Ride Beyond Boundaries: The Ultimate Guide to Adventure Touring Bikes

At the crossroads of freedom and versatility, adventure touring bikes stand as a testament to the spirit of exploration. These bikes, often synonymous with dual-sport motorcycles, are engineered for the adventurer who craves a ride that's dynamic on the asphalt, yet possessing the capability to handle off-road conditions. Adventure touring bikes blend the comfort and technology of road bikes with the rugged, off-road capabilities of dirt bikes. This duality earns them the 'dual-sport' nickname, reflecting their dual-purpose design that caters to long-distance road touring with the soul of an explorer, ready to tackle the untamed paths at a moment's notice. It's this very versatility that makes them a cherished choice for riders looking to delve into diverse terrains without changing mounts.

Is it possible for one motorcycle to master the smooth glide of tarmac and the rugged challenge of off-road trails? Adventure touring bikes say yes. With their versatile design, they are the chameleons of the motorcycle world, transforming to meet the demands of the asphalt and the charm of the wild with equal aplomb. Let us explore how these bikes open up the world, turning every journey into an adventure.

adventure touring bikes

Finding Your Balance: Selecting the Perfect Adventure Touring Bike

When embarking on the quest for the perfect adventure touring bike, it's essential to recognize that the spectrum of these motorcycles stretches from tarmac-tailored tourers to dirt-devoted machines. The ideal bike for you hinges on the balance you desire between off-road agility and highway comfort. While it's rare to find a bike that equally excels in both environments, manufacturers design adventure touring models with varying focuses. Some are optimized for smoother, more comfortable rides on paved roads, while others are built with features that enhance their performance on rugged, off-road trails. This range allows riders to choose a bike that aligns more closely with their primary riding terrain, whether it's the open road or the path less travelled.

The choice of gear is pivotal in tilting this balance. Tyres, for instance, are critical. Even among those specifically designed for adventure touring, it's rare to find a perfect 50/50 split between road and off-road performance. However, this works to your advantage, allowing you to select tyres that best match your riding preferences. Similarly, the setup of your bike can transform its character. Adjustable suspensions can be tuned for the forgiving bounce needed on rocky paths or the stiff poise for long-distance road touring. Handlebars, seat ergonomics, and windscreen height can also vastly influence rider comfort and control, affecting endurance on longer rides.

It's about finding a bike that resonates with your riding reality; if tarmac tours are your mainstay with only occasional forays into the wild, your choice would lean towards something that marries the comfort of a road bike with just enough rugged spirit to tackle that spontaneous detour off the beaten track.

For many bikers, the allure of an adventure touring bike lies not in its off-road prowess but in its robust versatility and comfort for those long stretches on the road. These riders appreciate the upright riding position, the capacity to carry ample gear, and the sheer joy of a responsive yet sturdy machine that makes hours in the saddle a pleasure rather than a punishment. These bikes also provide the option to ride in a standing position, which is essential for navigating off-road terrain. Additionally, standing up can be the perfect solution for relieving discomfort during longer rides. It allows you to relax and stretch your legs, offering a welcome break without the need to stop.

Best Bikes for Adventure Travel: How to Pick the Right Engine Size

Selecting the right engine size for an adventure touring bike is a crucial decision that hinges on your intended use and riding style. Mid-sized engines, typically ranging from 600cc to around 900cc, are widely regarded as versatile choices for adventure touring. These bikes strike a balance between sufficient power for comfortable riding on main roads and manageability for off-road conditions. They offer enough muscle for brisk travel and can handle the demands of both solo and passenger riding, making them suitable for a variety of trips. Their size and weight also make them more nimble compared to their larger counterparts, enhancing their suitability for mixed-terrain adventures.

Here's our collection of reviews on popular mid-size adventure touring bikes:

Triumph Tiger 800 Series

Known for its smooth three-cylinder engine, the Tiger 800 is a versatile bike that handles both on-road and off-road conditions well.

triumph tiger 800
BMW F900 GS Adventure

BMW's mid-range adventure bike offers a great mix of performance and comfort, suitable for long-distance touring as well as off-road adventures.

BMW F900 GS Adventure
KTM 790 Adventure

This bike is designed for serious off-road performance but doesn't compromise on-road capabilities, making it a great all-rounder.

KTM 790 Adventure
Honda Transalp XL750

This bike, a more compact variant of the legendary Africa Twin, is celebrated for its equilibrium and prowess in off-road conditions.

honda transalp
Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Rally

A highly regarded mid-size adventure bike, the Yamaha Ténéré 700 is known for its value, reliability, lightweight, and off-road performance.

Yamaha Tenere 700
Ducati Multistrada V2

This model, as the Multistrada lineup's compact option, impressively combines power, comfort, and technology.

Ducati Multistrada V2

For those who prioritize long-distance, predominantly road-based touring, bikes with larger engines, over 900cc, might be more appropriate. Bikes like the BMW R 1250 GS and Ducati Multistrada V4 are in the higher displacement range and are known for their power and long-distance touring capabilities. They excel in effortlessly covering vast distances, offering a smoother ride with advanced features and higher performance. However, their increased size and weight might pose challenges in off-road scenarios, making them less ideal for riders who expect to tackle challenging terrains frequently. These larger bikes are typically favoured by more experienced riders who are comfortable managing the additional power and weight, especially in demanding riding conditions.

Here's a list of best bikes for adventure travel with larger engines, typically over 900cc, known for their long-distance touring capabilities and powerful performance:

BMW R 1250 GS

One of the most iconic large adventure bikes, it features a 1254cc boxer engine and is renowned for its technology, comfort, and all-road capability.

BMW R 1250 GS
Ducati Multistrada V4

This model has a 1158cc V4 engine, offering a blend of power, advanced technology, and versatility for both on- and off-road use.

Ducati Multistrada V4
Triumph Tiger 1200

Equipped with a 1160cc triple engine, this model is renowned for its seamless power output and superior touring capabilities.

Triumph Tiger 1200
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S & R

Available in various versions (S, R, T), these bikes are equipped with a 1301cc engine, offering immense power and a range of sophisticated features for adventure touring.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S and R
Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L

An evolution of the legendary Africa Twin, it balances off-road performance with long-distance touring comfort.

Honda Africa Twin 1100
Yamaha Super Ténéré 1200

Known for its reliability and durability, this model features a 1199cc parallel-twin engine, suitable for long, demanding tours.

Yamaha Super Tenere 1200


Selecting the perfect adventure touring bike can be a doubtful task. The key here is to look for one that best matches your riding style. In following series we hope to equip you with essential tips on gearing up for your journey, both in terms of bike accessories and personal attire, ensuring you're prepared for whatever the road throws your way.

For the long-haul enthusiasts and the spirited explorers, we present a curated selection of the best mid-size and large-engine adventure motorcycles. Discover bikes that harmonize power and agility, like the Triumph Tiger 800 Series and the Ducati Multistrada V4, each promising to enhance your touring experience.

So, if you're itching to ride beyond boundaries and turn every journey into an adventure, dive into our articles on the essential gear for adventure touring, maintenance tips, and in-depth adventure bike reviews. We're here to help you find your balance between the open road and the wild yonder.


Fun Facts

Did you know the world's longest motorcycle was over 26 meters long. It was presented and measured at Lakhota lake, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, on 22 January 2014. The bike was more than 4 m (13 ft) longer than the previous record holder's.

To ensure that his super-stretched motorcycle would be able to perform like a conventional motorbike, the constructor rode it along a road for 100 m (328 ft) without putting his feet down.

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Did you know?

The aerodynamic drag on a motorcycle can increase by up to 40% just by the rider sitting upright instead of in a tucked position. It's a wind-resistance thing—like trying to walk through a pool vs. gliding through it!

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10 Reasons Why You Should Ride a Motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle is like savouring a five-star Michelin meal when you're absolutely famished. It's an experience that not only satisfies an immediate craving but also leaves a lasting impression. Just like that first bite of an extraordinary dish makes you forget the world around you, so does the initial twist of the throttle. Your focus narrows to the sensation of the bike, the road, and the rhythm of your breathing. It's an immediate way to bring mindfulness into your day.

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So next time you feel weighed down by the demands of life, remember that your two-wheeled 'Michelin experience' awaits you. One session on the road can recalibrate your mood quicker than you can say 'Michelin star.' It's the sort of lifelong journey that never disappoints, always offering new flavours for your soul to relish.

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