MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

BMW Executive Indicates Sport-Tourers are Being Replaced by Adventure Bikes With 17″ Front Wheels

BMW’s S 1000 XR

MD has long been an advocate of the virtues of comfortable, upright ergonomics on the street. Way back in 2006, we published “Upright is Alright” to discuss our feelings. Not just sport bikes, but sport tourers have long tilted the rider forward enough to make him/her uncomfortable on longer rides … hence the popularity of bar riser kits for VFRs, FJR 1300s, etc.

With a small amount of wind protection to keep pressure off your chest, most riders appear to prefer being bolt upright, and more comfortable when touring. Indeed, this is the type of bike developed by MD in its KTM 790 Adventure S project. where, among other modifications, we swapped 17/19″ wheels for the stock 18/21″ items.

BMW’s S 1000 XR

BMW now has two “crossovers” with adventure bike ergonomics, sporty steering geometry and 17″ front wheels … the F 900 XR and the S 1000 XR. According to Dorit Mangold, BMW F-series project manager, crossovers are eclipsing the sport tourer segment. Here is a quote from his interview on the Italian site Motociclismo:

“But the market has developed in another direction in recent years. The Sport-tourer segment has contracted and has been swallowed up by the cross-over segment: those who want to do fast touring today choose a bike with sporty frame qualities, but also with more comfortable and relaxed ergonomics, inherited from the Adventure world. That’s why there is the F 900 XR.”

BMW’s F 900 XR

Of course, BMW is not alone here as, for example, Kawasaki has the Versys line. These bikes have 17″ front wheels as well, but plenty of riders are sport touring on bikes with a 17/19″ combination. Not surprisingly, tire manufacturers are beginning to offer sport touring, and even supersport tires (such as Metzeler’s M9 RR), with a 19″ option for the front.

MD project bike: KTM 790 Adventure S with 19″ front wheel and 17″ rear.

Looking back, the canting forward of the rider on a sport touring machine may have simply been a relic of the sport bike fascination that dominated the industry until roughly 2010.

Give us your thoughts on these trends below.

BMW’s F 900 XR

154 Comments

  1. David M says:

    At least the evolution of the Beak Bikes is reducing the size of the beak. Very good start. I’m still having trouble with the aesthetics though. I won’t be selling my FJR any time soon but I will keep my mind open.

  2. Grover says:

    Hate to break it to you, but upright seating was not invented by ADV designers. We’ve had upright seating since the first motorcycles were invented. Do you see how the latest ADV bikes are putting on smaller wheels to bring the seat heights down to a reasonable level? They are slowly reinventing the motorcycle to what it should be – COMFORTABLE. Now, if they could just improve the aesthetics…

    • Kermit T Frog says:

      If Buell’s offerings were worth their asking price then they would still be in business instead of continually giving investors the business.

      To be different to the point that potential customers are indifferent is to fail and Buell has failed so many times that it appears it’s the only thing he is good at.

      It’s NOT the fault of Harley-Davidson but the simple fact that buyers refused to support Buell’s offerings. Few people wanted them enough to buy them. That is a fact that is continuously ignored by Buell enthusiasts.

      • Reginald Van Blunt says:

        For me, Buell was a no sale for several reasons, after trying very hard to buy American, several times. I do not remember the model I test rode, but was surprised how stable at speed, yet unstable at in town 90 degree turns.
        The non-existent quality assurance in design was horrible. Side stands breaking off, severe heat impingement from rear cylinder, exhaust cylinder studs snapping off, etc. Harley was a significant factor also. No normal/useful rpm range, even for a short shifter inclined rider, multiple oil drains procedures, output shaft bearing failures, etc.
        The shitty attitude of HD sales people regarding Buell compared to ‘real scicles’ did not help. The Ulysses cargo rack was way cool though, but did not make up for front brake line routing and length.
        A neat idea, lost forever.

      • Uncle Stashu says:

        Dint Harley force Buell to use the lousy sportster (now there be’s an ironic name if I ever heards one) engine in their bikes? That itself was a major turn-off for lotsa folks .

    • Jeremy says:

      The Ulysses came out in 2006. But even it was preceded by the Ducati Multistrada (2003) and Yamaha TDM (1991?).

  3. Neal says:

    I’ve owned just about every ergonomic configuration I think. For me, ADV-style bolt upright is best for going distance, with a kidney belt for lumbar support and a small screen that leaves my helmet in clean air. Naked-style slight forward lean works, but the neck angle becomes a limiting factor. Street Glides would be fine if they didn’t buffet my helmet, the weight makes all other riding tedious though.

    • AL Banta says:

      I agree with Neal 100%. Adventure style upright is very comfortable for long rides. if you have decent wind protection and a comfortable saddle you are good to go.

    • PatrickD says:

      Genuinely, mu preference is for a the weight distributed evenly between feet, ass and legs. I found the bolt-upright R1200GS Adv a literal pain in the butt after a couple of hours. An Aprilia Falco/2001 ZX-6r/SV650s have been great for me, with no pain concentration over time.
      I’ve always thought that the fairings on the bikes aimed the windblast at my chest, which is a further means of weight support. I’ve never wanted a taller/double-bubble screen.
      Not for everyone, but that’s always worked better for me.

  4. Skybullet says:

    If 98% of your riding time is highway and you like twisties when you can find them, why not optimize your bike choice for that? Previous 990 SMT, F800 GS, R1100 GS, M900, VFR 800 and more required tweaks to get all day comfort. Since I really, really liked the torque/handling/weight combo of the KTM 990 SMT (Super Moto Travel), I tried the 1290 Super Duke GT. Wow! Everything I liked about the 990 with more comfort, even more power, a quick shifter, standard panniers, cruise control, heated grips, height adjustable wind screen and styling I am slowly learning to accept. Did I mention it is all day comfortable?

  5. Mick says:

    My issue with street bikes in general is the weight. The average weight of street bikes continues to raise. I was hopeful when the parallel twins started to come out. But as soon as they did, they started to gain weight.

    My front line street bike is what I consider to be a somewhat porky 290 pounds. Note that I didn’t say only 290 pounds. Only is reserved for bikes that weigh less than 275 pounds in my universe. I live in the real world where there is a dirt bike market. The ADV market with its five and six hundred pound bikes is something that I can’t fathom.

    I only ride the Multistrada two up. The wife picked it out and I consider it her bike. It’s light by current ADV standards. But it will forever be ridiculously heavy in my book. It would be nice if the dirt bike market would make a two up bike. But they don’t.

    One would think that by now the industry would have struck a balance and produce a decent ADV bike with about 80hp or so at 350 pounds or less. But I have given up hope of that ever happening. I just sit here and cringe as the word only is put before an ever higher number as people discuss the weight of street bikes. I’m sure that before I die I will see it used before a figure that is over 700. On that day I will be very happy to lay down and die.

    • Harry says:

      Mick, could not agree with you more. I currently have two bikes, both Kawasaki. My Ninja 400, at a weight of around 360 pounds is pure joy. It feels effortless under you, like an extension of your body. I love riding the bike and now in my lower 70s hope to ride another decade. The bike leans effortless and there is no worry about dropping it in a parking lot. My Versys 650 is another animal. With saddlebags the weight is over 500 pounds. Being top heavy, tall bike, in parking lots there is always a fear of dropping it. On highways, touring, it is very stable and comfortable. My only wish would be that the bike dropped around 50 pounds. With current material technology it’s all a price situation. On another issue took possession of a new Tesla Model S. Wow, the performance is impressive. Will be looking at an electric bike in the near future.

    • VLJ says:

      Mick, all your continued bitching isn’t going to change a thing. Keep shaking your fist at the clouds, but the fantasy-spec street bike you DEMAND!! has never existed on a showroom floor, and never will. Extreme light weight that’s also sufficiently durable comes with a very high price tag, and varying emissions and safety requirements around the globe only add to a bike’s weight while reducing outright performance. The spec you demand is not only wholly unnecessary for licensed street use, it’s also quite literally impossible to manufacture and retail at a price that would make such a venture remotely feasible for the manufacturer.

      That being the case, just keep modifying your already highly-strung dirt bikes, none of which make the power you demand from the engine configuration you also demand, never mind having any real-world comfort or durability, and be content to maintain them, the requirements of which are far in excess of what is necessary for the larger, heavier, more powerful STREET bikes you keep whining about.

      So, besides constantly bitching about what you won’t buy, decrying how the modern moto world always fails you, do you have any other purpose here?

      Seriously, why are you here? What pleasure or satisfaction do you derive from all your incessant whining?

      • Nick says:

        Can we just get a room for VLJ and Mick and they can carry on (VLJ especially) with bitching at each other and leave the rest of us to discuss bikes?

        Nick

      • Mick says:

        I don’t believe for a minute that the industry can’t possibly make a bike that I would like to buy.

        I firmly believe that they won’t. There is a huge difference between can’t and won’t.

        Whatever, I can play that game too. I still buy new dirt bikes, two strokes, every few years. And its not like I can’t buy new street bikes once in a while. But I won’t. Dirt bikes, even two strokes, continue to improve to become better units to ride in my favorite venue, single track woods. Street bikes do not. The industry has solved the power problem. They can make very power dense engines. But all they do with that know how is make ever more powerful motorcycles of approximately the same weight. Many basic configurations have actually gained weight over the years.

        My request is simple. Use the knowledge gained to make lighter motorcycles of a given power output. Thus far the industry has proven to me that this is something that they simply won’t do. So when I go to the motorcycle shop. You can bet that I will leave with a dirt bike. That’s a shame. But I can be just a stubborn as they are. My nieces and nephews will enjoy a few extra bucks when I croak.

        • todd says:

          You keep ignoring the fact that KTM had the 690 Duke. At 330 pounds and 74hp, it is a cam and PCV away from 80hp. Mine has been great. It’s comfortable as soon as I replaced the bars, has given me 10,000 trouble free miles in my year of ownership and is a joy to ride, fast or slow. The only complaint as a touring bike is the passenger pegs are too close to the seat and force my wife’s or daughter’s legs up too high.
          You could also do the Husqy 701.

    • AL Banta says:

      I sure agree with Mick! I was about to sell my R1200GS and buy a smaller lightweight Adv style bike like the CB500X Honda.
      When i found out the “little” Honda once it was decked out with Crash Bars etc would be 450 lbs or more i was disappointed.I will stay with my 2007 low mileage GS for awhile

    • Tom R says:

      Mick, instead of trying to bench press your motorcycle why don’t you just ride it?

      • mickey says:

        LOL I wonder that all the time when people complain that x motorcycle weighs 40 pounds more than it should. (and who’s to say what any particular motorcycle SHOULD weigh?)

        If it weighs 550 they want it to weigh 500. if it’s 500 they want it to weight 450. If it’s 450 they want it to weight 400 and if it’s 400 they want it to weight 350. No pleasing some people.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m with you and TomR mickey. Some people can never be happy. Weight can be deceiving as well. I put 32,000 frisky miles on a steel-framed FZ1 with good suspension and kept many pure sport bikes behind me. Swear I could almost ride that thing like my ZX10 and it weighed around 500 lbs!

          I enjoy critiquing a little and riding and bench racing the rest of the time.

    • LC says:

      I also like light weight. Sold my R1200GS because it was too heavy, and it was an ’06 oil/air cooled. CB500X now has 19″ front wheel but is still over 400 lbs. I love my Kawasaki Versys X300 at 386 lbs wet, (19″ front wheel) plus a few added accessories. If you haven’t tried one, you should. Smooth linear power, great all around bike. I’m 6’3″ 200 lbs and the other bikes in this category, BMW 310GS and KTM 390 Duke, are too small for me.

    • Jeremy says:

      Mick, I’m just curious why a KTM 690 Duke doesn’t quite do it for you. So maybe it is just a little shy of your 80 HP requirement, but it’s close and probably not hard to get even closer with some mild tuning. And weight is in that 350 lb ballpark as well.

    • mickey says:

      I was curious what your “2 up” bike weighed so I looked it up

      Ducati Multistrada 1200
      Manufacturer Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.
      Seat height 850 mm (33 in)
      Weight 189 kg (417 lb) (dry) 239 kg (527 lb) (wet)

      417 dry…and 527 wet. That’s 110 pounds difference! Good night…What kind of fluids do they put in a Ducati?

      • Mick says:

        I have the old Multistrada 1000DS. It’s really heavy too. But not that heavy. They’re about 25 pounds lighter than the 1200. And no. Ducati is not embarrassed about that. The wife picked it out and I only ride it with her on the back. If I was a better fabricator. I’d build a replacement for it. It’s so ridiculously heavy. The right side panel, for instance, is a little glove box that holds almost nothing. It weighs at least 20 pounds empty.

        My issue with the Duke or Svartpilen is that they only have about ten HP on my current bike while weighing about 80 pounds more. That’s not a decent trade in my book.

    • Thad says:

      Husqvarna Svartpilen 401 or 701?

  6. mkviz says:

    I dont this Yamaha got the memo since they are making the Tracer9

  7. Kermit T Frog says:

    BMW and the rest can make whatever they want to make but unless they make it AFFORDABLE across the board the bike(s) will stay nailed to the showroom floors. By affordable I mean across the entire ownership experience. A bike must be affordable to buy, run, maintain and insure. Manufacturers can do something about the first three but it’s owners that are pretty much responsible for insurance rates. Bikes that deliver 30mpg and less are simply useless in the real world of road riding, especially so with tiny fuel tanks. Bikes whose maintenance costs are well past usurious result in loss of interest in riding due to the onslaught of the mere thought of having to pay out hundreds of dollars for a tune-up or for tires that last only a few thousand miles. Or both at the same time.

    I ruled out BMW’s C650GT Scooter because the service department quoted over $1,800 for a major service. The bike was made by Kymco for BMW but apparently they imported Gremlins from the Fatherland to make certain you got verklumpt at service time. 😉

    I doubt TimC has enough of an attention span to have read those words. Too much sound reasoning and far too many syllables? FTN, AH.

    • Motoman says:

      There a a lot of bikes that don’t meet your affordability criteria and sell well enough in small numbers that the manufacturers continue to produce them. Even though I can’t afford the latest $100,000 carbon-fibre-framed Ducati, apparently enough people can for them to make it. These bikes can then be used to showcase technology and otherwise promote the manufacturer.

    • VLJ says:

      You do realize, don’t you, that BMW has no difficulty in selling their very expensive bikes? All those $20+K GS models, including the ultra-expensive Adventure models, do not “stay nailed to the showroom floors.” Neither do their RT models. In fact, and in stark contrast to their cheaper Japanese and British competition, BMW is not compelled to discount the crap out of their machines in order to make them go away.

      Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis are stupidly expensive to purchase, insure, and maintain. Their most expensive models all have waiting lists. The same holds true for Ducati’s big-ticket machines.

      Point being, just because you don’t want to pay the price of admission, it doesn’t mean that plenty of others have no issue with stepping up to pay for what they want.

      • Kermit T Frog says:

        VLJ I am well aware that local BMW dealers have leftover previous year models on their floors. I am also well aware that the well off, i.e., comparatively “wealthy” can afford whatever they want even if it is for the sake of bragging rights.

        Good for them! If you’re among them, good for you. I would wager that most here are not and that most here want their rides to do more than drain them financially with the byproduct of that being emotionally drained to the point that they (again) fear riding because they fear the “financial reaper” come service and tire replacement time.

        If you are affluent enough to not have that problem, good for you! There are plenty of big ticket bikes sitting on showroom floors throughout SoCal. There are also plenty of bikes from all marques gathering dust too, including Harleys, MVs, BMWs, Suzukis and more.

        I know that all too often people pay for what they want without giving any thought to what that may entail in their near future. They, as you say, are stepping up to pay for what they want only to fall off their ego when they cannot reasonably afford the real cost of ownership.

        Owning a motorcycle is not just about riding it. When someone oversteps they will fall. Not my fault. Not your fault. But it does result in people realizing that a hobby is not a horse to be ridden without a care in the doing.

      • Harry says:

        VLJ, in 2004 rode to Alaska from my home in Pittsburgh PA on a 2003 Yamaha YZF-600R. It’s the precursor to the R6. Inline 4 with good wind protection. I switched tires and had some great times putting in over 10,000 miles on the trip. My point is that I saw a lot of BMW touring bikes along the way, very popular for the Alaska trip. Some BMWs tried to pass me on the Alcan highway. But my bike has a top end of 160, didn’t happen. My great fear were the large moose many times running parallel to the highway. But, on another note saw a few HDs along the highway broken down waiting for some help.

        • Kermit T Frog says:

          So then Harry, why didn’t you help them? Oh yeah..Your bike has a top end of 160 so by the time you saw them in need it was too late.

          That’s a groovy story, Harry. Thanks for sharing even thought you were’nt very caring to those broken down HDs waiting for help. FTN

  8. redbirds says:

    Triumph addressed this back in 2007 with just mediocre sales in the US. The Tiger 1050 was an ADV style with 17″ wheels and a seat height that was reasonable for most folks. I bought a 2007 model and rode it many trouble free miles. Only short comings were poorly designed head lamps and a wind screen that caused a lot of buffeting. It was fast and comfortable and only 505 lbs ready to ride.

  9. Minister says:

    When non-riders are shown a picture of a person riding a bike with somewhat-low and somewhat-forward bars they may recoil, trying to. imagine what their back might feel like after a long ride on the pictured bike.

    The missing part is that aerodynamics affect not only the bike, but the rider too. The airstream generates lift off they rider’s chest, taking weight off their wrists and forearms. Their lower back may have felt fine during the photo shoot. Personally I am as repulsed by sit-up and beg ergos as I am attracted to the compromise ergos RE designers selected for these 650 twins.

    I have made buy decisions in spite of the bikes of interest having unlivable xtra-low clips-ons. I committed to buying my first-year R1 and my 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 on faith that the big aftermarket would soon come up with some livable alternatives. (Heli Bars for the R1, and Ducati themselves quickly coming up with alternative clip-ons with much more humane ergos, once they realized that some buyers were really put off by the stock bars.)

  10. redbirds says:

    Seems Triumph tried this idea (17″ front on an ADV) back in 2007 with their Tiger 1050. The one I had was a great touring bike with good leg room, generous tank capacity and an all up weight of 505 lbs. Only thing it really needed was a better designed wind screen and decent lights.

  11. L C says:

    OK, this is a very fun thread going here. First, the 17” wheel thing. I remember when 18” was common, so that ages me. I have ridden all types and brands of bikes over the years, but I started riding by doing what is now called ADV riding, more on that later, in the 60’s on street scramblers. Since then I have tried it all, and am back where I started, ADV riding. A 17” or 21” front wheel is a deal breaker for me. 17” is not enough on the rough stuff, and a 21” front, especially on a heavier ADV bike makes no sense at all, as I still like to straighten out the curves. As for ADV bikes, it is amazing to me how much misunderstanding there is, even in the M/C industry press about these bikes. They are often reviewed as and compared to actual dirt bikes. ADV bikes are NOT dirt bikes. As for “posing”, aren’t we all posers to some extent! Pause to laugh. Every ADV rider I know and ride with uses these bikes as intended and many rack up lots of miles. So, what’s an ADV bike? Its a bike that can handle all roads, improved and unimproved, and take you around the world, or to your local National Forest. Riding position. I sold my last Sport Touring” bike in 1990, A K75S. Lack of visibility and too much time riding around sitting up using one hand on the bars. Awesome bike though. I’ve had 3 more BMW’s since then and added bar risers to them all. There was a HD Road King Classic stuck in between there. I am 6’3” and too much forward lean gets my neck and shoulders. So, what am I riding now? After I sold the R1200GS I knew I wanted a smaller lighter version of that bike. I ride solo a lot in the back country and need a lighter bike. So when Kawasaki came out with the Versys X300 in ‘17, with a 19” front wheel I had to try it out. Now I own it No bar risers, no aftermarket seat, no nothing. Just Shad hard cases and a top case. Plus an Alaska Leather sheepskin and LDComfort underwear, This bike has all the power and comfort I need and not enough power to get me in big trouble. And gravel roads are just a snack! Oh, but it’s not a “poser” if that matters. After all, it’s about personal choice and having fun!

  12. Shmitty says:

    All these comments are making the obvious point that everybody and every body is different. My body has changed over time and what used to be my preferences changed. We have a huge variety of options that we never could have imagined 30 years ago. Capitalism has a penchant for finding and filling niche markets and the diversity we see in riding positions is just an example of industry meeting demand. I think it’s amazing.

    • Haagy says:

      I used to race flat track that’s the riding position I like i bought a buell ulysses in 06 then a 09 love it wife and I go 2 up on plenty of dirt roads twisties and long trips if I want to jump logs and single track I’ll ride my dirt bike

  13. Sparky says:

    Why do I keep hearing about weight distribution or tiredness of hands… Putting any weight on your hands/arms/shoulder is directly taking away from the handlebar feedback. IMO you should fix your riding skills or lack of, I should say… Instead of making the problem and making your technique worse. You don’t lean on the steering wheel of a car when you drive?

    • VLJ says:

      You have that completely backwards.

      • Motoman says:

        I keep the weight off my hands no matter what bike or riding position. Even a zx10 at the track. Agree with Sparky that weight on hands etc reduces feedback at the bars (and front end feel to me). Although I do not think car analogy works.

        • VLJ says:

          “Putting any weight on your hands/arms/shoulder is directly taking away from the handlebar feedback.”

          Literally the opposite of the truth.

          Don’t believe me?

          Ask any MotoGP rider. Low clip-ons that force the rider to put their weight on the bars is paramount in discerning handling feedback. Among all types of road riders, road racers require the most handling feedback. Road racers require the most communicative connection possible between the bars and the front tire.

          Low bars, rider weight over the front end, a thin seat, precise suspension. These are the elements that aid road riders in receiving accurate handling feedback.

          Successful road racers have a light touch at the bars, but that’s in relative terms. It’s a light touch for road racers. They still have their weight placement shared between their hands, feet, and core; more so than, say, a cruiser rider or ADV rider does.

          Dirt riders have very different requirements, primarily because of the need for greatly increased suspension travel, and outright flickability being a higher priority than cornering stability, so they employ a very different, much more upright seating position.

          • Motoman says:

            Disagree about race bike clip-ons requiring extra weight on the grips. You’re leaving time on the track if that’s your style. Taking your example of road racing, the racers use their abs and and lower back to support the upper body, not their hands. Like a jockey on a horse. Piling weight on your hands lessens feel and front end feedback and reduces control.

          • Random says:

            I don’t believe the low bars and it’s effects on weight distribution for sport bikes have to do with rider feeling. Yes, they aid sport riding putting weight in the front and are essential to hanging out to the side (easy to see how stretched the arms are when hanging in pictures of naked bikes) but may be even detrimental to rider feeling (but the upsides are inevitable).

          • VLJ says:

            Disbelieve whatever you wish, but physics are physics.

          • Tom R says:

            “Your” physics or real physics?

  14. CA-VA Rider says:

    I’m still riding my ’11 Honda NT700VA. It’s really comfortable, with wind/weather protection, but it wasn’t a huge success here in the US because it’s not a rocket. Splitting my saddle time between the Honda and an ’03 HD Electra Glide standard, I still prefer the Honda on rides with twisties over the HD, and both bikes fit me pretty well, as I’ve done multi-day trips on them both without pain or discomfort. 50K miles on the Honda, 45K miles on the HD. Fortunately, I’m still young at 46 and without injury, so I feel truly lucky. And my height seems to be in a sweet spot for both bikes, 5’10” with a 31″ inseam.

  15. Panos says:

    Ktm Super Duke 1290 GT is a great solution.

    • Thad says:

      I think this is a bike without a realistic market. A mid-life crisis answer to a poor excuse for technical twisties & not enough utility for touring. Too big & heavy as a sport bike while disfunctional for stacking distance.

  16. Gary G says:

    Been riding for more than 40 years. I bought a used BMW S1000XR, and sold all my other bikes except for the Suz DR650. I had a Kaw Concours 1400 and a Aprilia Tuono. The DR650 wears full knobs now since the XR covers everything else. 6 Months after buying it I went on a 5000 mile trip so it tours well, I took it to the mountains of NC, so it is awesome in the twisties, I love the BMW S1000XR.

  17. John Ash says:

    “Sport tourers are being replaced by sport tourers”

  18. Motorhead says:

    I’m an old rider, too. Be 62 on January 31. I like my weight spread over five points: my tailbone, two legs and two arms. Then no particular joint gets overly stressed. Best bike to accomplish this distribution has some ergos that splits the difference between sport and touring. Upright sitting puts too much weight on my tailbone, and with a cruiser I can’t even stand up. An old Honda 919 is about right.

  19. Larry C says:

    I have to agree that having a bit of forward lean that shares the weight between seat and hands is more comfortable than bolt upright. Maybe it’s all those years on a road bicycle. I purchased a first year model 2001 Bonneville and almost immediately ditched the “sit up and beg” bars for lower “superbars”. Put over 80,000 miles on it (with a stock seat no less) including multi day trips. I’ve spent the last 6 years on a 1996 BMW R1100RS. Extremely comfortable, again with a somewhat forward leaning position, nice leg room, good weather protection and a big-a$$ seat. Only down side is the weight when maneuvering slowly or setting it upright after a tip-over. I’d love to find a 800-1000 cc modern replacement that’s sub 500 lbs with luggage. Might be their F800GT (?) if I can find one to test.

    • Sam Jones says:

      I’ve owned 20 BMW’s (since 1976) plus a 2000 VFR and a 2006 Triumph 1050 Sprint ST. Currently riding a new (2020) R1250RS. Prior to the 1250 RS, I owned two F800 ST’s and a 2013 F800 GT. The F800GT is a fantastic sports-touring rig with bags, incredible fuel economy and everything you need for a long trip, one up or two up. I put 54,000 trouble-free miles on the GT but finally wanted to get back to the futuristic boxer that the R1250RS is. I probably would have stayed with the F800GT IF the factory had offered the new 850 GS motor in the GT sport-touring configuration. The only (slight) drawback to the 800 motor is IMO, the 360 degree crank which does create some “buzz” right in the sweet spot (indicated 85 mph @ 45-4700 rpm).The new 850 motor is a 270 degree crank configuration which sounds a lot better and is smoother. I can heartily recommend a clean, used F800GT if you can find one…BTW, I did change the original drive belt at 52,000 miles just before I decided to sell the F800GT and use the proceeds for down pymt. on the 1250RS.

  20. Tom R says:

    Upright is right! Love live moderately high bars and mid-mount foot pegs!

  21. Suntory says:

    Something I haven’t seen mentioned but for me is a huge advantage of ADV style bikes are the hand guards. Deflecting wind blast from my hands significantly increase riding comfort in even slightly chilly weather.

  22. Grover says:

    ADV bikes are some of the biggest “poser” bikes out there, surpassing even Harley as the bike to choose to be seen on or five the impression of being a “rugged”rider. They look like they can do dirt but can’t. The seat height is unattainable for many and the price is right up there in Harley territory. Need I say more?

    • carl says:

      Agreed whatever people need to make them feel good about themselves.

    • ilikefood says:

      Totally disagree. ADV bikes are very usable and functional bikes, much better than sport-touring bikes at, you know, sport-touring. The seating position is very comfortable, there is plenty of leg room for tall people (at 6’3” other bikes are very cramped), and their longer-travel suspension is great for real-world potholed, poorly maintained roads. And they’re much lighter than sport-tourers – the FJR for example is a whale. Functionally there is just no reason to choose a “normal” sport-tourer over an ADV bike. It all depends on what your needs are, but for me, I’d argue that ADVs are actually the non-poser, functional bikes.

    • Haagy says:

      Get some ape hangers then you can just hang on them no pressure on your wrist or your butt LOL

  23. Jose says:

    I bought a used BMW K1200s. First thing I did was take off the stupid aftermarket bar risers and replace them with the stock clip ons. Then it became the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned; the same riding triangle worked for track days and multistate touring. I’m 6’5″ by the way so I’m in the monkey fucking a football position on most bikes anyway.

    I hate the recent trend towards every non superbike being either a naked bike or an upright GS riding position. I just want a fairing to tuck behind and a sporty but comfortable riding position. Pegs low enough that I’m not sitting on my ankles, clip ons at or slightly above the triple trees. If your arms amd wrists get tired you need to hit the gym.

    • Oz says:

      Jose, I agree with you on K-Bike comfort. I had a K1200R Sport. I felt bad when BMW killed the K1300S without offering a similar new model. The K1600 is too big/heavy and the S1000XR is a different type of bike. I have a Street Triple 765R for local riding, but hope to see the release of a Sport Tourer worth buying for longer highway rides.

  24. Jon J says:

    I would like to add the Suzuki GSXS-1000F to this discussion. I think it is the best of all worlds.

  25. Bill says:

    At almost 63 yrs old l have ridden almost every style of bike over the years. Bikes with upright egos and higher bars almost always get uncomfortable very quickly. Too much pressure on the tailbone and my forearms and wrists get uncomfortable. For my style of riding l prefer a pure sport bike. My weight is distributed between the bars, pegs and seat with lots of options to redistribute and adjust on the go. Not so easy when sitting bolt upright on standard style bike. Sure, riding all day on a sportbike might bring on a few aches and pains, but that goes for almost any bike. I ride for the speed and exhilaration that a bike offers. If l want to be comfortable, l’ll take my truck.

    • fred says:

      Same age, similar ergo preferences. I prefer to spread the weight mostly between the saddle and the pegs, with a bit on the bars. Sport-touring bikes, and sport bikes with bars above the triple clamps, work best for me.

      I’m glad we have choices, but the adventure bike trends don’t appeal to me – I don’t like the looks, the ride height, or the upright ergos. As far as I can tell, cruisers are still out-selling adv’s, and I don’t like their looks, ride heights, or ergos, either. Again, it’s great to have a choice.

  26. Gary says:

    Modern bikes are nearly “there,” but not quite yet. I’m patiently waiting for people to give up on the fantasy of “off road” riding of bikes that weigh more than 500 pounds. It is an utter illusion. Ask yourself: is a 650 V-Strom a better off road bike than an SV 650? Hell no. Put the same tires on each and they would be nearly equal on a dirt road. Which is to say pi$$ poor. Give up on the Paris Dakar fantasies and give us good, solid road bikes with comfortable ergos. In other words, give us the ergonomics of bikes in the 60s and 70s.

    • Jeremy says:

      People ride 500+ lbs ADV bikes off-road all the time where I live. The challenge of taking a 500 pound bike down some sketchy single track is part of the appeal for a lot of guys and gals. You may not be able to imagine it, but that doesn’t make it an illusion for a lot of people.

      For those like you perhaps that have no desire to do so, well that’s why they have these crossovers.

  27. Jeremy says:

    All hail the new UGM (Universal Global Motorcycle?).

    This isn’t news exactly as we’ve all watched this transition take place. I’ve seen fans of sport tourers, sport bikes, and more off-road oriented ADV bikes gravitate to the crossovers. These bikes are fast, comfortable, sporty, and offer some utility which are attributes I think most riders want from a bike. As a result of the crossovers being such crowd pleasers, I think this has allowed OEMs to get more extreme with the other niches to cater to those of us who may be a little more divergent – ADV bikes with all-out dirt bike geometry, 200 HP sport bikes and naked bikes, street legal minibikes (Groms.) The motorcycle market is pretty interesting right now.

  28. VLJ says:

    Dirck nailed it when he said the forward-lean ergos are the primary culprit driving customers from sport-tourers onto standards and ADVs.

    Sport bikes and STs are all I ever rode my entire life, until a couple of neuro-spinal reconstructions left me unable to deal with the slight forward canting of my head and neck required by sporting standards and most sport-tourers, never mind full-on sport bikes. The issue started with my 2000 VFR800, a truly fantastic motorcycle in nearly every respect. Its only downside for me was the forward lean, and I broke down and bought bar risers for it.

    That was my last dedicated sport-tourer. Since then it’s been nothing but sporting nakeds and naked standards. Even there, I tried adding bar risers to one of my BMW R1200Rs, and also to my Triumph Street Triple R.

    No go. Screwed up the handling, and the overall feel of the bike. I went back to the stock set-ups, but ended up selling those bikes to get something that would be easier on my non-bendable neck.

    I would have bought a Ninja 1000 a long time ago, were it not for its slightly-too-aggressive forward lean. The Ninja 1K seems to be the best thing offered today to replace the older, non V-TEC VFR800, and I’ve always wanted one.

    That forward lean, though….

    Probably why the bike I’ve long coveted the most this past decade has been Wendy’s ride, the R1200RT. There it is, a shaft-driven, panniers-equipped sport-tourer without the heft of my ST1300 and ST1100, and no excessive forward lean.

    My only worry with the big RT goes part and parcel with my neck issue. I need to sit fairly upright now, but sport-tourers with that upright seating position are almost always equipped with windshields. Sitting so far from those windshields, as one does on an upright bike with a fairly vertical windshield, the noisy wind turbulence coming off of those shields renders them more trouble than they’re worth. Every time I try an upright bike with a windshield (ST1300, S 1000 XR, V-Strom 1000, etc.) I immediately want to remove the windshield.

    Thus, still no R1200RT purchase for me, and I really like the R1250RT. Because of the forward lean/windshield issues, it’s been nothing but naked standards with no windshields for me, ever since the surgeries.

    Nevertheless, I continue to hold out hope that the R1250RT will somehow overcome that noisy windshield issue. I haven’t ridden the most recent RT.

    Who knows, maybe that’s the one.

  29. potomacduc says:

    The 17″ front wheel tall sport-touring segment is one Ducati invented with the original Multistrada back in 2003. The bike remained at or near the top of the class for the next 17 years.
    For 2021, the collective Ducati genius has decided to ditch the 17″ front wheel and abandon the segment to the XR and the Superduke GT. Some will say the GT is a naked bike, but with a 32.9″ seat height, it really belongs in this category. Beyond 2020, if you want a real SPORT-touring big V-twin with a trellis frame, you’ll have to buy a bike from Mattighofen, because Bologna has nothing for you.

  30. mickey says:

    The ergos on my CB1100 are much better than those on my FJR which is more lean forward for me. But once in the curvy bits the FJR bars make sense. A lot of times on the freeway though I will set the cruise on the FJR lean back and hold on to the bars with my fingertips to relieve the strain on my lower back and the base of my neck. One of the most popular farkles on the FJR board are bar risers. That has to tell you something. If I did more freeway riding I would probably opt for a set myself, but the vast majority of my riding is country curvy backroads, and a little forward lean works there, at least for me.

  31. Gary in NJ says:

    Of the bikes I own, the ones that get ridden the most are a naked FZ6 and DRZ400 – mostly due to the comfortable sit-up-n-beg riding position. I ride these bikes at the same pace on the back roads as I do the sport bikes, but I do it with comfort and with better visibility. I could easily see myself on the F900XR. It’s got the right power, weight and comfort for the type of riding I do.

  32. redbirds says:

    I recently got an NC750X and find this bike’s ergos my ideal. I’ve lowered it 25mm to get the balls of my feet on the ground (I’m short at 5′ 6″). Last bike I had that fit this perfect was a BMW R75/5. The 17″ wheels will make tire choice an easy thing in future as well. The “trunk” has me spoiled and the fuel mileage is incredible, averaging over 70 mpg on trips.

  33. VFR_MANE says:

    I’m old school. I don’t own any SUVs and I want a motorcycle that cants me slightly forward. I’ll ride my VFR into the sunset…happy. No crossovers or ADVs for me.

  34. Matt says:

    I really like the seating position on my 2015 Honda NC700X DCT. Another big benefit is the storage compartment ( where the gas tank usually is on other bikes) I wish more motorcycles had this feature! An convenient way to carry your jacket, cell phone, some groceries etc.

  35. Gary says:

    Most comfortable bike I ever had was my 1991 ST 1100. If some one comes out with a 800 / 900 version that has reasonable weight I would buy it in a heart beat. The slight lean forward was way more comfortable for long distance than my bolt up right R1200 RT or my Tiger XRT.

  36. Mick says:

    In 1994 I bought a 916 Ducati and a Husqvarna 610. I put a ton of miles on the 1992 Ducati 900SS that the 916 replaced and I figured the Husqvarna would take some pressure off of it.

    It did, big time. In 2000 I sold both of them and built a supermoto from an Honda XR650R. About that time a guy that I loaned some money gave me a KLR650 in leu of payment. At the time just about everyone I knew had either one of those or a Tengi, which is basically what the KLR eventually became. I figured I’d see what all the fuss was about. I didn’t really like it. For some reason my legs seemed to catch the wind on that bike. So I sort of had to hold them in. Not good for long term comfort. In 2002 I got married. The KLR was the only two up bike that I had and she hated it. Some demo days popped up and we rode a few demos. I told her to pick out whatever she wanted. She selected a 2003 Ducati Multistrada. I thought that it was an ugly beast. But I couldn’t argue with the way that it worked. When we were sent to The Netherlands I bought a used 2002 Multistrada rode it all over Europe during the 5 years five years that I lived there.

    What am I riding now? My personal bike is a fairly highly modified 2003 Honda XR650R supermoto. My two up rig is still a 2003 Multistrada. What were we saying about upright bikes with 17 inch wheels? For me it’s a 25 year old story. I always wanted to buy a set of 17s for the 610 Husqvarna. But I was too cheap. Buying that and a 916 on the same day will do that to you.

  37. Wendy says:

    They will get my R1200RT when they pry it from my cold dead bank’s fingers.

  38. Louis says:

    I think the new version of the Honda NC750X will be the direction at least some adventure bikes will go; the styling, fairing and seating position of an adventure bike, but with more reasonable seat height. I like it, but it will take me some time to get used to the new (lower) look.

  39. Bruce R says:

    I grew up on sportbikes and never thought I would want to ride anything else. Then I bought my Multistrada and can’t understand why it took so long. I can go ask fast as I could on any sport bike, and do it in comfort. Awesome machine.
    This year I really wanted to consider switching up for the 2020 BMW 1000XR but one sampling of that seat confirmed it was a no-go. How BMW could design such an excellent machine and top it off with such a lousy seat is beyond me. They nail the 900 though.

    • Mr Schmuck says:

      Ditto. In my youth I owned many sportbikes, but as early as 1999 I started to see the light when I bought an original round tube SV650 standard. Oh, I still had sportbikes after that, but slowly gravitated to upright seating.

      I’m now 58 and don’t give a shit about sexy sportbike looks. I cover ground very rapidly and am perfectly happy to put in 500mi/day of gnarly backroads. Comfort rules.

    • Yes and no. I own a Versys and a ninja 400 (albeit not the sportiest of sport bikes) and sometimes you just want to be in the ‘attack’ position, especially for < hr trips..other times an upright position seems right…the answer (as always) is multiple bikes 😉

  40. GT08 says:

    Sad about this. We are going the same way as cars go. I am first to blame. My last two cars are SUV because of two kid and coaching theyre hockey teams. I’m looking right now to replace one SUV with a nice car (the kids are older now). But there less and less choice.
    It the same for bike.
    In the eighties, i had Ninja, FZ, GSX-R, and Interceptor. So great years i’ve had. In the 80, we where attracted to bike because it was good looking in the first place.
    Right now the ZX-14 is too costly too insure (immatriculate here in the north)I’m looking at the Concours 14, but i think it too big for daily driving. And the wanna be bike crowd like the Versys are so ugly. Ninja 1000 good bike , but also ugly.
    I’m sure they are realy good motorcycles. But cannot stare at them.
    I was waiting for a revival of the Ninja 900 (GPZ). But it not coming. The same for a real VFR 1000.
    I realy miss my RF900R, even if it were unreliable. And remember before the 99 Katana 1100. Everything in life coming aroud, maybe before i’m to old, i will have a chance to buy a beautiful bike again one day…
    Message to the lessons givers. No the Z900RS is no replacement for the ZRX, the last VFR was not in the same league as is ancestors. I know, i’ve try both, i was to buy before the demo ride.

    • GT08 says:

      I mean 89 Katana 1100, not 99

    • fred says:

      I have both a Concours 14 and an RF900R in the garage. I’ve used each as a daily rider/commuter without issues. I do have 1-1.5″ bar risers on the RF. FWIW, for me, the Connie worked great as a daily commuter. Power, handling, brakes, visibility (both seeing and being seen), and luggage capacity. The width might be an issue if you’re lane-splitting, but I don’t live in California.

      IMHO, a test-ride on a Connie would be worthwhile. It’s not a bike for everybody, but pretty much can do it all. Maybe not hard-core off road, but I’ve had mine in places that made me question my sanity.

      • GT08 says:

        Thank for the info Fred,
        Here in Montreal (QC), it costs $ 2,000 a year to register a ZX-14 without counting insurance. This is why for several months I have been watching for the Concours 14. I have tried it several times. But not long enough each time. It’s the stationary weight that scares me a little. But it’s true that in motion, it’s like I’m on a smaller motorcycle. It is very possible that after confinement I will go and sign the papers at my dealer for the Concours. But the bike of my dreams will always be the ZX-11, (now the ZX-14) that’s why I’m so hesitant to buy the Concours. I’m afraid to regret the ZX-14. Glad to know there are still RF900 left in this world, take good care. There are motorcycles that we regret having sold. Happy New Year 2021 to all the MotorcycleDaily readers.

    • ilikefood says:

      ADV bikes and SUVs are NOT even remotely the same thing. People make that comparison, but SUVs are fundamentally and inevitably worse at the fun part of being a car. They’re huge, heavy, and handle horribly. ADV bikes are the opposite of that – they are smaller and lighter than touring bikes and handle better. Look at how much a Multistrada weighs vs. an FJR for example.

  41. todd says:

    My 1972 BMW R75/5 has a 19” front wheel, upright ergonomics and long distance touring capabilities. However, my K75S with a forward lean (and 17-18 tires) is more comfortable at high speeds on the highway. My 690 Duke is capable of higher speeds but its upright seating and wide bars suck for much distance over 70mph. I think comfortable, upright touring bikes have been around for mire than a century.

  42. Tim says:

    I was given a BMW S1000 XR as a loaner for about 4 days, when my touring bike was in for service, and I’ve not had so much fun on a bike in years. I loved the riding position. The seat looked like it would feel terrible but was actually quite comfortable. If the seat was an inch or two lower, I’d have had a really hard time giving it back to the dealer. Somehow I didn’t get a ticket and didn’t get myself killed. It’s not a bike for those that like to go slow.

    • Motoman says:

      I’m only 5’7″ so I get the seat height issue. I have always dealt with it and feel benis outweigh negatives for me. Hard to understand how 1-2 inches in seat height could sway your decision with and otherwise glowing review of the bike.

      • Tim says:

        I’ve always been drawn to taller bikes. I’m 5’8” with a 29” inseam. I also have a KLR about the same height, currently and I’ve been looking seriously at the 1250 GS. I love the legroom (to the pegs) on those bikes. But the XR carries it’s weight a little higher and there were a couple of instances where I almost misjudged the distance to the road when putting a foot down. For whatever reason I just couldn’t get comfortable with the balance compared to some of the other taller bikes.

  43. Fred N says:

    I am currently riding a current Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX which is one of the last of the ST bikes from the Jap Manufacturers around now.
    I think Kawasaki would be wise to research and make a bike half way between the Ninja and the Versys 1000. The Ninja is too ‘sporty’ and the Versys is too much of a high riding Goldwing.
    Suzuki are closer to the money with their V Strom 1000, but it needs to a lot lower to the ground than now as your never going to be jumping over logs with it.

  44. TP says:

    I had a 2008 Kawasaki Versys with a lowering kit and a Givi windshield and a SeatConcepts replacement seat. I sat up straight, could see everything with ease, and it came with 17” wheels. That bike was perfect for touring and provided a lot of fun to me.

    • Tim says:

      I had a 2007 Versys and it may have been my favorite bike I’ve owned, and I’ve owned numerous bikes, some costing many times more. It was extremely comfortable. A friend fabricated a set of highway pegs for me, and 700-800 mile days were not a problem (with an aftermarket seat- the original seat was torture).

  45. TimC says:

    Sitting too upright sucks. You (or, at least, I) want some forward cant to offset the wind. Handling suffers too. Sad to see sport tourers die out….

  46. Jason says:

    The S1000XR and F900XR are not ADV bikes. They are sport touring bikes with a little bit extra suspension travel.

    The F900 XR has 6.7 / 6.8 inches of suspension travel (Front / Rear)
    The F900 R has 5.3 / 5.5 inches of suspension travel

    • Sleeping Dog says:

      I agree with you. I was selling BMW’s when the S1000XR came out and that is how I described it to prospective buyers. The best prospect for that bike, was sport bike riders who were hitting late middle age, they still wanted the performance but the clip ons were killing their wrists, necks etc.

      The guys who wanted adv bikes left on GS’s anyway.

  47. Mdm says:

    The FJ-09 already created the that space in 2015 . Give Yamaha credit.

  48. Chris Rush says:

    At least BMW usually has a low seat/ frame version available as on my F 650 GS twin which is a wonderful bike!

    • George Shaw says:

      I had one and agree with you but one caveat is that the lowered version had a very low carrying capacity and I remember hitting the centre stand lugs when going round a bumpy bend in Scotland with my wife on the back. I had them ground off after that.

  49. carl says:

    A big problem for adventure bikes is there weight and seat height. For those vertically challenged most adventure bikes out of reach.

Add a Comment