When it comes to long-distance rides, exploration capability, and general comfort, two options usually come to mind: sport touring bikes for road-going tourers, and adventure motorcycles for dirt-loving explorers. Despite their differences, there are numerous similarities between these two platforms, making it difficult to choose one over the other.
To begin with, they're both very large motorcycle body types with touring capacity and comfortable ergonomics, and they're frequently priced in the same range. If you're on the hunt for one of these bikes but aren't sure which one to acquire, here's a quick guide to help you figure out which body style is right for you.
Adventure bikes are designed to go everywhere and are frequently fitted with dual-sport rubber, a 19 or 21-inch front wheel for off-road riding, spoked wheels for impact resistance, and off-road suspension. Adventure bikes are capable of handling a wide range of terrain, including both on and off-road. However, given the dual-sport tires' tendency to lock up sooner when braking and, in extreme situations, be more prone to skidding in wet weather, traction on the road will be a significant trade-off. All of this implies that if you enjoy exploring no matter the landscape, are not concerned about the dirt, and ride cautiously in rainy weather, an adventure bike may be the perfect choice for you.
Because of how similar they look, it's easy to confuse a sport-tourer with a full-on sportbike. While they both have full-fairings, sport-tourers have far more relaxed ergonomics, lower power outputs, and are built with comfort in mind rather than performance. Sport touring motorcycles nearly normally come with a 17-inch front wheel, alloy wheels, street tires for optimum traction on asphalt or concrete, and an ergonomics setup designed for sitting rather than standup riding. Sport touring bikes are designed exclusively for the street and will offer you with plenty of traction on both dry and wet days–as long as you stay on paved roads.
Some popular models
The tire arrangement and ergonomics package are the key differences between the two body designs. With 17-inch front and rear wheels and wide, road-oriented tires, motorcycles like the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX and the CFMoto 650 MT are unmistakable sport-tourers.
Due to its spoked wheels, big front rims, and dual-sport tire configurations, the Royal Enfield Himalayan and BMW R 1250 GS Adventure are true adventure bikes. The KTM 390 Adventure, Honda CB500X, and Suzuki V-Strom 650, despite having cast wheels, edge toward adventure bike territory thanks to dual-sport tires and stand-up capability.
Some things to consider
Another factor to consider is the overall appeal of the motorcycle to you. As with most things in life, your bike of choice boils down to personal preference. Now, you may be a road rider who appreciates the ergonomics and rugged aesthetic of an adventure bike, as well as the versatility it provides. You might be prepared to forego on-road functionality in exchange for the appearance and appeal of an adventure bike, and that's fine. Conversely, if you prefer a sport-tourer bike, but have a fondness for mild off-road exploration, road tires may suffice, provided that you have the skills to handle a heavyweight sport-tourer on uneven terrain. .