For years, riders had a problem. There were off-roaders and there were roaders, but there were precious few models that occupied the middle ground in between. Fortunately, motorcycle makers eventually answered the call with adventure motorcycles, a breed of motorcycles that combine the qualities of modern sports bikes with the performance attributes of off-roaders. Designed to tackle just about any kind of terrain you care to mention, adventure motorcycles have come into their own in the last couple of decades, with everyone from Honda and Suzuki to KTM and BMW getting in on the action. But as the market becomes ever more saturated, so choosing the right motorcycle becomes ever more challenging. With so many models to choose between, how do you decide which is the best for you? To help you narrow down the options, we’ve rounded up the 10 best adventure motorcycles in 2021.
10. BMW R1250GS Adventure
The BMW R1250GS Adventure was conceived as the kind of bike capable of traversing the toughest, most challenging terrain you could throw its way. As Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman proved in the TV series ‘Long Way Round’, it fills the brief and then some. Powered by a mighty 1254cc engine and boasting BMW’s signature variable camshaft control, dynamic traction control, suspension compensation Dynamic ESA, 6-speed gearbox, electronic fuel injection, and hydraulically operated wet clutch, the BMW R1250GS Adventure is a bike that marries power with excitement to spectacular effect.
9. Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L
An adventure motorcycle needs to be versatile, and versatile is exactly what Honda’s Africa Twin CRF1000L is. First released in 1988, the Africa Twin’s durable frame and powerful build have earned it a name as one of the most respected platforms for off-roading in the industry. These days, the machine is bigger, bolder, and more dynamic than ever before, offering amazing comfort, capability, and control. With its generous fuel capacity and its long-travel suspension, this is the kind of bike that will stand up to the toughest, longest road you care to travel.
8. Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS
With innovative systems, superb fuel economy, a comfortable riding style, and a clutch of very handy rider assist technology (including Motion Track Anti-Lock and a Combined Brake System that’s designed to ensure safety regardless of terrain), the V-Strom 1000 ABS is Suzuki’s top-selling adventure motorcycle, and for very good reason. If you want a motorcycle that’s two steps ahead of the rest in terms of 21st-century innovations, this could well be the one for you.
7. Honda XR650L
What the Honda XR650L lacks in flashy good looks, it more than makes up for in substance. Its square, traditional design might hark bark to the retro classics of the 1970s and 80s, but this is a motorcycle with both wheels firmly in 2021. Boasting a 644cc overhead-cam air-cooled engine, long-travel suspension, and a gear-driven counterbalance for a more comfortable ride, it’s a dual-sport bike with the capability to handle the toughest offroading experience you can manage.
6. BMW F 850 GS Adventure
In 2008, BMW debuted its first middleweight GS Adventure. With its manageable size, its lightweight build, and its superb off-roading capabilities, it was an immediate sensation. Thirteen years and several makeovers down the line, it’s still pulling in the punters. In 2018, it got a new name – the F 850 GS Adventure – a bigger engine, better weather protection, and an enticing new price. Versatile, practical, and with the option to improve on the basic model with a great range of additional extras (including luggage, ESA, protection, heated grips, and more besides), it’s an awesome choice for riders looking for a model that’s durable enough to go the distance, and varied enough to offer plenty of fun along the way.
5. Ducati Multistrada 950 S
When Ducati released the Multistrada 1200, it set the gold standard in adventure motorcycles. No one thought they could improve on it, but with the Multistrada 950 S, they might have done just that. Affordable (something that, no matter how much you loved it, you could never have accused the Multistrada 1200 of being) and equipped with a faultless collection of goodies (including traction control, quickshifter, various riding modes, and a semi-active suspension), it’s a motorcycle that’s designed to appease fans of the Multistrada 1200’s sophisticated style, without leaving those of us on a budget out of the picture.
4. Triumph Tiger 900 Rally
As reported by motorcyclenews.com, in 2020, Triumph replaced their 800cc Tiger range with a new 900cc family of bikes. The new Tiger 900 Rally is a smaller, more manageable alternative to the infamously awkward Tiger 1200. It’s already pulled in some rave reviews, not to mention the 2020 Bike of the Year crown in the MCN Awards. One of its key selling points is the T-plane crank design of its three-cylinder engine, which manages to give plenty of low to mid-range grunt without losing out on top-end power. Packed with features, high-tech gadgets, riding modes, and more besides, this is a sophisticated, versatile machine with a very attractive price point.
3. KTM 890 Adventure R Rally
If the KTM 890 Adventure R Rally has one downside, it’s that there aren’t enough of them. For whatever reason, KTM has decided to make the model Exclusive with a capital E. With only 700 units available worldwide, finding one is a challenge. If you succeed, you’re in for a rare treat. Bristling with features and packed to the brim with sophisticated goodies, the only thing limiting the KTM 890 Adventure R Rally is, as Total Motorcycle says, the production run.
2. Yamaha Super Ténéré XTZ1200Z
The Super Ténéré XTZ1200Z might be a little pricey, but no one can say you don’t get a lot of bang for your buck. While the lightweight (but still grunty) twin-engine makes it ideal for offroading, the motorcycle is armed with enough versatility to make it a very decent road performer too. Crammed with an advanced range of features along with twin aluminum side cases with superb luggage capacity, high screen, fog lights and bash plate, it’s an excellent choice for anyone who can swallow the price tag.
1. BMW G310GS
Ranked by HiConsumption as one of the best adventure motorcycles of 2021, the BMW G310GS certainly has a lot to recommend it. With a futuristic design, a powerful 313cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, a six-speed constant-mesh gearbox, and a lightweight tubular steel frame, this is a bike that will leave the competition coughing on your dust, both on and off road.