Adventure Bikes and Dualsports - what sets them apart?


Ever since watching the TV documentary Long Way Round featuring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, my fascination with adventure motorcycles has been ignited. In the series, Ewan and Charley embarked on a journey from London to New York, traveling EAST on BMW R1150 GS Adventure motorcycles, effectively circumnavigating the globe. This show significantly contributed to the surge in popularity of BMW GS motorcycles, which continue to reign as leaders in the adventure bike market.

So, what defines an adventure bike? Primarily, they excel in both on-road and off-road travel. This versatility allows riders to tackle diverse terrain during epic adventures. With ample ground clearance, adventure bikes are engineered to withstand off-road challenges. Moreover, they typically boast large gas tanks, capable of covering several hundred miles in one go. For instance, the R1150 GS Adventure used in Long Way Round featured a 7-gallon tank. Additionally, these bikes are equipped with provisions for mounting panniers or luggage racks, essential for extended journeys, particularly for moto camping enthusiasts carrying camping gear.

In essence, an adventure bike embodies its name – it’s designed for adventurous exploits, whether traversing from Alaska down the Pan American Highway to the southern tip of Argentina or exploring remote trails.

Now, what distinguishes dualsport bikes from adventure bikes? Both are adept at handling on-road and off-road conditions. However, dualsport bikes such as the Kawasaki KLX and Honda CRF are notably smaller and lighter than their adventure counterparts, resembling dirt bikes in their agility. This compactness enhances their off-road prowess, allowing for nimble maneuvering through dirt, gravel, sand, or mud. Yet, their diminutive size compromises comfort and on-road capability compared to adventure bikes. Furthermore, they typically feature smaller gas tanks; for instance, the KLX’s tank holds less than 2 gallons. This limited fuel capacity poses a challenge for long-distance adventures, although aftermarket larger tanks are available, and some riders opt to carry extra fuel containers strapped to their bikes.

In conclusion, whether opting for a dualsport bike or an adventure bike, both promise exhilarating experiences and access to destinations unreachable by conventional motorcycles.

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