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Best Adventure Motorcycles in 2018? Here's Our Top 10

Let me tell you, choosing 10 of our favorite ADV bikes is a difficult thing to do nowadays. Each and every motorcycle on the market—especially in the ADV segment—has so much potential.

We’d take all of them and be happy about it, but that wasn’t our task.  After hours of bickering amongst ourselves, we’ve narrowed it down to our 10 favorite adventure motorcycles that 2018 has to offer.

Best Adventure Motorcycles

Now, to actually declare one of these motorcycles as our outright favorite is downright impossible. Each motorcycle has its own respective performance attributes, fitted technologies, targeted markets, and price points. Sure, depending on the route in front of us, we might choose one over the other. But put any one of these in front of us, and we’ll find a way to have the time of our lives.

Cheers to 2018 and the incredible motorcycles it brings us!

Honda Africa Twin

Since its introduction, Honda’s Africa Twin has been a huge hit amongst the entire ADV market, and for good reason. Big Red’s chassis balance is often raved about, with most riders saying that hits the sweet spot in both on- and off-road handling.

Powering the Africa Twin is a 998cc parallel twin engine with a 270-degree crank and Unicam head design, which builds steam in an ultra-linear fashion. Just in case things get out of hand, the Honda is also equipped with ABS and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC)—or in other words, traction control.

Best Adventure Motorcycles

Honda XR650L

The Honda XR650L is arguably one of the most off-road oriented bikes of the bunch, but it wouldn’t kill you on the road either. Throw in few add-ons like an aftermarket windscreen and bags, and you probably wouldn’t have many complaints.

For being virtually the exact same design since the 1990’s, the XR still handles incredibly well on the trail. Besides, how many Baja 1000 victories does it have? Not just a bike, but an icon of the past off-road racing scene.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

KTM’s “Ready to Race” mantra is plastered all over the 1290 Super Adventure R, inside and out. The Super Adventure gets powered by a Super Duke R-derived engine, which helps bump its output to a claimed 160 horsepower—meaning, this KTM definitely isn’t lacking speed.

It’s also outfitted with some serious electronic rider aids like lean-angle-sensitive traction control, cruise control, cornering ABS and KTM’s RACE ON key. Equally impressive is its WP suspension, which handles just about everything in sight.

Husqvarna 701 Enduro

The Husky 701’s capabilities lie somewhere in the middle of the rest of this group. It isn’t exactly a dirt bike, nor does it have all the gizmos and gadgets to make it an upper-class adventure tourer.

Its 690cc single cylinder powerplants is just one of the reasons why we love it. The engine’s power is quick-revving and responsive at almost any rpm, making the any time on the throttle a riot. Outfitted with a WP 4CS fork out front and WP shock in the back, the 701 handles off-road excursions with ease.

Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro

The base Ducati Multstrada was never known to be a real adventure motorcycle. Really, it could be considered more like a sport bike with the capabilities to handle everything you could throw at it—well, until the asphalt ended.

When Ducati introduced the Multistrada Enduro model, however, engineers fitted the bike with a 19-inch front wheel, added suspension travel, and revised geometry numbers to boost its off-road handling performance. No asphalt? No worries, the Enduro is up for the challenge.

BMW R1200GS Adventure

Our list wouldn’t be complete without the R1200 GS Adventure. The big Beemer is known as one of go-to adventure motorcycles in markets around the world, and comes packed with a whole lot of features to justify it.

And if you’re willing to throw in a few extra dollars, you can upgrade the GS Adventure with several, uber-impressive electronics packages, only helping improve the rideability of the motorcycle when the going gets tough. When exactly would we choose the GS? Every day of the week.

Best Adventure Motorcycles

Suzuki V-Strom 1000

When the boys from Hamamatsu updated the V-Strom, they didn’t just give it a couple styling tweaks and send it on its way. Instead, they fitted the Suzuki with Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which gave them the ability to fit a cornering-ABS function onto the bike. Added safety is always a plus, but the bike is already known for being incredibly smooth in the first place.

Kawasaki KLR650

Team Green’s KLR650 is likely the most underrated bike of the bunch. Sure, it doesn’t possess a huge engine, sophisticated electronics, or true off-road handling characteristics, but it is an all-around performer. Pick a point you want to go and the KLR will get you there. A large, 6.1-gallon fuel tank means you can do some serious miles between stops and a gentle power delivery makes for a smooth ride.

Triumph Tiger 800

Bigger isn’t always better. Actually, in the case of the Tiger 800, Triumph proves that a middleweight adventure bike can be pretty damn good. Over 200 updates were made to the 2018 Tiger 200, including revised bodywork, improved ergonomics, added LED lighting, a new electronics package, and a manually-adjustable windscreen.

On the open road, the three-cylinder engine is quick-revving, yet predictably smooth, which boosts rider confidence. The 800 is also about 75 pounds lighter than its older brother, the Tiger 1200, making it much easier to maneuver both on- and off-road.

BMW G310GS

The G310GS—known by many as “The Baby GS”—is the perfect, entry-level machine for riders looking to buy into the German brand at a low cost. For these riders, the BMW is an exceptionally easy motorcycle to handle.

The Baby GS weighs in a relatively-low 374 pounds wet, has a 32.9-inch seat height (or 32.3 inches with the optional low seat), and comes standard with ABS. The 313cc liquid-cooled, single might sound a bit weak, but it has plenty of capability to get you places in a hurry.

  • September 04, 2018
  • Frederic SCHEFFER