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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. xchris says:

    Why so many sportbikes/cruisers vs, practical adventure-type bikes? I’m guessing that has much to do with practical application available here. During my time in Europe, it was refreshing to see drivers sharing the road with the more efficient motorcycles, and allowing them their space to filter on ahead. Try that here – kinda takes the fun out of commuting when you have to constantly battle all those inattentive & aggressive drivers. Throw in the laws of most states prohibiting lane splitting and it doesn’t get any easier to make use of a practical motorcycle around here.

  2. S Calwel says:

    For real world riding performance the “Adventure Bike” ergos, handling on smooth to rough pavement and ability to haul stuff if you want to is unmatched in any other bike category. Most of these bikes will never see any serious off road riding. The appeal is function for everyday riding.
    I just completed a 570 mile day at the end of a 3 day trip on two lane roads aboard a BMW F800GS. No sore back, butt or hands either. I am 70 and have been riding since age 13. I own 6 bikes, that are standards or Adventure types. The question is: do you want to ride or stop every hour or less because you can’t stand the discomfort.
    Caponord-F800GS-DR650-GB500 and 2, R80ST’s

  3. Crazylikea says:

    I’m an American and I ride a V-strom 1000 in northern Italy. One my favorite bikes I’ve owned in the states was an 89 Transalp. I have often wondered why the ADV bikes don’t sell in the states. I think part of the difference between the states and Europe is geography. Most riders in Europe are not that far away from the Alps or the Dolomites. And while a sport bike might serve you better on the mountain roads here, you still have to get where you are going. An adventure bike does this best. Then you can also hit the gravel twisties. Also the agility necessary to navigate traffic (read – splitting lanes) is a big advantage of the ADV bikes. Take it from a redneck Irish American, Italian drivers ROCK!!!

  4. Dave says:

    I had a DL1000 V-Strom some years ago. It was a great all around bike, but I ended up selling it because it was a bit boring. I have an RC51 in the stable for sport and track riding but still missed off road exploring. A 2008 KLR-650 was added but was not very good for more challenging off road riding. I finally ended up with a 2009 KTM 690r enduro which is one fantastic motorcycle. Light for a 650 and very fast. The KTM is a keeper, but not a bike that is going to appeal to most people. I would still like to add a big adventure touring bike and am leaning towards the BMW GS1200 adventure, but I still remember the yawn factor of the V-Strom. I want a bike that will really tolerate getting dropped and abused and the GS bikes still seem the toughest. The big KTM adventure bikes are also nice but I think the GS1200 would still be a better all around mount. For now I am more that happy enough to jump on my 690r, cruise the highways to get to the dirt, and have a helluva fun time roosting around on such a fun bike.

  5. Sean says:

    More and more people in the US are starting to commute to work on their motorcycles due to ease of parking, fuel costs, etc. Anyone who commutes on a daily basis can easily recognize the benefit of these bikes for their comfort, luggage capacity, pot-hole/tramline eating suspension and broad mid-range power. For serious riders who can’t afford a garage full of bikes, a good adventure tourer is the best all round choice for commuting as well as weekend pleasure riding. I’m thrilled that Yamaha has decided to import the Tenere – will definitely be in line for one at the dealer. Now if they will just follow up with the XTZ660…

  6. MotoBum says:

    Just look at the history of the Adventure Touring market. Twenty years ago, Touratech was two people. Today it is over 200. We’ve got U.S. Adventure Touring startups like ALT Rider betting the farm that adventure motorcycling will be the next big thing. The adventure travel companies out of Alaska and Seattle (MotoQuest and Globeriders, respectively) have been selling-out their tours for a few years now. And Amazon sells how many of Helge Pedersen’s “Ten Years on Two Wheels” and Ted Simon’s “Jupiter’s Travels” each month? Exactly. The adventure market isn’t just heating up, it’s on fire already. It’s so hot that Triumph is releasing not one, but two ADV bikes for 2011… to THE U.S. MARKET! At this point, it’s not a matter of “should” the adventure market expand in the near future, but “when.”

    And Honda, pretty please, if you’re listening, please bring an updated XRV 750 Africa Twin to the U.S. I, and three of my closest friends, already have savings accounts setting aside the money to give you for a proper ADV motorcycle.

  7. Tony C says:

    Been riding Suzooks since my 1st in 1973. Have 4 RM500s and race in the old man bracket at AHRMA. My wife still has a 70 TS90. Had SP600 and DR650 but why do the euros get an 850DL “Big” and we get the little 650? Why does Suzuki still sell 2 stroke RM250s in Europe but not in the US. Bring back the open class MXr’s like a 450/500 to compete with the 4strokes. I don’t think they are listening to riders.

    The V-strom is nice for the street but big horsepower and the versatility of an enduro is what I want which causes the engine to work less and hence last longer. Suzuki, make an 850 motor for the DR like you made for the europeans and I’ll buy one.

  8. Rolin says:

    I bought the DL650 as soon as they became available, early 2004. I have over 40K miles on mine. There have been no recalls on this bike, as far as I have checked. I have GIVI luggage that detaches easily. I keep the trunk for daily driving and put on the 45L Monokey side bags for trips. I am 6′ tall and the 650 seat is okay for daily commuting. I add an Air Hawk cushion for both extra leg room and – well, cushion – for trips. I have had 3 trips of >3K miles, the longest just under 6K. The throttle is light enough to hold open on 700-800 mile days or ten straight days of riding. I added a center stand, fall-over bars, extra wiring for accessories and, best of all, a MadStad windshield bracket. Before the bracket, the standard and aftermarket windshields battered my helmet like a paint mixer. I never had a HD or cruiser. This is the best bike purchase I ever made. It is a do-it-all bike for me. I still don’t like the chain drive maintenance, though. I’m 54 and have been riding since age 14. This is my 15th bike. If you’re interested in one, read the road tests. You really don’t need a test drive to see if you like it; just sit on it. It’s a Suzuki – good SV engine, good brakes, so-so front suspension, mostly a road bike. I might lust after the Multistrada, but my Wee-Strom still makes me happy.

  9. OzarkRider says:

    I’ve been riding my R1150GS for 163K miles now. Spent today with a buddy on his Honda XR650L prowling gravel/back roads here in the Ozarks. Best motorcycle I’ve ever owned.
    My wife do a lot of two-up backroading. The GS has some of the highest carrying capacity I’ve ever seen. We haul all our camping gear and go “thataway”.
    And I’ll agree with the above statement about marketing. The manufacturers will bring ’em here when dealers start crying for them. For what it’s worth, the GS is BMW’s meal ticket.
    I riding position is ideal for me, cornering clearance is more than abundant. And it’s plain fun to take a squid on his sport bike to school on a tight, twisty stretch of pavement. 🙂


  10. patrick o says:

    I think the Japanese dealers should offer test rides on these bikes. One ride on a crappy road with it’s plush suspension and you will believe. All roads seem to have fresh, smooth pavement. Comfortable ergo’s and plenty of power make adv bikes so much fun to ride. I bought a 650 v strom for my son after reading all the reviews and satisfied owners and thought this would make a good first streetbike. Now I want one too after riding his. I am selling my 2006 vfr if anyone is interested.

    • Zombo says:

      My Honda/Suzuki dealer allows test rides and I’ve gotten them from dealers of other makes . It all depends on your age , riding experience , and seriousness to buy . Currently riding a DL1000 and love it , but don’t see these bikes replacing loud pipe loser cruisers anytime soon .

  11. jimbo says:

    I’m 6-3 with a bad L knee. The most form fitting bike I’ve swung a leg over was the KTM Adventure 900 series, so I obviously have no use for race replicas.

    US riders prefer cruisers for their apparent comfort, though to me, because I like to corner hard, they are utterly useless except to look at. Now if/when the 2008 BMW Lo-Rider concept is released, a cruiser/cafe race hybrid, I’d jump on it. It would have the looks and fantastic performance.

    IMO race replicas are often liked for the performance image they convey to the rider.

    I’d love an adventure bike under 425 lbs curb weight (without bags), belt or shaft drive, good fuel range, great torque, etc. Triumph’s future adventure triple based on the 675cc motor may come closest to my ideal. The BMW F800GS I rented had a horribly soft, oscillating front end. A BMW salesman later told me the OEM suspension is too soft for my weight. It made great power.

  12. PeteP says:

    Hey Guys! That Suzuki in the picture is just a V-Strom with bags. Easy enough to do.

    I just got off my bike (older Concours) after a 1500 mile trip to Deal’s Gap and back. I saw many V-stroms, GS’s, and KTM Adventures olong the way.

    If the recent European Yamaha 1200 release is any indication, the Japanese manufacturers wouldn’t have a price advantage in this market, and thus, would suffer here. I don’t see things changing very much.

    Me, I’m looking for a used V-Strom. 650 or 1000?

  13. grafight says:

    Maybe because of the price of Gas or Maybe because of the roads, motorcycles are way more popular in Europe than in the USA. If you look at the motorcycles per capita, I think Italy is no.1 in the Western World.

    With all those people riding motorcycles, they have become very knowledgeable. They consider all the factors: cost, reliability, practicality, fun, and that’s why enduro-tourer bikes are so popular. They are the new Universal bikes which can do it all. That’s why Ducati puts so much tech into the Multistrada and also why the “Wee-Strom” is so popular there.

    Here in the USA we are kind of the opposite… We like impractical. We drive a military Humvee just because we can. We ride old obsolete Harleys for the same reason. However, I think it’s just a matter of time before the more practical do-it-all bikes become more popular.

  14. CowboyTutt says:

    Bring on the 1000cc version! When I’m out riding every time I see a BMW its a GS model 2-1. When I see a Suzuki, its either a GSXR, ‘Busa or a V-Strom. The latter has been hugely popular it seems. I think a 1000cc version with bags and a fair price point would make a dent in the sales of BMW’s, Ducatis and Triumphs.


  15. Adam K says:

    The Suzuki pictured here would fill my commuting needs and weekend riding needs to a T! I also think that it looks cool. I’m looking to downsize to 1 motorcycle and I believe that this bike would do everything. Is Suzuki listening to the consumer? I hope so.

  16. Jim says:

    I have a 92 TDM850 … really a nice bike. For sure the current European version here would be appreciated. However, I think they have to sell it as it is outside the current popular mc segment.

    As I work my way out of my small gaggle of bikes, I tend to think I want a Do-All Adventure Bike. Since most of the tooling costs on the V-Strom are already amortized,it would seem it would be relatively inexpensive to bring an Up-Graded version to the market and then spend some advertising $$ to push the “Do It All” bike, instead of having a garage of 3 bikes.

    This bike needs enough power to carry two-up ( Bagless ) and then Single ( Fully Loaded Bags ) with enough passing power in the mountains not to be dangerous.

    I have a 01-ZRX 1200 and it is a GREAT all around road bike with a seat big enough for an occasional passenger. It has strong engine for quick mountain passing two up and gets approx. 47mpg if I keep it below 70mph. For me it is close to the perfect bike. A full set of soft luggage lets me take off on 4000 mi jaunts at a quick pace using only 2/3 red-line. As I get older ( now 70 ) I wish it was a bit lighter for the garage / parking lot pushing around. Other than that a really wonderful motorcycle.

    Note: I do have a cruiser and that is “not my style” . Not enough HP – Suspension – Braking – plus poor Ergonomics, and they are toooo heavy.

  17. T. Rollie says:

    Dirk, what is the record number of comments on an article. This Adventure Bike topic is really bringing out the opinions!

    Personally, I think the American culture is shifting. The economy and disposable income is such that bikers may evolve into those who NEED a bike or really LOVE actually riding a bike. That is, they can’t really afford a car, or they vastly prefer a bike regardless of the weather or destination. Then these adventure bikes will become more attractive and the less practical bikes (cruisers, sportbikes) will be a shrinking market. Just sayin’

  18. riley says:

    I’ve had a dl650 for 5 yrs and love it. would buy something else very similar if I ever got rid of it – which I have no plans of. I’m now at an age where leg room is better than looking sexy. Ride mine more as a light sport tourer than adventure bike and in that roll it has totally exceeded my expectations. Personally I think it’s like a fish out of water off asphalt.. maybe slightly better on non paved than an R6 or an ST1300, but certainly no enduro.

  19. Baggerchris says:

    I have ridden HD for over 40 years. I also have a 06 F650GS single. I enjoy riding the GS much more than the 97 HD I also have. My next bike all things being equal will be the F650GS Twin I test rode 2 months ago. I will NOT buy the Vstrom or any bike for that matter if I cannot test ride it. The Stockton Ca., Suzuki dealer would not let me test ride while the Beemer place practically forced to to test ride. Therefor, since I loved the twin GS I will probably re-up with that. Get the picture Dealers? Test Rides!!!!!

  20. Tom B says:

    I’ve progressed from Goldwings to the lighter ST1300 in response to aging. Adventure bikes appeal to me because of their more compliant suspensions, civilized ergonomics, sportiness, long distance capability and ability to at least 2-track on occasion. The overriding drawback, for me however, is their relative lack of rider protection in cold/wet weather – although they’re no doubt better in hot conditions.

    And then, what’s available? I view Euro brands, with the possible exception of Triumph, as too expensive to buy and maintain – if you can find a dealer. Plus BMW seems to have unresolved reliability issues. Unfortunately, I’ve just never been a Suzuki DL fan. I have ridden a 2010 Tiger and liked it a lot – but not enough to replace my ST for serious long distance riding.

    Maybe if someone offered electronic cruise control and decent cockpit storage pockets to go along with copious hard bags and trunk, it would tip the scale. Maybe. There are still the issues of cost and dealer network and the preception of marginal weather protection – for the multi-week, cross-country traveler.

  21. Isaac Mercer says:

    Such bikes are already here, BMW F650GS, F800GS, Get the low seat and low suspension option. I have a BMW F650GS for the past 2 years, AT 70 years of age, I had to switch from owing 3 Harleys over 30 years, my arthritic back could take it no more. Now I ride in comfort, and cheaper too.

  22. Pete says:

    In this era of economic malaise, with tax receipts for state & local governments flagging, & in the absence of another major injection of funds from the federal government for infrastructure upgrades, our roads will only continure to deteriorate. My GS does quite well on crummy road surfaces, as will virtually any of the ‘adventure’-type bikes, with their long suspension travel & multi-surface tires. Seems funny to me that this sort of bike is more popular in Europe, where roads are generally maintained at a higher level than they are here. (Which is partly due to the fact that we just have so many more miles of road in the US than in Europe, many of them lightly used & rural.) At any rate, the GS & other examples of this species are well adapted to our crumbling roads which will probably get worse on average before they get better.

  23. sc56 says:

    Hey I’m a convert I have a KLR650 and a 06 Buell Uly. I love the high upright seating, look those SUV drivers right in the eye, long suspension soaks up our ever falling apart road system, great handling, what’s not to like? Most people these days think a proper bike is a cruiser of some sort or a sport bike, they go with the what everyone else thinks is right.

  24. Michael H says:

    I’m 61 and have been a motorcyclist continuously since I bought a Yamaha 80 when I was 16, some 45 years ago.

    Cruisers are no longer comfortable for me. They make my back and hips hurt. And I don’t easily fold into the sportbike riding position any more. I’m on my second heavy tourer, a BMW K1200LT, which I really like, but it’s becoming a bit too heavy for me and isn’t a good bike for checking out the gravel roads I’d like to explore when I’m out riding.

    My next bike will be an adventure touring bike. I am a high mileage rider and take long trips, so most of my riding is on the highway. I like the long-travel suspension, upright seating position, the ability to take stuff with me in spacious panniers. I will occasionally use the “adventure” part, but mostly it’s for exceptionally comfortable “touring” on a middle-weight motorcycle with sturdy frame, suspension and other components.

    That V-Strom in the photo is exactly what I’d like. Bring it, Suzuki!

  25. Mike says:

    The economy is going to tank again and it will be worse than the early 80’s.
    Whatever manufacturers bring in will have to be carefully thought out. I find it
    hard to believe that anyone would ask a question like “Is the US ready to embrace adventure bikes”? That is a rhetorical question. The US already has. Take a look at
    the websites devoted to ADV riders and you’ll see. A new Harley 48 Sportster won’t get you past the next town without stopping for fuel, that V-Strom will let you tour the world if you want to. Price wise their the same. Wait until the new Triumph ADV model comes out.

  26. Ken says:

    I think the demand is/would be there IF the manufacturers worked to market them in some fashion. When was the last time you saw a commercial for one of these bikes? When was the last time you saw any kind of media presence for a motorcycle outside of a “badass chopper” or a sport bike?

    More to the point, when was the last time a REAL SALESPERSON (translation: someone who knows about and cares about the bikes they sell at a greater level than me) took time with a customer in a dealer near you to talk about the reasons adventure bikes are cool?

    Cruisers and sport bikes sell because that is what the general public have been fed that motorcycling is. In the early nineteen-sixties, the public was fed that Hondas were clean, small, fun step-thrus that everyone wanted to ride, and they sold a ton of them.

    Time for someone to step up and market the segment…or ANY segment other than cruisers and crotch-rockets…for the first time in forty years.

    • Nor says:

      Ken, you are so right. There is no marking by motorcycle companies. Our local dealers run sale ads in the newspaper, but that not what is needed to generate riders. We need a plan that will get people wanting to ride.
      I am 70 and have been riding since I was 14. I currently ride an 04 Concurs.

  27. tom says:

    I bought a Multistrada 5 years ago and love it. Best all around bike I have owned, and I have owned plenty. However……

    A career change has made street riding impractical at the moment so I decided to sell the Multi. The lack of interest at the low asking price is amazing. I found a guy who wanted to trade a used MX bike for a “sport bike” and he wasn’t interested, even though the value of the Multi was far higher than the dirt bike. I guess 92 HP on a 420 pound bike just isn’t sexy enough. I don’t blame the manufacturers for not bringing these bikes to the US, the consumers here are polarized between sport and cruizers. There is alot of talk about adventure bikes, but try to sell one.

  28. Adam K says:

    I would buy the V-Strom pictured here.

  29. Greg says:

    I think there is a real demand for bikes that offer an alternative to cruisers. I’m not sure most people will want to ride off road or that there are that many places to ride off road in North America though. It seems any road worth travelling usually gets paved. What I do see a demand for are the cross over bikes, to borrow a term from the automotive world. Bikes like the Versys, Tiger and MultiStrada that don’t really pretend to be off road capible but offer a good upright riding position, some wind protection, and decent street performance.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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).

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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!!!

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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!!!!!

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.


  46. 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.

  47. 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..

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

  51. 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!

  52. 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.

  53. 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?

  54. Rob says:

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

  55. 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.

  56. 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!


  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. kpaul says:

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

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. Paul says:

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

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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!!!

  69. 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

  70. 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.

  71. 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

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. Zaphod B says:

    That V-Strom looks like the perfect commuter bike.

  76. 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

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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

  80. Sandy says:

    I still believe it’s best to introduce a bike we can configure for ourselves. Even so-called “naked” bikes tend to be so focused, it’s difficult to use them for anything but a singular purpose. Honda’s late 919, Kawasaki’s Z1000 (or whatever), and Suzuki’s gladius come to mind. Instead of producing them with bikini fairings, or high exhaust pipes, how about a modular motorcycle we can outfit according to our own tastes/needs? Since most(not all, but most)adventure bikes are really street bikes with a different look, it shouldn’t be that difficult to offer them with suspension options, etc., to get the bike you want.

  81. John says:

    BMW doesn’t seem to have any problem at all. Some days, I swear, all I see are GS bikes.

    Of course, that’s usually a cold, hot and/or potentially rainy day……………..

  82. Mike says:

    The ‘Adventure’ bikes are a fantastic marketing ploy, and are – for a huge majority of the owners — just another sport touring bike. See Ducati’s move away from the ST3 and the new Multistrada, as well as the Tiger, Versys, and departed Ulysses.

    You could ride any street bike on all the ‘adventure’ many of the owners encounter, but it wouldn’t be near as useful for posing at starbucks pretending to be Ewan McGregor. Touratech is the new chrome. 🙂

  83. Alun says:

    Hi gents, interesting to read all the comments about the ‘adventure’ market in the US. Over in the UK adventure motorcycles have been the big news for the past couple of years and the sector is thriving. The all round comfort, performance and that ‘promise’ of riding the world are all we need. We’ve even our own ‘Adventure Bike Rider’ magazine available in the newsagents – check out

  84. Brian says:

    Traile or Dualsports are just like jeeps. Sure they are ugly and there is not much on them to brag about. They sure are alot of fun though! Once the public realizes that they are just like Jeeps and they are so much fun, the sales will go through the roof. But just like Jeeps, they need accessories available to personalize them and make them cool.

  85. secret asian man says:

    They’re not “adventure” bikes, any more than the SUV has any “sport”.

    They’re commuter bikes. Europeans buy “adventure” bikes for the same reason soccer moms buy Highlanders – they’re very useful, but look like they’re rugged. The average BMW GS is used to go to Tesco or Monoprix, and is as likely to go off-road as the RX400. European riders don’t want a boring-looking standard, and American soccer moms don’t want a minivan. They want to tell their friends, or perhaps themselves, that they’re rugged, outdoorsy, adventurous people. The SUV pretends to carry kayaks when it carries kids, and the big trailie pretends to race the Dakar when it’s carrying milk.

    The big trailies are the only bikes that don’t look dorky with big bags. That’s all.

    Europeans don’t have as many kids as Americans, so Europeans don’t need the un-minivan SUV. Americans don’t have the high gas prices Europeans have, so we don’t need bikes with big bags.

    Those practical things they do with the adventure bike? I do them in a car.

    That leaves my bike as the second vehicle. I’m not some grey-bearded Aerostitch wearer clamoring for cheap standards – and to tell you the truth, neither most Americans, no matter how much you might want them to be. Most bikes here are toys. My Super Duke isn’t good for picking up anything but speeding tickets, and I love it like that.

    • freecat says:

      They’re useful, but the other secret is that they are, for many of us, simply more *comfortable* than sport-tourers. Sport-touring bikes are more comfortable than sportbikes, but they still tend to have higher pegs and lower bars than ADV bikes. The reason they don’t look dorky with big bags is because they are already kind of ugly. Personally, I much prefer the looks of naked bikes, but darned if the ADV bike isn’t the one I really want to ride every day.

  86. Mike says:

    American riders are too focused on “image” and not on the actual ride experience. Hence the proliferation of cruisers and 9/10’s sport bikes and their attendant uncomfortable riding positions that limit seat time. It’s a shame, because there is something like eight times the amount or unpaved roads in this beautiful country versus paved roads, and they’ll never see them.

    I am on the last day of a 7 week tour on my KTM 950 Adventure and I would have missed a lot of amazing views and roads had I brought a street-only bike. Most riders will never experience this because they are too swayed by the marketing machines of the manufacturers and not on what moves the soul. Bikes are just tools to get a job done, not reflections of who we are. I guess this is why I have 4 bikes and not a single cruiser or race bike in the mix.

  87. D-man says:

    I recently added a 2009 Kawasaki Versys to the fleet (only $5,500 with factory incentives!!!)and stuck some Avon AM43/44 tires on it. In the U.S. the bike is touted as a nice “street bike”. View it on any european youtube sight and it is being used as an adventure tourer, endemic to its design. I live in the west where fire roads and well maintained trails abound. The Kawi does a great job and goes wherever I need it to. I would not want to motocross on the thing, but adventure touring is a great type of riding. I do believe the demand is directly related to the available terrain, which may be scarce, particularly around major urban areas. I hope adventure touring catches on. I find adventure riding every bit as fun as burning up the pavement on my VFR1200.

  88. Jose says:

    You Ask. Why?
    Well very simple…GAS PRICE!!!

  89. Richard Grumbine says:

    Many of my friends in America ride adventure bikes, mostly Triumph Tigers and BMW GSs. They are great do it all bikes and they look decent too. Most of the Japanese adventure bikes just dont look as good to my mind. I have considered a KTM Adventure in the past and may yet decide to go that route. Currently I am riding in Japan and a big Adventure bike just does not make as much sense here. The rides are generally shorter and twistier than back home and we seldom see anything like a dirt road. Mid sized bikes make more sense here. But should I move back to America I hope to see a KTM or perhaps the new Ducati MultiStrada under my tree!

  90. Vroooom says:

    I’ve put over 140K on V-stroms (most on one of them), and had a Tiger, BMW GS, Cagiva and KLR. They are infinitely practical bikes, capable of all things (well the KLR might lack a bit in the high speed stuff), and extremely reliable as they are generally understressed engine designs. But they don’t sell in the US as people want sex appeal, they want chrome, they want to look fast while setting still, but they don’t want practical (generalizing, a few of you do obviously). Just did a 9 day 5000 mile trip through the national parks in the US and Canada, rode hundreds of miles of dirt road, all on a practical bike.

  91. Justin says:

    Well, without the benefit of market research, and eschewing broad generalizations about the American motorcycling public, I can only comment on the riders that I know.

    The Harley guys I know would never riding anything else. Harley, apparently, has no interest in making adventure bikes. Done.

    The squids I know want the Ninjabike, yo.

    The knobby tire boys actually pretty much all have Harleys to ride on the road.

    My mom has a Triumph Legend.

    One friend has a big BMW. But he is an irascible, antisocial sort of contrarian. His bike is as much of a statement as the worst ‘butt jewelry’ (never heard that one before)

    The educated people I know all ride sportbikes. No bike stops like a sportbike. Nothing accelerates like a sportbike. Some of the other types of bike are as easy to toss around as a sportbike, but none easier. These are the things that a rider needs to ensure his own safety.

    Everything else is for comfort and convenience.

    If I could afford a second bike, I probably would get something with a big tank that can carry bigger bags, that is nearly as capable as a sportbike on-road, and somewhat capable on dirt roads as well. Instead, I have a car.

  92. Brad says:

    I am absolutely convinced the chances of getting a speeding ticket on gravel are next to nil and given the cost of a ticket and the fact that punks have all but destroyed the reputation of sportbikes I plan to transition to an Adventure bike. What the big 4 in Japan need to understand is that these bikes to be specialized. The concept of these being ridden on-road 99% of the time, like in the past, will hinder the features needed to make these bikes on the same level as the BMW or KTM. They need to treat this new trend as serious as they do sportbikes and we will see some cool new stuff, but for now I’ll take the KTM!

  93. Erik S says:

    I would say that adventure style bikes are the ones I am most likely to see coming the other way when I am touring, V stroms and big beemers mostly. The next most popular is some version of Electra Glide, I hardly see any Goldwings anymore. That doesn’t mean much though, as MC touring is rare compared to the saturday morning coffee shop run. When I read the bike ads, a four or five year old bike has less than 10 K on the odometer.
    (Alberta Canada)

  94. Pat McDonald says:

    I’ve been riding Adventure bikes for decades. The old British iron were some of the best. I desert raced a Norton 750cc N15CS “back in the day.” Back then you used a singe bike for everything and frankly, the old Triumphs and BSAs did a much better job off road than my V-Strom. But then, the V-strom is much better at touring. I think the market is here for adventure bikes, at least in the west. With wide open spaces and long distances, an adventure bike makes sense. Maybe not so much in the east with thick woods. Not much fun to herd a 500 hundred pound bike around dense trees. Here in Texas I see a lot of adventure bikes. The cruiser crowd is in a whole different universe. Riding for different reasons to different places.


  95. Don Fraser says:

    A bike is never really a practical device, just fun and entertaining. I find the “adventure bikes” carry their excessive weight to high for dirt use and the mushy suspension does not work that well on the street. 59 years old and am riding my ’08 250 Ninja 700 miles to Indy. $4000, 45 mpg, entertaining, my second favorite bike ever behind my ’81 550 GPz.

  96. ediehl says:

    I’ve never understood why this style of bike has not caught on in the U.S., though I suppose a lot of it comes down to the “poser” mindset of a large portion of our riding public. The Caponord I’ve owned for 8+ years has been the best all-around bike of any of my lifetime collection of 48 (and there’ve been some other really good-uns in that lot).

    Two-up comfort, luggage capacity, interstate or forest road capable, good performance—what’s not to like? I also like the looks of most of them. I’m anxiously awaiting the announcements by Aprilia and Triumph of their new adventure-style bikes…

    • MikeD says:

      Yeah, about that Aprilia … Does anyone have hear any “new” news? Still to break cover at Milan this Fall?

  97. craigj says:

    I love my VStrom 1000. Should have bought one years ago. I ride with a lot of Harley guys, and they shake their heads in wonder as I sit over them in traffic like a 2 wheeled SUV. They also shake their heads in wonder when they have to stop and fill up twice as often as me. I shake my head in wonder at them as they are grinding out hard parts on seemingly innocent corners. I shake my head in wonder as I have to continually stop and wait for them to catch up.

    I’ve also had the chance to ride the Honda Veradero pictured above. Available in Canada, not in the US, and one of my friends is into his second year of ownership. It’s one of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden, with typical Honda quality fit and finish, and not as top heavy as my DL1000. Ridden a previous BMW GS which I didn’t think much of, and the new 800 GS which I thought was fantastic. Yamaha could have a real winner with the XTZ 1200 if they would import it … big torquey motor, bags, plus shaft drive … or the TDM for the more pint sized in the crowd.

  98. Dave says:

    I just went from a Honda 1000cc CBR to a BMW F800ST. The BMW is 100 pounds lighter so I can easily push it into my garage. In my early 50’s, I needed a change. I still have the power and acceleration that I need. The BMW came with side cases and a top case so I have plenty of storage. It also gets 60 mpg. Harley’s don’t appeal to me. A Gold Wing is too big and heavy. I suppose you could put aluminum bags on the F800ST and call it an Adventure bike.

  99. DT says:

    Why do adventure bikes have to look so butt ugly? The only one I’ve seen that looks decent is the new Multistrada.

  100. Kevin says:

    I’ve put a little over 30k miles on my 1k V-Strom and have found many truths. Here are just a few.

    1. This bike is damn near perfect for any riding you care to do. Long distance, fast dirt roads, 2-up touring, fast twisties, you name it. It’s a swiss army knife, not unlike its BMW and KTM counterparts.

    2. You will get noticed. I go to many motorcycle meets & greets and often find my Strom to be the only upright bike there. Die hard Rub Rub riders gather around me and start asking questions before I can get my helmet off! “How’s the seat?”, “How do you like those big saddle bags?”, “What’s it like loaded, 2-up?” To say there isn’t interest here, at least where I live, isn’t paying attention to the riders.

    3. You will spend more time riding. This is primarily because you can. The all day comfort from the riding position and control layout for these bikes is unparalleled in the industry. They are also reliable mounts that need only regular oil changes and in some cases chain maintenance but that’s it! No chrome to polish.

    4. You will get to know your dealer well. Not because of any of the reasons you might guess but because he will be calling you often. My dealer has called me on more occasions than I can count so that I could stop by and show a potential customer my bike. I’ve even given test rides on it to folks I didn’t know just so my dealer could make a sale.

    I take the time to test drive as many motorcycles as I can. Manufacturers are always doing demo’s somewhere. I can honestly say that I’m always happy to be back on my Strom when I’m done. Well, there was this one time, on a KTM Adventure…

  101. Rick says:

    We don’t ride bikes for the same practical reasons that they might in Europe.

  102. Ron Gordon says:

    The TDM 850 I owned was the best all around motorcycle ever for me—-when I used to do week long plus rides. Great on two track log roads and the highway. Trails-no way. At 67 hard years old I will truck our Buells for a day to the hill country so my wife and I can get in 3 days of fun riding and not have to use two of them getting there and back.

  103. Bill says:

    As a past owner of a 955 Tiger and a new owner of a DL 1000 I say these rides are by far the best all around bikes . Long travel suspension lots of grunt save wear and tear ON THE RIDER. Cruisers and sport bikes look great one has power the other has looks but it ends there !

  104. jerrylee says:

    “More” bikes, each with a specialized purpose, is always better. But given the current economy and aging average biker population balancing a lot of other activities, interests and priorities the concept of a scaled down fleet that can still cover a lot of different riding situations may increase US interest and demand for this category.

    The cruiser and full dresser group has a solid following that can cover a lot of different riding situations and appeals to a lot of maturing bikers. However maturing full-on sportbike devotees not yet ready to take the “step forward to footboards” may find this category a nice to live for a while.

    I certainly like seeing the many different variations on the theme, covering a lot of different ground and adding special niches within this broad category. Ducati 1200Multi for the real performance junkie that wants comfort and versatility to 1200GS adventurer types that get real knobby tires for their 2-wheeled SUV fix to the V-Stom owner more on a budget.

    Evolution and common sense is a good thing!

  105. David Herr says:

    In South Africa adventure bikes are by far the biggest market, with BMW 650, 800 and 1200GS models outselling everything else 5 to 1.

    The KTM 990 Adv are hugely popular bikes as are Yamaha XT 660’s and Tenere (660 & 1200). Suzuki sells bucket loads of DR650 and DL650/1000 bikes. Honda XR 650R’s are like hens teeth and good 7 – 8 year old models sell for good money. The Honda Africa Twin has gained legend status, not so much the Trans Alp. Kawasaki can’t import enough Versy 650, KLE 500 and KLR 650 bikes into the country

    I personaly own a Yamaha XT600 and a Husqvarna 610 TE as I find the big traillies too large and heavy for me. My sports bike was sold a long time ago.

  106. Joey Wilson says:

    I agree with FazerSix: Until we think of motorcycles as transportation instead of toys, these are ‘too practical’. Europe is an entirely different world of tastes, large urban centers, and expen$ive gas prices. Not to mention tiered licensing.

    While I can admire the personal cruise missles and the rolling chrome palaces, a Varadero, the VStrom pictured, a Super Ten, or anything along those lines suits me fine. These are the two-wheeled equivalents of a Jeep or a Range Rover, and that really appeals to me.

    It may very well happen that while the Japanese are clueless right now, we may see a wave of the Europeans taking up the slack ‘while the getting’s good’: Look how the S1000RR and RSV Aprilia and even the newly freshened M-V F4 have stolen a huge march on the Japanese Superbikes. Who would have thought in their wildest dreams that would happen? So maybe the Europeans will drag the Japanese (and their US dealers) into the more urban European styles as well, the 796 Monster and the Aprilia Mana/Dorsoduro spring to mind. You never know . . . .

  107. Snarky says:

    Colorado is a different market than most of the US, but bikes that have struggled in other places have often done well here. Back in the day, TL-125 and 250s sold well here. Honda’s ill-fated TransAlp had such a strong following here that there was even a TransAlp Cycle Owners (TACO) Club in Colorado Springs. BMW GS’s are as common here as rocks in the Rockies and Suzuki V-Stroms are everywhere. Big KTM’s are common too. Although I have a Speed Triple and a couple of Guzzis, my main ride is an ’06 Triumph Tiger which is absolutely the Swiss army knife of motorcycles. There are many less than ideal roads around my home here at 9000 ft ASL and the Tiger handles them all with aplomb. Plus my wife loves it because it is so roomy and comfortable. I don’t see Honda selling hundreds of Varaderos in IndianNoPlace, Indiana but there is a market for them here. Whether such a niche market as we have here justifies importation by the Japanese giants, I doubt, unfortunately.

    PS: Don’t worry about what the butt jewelery crowd is into. That isn’t just a different market, it’s a different hobby.

  108. Chris says:

    My 2005 KTM 950 Adventure is the best all around bike ever. Real adventure bikes come with 21 inch front hoops. The Vstrom is a great bike for touring and pavement, but has no chance keeping up with the KTM with a skilled rider on the two track dirt roads.

  109. Fred Z says:

    I read this comment with interest:
    “Apparently Yamaha, at their dealer meeting this spring, asked each of their dealers to order a single Super Ténéré — this would provide enough orders to make it worthwhile for Yamaha to go through the expensive process of US certification and importation, and would be an opportunity to test the waters in markets around the country. But only about 10% of their dealers were willing to order one:

    I don’t know where you got this info, but can tell you that if it happened, my local Yamaha dealer certainly wasn’t invited. He has lately even been talking to a UK dealer about importing some Super Tenere’s here and for sure would have expressed his desire to order one this spring if he were asked, but it didn’t happen.

    They are having a dealer meeting in Sept, though, so perhaps we’ll hear something then. My dealer is hoping they hear something about the Super Tenere availability for the US.

    • mark says:

      I heard it from my local Triumph dealer, who’s also a Yamaha snowmobile dealer and got the info from his rep, who is also the rep for Yamaha motorcycles in this area. So yes, it’s third-hand, and take it with the appropriate grain of salt.

      But you should also take what your dealer says with a grain of salt. There’s no way an individual dealer is going to bring in Super Tens from the UK. The importation process is far too expensive if anyone is expecting to actually be able to register and ride the bikes. This is why Yamaha themselves won’t do it unless they’re convinced they can sell enough to make it worth the cost.

  110. mark says:

    You guys might want to brush up on your research a bit. The dual-sport/adventure bike market segment is the only one that’s shown growth in the US recently, while cruiser and sportbike sales are in the toilet. R1200GSes, V-Stroms, KTM Adventures, etc are increasingly common bikes on American roads. The F800GS has been a hot seller for BMW. Triumph is coming out with their new 800cc offroad-oriented Tiger to tap into the same market (and yes, it’s coming to the US).

    Even some of the more exotic adventure bikes such as the Moto Guzzi Stelvio and Benelli Tre-K Amazonas are available in the US.

    The V-Strom you’ve shown is a normal DL650 sold as a package with a number of accessories put together by the UK importer. There was a similar Touring model a year or two ago. There’s no reason a US dealer couldn’t offer an identical accessory package if they wanted to.

    The reason we don’t see many adventure bikes in the US from the Japanese manufacturers is two-fold.

    First, they’re notoriously conservative. Honda and Yamaha sold adventure bikes here in the late ’80s/early ’90s when they really were a tiny niche market, and of course they stopped when the bikes barely sold. But inexplicably, they seem to have completely failed to notice that the market has shifted. While ADV sales are up and cruiser sales are way off, what do we get from Honda? A factory chopper, four years after the chopper fad has ended. Meanwhile they haven’t updated the XR650L in 17 years and refuse to bring over the Transalp. Yamaha has built two terrific adventure bikes (the XT660 Ténéré and XT1200 Super Ténéré), but they’re not being imported to North America. Meanwhile, Suzuki is a bit more willing to take chances, and it’s paid off for them. The V-Strom sells relatively well, and you might notice it’s one of the few bikes that Suzuki has announced as a 2011 model. And Kawasaki has sold plenty of KLR650s.

    The second reason we don’t see many adventure bikes in the US is the dealer network. Many dealers are clueless when it comes to anything besides cruisers and sportbikes, and I’m convinced that’s the reason the manufacturers think nothing else sells here. Apparently Yamaha, at their dealer meeting this spring, asked each of their dealers to order a single Super Ténéré — this would provide enough orders to make it worthwhile for Yamaha to go through the expensive process of US certification and importation, and would be an opportunity to test the waters in markets around the country. But only about 10% of their dealers were willing to order one; the rest were convinced they’d be saddled with a bike they couldn’t sell. Apparently these people don’t pay attention to their own industry and are completely deaf to the roars coming from R1200GS owners who are fed up with BMW’s quality-control problems and would love an alternative.

    To me, this is mind-boggling.

    Meanwhile, BMW continues to sell lots of GS models, Ducati is selling plenty of Multistradas (not really an adventure bike due to having sportbike wheels which you can’t get knobby tires for, but close enough), and Triumph is likely to hit paydirt with the Tiger Cub 800 or whatever they’re going to call it.

    • Jim says:

      Mark, good points to which I might add that the dealer network for Japanese motorcycles is overwhelmingly made up of multi franchise dealers and in many cases multiple recreational products so the dealer is not a motorcycle shop, but a powersports center. The business model for this type of store is to sell as many of the most popular products across all categories and not worry about building the individual brands. A low volume product creates issues for these dealers with training of service personnel and parts inventories so they don’t want it.

  111. Tim says:

    By the way, the V-Strom luggage in the picture above looks very much like Trax aluminum luggage. You could easily make a very similar bike with Trax luggage, which is available here in the US. I have a set of them on my Versys, and they work out great. They swallow a lot of gear, and are well made. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to add aluminum luggage to their bike.

  112. Tim says:

    The US market seems to me to be made up of 3 primary types of riders. There are the Harley and Metric Cruiser guys (most of which aspire to own a Harley.) There are the sportbike riders, and there are the BMW types. Obviously a lot of the BMW guys have taken to the adventure tourers, but most BMW guys wouldn’t consider another brand of adventure tourer.

    There are small nitches of V-Strom riders, and the Kawasaki 650 riders who appreciate adventure touring, but the looks of the adventure touring bikes just don’t appeal to most riders. The styling tends to be quirky. I like quirky, but I hear my Harley riding friends make fun of the styling of the adventure tourers. You’re never going to convert those guys.

    The beauty in these bikes is their utility, not their looks, and if you don’t understand that, you’re not going to take a second look at these types of bikes. That’s a shame, because they are a blast to ride, and they make great touring bikes. America is a great place to ride adventure tourers. We have virtually every type of topography known to man here.

    I’m optimistic that as the sport bike guys grow older, they won’t aspire to cruisers but, instead, they’ll hopefully gravitate to adventure tourers. If you’ve grown up riding smooth,fast,light bikes, the Harleys are probably not going to appeal to you. I’ve tried to like riding Harleys, but they just don’t do anything for me. I believe the day will come when slow, heavy Harleys will cease to be the “cool” bikes to the masses, and modern bikes will take their place. I believe Harley has made a major miscalculation in doing away with Buell, and selling off MV. The baby boomers are aging rapidly, and before long, Harley’s target market will be too old to ride bikes. Their new CEO is extremely short sighted.

  113. Dave says:

    Unfortunately, these types of bikes will never prosper in the US. At least not until our average rider grows up and abandons either the “loud pipes save lives” crew, the “ricky racer wannabe” crew, or the “extended swingarm, straight line only, chrome helmet, please don’t make me turn” crew. If enough of us ever decide to get serious about motorcycling, and stop buying them as fashion statements, then the incredibly capable crop of adventure tourers will get the attention they deserve.

  114. Tom says:

    The US is extremely safety conscious and litigation-prone. We don’t want to get hurt and when we do we like to sue someone. Plus we’re afraid of teenagers talking and texting on phones while they drive, making invisible bikers even more invisible.

    That leaves only a certain type of rider willing to ride on our streets:
    1) The risk takers who like sport bikes, which exudes “lets take risks!”
    2) Then there are the cruisers and interstate tourists, who feel that being big and slow and loud and heavy is sort of a protective thing in itself. After all, it’s a Harley or a Goldwing and no one gets hurt on Harley or Goldwing, right? Right??
    3) There are the young off-road only riders and racers, not even on our streets.

    It looks like the population of riders who want to ride around on a standard bike, neither taking triple-digit risks nor thumping beween bars with loud pipes, is a fairly small population. In Europe and Australia there are many of these practical, skilled, adventurous, budget riders. But not here. Here a practical, skilled, adventurous, budget rider is a car driver, not a biker. That’s sad, but it is what it is.

  115. LoneRider says:

    I currently have a mini-big traillie, also known as a KLR650. It is in the garage with a VFR800 and Thunderbird Sport, both of which as faster and handle better, at least on a track. When it is time to go to work, or Alaska as was the case this summer, KLR650 keys gets grabbed. Really it only needs slightly better forks and about 20-40 more HP.

    I am looking forward to the new crop of traillies! The Triumph Cub may replace all 3 of the bikes, the TBS is all but sold, and the VFR is up for sale.

  116. Rick Davis says:

    Having owned a V-Strom 1000 for 8 yrs now,I can say that they aren’t for everybody & they don’t do everything well but “Trailies” do: get you noticed on the road by other vehicles, improves rider line of sight in traffic, they do go off-road depending on model & rider bravery, long distance tour very easily, faster than you think in twisty bits, very practical without being boring during commute, damn comfortable, just plain fun. Downside: Not for short of inseam & have high center of gravity/top heavy.

  117. fazer6 says:

    In Europe bikes are transportation.

    In the US bikes are toys.

    Until this changes “practical” bikes will sell marginally at best, and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

    When the economy turned south recently, and money grew tight, how many Americans sold their CARS and kept their bikes as affordable, practical transportation? How many sold their bikes, most for huge losses (take a look at cycle trader) and kept their gas-guzzling, overpriced land yachts?

    • Goose says:


      Thanks, you saved me writing my own post, consider this a second.

      Brian, “Suzuki be dreaming if they think someone is going to ride that thing off road with those wimpy forks. I own an SV650 and it is a terrific bike with the exception of those forks…”

      I don’t own a DL650 but I’ve ridden them, great bikes for anything short off full on sport bike or dirt riding. The DL has different and much better forks then the SV. The shock is better as well. In fact, other then the engine (and even that is retuned) the SV and DL are less alike then you’d think. Like most “big trailies” the DL is fine for a trip down a dirt road but I would suggest any of them for a single track ride.


      • BulletBob says:

        fazer6 and Goose,

        I’m with you. I was amazed at how many people unloaded their bikes and kept their cars when things went south. Americans like their creature comforts and until we change how we as a society do work/business riding habits won’t change. As long as someone going to work has to spend hours sitting in traffic they are going to do it in the comfort of A/C, out of the rain and snow.


    • yeah.. says:

      “In Europe bikes are transportation. In the US bikes are toys.”

      Not true. Well, the mopeds might be mostly for transportation (and hanging out with other teenagers), but mostly Europeans too buy motorcycles for fun – they are not that practical here either. Very few non-motorcycle-fanatics ride motorcycles as transportation.

      But that’s besides the point. Adventure bikes aren’t any much more practical than street bikes but they are a lot more fun, at least the good ones that you can actually ride fast on dirt are (Varadero isn’t one of the fun ones and has been a poor seller for Honda).

  118. Brian says:

    Suzuki be dreaming if they think someone is going to ride that thing off road with those wimpy forks. I own an SV650 and it is a terrific bike with the exception of those forks…

  119. MikeD says:

    I would take any of them Beasts, specially a Super TENERE, GS1200A, KTM Adventure or F800GS to go to The End of the World (Alaska or Siberia) and back.
    Even tho they look “DIFFERENT AS HELL” at first sight im sure i can warm up pretty soon to all the Positive Aspects of owning such fine machines.
    Case in point, the GS1200A: It looked kinda ugly on the Internet but i saw one
    on the flesh at the local watering hole and it made a good impression on me that i would buy if i had the $$$ and use for it.

    They are so Dang Xpen$ive.

  120. Phil Tarman says:

    If you had been at the Iron Butt Association National Meeting in Denver week before last, you would be willing to say that *at least* the long-distance community has already embraced the adventure tourers.

    I personally still prefer sport-tourers, but the adventure bike would probably be #1 on my list if I hadn’t had five knee replacements.

  121. Old town hick says:

    Maybe this is the savior the motorcycle market is looking for. Why most manufacturers have genally ignored this segment while about 35% of BMW’s world wide sales are GS models is a mystery to me.

  122. CJ says:

    The paved roads here in New England can be rough (frost heaves, potholes, etc.) and there are numerous unpaved roads that would be nice to explore. A bike having compliant suspension with longer travel than a typical road bike would be ideal. An upright riding position is also what I desire.
    The “adventure” bikes would be good except that they seem to be on the heavy side and they are not aesthetically pleasing to my eyes.
    I like the KTM 990 SM-T. The Ducati Multistrada 1200 would be nice, but I could do without the ugly, angry bird look and the gadgetry that adds weight.
    I will be interested in the more road oriented version of Triumph’s upcoming, smaller, adventure bike (Tiger Cub?).

  123. Mike says:

    I’ve had a 650 V-Strom for three years, and here’s what I like about it:
    1) Comfortable, roomy, controls just where they need to be.
    2) Great on any road, potholes, chip-seal, gravel, dirt. With it’s long-travel suspension, block-pattern tires (or knobby if you choose), ground clearance, and 19″ front tire, it shrugs off the rough stuff.
    3) It is also sporting going around corners, and a lot of fun! The engine is powerful for its size with good gearing, and it has a lot of mid-range torque. Great ground clearance too.
    4)Cheap to own. Cheap insurance, not expensive to maintain, and I get between 54 and 66 mpg.
    5) Incredible aftermarket support for this bike. If you can think of it, somebody probably sells it.
    6) What would I like changed? I wish it had shaft drive and all LED lighting, and it would be great if it lost a few pounds. That’s about it, it’s the best, favorite bike I’ve had yet, out of 17 so far.

  124. BP says:

    It will always be a small market unless you can get it chromed out, with apes and upswept fishtails. It also has to be features on Sons of Anarchy to get any attention.

  125. Doug says:

    Oh, how could I forget the Triumph Tiger and Kawasaki’s big dual sport KLR650! Triumph has tailored the lateste Tiger more for street than trail with this edition and is a great bike. The Kawasaki KLR650 has been around for over 20 years in this country and has a loyal following. I agree with Kerry…Bring em on!!!

  126. Doug says:

    Actually, I think there is a market in the US for this type of bike here. Suzuki sells the V-Strom 650 & 1000 here and Kawasaki the Versys. These bikes offer utility and practicality that other types of bikes simply cannot. Also, when Buell was in business their best selling bike was the Ulysses XB12X so, yes, I believe the market is there. Now, someone needs to market the bikes appropriately and they will sell. 🙂

  127. Kerry says:

    Absolutely no question in my thinking that the U.S. is waking up with regard to the “big trailies.” It was just a matter of time. These bikes make so much sense. They are unbelievably fun to ride, can be as fast as a sport bike in the right hands/conditions, and just look cool. They are great platforms for long distance or daily riding around town or country. Great carrying capacity, great sit-up visibility, decent weather protection, long legs for “any road” flexibility, and the list goes on. Bring em on !!!

  128. The Bear says:

    I’ve been riding for 12 years and have ALWAYS though that the adventure catagory of bikes were the best all around machines money can buy. When Kawasaki brought the Versys here in 2007, I was overjoyed. The V-stroms are both nice (650 & 1,000) and are great bikes. However, I wonder why more companies don’t bring adventure bikes to the US? The BMW GS series is king, and with the new Yamaha Super Tenere I’m hopeful the US will get that one, but how about the Yamaha TDM? The Ducati Multistrada (both 620 and 1000/1100) were fantastic bikes, but the 620 had a short life in the US – much like the ’92-’93 Yamaha TDM 850. I hope we see a LOT more of these types of bike in the US. The sheer volume of Harley clones and SuperSport bikes on the road these days is enough to gag a maggot. These adventure bikes are perfect for all types of different riding styles, and the best part – you don’t have any chrome to polish!

  129. Steve says:

    I have a Suzuki DL1000 and love the thing. As an previous owner of 5 bikes this is the one I kept around! I understand the European market is bigger for adventure bikes, but one would never know it! I see lots of adventure bikes on the roads in our area…
    “To Ride One Is To Love One”


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