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MCN  says:

Poll: Are big adventure bikes killing adventure riding?

In this week's MCN the new BMW G650GS Sertao is tested against Yamaha's Tenere 660. Part of the discussion between the testers concentrates on how much easier off-roading is on a bike that feels light and agile – which both these single-cylinders do compared to behemoths such as Triumph's Explorer and Yamaha's Super Tenere 1200. But are these two middleweight...

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  • Posted 3 years ago (01 May 2012 11:35)

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Feb 10

Posts: 7

andygoodman says:

Due to the fact that 90% of them will never see any dirt, I would say yes.

Its like everyone buying 4x4 cars and never taking them off road, all of these bikes are just the Range Rovers and X5's of the bike world, very popular, but will never be used to there full potential.

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Jan 04

Posts: 131

foggie996 says:


I remember the wonderful XR600 and the XT600. These were far lighter than today's behemoths, better looking and as reliable as rock.

With larger capacity fuel tanks and updated suspension these bikes could be market-leaders (not the heavy current XT660 with duel pipes) and so much fun as well off-road, maybe not quite as good on the motorways, but who wants to ride the motorways in any case? ;-)

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Apr 10

Posts: 22

Drzee says:

Seriously, who is the twat here? What is a twat suit.  Basically, global renowned Austin Vince says you can't go around the world on a big bike and everyone who enjoys riding bigger bikes and have enough money for decent kit are twats.  People go round the world on all sorts of bikes.

Ride what you like and enjoy yourself and try not to judge others for what they ride or wear.



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Mar 06

Posts: 73

colinS2R says:

Remember the long way round with Claudio the cameraman in Mongolia running rings round the big GS's on his little russian 125 in the dirt?

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Aug 02

Posts: 2755

spondonste says:

Adventure biking

1200cc adventure tourer bikes like the GS1200 aren't the best bike for overland touring (far far far too heavy) but Ewan and Charlie showed that they could be used for those purposes. That said however when the camera mans bike was in for repair and he used a knackered old 125/250cc trail type bike you could instantly see how much better it was for the job than the BMW mehemoths.


If you go to Horizons unlimited and look around, the VAST majority of real adventure travelers will use a more appropriate style of bikes such as DR, XR, KLR etc style bikes. These can still be slightly heavy for soft ground but they take falls and repairs quite well (although they can burnoil). These more appropriate types of bikes are still available as the adventure rider would never consider them (adventure riders are after portraying in image). Austin Vince would be just as valid to say that super sport bikes are stopping people from adventure touring. Adventure touring is something in the soul of the person performing the activity. If there's a dropping off of the people doing these activities its a reflection on society and individuals change of opinions/ outlook on life, not becuase of the style of bike they choose to ride.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Jun 11

Posts: 22

ewanhind says:

I don't think it matters what you ride, and if you can afford 18k to buy a brand new R1200GSA and throw the Touratech catalogue at, and have the size, strength and ability to manage it, then good luck to you, enjoy! However, for most people spending a small amount on a manageable trailie and some basic, simple DIY mods then going out and exploring is much more achievable and realistic, both in terms of cost and in terms of managing the bike. I think there's a place for all of the options, but I do think there is a danger that the increasingly prevalent perception that an 'adventure' bike is a large capacity, expensive, heavily modified bike out of many people's reach could put off riders from trying a big adventure, when in fact they could afford a DRZ400 and some throw-over panniers and head off if they only realised that that approach is just as, if not more, valid. I would love to see some 250-400 size bikes produced in 'adventure' versions with a few simple mods compared to a trail bike designed for off road/green laning - a larger tank (though for a small capacity bike 16 litres is ample - you don't need 30l if your bike does 60mpg!), wider flatter seat for comfort over distance, stronger sub frame to avoid cracking when doing distance on poor roads with luggage, and easy lowering for shorter legged riders. Of course you can modify a trailie yourself, but if these were available and advertised it might make people realise that bike adventures can be more like Austin and Lois and less like Ewan and Charlie.

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May 06

Posts: 119

magmann says:

Offroad At Tescos

Here we are dealing the the real and the unreal. The manufacturers see an opportunity to market bikes that appeal to an idea and an image and set a price they believe the market (buyers) will tolerate. When it comes to real adventure riding and travel, the 'cool' and the image driven will melt away, because it involves real work, sacrifice of time, effort and risk.  Best stick to Sunday promenading, eh?

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Sep 09

Posts: 898

Rogerborg says:

Haha, busted.

Bunch of mid-life-crisis blokes living out their Long Way Round fantasies on bikes that needed a full support team and BMW UK on the phone 24/7 to keep them going.

Tourers, sure, at least the R1200GS with an auxiliary tank.  But adventure bikes?  Well, only if you class taking your office receptionist up the gravel drive of Shaghard Towers as an adventure.

There's more hilarious bitch-slapping from Vince here:

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May 12

Posts: 3

IainT says:


"I would love to see some 250-400 size bikes produced in 'adventure' versions with a few simple mods compared to a trail bike designed for off road/green laning - a larger tank (though for a small capacity bike 16 litres is ample - you don't need 30l if your bike does 60mpg!), wider flatter seat for comfort over distance, stronger sub frame to avoid cracking when doing distance on poor roads with luggage, and easy lowering for shorter legged riders"

Throw in a bit of a rally rad style screen like the one on the Tenere, and you've got a sale.

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Mar 10

Posts: 119

MudDoctor says:

Most things you buy

are selling an image. Your S1000RR says that you race wheel to wheel with Liam Haslam every weekend. Your Lorenzo replica helmet says that your going to kick Stoners ass. Your Replica England kit says that you will be taking over from John Terry next week. Your divers watch says that you will be meeting sharks at 200m for fun. Your Ferrari jacket worn carelessly over your shoulder as you mince into a club makes no apology for the wanked up Corsa parked outside.

Yes, we all know of bikers who, lets face it, seem to do it just for the dressing up. They're like grown up cowboys, with a silver six shooter and Milky Bar Kid glasses. But don't assume that the GS rider is any different to the Fireblade rider with the Repsol paint job, HRC leathers, unblemished knee sliders and 2 inch chicken strips.

I don't think that big Adventure bikes are killing off adventure riding. I would guess that it might even encourage more. It just depends on differing opinions of what defines an "adventure". I reckon the poor lad who got pulled off his scooter in last summer's riots felt that he'd just had one hell of an adventure, and not even left London.

I also suspect that Austin Vince is suffering from a severe bout of inverted snobbery. A wee bit of Bear Gryls.

"You don't need a chainsaw to cut up your firewood. Look, I cut this tree down with my Swiss Army Knife"

As other bikers have shown in the past, you can traverse continents on a Honda C50. But would you really, really want to?

Sure, the big Adventure bikes are selling a dream. So are Harley Davidsons, so are Race Replicas. I would suggest that some contributors to this forum look a wee bit closer at themselves before criticizing what others are riding, or wearing, or where they choose to park their bikes.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, etc.....

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