mile camping trip out west on my 650 VStrom. It performed flawlessly on all sorts of roads and non-roads. My only complaint would be that the suspension was too soft fully loaded, especially on dirt roads. While out there I noticed a trend toward more people riding trikes. I got to talk to one of the riders and he explained that he went to a three wheels because his cruiser too becoming too heavy. Apparently getting a lighter bike wasn’t an option.

  12. Aleeoop says:

    IMHO the majority of Americans are into following everybody else (cruisers, knee draggers). In the U.S., motorcycles are mostly regarded as toys rather than a lifestyle. They ride an hour (or less)at a time. On trips for the past few years though, I have been seeing more and more long distance riders and more and more of them are on ADV bikes. There has always been a hardcore element but we are in the minority. If Adv bikes were more prominent in movies and on TV or if there was a big race or endurance series here, They would probably become very popular. Most people want to think they look cool, so they ride what everyone else does, which could work for ADV bikes too. I don’t necessarily want to ride what everyone else does but if ADV bikes were more popular here, there would be more choices made available to us by the manufacturers (maybe), and that would be good. Regarding the “old duffers” who ride Gold Wings, they are onto something. Those are truly phenominal bikes but with that much sheer mass, I might as well ride side by side with my sweetie in a Corvette with the top down.

  13. Kjazz says:

    Having grown up on sport bikes and dirt bikes (not so much cruisers), I can attest to the body position of Adv bikes just simply making WAY more sense. If you’re not targeting 150 – 200 mph, you really dont have to be laying down on a motorcycle. That’s just playing on consumers’ (usually younger consumers) self image. Therefore, sport bikes meant for the street are already in a major design conflict if you believe in form following function. Most street motorcycles will be ridden in the speed envelope which is suitable for sitting upright or with a mild lean forward. Sitting upright, gives the rider better vision, better ability to swivel the head, better hearing even as it rises the head upward into clean airflow etc. and more leverage over the bars. You wont become as physically or mentally tired, and therefore will stay more alert while riding in an upright position. You also become a MUCH larger visual profile for other motorists to see while on an ADV bike. These “facts” alone make a strong argument for this style of bike without even going into their flexibility of use. These things are the pickup trucks or SUVs of the motorcycle world. I guarantee we will be seeing more and more of them. MORE ADV BIKES PLEASE!!!!!

  14. Kevin says:

    I have a Kawasaki Versys as my first street bike, and I love the upright position, long travel suspension, and the feel of this type of bike. I will replace this bike with the same style. I really like the Tiger, but would love to check out a TDM (are you reading this Yamaha), but like most areas here it is sportbikes or cruisers. The only thing is, I wish the seat heights would drop about and inch or so. Hopefully we will see more of this style bike in the future.

  15. BJ says:

    In the Mid-West (and probably the West), long distances require bigger bikes just for comfort. In New England, I figure there’s still maybe 200 miles of legal dirt road left that you can’t also ride with a ‘normal’ street bike. I can easily ride most dirt roads with my Connie. In any and all twisties, the preference would be for a sport bike.

    While it would be great to bike pack into a remote area like I used to do with my enduro bike years ago, I just don’t think there’s enough available space anymore. By the way, I trailered my bike in those days, not 200 miles of street riding to get there. Hope I’m wrong.

  16. casatomasa says:

    I have several bikes in the garage, the one i find myself on the most is a DL1000 “Strominator”. I bought it second hand on a whim, and as it turns out, aside from my KTM dirtbike, my favorite ride, it’s just plain handy. A do all machine i find myself going out of my way to ride whenever possible. Not being limited to pavement opens up a whole new world of riding. My only suggestion be if the manufactures could come up with more lighter “mid-size” bikes, say in the 650-750ish range with multi-cyl. power for smooth on road ride and more capable suspention off road. These bikes will catch on.


  17. Evilnut says:

    I hope the US embraces it enough to entice some of the manufacturers to bring these bike here. I am the Proud owner of a 2008 Kawasaki KLR650. I am in a situation I would bet allot of motorcycle riders are in, they can only own one bike, but want to do lots of different activities on it. The adventure bike is the perfect solution! I ride every day unless it is snowing or icy. In just over 2 years I have over 20K miles on my KLR. The great thing about the adventure bike category is that the folks that ride them love to customize them to their tastes, so the after-market potential is HUGE! Adventure bike riders love to add bags, trunks, skid plates engine guards, tank bags, exhausts, GPS, Wind screens, hand guards, change sprockets, tires, tools, lighting, helmet communications, electronic gadgets….. the list goes on! And don’t even get me started on riding gear, most adventure riders subscribe to ATGATT (all the gear all the time) & spend a good amount of funds on good gear. I truly hope the motorcycle manufacturers take a chance & bring some of these great adventure bikes from Europe to the US. I thinks they will see that after a couple years & some good advertising this category will start to take off. Look at the Kawasaki Versys, there was a chance taken that paid off, it is selling very well.

  18. Steve Johnson says:

    Can’t comment on the original question, but when will europe embrace trail bikes? Although the US don’t get the likes of the Yamaha Tenere (660 and 1200) or Honda Transalp and Varadero, you do get a reasonable choice of smaller trailbikes we don’t get here. Looking at the Honda and Suzuki brochures, the UK doesn’t get any trailbikes from these two manufacturers, no DRZ, no XR650L, DR650, we don’t even get the Kawasaki KLR650. So not that hard done by really..

  19. Ed says:

    I’m sorry but practical as they may be I’d never own one simply because they’re too ugly.Maybe I’m the only one who’ll admit this but part of riding a motorcycle is looking cool doing it and these bikes just scream geek.

    • mark says:

      I love to ride. I don’t really care whether I look cool doing it. I’m not in this to impress other people.

    • Kerry says:

      I really question anyone’s motives who rides a motorcycle because of its looks.

      Secondly, even if it looks are that important to you, “geek” is the last word I’d use to describe bikes styled after Paris/Dakar racers that use form follow function. Really…..? Geek?? Geek is someone who isn’t his own man and needs to be defined by an image.

  20. KRay says:

    The V-Strom 650 may well be the “all around”, best value on the market. True if you want a sport bike or Harley it’s not your cup of tea, but for many of us it is a great bike that can do almost everything well. As for the U.S. version it’s not a big deal that bags and such are not already on. Most V-Strom folks love adding this stuff and there is plenty of after market to pick from.

  21. Ken Vukel says:

    I think the big 4 should bring all the bikes they make to thr US market .
    How will you know you don’t (or do)like something unless you try it? Expose yuor products to everyone .Until now we have no affordable ADV bike BMW Ducati and KTM are way too expensive for me

  22. Patrick D says:

    I’ve owned a BMW R1200GS Adv for four years ago now. I kept my Aprilia Falco (the trade in price was an insult…) and I’ve found that whilst it’s no more comfortable than the Falco, I’m less inclined (pun intended…) to make me break the speed limit and does a whole lot better on badly surfaced roads. The decision to buy a bike of this type can be based on the standard of roads that you normally use. Here in Northern Ireland, they’re generally poor away from primary routes, and so the adventure bike makes alot of sense more of the time. Luggage, fuel capacity and passenger capability are the other major selling points. These bikes can be a bit legless when the speeds rise, though, so I’m glad I kept the Falco for some days!

  23. Kentucky Garrett says:

    Is the U.S. Ready to Embrace Adventure Bikes?
    – Nope

    • mark says:

      Right. I suppose that’s why cruiser sales are down 85%, sportbike sales are down something like 20%, and adventure/dual-sport sales are up a couple percent even in this poor economy.

      • Dave says:

        Honda is missing with their VFR800 Interceptor. I looked at it before I bought my F800 ST. The VFR has ergonomics which are geared too much towards sport and not enough for touring. I can’t tell one cruiser from the next on the highway, there must be hundreds of variations/brands. I seriously considered a 650 VStrom but couldn’t find a used one in my State, I guess they are really popular and guys hold on to them.

      • Kentucky Garrett says:

        The economics term for a product that sells better in a time of economic adversity (such as Ramen Noodles, Depression medications, and apparently adventure bikes) is an “inferior good.” Just thought that was worth mentioning.

  24. Gary P says:

    Yes we are ready as the are the new standard bike, not sitting on your tail bone like a cruiser, or crunched like a pretzel on a sport bike. Now if they only made one from the factory that I could touch the ground on rather then have the dealer screw up the handling by lowering the bike incorrectly. Oh and bags should be standard on all of them which might have riders use them more for transportation, as riders find out that once one has a bike with bags you wonder how you rode without them.

    • Dave says:

      …and a standard center stand for fixing flats, adjusting chains (if necessary) and loading/unloading those bags. I’d also like to see adjustable ergonomic points (multiple seat mounting points so it can be raised/lowered/moved forward/moved rearward) and an adjustable handlebar system (maybe some variant of Rox Risers) to move the bars up/down/forward/aft. Cars have had this for decades to accommodate various riders, why not bikes?

  25. Rob says:

    The minute they announce that the Varadero is coming stateside they can put me down for at least one of them!

  26. Lisa says:

    When I am going for more than 2 hours, I pull out the GS Adventure. When I commute to work with either a laptop or lunch, I pull out the GS Adventure. When I am staying overnight, no contest – I pull out the Adventure. It is a great combination of sporty engine, plush suspension, great handling, and those water-tight (and airtight) aluminum panniers can swallow a lot of gear.

    Yes, I like a lighter bike for contrast… and a short run to the store to buy something that fits in a pocket. And I like a more powerful bike for contrast… but if I could only have one…an Adventure bike with aluminum panniers and ABS brakes PLEASE.

  27. Jose Barreira says:

    Hi from Europe

    Not only we have these GREAT bikes but we also have the V-Strom 1000, Honda Transalp 650, BMW FS800,Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere, Guzzy’s, KTM’s, just to name a few.
    USA should take a good look at “Adventure Bikes”. You have great mountain roads, beautiful tracks, and amazing places where you can only go with an A-Bike.

    My advice: GO FOR IT!


  28. Greg says:

    After reading a previous pst, it appears that those of us who are fans of Adventure bikes need to lobby our local dealers, as much as the companies, to get more for sale in the US. I’m a former sportbike rider, but my next motorcycle will definitely be a adventure bike. I’d love to see the Tenere sold in the US.

    Related to the aesthetics of Adventure bikes, I wish the trend of having all of the dual-sport and adventure bikes having a “beak” would go away. Adventure bikes with a normal front wheel mudguard look so much better(IMO) than the high-mounted guard. And really, if the Tenere and KTM Adventure can compete in the Paris-Dakar with a normal mud guard, do you really need one from a MotoCross bike to ride on that fire road? Same goes for the supermotos…. The worst offender is the Ducati Hypermotard. I’m hoping the Triumph Adventure (Tiger Cub?) shuns this fad, as that may be my next motorcycle.

  29. Brad O says:

    Isn’t every motorcycle an adventure bike (as in you are riding it to experience an adventure)? What is commonly called a dual sport bike expands the surfaces you can ride on to experience your adventure. My opinion, as someone who has only riden dual sport bikes, is that the problem with low sales of dual sports in the U.S. is that most riders don’t have the skill set to ride off tar or, when they have tried it, their bike is so unsuited to it that it scared them back to the blacktop. The MSF training courses are almost exclusively about how to ride on road. Walk in to any bike dealer in or near a metro area and ask them about dirt riding courses as a way to increase riding skills and they give you the deer in the headlights look. Getting more people comfortable riding on dirt/gravel and really having fun and the market for the bikes will be there.

  30. kpaul says:

    Wow 79 comments and counting. That kind of says it all. Perhaps Americans are ready.

  31. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Simple reason:

    Americans are too fat. When we are young, we buy sport bikes. If we survive that phase, we gain weight, have families and get too fat to ride anything but cruisers.

    Europeans are in better shape (and live longer)and can handle diverse terrain better than the average middle-age American.

  32. Tom D says:

    Me and a friend recently rode from the East Coast to Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota on a BMW GS and Buell Ulysses that we’ve both had less than a year. I’m hooked. We did plenty of dirt (roads, trails) in the National Parks and has a blast on the curvy paved roads. We’ve both been riding Harleys (I still have my ElectraGlide). Its more comfortable than the Ulysses but not as grin-inspiring and adrenaline-producing. And we’re still learning. I think more people will get into these bikes.

  33. Paul says:

    Sporting bikes with a comfortable ergonomic that includes leg room. Yes! Bring them all over for us middle aged and older riders.

  34. Dennis says:

    Unfortunately, we(the U.S.) just don’t get it when it comes to unique or niche bikes. For a country and people that prides itself on freedom and freedom of choice, we sure don’t use it.
    I owned a Yamaha TDM 850 for a long time, one of the original “Adventure” bikes. While not perfect, it was a terrific bike. Unfortunately, again, we just didn’t get it.
    It only sold for two years here, and not very well. However in Europe it was a very different story. That bike still sells amazingly well today, although now it’s the TDM900 with a host of improvements making it an even better bike. Unfortunately that fine bike will probably never come hear. If it did, I would buy one in a heartbeat.
    Of the group of riders that I ride with, adventure bikes are quite popular. They’ve owned or own a good selection of what’s available out there on the market here:V-Stroms(1000’s and 650’s), GS’s(650/800/1100/1150/1200), Tigers and my TDM.
    The adventure bike catagory is really the new UJM, only more international.
    I’ve been contemplating getting another bike, something less focused like an adventure bike. I’m waiting to see what Triumph has to offer with their new smaller Tiger. If it’s not what I’m looking for, I’ll probably settle for a 650 V-Strom, which is a great bike.
    I continue to cross my fingers and hope to see a TDM900 at my local Yamaha dealer, but I’m certain that’s not going to happen.
    These are great bikes(the adventures). If you haven’t ridden one, you don’t know what you are missing.

  35. JPJ says:

    I’ll have to agree with Lawrance. Most Americans do not vacation on a motorcycle. We use our motorcycles as recreational vehicles, not as a primary means of transportation. I am guilty of this as well, currently have a cruiser and a sport-bike in the garage. I would not consider an adventure-tourer as my next motorcycle. Next bike would be something light weight,with touring amenities, ie; BMW ST-800 or maybe a Kawasaki Concourse.

  36. johnny ro says:

    My next bike is V-Strom 650. I am actively combing through listings near Boston. Funny this article comes along now. Im not entirely sure its better than original SV650, but its next.

  37. EZMark says:

    I have a DL650 V-Strom and it is the best bike I’ve owned (it’s bike #42).
    I have a bad knee and even the naked sport bikes give me severe knee pain.
    The extra peg room on the 650 is just enough and it handles worlds better than any cruiser, even my 96 Magna and 05 Warrior.
    I just don’t understand why they de-nutted the SV650 engine when they transplanted it to the DL.

  38. dan says:

    I love the idea of an adventure bike but with a 30″ inseam there is no way I want to wrestle one of those giants in daily driving. A 650 maybe.

    • Old town hick says:

      With a 29″ inseam I ride a BMW GS with no problem, with the seat set on the low position. Try one out.

  39. Mark says:

    Not sure what they are waiting for, I know Yamaha has a nice 1000 class adv tourer as well, I’m seriously looking at BMW since its the only game in town but would drop money down right now on either a Honda or Yamaha if they announced they were coming, if not BMW will get my $$.. They are the most comfortable bikes than anything else out there, bring them to the USA!!!

  40. Frank Laird says:

    The percentage of ‘Adventure Bikes’ that are actually ridden off-road is very small. Most riders use them on-road or on smooth and wide dirt roads which any road bike can handle. Those tall suspensions make ‘Adventure Bikes’ diffucult to handle when riding slow or moving around the garage. They’re also too tall for most women riders.

    Combine the modern tech of these bikes with a realistic seat height and factory touring luggage and you have a winner.

    Frank Laird
    San Diego, CA

  41. Bob says:

    . . . and the orange Suzuki with the hard bags cost what? Maybe one half the price of a R1200GS? Heck, bring it to los Estados Unidos and I’ll pay MSRP. I sold my last car in March of 1998. I own two bikes, and my grocery-getter R1150RSA is a bit long in the tooth.

  42. Warren says:

    These bikes make great commuters I have done 120000kms on my Yamaha XTZ660 Tenere If only you could buy the 1200 super tenere without all the luggage and the eletronic crap I would buy one

  43. rojaws says:

    I’ve had a DL650 for 5 years, I have hard pelican side bags for getting groceries, 124 liters of storage with the topbox. There is almost no vibration unlike my brother’s Versys and it’s quiet too.

    I hope Suzuki eventually loses the chain for belt drive, I’d upgrade for that feature and get ABS too. Flush mounting the front turn signals would be nice, other than those minor issues I can only praise the Strom’s performance.

  44. Lawrence says:

    A few years back I made a long trip from Europe to Australia with a KTM 990 Adventure (I had to air-cargo it over two sections); I now have a ZX-14 here in the states. Even with the et-up-with-motor acceleration of the ZX, I still do miss the comfort, go-anywhere-ness and easy handling of the big Katoom. The only downsides on that bike were a pathetic standard saddle (solved by Airhawk and a custom sheepskin cover), and bad range for a long-distance machine (300 klicks was about the max range on dirt). It was even a ton of fun in the winding mountain roads thanks to instant torque and the leverage of those wide bars.
    I think most riders here in merica don’t actually use their bikes as only transportation, so they’re much more swayed by image and short andrenalin doses than everyday ability. In Europe a lot of guys (and gals) have a bike as their only vehicle, and then the ability to go anywhere, handle quickly and – importantly in the city – see over traffic, makes adventure bikes a totally natural fit. Until Americans rely on bikes to get from A to B in any weather instead of a car I don’t think the market will support Adventure bikes to the same degree.
    Still, I can see the niche growing among guys here who like to put a lot of miles under their wheels. If I were buying a bike now I’d be looking seriously at a big trailie to compare to the regular S-T bikes.

  45. Eric says:

    I ride a DR650, which some might classify as an “adventure” bike. For my purposes, it is perfect except for long-distance comfort, which can be addressed with an aftermarket seat and windshield.

    My problem with most adventure bikes is that they seem mostly geared for touring (meaning they are fat pigs with tall gearing–hello 1200GS, Stelvio, Multistrada). If your definition of adventure is at least partial offroad, and you like to ride semi-aggressively, then 500+ pounds doesn’t really cut it (800GS and KTM 990 ADV are close, but still heavy and extreme price points).

    For my ideal adventure bike, I’d like my DR650 with about 20 lbs. shaved off (exhaust and wheels would be an easy place to start), additional 5 HP, bigger gas tank (>4.5 gal.), slightly taller cowling or windscreen (short enough to leave as is offroad), and semi-knobby dual compound tires so I can ride highways to my adventure destination without wearing a flat spot on the back. It would be nice to have full-coverage hand guards and skidplate stock, as well. If Suzuki builds that I would pay over $7000 (current MSRP $5699).

    The fundamental problem may be that adventure is in the mind of the beholder, so marketing and product development guys have a hard time defining the niche.

    • mark says:

      The bike you need already exists: Husqvarna TE610 with an aftermarket gas tank and windscreen.

      • Eric says:

        Mark, yes, I have lusted after the big Huskies. And I forgot to add fuel injection to my list of criteria, which the TE has (TE630 for 2010). A little expensive, but I think you’re right.

  46. Zaphod B says:

    That V-Strom looks like the perfect commuter bike.

  47. Once outside the ‘Sunday Morning Ride-100-Mile radius’ that surrounds most metro areas, Harleys, Adv.bikes and GL’s is about all you see on the highways of western America. New enthusiast-riders have many paths from which to choose: racing, sitting around talking about how fast they are, the latest fast bikes, dragging the beach for girls, looking at themselves in main-street windows as they troll past, restoration/collecting, going to watch others race, racing themselves, etc. As I approach 70, and like many of my long-time riding friends, there’s only one part of motorcycling that I still enjoy: traveling on new roads…..I’ve done or watched others do the rest. Luggage is now more important than horsepower; comfort more important than the image of high performance. An RT will do most of what I want to do but as I become weaker (age and illness) the lighter weight and more ‘ooophs, dropped it in the garage’ resistance of ADV bikes makes them more appealing than the plastic-clad sports tourers others fancy. Add the ability to travel some dirt roads and I’ll keep my HP2 until it’s time for a maxi scooter…..which I know is the next step. Bruce

  48. Scott says:

    With all the unpaved roads west of the Mississippi (I’ve often found myself following a line on a map only to find out that just getting a line on a map doesn’t – necessarilly – mean the road is paved.

    But with 99% of my riding on paved roads, I’m not personally a fan of these “Adventure Bikes” with their softer suspensions and higher center of gravity.

    What I would LOVE to see is a TRUE sport-tourer. Give me an R6 with fuller fairing and hard bags and you won’t be able to wipe the grin off my face. I don’t know about the rest of the US, but I’m ready for a bike like that.

    • Scott says:

      Oops, didn’t complete my thought in the first sentence. I meant to say the US and particulary the US west seems the perfect place for adventure bikes.

  49. Mitch says:

    I purchased a used V-Strom DL1000 recently and totally love it. It’s cheap, super practical and can support two-up riding all day long. Adventure bikes are the way to go.

  50. Brad says:

    I’ve switched off a 1150GS to an RT. The *only* thing I miss about the GS is the aftermarket paniers that would hold a full grocery bag with room to spare.

    Oh yeah, motorcycling is not “a hobby” its my primary mode of transport.

    Chicago, IL USA