Adventure motorcycles are undeniably more popular than ever, with new model cycles appearing every few weeks at present, giving consumers more options than ever.
For example, BMW’s R1200/50GS has been a perennial top seller in the United Kingdom for over a decade. The German company now provides four distinct adventure bike capacities – 310, 750, 850, and 1250.
They aren’t the only ones, either: Triumph now offers three distinct adventure motorcycle families, KTM has the 390, 790, and 1290, and Honda offers at least four different Africa Twin models, not to add the Crosstourer, Crossrunner, NC750X, and even the X-ADV scoot (although that may be stretching it!).
Top Ten Best ADV Motorcycles of 2021 – Top Rated
10. Yamaha Super Ténéré XTZ1200Z (£12,547)
With its minimal electronics, lack of luxuries, and at best average 110bhp performance, Yamaha’s big twin 1200 is something of a “forgotten adventure bike,” having been introduced way back in 2010. It’s easy to see why, with its minimal electronics, lack of luxuries, and at best average 110bhp performance.
But it ignores the fact that the Big Ten still checks a lot of boxes, thanks to its shaft drive, true dual-purpose capability, robust construction, and, these days, relatively low pricing. Its off-road prowess is aided by the fact that it is a grunty but relatively light twin; it is as rugged as old boots and is also an underappreciated road performer.
Suppose the standard specification isn’t quite up to scratch. In that case, there’s also the ZE version, which comes with electronically adjustable suspension but costs a hefty £14,347, and the top-of-the-range ZE “Raid Edition,” which costs £16,197 and includes twin aluminum side cases with 74-liters of luggage capacity, a high screen, bash plate, and fog lamps.
9. Triumph Tiger 1200 XcX (£15,250)
The Tiger 1200 Explorer, Triumph’s most giant Tiger adventure bike, was launched in 2012 and was designed to compete with BMW’s GS. It featured a large, purpose-built shaft-drive triple and, with 135bhp, was quicker and, perhaps, more comfortable than the GS from the start.
Unfortunately, it was also heavier, lacking the German’s pedigree, and wasn’t as competent off-road, weighing in at a staggering 259kg. Since then, Triumph has been working hard to close the deficit.
The first major upgrade was in 2016, with a slew of engine, chassis, and spec changes, including semi-active suspension on three XR (road-biased) models and three additional XC (off-road) models with wire wheels and other off-road features.
8. Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro (£17,895)
In 2010, Ducati’s considerable, 150bhp, electronics-laden 1200 Multistrada was a true game-changer, bringing astonishing electronic adaptability and superbike performance and fantastic handling to the adventure bike class – but it wasn’t an off-roader, thanks to its 17 inches of sport wheels and comparatively fragile construction.
That changed in 2016 when the Ducati launched the Multistrada 1200 Enduro, which included off-road wire wheels (19 inches at the front), longer-travel suspension, a more substantial ‘dual arm swing arm (in place of the previous single-sider), a sizeable 30-liter tank, and more rugged bodywork.
7. BMW F 850 GS Adventure (£11,105)
BMW’s first natural middleweight GS adventure, based on the current F800 parallel-twin chassis, debuted in 2008 and immediately wowed with its actual off-road capabilities.
Its lower weight and more manageable dimensions compared to the 1200GS made it a breeze to ride off-road, and it had a lot going for it as a proper dual-purpose adventure bike.
At the same time, a more road-oriented F650/700 variant appeared, although with the same, but detuned, engine. Since then, both have had substantial upgrades with the F850GS Adventure, which arrived last year with a larger 23-liter tank, 94bhp, and improved weather protection, becoming the F850GS in 2018. On paper and in reality, it’s a fantastic combination of road and off-road capability that’s accessible to everyone and comes at a reasonable price.
6. Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L (£13,049)
When Honda resurrected the famous Africa Twin brand with the CRF1000L in 2016, you can’t blame them for not giving it their all – and it was a genuine dual-purpose adventure bike. Its 94bhp twin was sufficient on the road and adequated off; its dirt-biased chassis made it one of the finest 1000cc adventures off-road; it oozed usual Honda quality, and the DCT semi-auto option was a unique sales feature, and it oozed typical Honda quality. It didn’t, however, completely astonish anybody.
So, for 2020, Honda threw a new twist into the mix. The capacity increase increases power to 100bhp, which is still nothing to write home about, improves the clocks, and adds excellent electronics. Still, the basic version is now the longer suspension, more off-road focused choice, while the extensive tanked Adventure Sport riding is now more road tourer.
5. KTM 790 Adventure R (£10,999)
You’d expect Austrian off-road specialists KTM to come up with a fantastic middleweight adventure on the first try, and they’ve done precisely that with the 790 Adventure, which was launched in 2019.
Two variants are available, as with previous KTM adventure offerings: the road-biased basic 790 and the more off-road R – and the R is arguably the finest of all if you’re seeking a wonderfully performing off-road adventure. Both motorcycles have a 95 horsepower parallel twin developed from the 790 Duke, as well as a tubular steel trellis frame.
The R, on the other hand, comes with genuine off-road 21/18in wire wheels, more significant travel, fully adjustable off-road suspension, and improved ergonomics. While the result is still lively and valuable on the road in a substantial trail bike kind of manner, it is just in a different league.
4. BMW R 1250 GS Adventure (£14,870)
BMW’s huge, class-defining GSA would not be left out here, given its success, popularity, and continuing significance. We were even considering making it No. 1! However, if we place a premium on off-road capability, it will fall short.
As we all know, the GS, especially in big-tanked, adventure-kitted ‘Adventure’ spec, can do it all – tour, take a pillion, hustle, dabble in the dirt, and, most importantly, has cast iron residuals, kudos little others can match, and a classy accessories list as long as your arm – and that, combined, is why it’s so popular.
3. Triumph Tiger 900 Rally (£11,700)
While Triumph has struggled to make its significant Tiger 1200 competitive, its smaller counterpart, introduced initially as the Triumph Tiger 800 in 2010, has been a constant top seller for the Hinckley brand, continuously upgraded and improved over the intervening years.
Its two main advantages have been its unique three-cylinder engine, which is an enlarged, more extended stroke version of the already excellent Street Triple 675 and is not only characterful and brisk but also versatile and torquey; and the option of coming in XR (road) or XC (off-road, with larger wire wheels and other off-road features). The tough XC has always had a good showing on the dirt, despite being a relatively wide and hefty triple.
2. KTM 1290 Super Adventure R (£13,399)
Since the original 950 models debuted in 2004, KTM’s big, V-twin adventure bikes have set the class standard for dirt ability thanks to their mix of V-twin remote manageability and pukka off-road chassis – and their latest 1290 Super Adventure, introduced in 2017, remains the liter-class benchmark for off-road ability, despite being due for an overhaul in 2021.
Like previous KTMs, there are two versions: the road-oriented S (which is still capable off-road) and the dirt-oriented R, which comes with a bigger 21/18in off-road wire wheels, longer travel suspension, a thinner seat, and a lower screen.
All of this, coupled with the brutally powerful 160bhp V-twin engine, class-leading electronics such as off-road modes, a sleek TFT screen, LED headlamp, and more, makes this by far the most pleasing off-road liter-class adventure available and the one we’d take on any trans-world trip.
1. Yamaha Ténéré 700 (£9147)
If the price had not been a factor, the outcome could have been different — but only by a small margin. The Ténéré 700, which debuted in 2019 as a long-awaited middleweight adventure bike based on Yamaha’s already excellent MT07 budget roadster but with actual off-road capability, has proven to be a massive success for the company – and a good reason.
In summary, it checks all the boxes – including value – while also being a capable off-roader. Consider it a less expensive and more basic version of the KTM 790 Adventure – but only by a bit of margin. Its 72bhp twin is lively and tractable; its slim, light yet tall chassis makes it one of the best adventure bikes off-road (its suspensions and quality don’t quite match that of the more expensive KTM, but for most, it’s okay); and yet, being taller and roomier than its sibling, it’s also a pretty decent and versatile ‘full-sized road biassed adventure bike.
Top Ten Best ADV Motorcycles of 2021 – Top List
|Sr. #||Top Ten Best ADV Motorcycles of 2021||Price|
|1||Yamaha Ténéré 700||£9147|
|2||KTM 1290 Super Adventure R||£13,399|
|3||Triumph Tiger 900 Rally||£11,700|
|4||BMW R 1250 GS Adventure||£14,870|
|5||KTM 790 Adventure R||£10,999|
|6||Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L||£13,049|
|7||BMW F 850 GS Adventure||£11,105|
|8||Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro||£17,895|
|9||Triumph Tiger 1200 XcX||£15,250|
|10||Yamaha Super Ténéré XTZ1200Z||£12,547|
In conclusion, we experts at Bikes Catalog would love to say that these motorcycles are the best and they can go anywhere in the world. All of the above motorcycles are well-known for their impressive design, powerful engine, and superb ergonomics.