What exactly makes an adventure bike different to the other styles of bike out there? Which ones are on the market today, and what can Lexham do for you?
An adventure bike is a bit of a mixture between two different styles of bikes, and they typically give you great carrying capacity but not at the expense of speed or comfort. Your average adventure bike will still have some great stylistic features reminiscent of a sports bike, with fairings and panniers the norm. In terms of style, expect a big, heavy and tall bike which will mean you’re naturally carrying a bit of weight on the road – which again suits a long distance ride quite well.
Typically you also have bikes built for more off-road adventure, and those tailored for on-road long distance riding – we would recommend checking exactly what you are looking for from an adventure bike before committing to one type. Although saying that, a lot of these bikes do quite well on both types of terrain with their rider controls; these often come as optional extras or as standard.
In terms of riding position, you have a bit of an in-between here. You’re usually quite upright with your arms straight in a neutral riding position, but still able to get in a tucked-in sports bike posture when needed. You’ll find yourself usually in the middle of the two on a ride, which allows you comfort for long journeys as well as the posture for high speed riding. The riding position you end up with is a very successful one, very similar to most naked bikes as well. The neutral positioning on the bike allows a great overall control of the bike – so you’ll have no problems on adventures with these machines!
So moving on to the bikes – we have selected a few of the most popular ones on the market, this will also give you an idea of the bikes that we insure on our adventure scheme as well! There are of course plenty of other bikes on the market that fit in the range here, and this list is in no particular order.
First up, the BMW R1200 GS Adventure
The BMW comes with some stunning looks, and is definitely one you will notice on the road! This is a hugely popular bike on the UK market, it comes as standard with 125HP and a reported 300 mile range on a full tank.
For safety features, BMW have fitted an emergency call system which will send emergency aid to you in the event of any incident that leaves you incapacitated, something you never hope to use but a very valuable feature if required.
Also fitted on the bike from the dealership will be adjustable ABS, traction control and a suspension system with a range of rider modes to choose from (rain, road, enduro and off road) – so whether you go out with full panniers and kit for a week away, or just a Sunday spin, you’re in good hands.
Next is the Triumph Tiger 800 XCX
Again a very popular bike in the UK, the Tiger is part of the adventure line from the British manufacturer. In terms of engine, the 800cc fits nicely in the middle of power range available on the market, and when combined with the lightweight 210kg frame gives a respectable power output. The bike also claims up to 65mpg, so up to 270 miles on a full tank.
As a daily driver, the Tiger is reported to be an impeccable choice. The functionality of cruise control, comfortable suspension and heated grips means it is no stranger to long distance rides - but taking it off road is not out of the question at all. The versatility of the tiger truly stands out here.
The Tiger comes with a great ABS system that can be adjusted to an off road specifc mode – this switches off the ABS on the rear wheel to allow better control in loose terrain. Overall you're looking a jack-of-all-trades bike on the adventure market.
The ever-classic Honda Africa Twin
Depending on the model you go for, the CRF1000L Africa Twin comes as a DCT auto or a six speed manual transmission. The Africa Twin is a descendent of a Dakar rally winner, and as such the bike follows suit to provide a great overall adventure machine.
Reviewed as a very comfortable road machine, the low seat height on the Africa Twin allows great control for riders of all sizes, partly due to keeping the centre of gravity low - but also to allow everyone to get their feet on the ground.
With 94 BHP and a few riding modes to choose from, the bike is a firm favourite for some of the adventure riders out there. Some would point at the Africa Twin as the most stylish on the market, but we can leave that up to you to decide!
Then we have the Suzuki V Strom 1000 ABS
Coming in at a fair price for such a bit of kit, the V Strom is a great option for those looking to make their move to the adventure market.
Seen now as a dependable bike on the road with some updated build quality, the V Strom is one that will seemingly just keep on going - leaving you with one less thing to worry about when going abroad.
Something that makes this bike stand out, is that as standard the bike comes out of the showroom with ABS, a two stage traction control (which can be switched off entirely if you feel like it), and adjustable suspension, the machine itself is definitely one to take seriously for longer journeys and weeks abroad in varying climates.
In terms of ride, the bike comes in weighing 207kg with 99BHP, so it’s no pushover on the road portion of a journey either.
Last (but by no means least) the Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Tenere
Yamaha are on the adventure market with their 4 valve Tenere, again a hugely popular adventure model with a hefty 261kg weight but still around 108bhp. The bike itself is advertised as a capable long-distance adventure bike, the Tenere range comes with both smaller and bigger engine options all influenced from the Dakar Rally.
The bike itself also comes with a 'smart ABS' system which links up the front and back brakes, and pulling the leaver distributes the braking force between the two brakes depending on speed - but still allowing you to use the rear brake independently.
Of course it also comes with a great option of rider modes, and without a doubt will provide comfort for those trips around the EU that might be in the pipeline.
What about if you are on the road with a CBT?
Perhaps consider the Sinnis Terrain 125 as a smaller option - with the same looks and style of it's bigger counterparts, the Terrain 125 gives you most of the usual characteristics of an adventure bike but all within the realm of the CBT.
You will of course not see the power and speed for these smaller adventure bikes, but that also means you won’t have the weight of the bigger bikes. It is perfect for light off road trails and serves as an intriguing taster for what the bigger models can offer you.
This will also give you an idea for the style and feel of adventure bikes, but without the substantial cost.
What Lexham can do for you and your adventure bike
Now we appreciate there are plenty of others bikes in the adventure category (with plenty of other greats that we missed) but this is only a quick roundup! If you’re looking at an adventure bike as your next option, or you’ve even already got one – give us a call or go online for an insurance quote. We have an amazing scheme dedicated to covering adventure bikes, and it will always come with cover in the EU thrown in for no extra charge as well.
Please bear in mind that if you do use your adventure bike off road, you will need to have the right insurance in place to cover it off road.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.