Adventure motorcycles are the most versatile in the motorcycle world. They work reasonably well on both paved and non-paved roads. With all that said, let’s review some of the currently best adventure motorcycles on the market, just in case you plan to buy one.
What Are Adventure Motorcycles?
There’s a good reason why adventure motorcycles are considered as the counterparts of SUVs. They’re street-legal motorcycles that can almost do it all. They can traverse all kinds of roads—flat concrete roads, dirt paths, farm roads, muddy roads, twisty canyon roads, and so on—especially with a great set of tires.
How do they differ from other types of motorcycles, such as dual sport motorcycles and sport touring motorcycles?
Adventure motorcycles and dual sport motorcycles are suited to off-road conditions. The latter is actually a crossbreed of a dirt bike and an adventure motorcycle. However, a dual sport motorcycle is usually lighter in weight and has a smaller engine size, which typically ranges from 125 cc to 300 cc.
On the contrary, the average engine size of adventure motorcycles ranges from 650 cc and above. They’re also heavier than dual sport motorcycles, with an average weight of 480 lbs and 542 lbs.
As what we’ve mentioned earlier, adventure motorcycles can go almost anywhere, whether that’s off-road or on-road. On the other hand, sport touring motorcycles are exclusively designed to travel on smooth and paved roads.
When it comes to their tires, adventure motorcycles almost always come with a 19- or 21-inch front wheel. They also have spoked wheels for extreme durability and flexibility and a suspension system to make sure your wheels stay on the ground, regardless of the road condition.
Sport touring motorcycles usually come with a 17- or 19-inch front wheel. They have rigid cast wheels, which are usually light and have good handling abilities, and road tires for maximum traction on dry or wet paved roads.
In general, adventure motorcycles are built for long road trips. They’re not only efficient and versatile, but they’re also safer than most kinds of motorcycles—thanks to their ergonomic design, large wheels, more suspension travel, and advanced tools for aiding the rider.
The Best Adventure Motorcycles in 2022
KTM 390 Adventure
The KTM 390 Adventure is an entry-level adventure motorcycle that’s known for its power and unique-looking headlight. Just a heads up, though—since it’s a tall motorcycle, riders who are below 5’8” may struggle with it.
One feature of the 390 Adventure that’s immediately noticeable is its tapered aluminum handlebar. It’s wide to give you better control of the motorcycle, whether you’re seated or standing. And to give you more control and freedom of movement, KTM made the tank spoilers and rear side panels a little wider.
The 390 Adventure is powered by a liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke 373 cc engine. It produces 43.5 hp at 9500 rpm and 26 ft-lbs of torque at 7000 rpm. With these specs, it can go from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 km/h) at 3 to 4 seconds, if you weigh around 166 lb (75 kg).
Similar to the KTM 390 Duke, it’s more than capable of maneuvering through twisty roads. Plus, it comes with advanced electronic aids for riders of all skill levels. For instance, the “Offroad Mode” allows a certain rear-wheel slip and raises the front wheel to get you out of muddy waters and all kinds of weather conditions.
Royal Enfield Himalayan
Royal Enfield has made a few updates to the Himalayan in the past years. For 2022, they added their exclusive Tripper Navigation system. This system is powered by Google Maps and the Royal Enfield App to make sure you stay on course, especially when traveling long distances or exploring new destinations.
Other improvements made to the original model include:
- 31.5-inch saddle gets better foam padding and a suede-like cover
- A slightly taller and wider windshield for better protection and a more comfortable ride
- Shortened front rack (3.5 inches) to give extra leg room for tall riders
- Additional plate for the rear luggage rack to carry heavier loads
The Himalayan retains its 411 cc engine, which produces 24.5 hp and 24 ft-lbs of torque at 4000 rpm. It smoothly cruises along paved roads, with enough power to overtake other vehicles. It might not be able to maintain three-digit speeds, but on dirt paths and provincial highways, its long travel suspension and 21-inch front wheel ensure a comfortable and pleasant ride.
2021 V-Strom 650XT Adventure
Dependable and versatile—the 2021 V-Strom 650XT Adventure is perfect for daily commuting, long-distance adventures, and a fun ride. It uses a DOHC, liquid-cooled, V-twin engine to deliver strong, fuel-efficient, and clean power at any rpm.
One downside of the 650XT Adventure is it doesn’t have power setting options. However, Suzuki equipped it with three traction control settings:
- Off: Use this if you want to deactivate all of the traction control features.
- Mode 1 (low sensitivity): This mode is more suitable for seasoned riders or road surface with a good grip.
- Mode 2 (high sensitivity): This mode is best for low-traction road surfaces.
The 650XT Adventure also gets a crossbar for its handlebar, which is a welcome addition if you love to go off-roading. Plus, you can mount your GPS on the crossbar whenever needed.
For its tires, Suzuki chose the Bridgestone Battlax Adventure A40. These tires are impressive on both road and trail. They boast of improved grip, wider grooves for better water channeling, and a larger surface area for improved maneuverability.
Yamaha Ténéré 700
If you’re looking for an adventure motorcycle for beginners, you might want to skip the Yamaha Ténéré 700. The combination of its high seat height and heavy weight (450 lbs) could cause short riders a few problems. But other than that, it’s a highly capable middleweight adventure motorcycle that can take you anywhere, without the hefty price tag.
The Ténéré 700 is good for long-distance travels. It has a standard 4.2-gallon fuel tank, which gives it a respectable mileage of around 215 miles for every fill-up.
It’s not more comfortable than the AJP PR7 or the Honda CB500X. However, its vibration is minimal compared to the two, so it’s still pleasant to ride on both rough and smooth roads. Plus, the 43 mm inverted suspension fork offers 8.3 inches of travel and is easily adjustable to enhance its handling and performance.
Those who are into dual-sport motorcycling would be happy to know that the Ténéré 700 feels more like a dirt bike than anything else. It’s built around a liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke 689 cc engine that produces up to 74 hp and 50 ft-lbs of torque—more than enough power to give you a good time on the road.
Honda Africa Twin
The 2022 Honda Africa is available in four trims, one of which is the Honda Africa Twin, a perennial favorite of many off-road enthusiasts. The latest Africa Twin looks aggressive and beautiful, with headlights that look ready to go.
The Africa Twin offers a smooth and stable ride, especially at high speeds. It stands solidly on a 62-inch wheelbase. The rake (steering angle) is set at 27.5 degrees with approximately 112 mm (4.4 in) of trail.
Equipped with a 1084 cc liquid-cooled, Unicam parallel-twin engine, the Africa Twin isn’t the fastest in its class. However, you’ll never feel that it’s short on power. Whether you’re weaving through traffic or navigating twisty canyon roads, you’ll feel its agility and maneuverability.
Similar to other modern adventure motorcycles in its category, the 2022 Africa Twin comes with four preset riding modes: Gravel, Off-road, Tour, and Urban. Although it doesn’t have a sport mode, you can easily tweak its riding modes to fit it according to your liking.
Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure
When it comes to aesthetics, no one can deny the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure is stunning. The auxiliary LED lights, Grigio Grigna gray finish, enlarged windshield, tubeless wheels, and new graphics on the fuel tank and side panels—all of these enhance its appearance and reflect its modern, minimalist design.
With the V85 TT, Moto Guzzi decided to keep everything simple, while equipping it with much-needed technology to add to its versatility. It comes with all the features you need for daily commuting or long trips, including a central kickstand, Urban series panniers, Touring windscreens, the Moto Guzzi MIA advanced multimedia platform, and heated handgrips.
The V85 TT isn’t going to win you races, but it has something that most of the motorcycles in its category don’t have—Moto Guzzi’s old-school, air-cooled engine. The 850 cc engine produces 80 hp at 7750 rpm and 59 ft-lbs of torque at 5000 rpm. It’s estimated to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 kmph) at around 4.7 seconds. It’s capable of reaching a top speed of approximately 103 mph (165 kmph).
It also has five riding modes (Street, Rain, Off-road, Sport, and Custom) to give you more options for managing the throttle response, stiffness of the suspension system, traction control, and ride feel. Full-color TFT displays and cruise control also come standard with the V85 TT.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
KTM made a few minor updates to the 1290 Super Adventure S (street-focused) and R (off-road-focused) models for 2022. They’ve updated the dash, switch gear, stainless-steel trellis frame, and position of the steering head and front engine. The exhaust system also got new head pipes, which are connected to a hydroformed collector with twin catalytic converters for emissions reduction.
The 1290 Super Adventure R is powered by a 1,301 cc LC8 V-twin engine with a 75-degree cylinder angle. This compact, light, and fuel-efficient engine could crank out 132.3 hp at 9,200 rpm and 87.5 ft-lbs of torque at 7,000 rpm at the rear tire. It’s fed fuel from a 6.1-gallon tank, which has an estimated mileage of 36.4 mpg.
KTM paired the engine with a Pankl 6-speed transmission to get a maximum speed of 135 miles per hour (mph). The new lightweight aluminum shifting drum encourages faster and smoother gear changes, so you can stay focused on the road all the time.
MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800
The gorgeous MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 excels in medium- to long-distance touring, everyday commuting, and urban riding. It has a powerful and smooth-running in-line three-cylinder 800 cc engine, which reportedly makes 148 hp (claimed). MV increased the torque by 12% (between 3000 and 6000 rpm), so you can enjoy better acceleration.
With a 21.5-liter fuel tank feeding the engine, the Turismo Veloce 800 can travel as far as 40 miles per gallon (mpg). And what’s great about it is it’s agile and fast, while still more manageable than other bigger and more powerful adventure motorcycles in its class.
Ducati Multistrada V4 S
The Ducati Multistrada V4 S isn’t a beginner adventure motorcycle. It demands a seasoned and tall rider. But don’t let your height stop you from owning it. A simple solution is to buy a lowering suspension kit to take out 20 mm from its standard seat height of 840 mm.
Ducati powered the Multistrada V4 S with their latest 170 HP V4 Granturismo engine with 92 ft-lbs of torque. With a 22-liter fuel tank at its disposal, it can achieve a fuel mileage of 38 mpg—or around 180 miles.
Ducati managed to fit different rider-aid technology to the Multistrada V4 S, giving you a great blend of comfort and performance. It has a radar-assisted cruise control, radar-assisted blind spot detection, integrated navigation system, and size-adjustable, multi-element windscreen.
BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
Motorcycles from BMW are usually worth the money because of their ergonomic and sleek design, high-tech features, and solid build quality. The same might be said for the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure.
It’s powered by a 1254 cc engine, and has a 6-speed transmission that produces extremely quick acceleration and quieter off-road and on-road tours. It can hit a maximum speed of approximately 124 mph (200 kmph).
The 1250 GS Adventure is ready to tackle any type of terrain, whether it’s bumpy off-road trails or smooth city roads. Equipped with a fuel tank capacity of 33 liters and an average mileage of 48.7 mpg, it can get you roughly 310 miles of range per fill-up.