Over the past few years, adventure motorcycles have taken the market by storm, and it’s no surprise as to why. The appeal of having a motorcycle that can go anywhere and do anything makes adventure bikes a choice machine for motorcyclists who enjoy the freedom of exploration. After all, enjoying freedom on two wheels is the primary reason many of us are hooked to this lifestyle in the first place. It’s no wonder that many of the big manufacturers in the motorcycle industry are releasing competitive adventure bikes year after year.
However, buyer’s remorse can be an easy trap to fall into and adventure bike owners are sadly not exempt from this trap. While adventure bikes make perfect sense for some riders, other riders may find that adventure bikes are too large for certain kinds of rides, too heavy to be used confidently off-road, or too expensive to own and maintain. If you’re thinking about getting an adventure bike as your next motorcycle, you might want to think a little bit more about this decision—here are a few things to think about and a few more alternatives you may want to consider.
Adventure bikes are not small bikes—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The relatively long wheelbase, tall seat, large tank, and accessory luggage items make adventure bikes some of the largest machines in the market. Put a KTM 390 Duke beside a Honda CB500X, and at a glance, you will already know which machine will be easier to putter around through traffic.
If you plan on purchasing an adventure bike as a truly do-it-all machine, you may want to reconsider this decision if heavy commuting will be part of your routine. Adventure bikes are practical machines for the long haul through various terrain, but may not be the best option for daily commutes. The large dimensions and tall ride height may quickly turn a short commute into a very stressful ride. It may just suit the rider best to skip out on the adventure of Philippine traffic in favor of more enjoyable adventures elsewhere.
Another big consideration is the weight. Adventure bikes often weigh in at well over 200 kg, which is a sizable amount larger than your average street bike. Weight plays a key role on the highways, which adds a sense of stability and confidence when charging through windy sections of the road at speed. However, weight can work against the rider when it comes to more technical riding on the road.
Adventure bikes tend to have a higher center of gravity when compared to street bikes due to the taller height and additional ground clearance. A high center of gravity can make low-speed maneuvers more difficult than usual due to the uneasy feeling of a bike that wants to tip over. If you plan to put down quite a few kilometers of travel through rush-hour city traffic or through dense provincial roads, adventure bikes may not be your best choice. Lastly, weight can also work against new riders on off-road terrain. Managing a heavy machine on loose terrain can often require a bit of skill, and picking up a heavy bike a few times off-road can take a hefty toll on the rider.
One of the last, and perhaps most important considerations for owning an adventure bike would be cost. Adventure bikes are not cheap machines. The most affordable option you can find on the market right now would be the Royal Enfield Himalayan at P299,000 or the KTM 390 Adventure at P309,000. If you’re looking to enter the adventure market, you’re going to have to set aside a few hundred thousands of pesos for your do-it-all machine, which may not be the friendliest for some riders.
When compared to street motorcycles, adventure bike counterparts will always be a bit pricier due to the added cost of materials and assembly for a larger and arguably more durable machine. That’s not to say that you don’t get what you pay for – because you do. Adventure bikes often come with a lot more componentry and features than their street bike counterparts, which often include wind protection, charging ports, luggage accessories, more comfortable seats, and a lot more.
That being said, adventure bikes aren’t bad machines. In fact, the opposite is true – they truly are fantastic do-it-all machines that will take on any given terrain, road or no road. However, the adventure bike craze may have led a few riders to purchase these adventure-seeking machines for the allure and flexibility without taking personal factors into consideration—Where are you actually going to ride? Will you really be taking it off-road? Will heavy commuting be a part of the routine? Will you really be spending the whole day on the saddle? Can you manage all the luggage you dream of taking?
If you’re second-guessing your own thoughts on whether or not an adventure bike may be right for you, you’re doing yourself a favor by being a bit more careful about your next two-wheeled machine. Here are three solid alternatives you may want to consider for your next bike:
Dual-sports are often considered to be baby adventure motorcycles. They are cheap, lightweight, practical, easy to maintain, can carry a decent amount of luggage, and very at home on the dirt. If you’re looking to spend hours off-road while keeping a bit of extra cash in the bank, this may just be your next best choice. Awesome dual-sport options include the Honda XR150L and CRF250L, and the Yamaha WR 155.
Sport Touring Motorcycles
If you’re looking to spend much time on the highway and do without off-road duties, sport touring motorcycles make for a great choice due to the relaxed ergonomics, street-oriented wheels, and a hefty amount of power. Future owners can have a look at the CFMoto 650 MT, the Kawasaki Versys 650 and 1000, and the Yamaha Tracer 900.
Naked and Standard Motorcycles
Naked motorcycles are considered to be a modern evolution of standard motorcycles but offer similar capabilities. They’re affordable, practical, lightweight, and street-oriented which makes perfect sense for the street-going adventurer that might spend a night away from home at most. A few good naked motorcycle options include the KTM 390 Duke, Yamaha MT-07, and Suzuki SV650. If you’re looking to go on a more classic route, modern standard motorcycle options include the Kawaski W800, Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, and the Triumph Bonneville T100.