When we think of adventure bikes the natural image we have is of a huge expensive BMW, loaded to the hilt with all manner of touring extras – most of which aren’t really needed by the less adventurous owner but there are other options for those thrill seekers on a tighter budget…
Take this machine for instance, at first glance you could mistake it for a BMW GS, it’s got the styling, it has the three-piece luggage set and that’s about where the similarities end. You can actually buy this bike for less than the price of the Trailtech and Wunderlich accessories fitted to your average overloaded Beemer.
This bike actually costs just £2599, yes folks you did read that correctly. It’s a Honley Venturer 250, a Chinese built quarter-litre adventure bike imported by Earnshaws Motorcycles in Huddersfield. The bike forms part of a range of affordable bikes, which also includes a very capable £999 YBR style commuter machine.
The engine may only be 250cc but its liquid-cooled and fuel-injected and has actually got quite a bit of torque so it feels quick enough on the road, or off as it happens. The second-generation engine has much better fuel injection than the original one I tested back in 2014 and it also benefits from a vibration reducing balance shaft so it’s much smoother. Spec wise you’re getting quite a lot for your money, upside down forks, digital instruments, LED lighting, crash bars and for an extra few quid you also get the luggage set, it’ll have ABS shortly as well.
The Honley rides very well, it’s light, has a low seat height (795mm), a 16-litre fuel tank and the engine is very responsive, it’s actually quite powerful for its size and can climb steep hills with ease thanks to its generous torque. The bike goes around corners as well so you can have a bit of fun on the Tarmac and it’d make a great winter commuter but it’s also useful off road. Long travel suspension, a sump guard and dual-purpose tyres mean it can handle some gentle green-laning or less serious off-roading. With it being so light it’s much easier to pick up than a larger capacity bike as well - if and when you drop it. As 250cc bikes go you’ll be hard pressed to find one that’s as much fun and looks as good as this one unless you’re looking at the pricier enduro machines from well-known manufacturers.
Honley might not be a household name but they’re built by one of the more reputable Chinese factories and are backed by a two-year warranty. If you enjoy riding, like something a bit different and have a tight budget it’s one bike that is well worth a try. Surf over to the Honley Website