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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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Jan 10

Posts: 429

rlf3 says:

Leather joyboys

You're right about the posers on sportsbikes.

As I see it the bulk of bikers these days are pseuds who do it to pose.

Unlike yourself who is obviously an offroading god

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Nov 11

Posts: 75

HkUk says:

So if we stop calling them adventure bikes, what are they ? Comfort bikes ? Situp tourers ? It's just a name. And if you want a good adventure bike, get a DRZ400, and fit a decent seat and a bigger tank.  

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Sep 09

Posts: 887

Rogerborg says:

Oh dear, BMW Mick

The Long Way X trips required a full support team with loads of spare parts to get them through. If it had just been three guys on big BMWs - without BMW corporate support on tap - they'd have been stranded several times in the middle of Assfuckistan: side stand failure, multiple suspension failures, frame breakages then the ABS getting shagged during the repair are just the ones that I can remember offhand.  Contrast with Claudio's little Russian mirthmobile which also broke down but was easily repaired by some passing locals using a couple of spanners.

If your idea of "adventure" biking is to have a couple of 4x4s with half of BMW's parts catalogue in them following you around, then more power to you, but it's hardly an advert for using the bikes for that purpose.

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May 12

Posts: 2

TenereT says:

Adventure bikes

Those 1200cc brutes are way too big, cumbersome and - most crucially - too bleedin' heavy.

Whether as the onset to a male midlife crisis moment or just cos I sit at a desk on a computer all my working day, but two years ago I PX'd my Yam' XT660R and bought a Yamaha XT660Z Tenere to satisfy my quite modest urge to disappear way up north in Scandinavia for 2-3 weeks in the Arctic tundra.

It was a great solo experience... no back-up support crew or a camera-weilding Claudio waiting for me at the next picturesque photo opportunity. Nope. Nothing. Just the bike, my meerkat mascot (a pressie from my daughter. Honest!!!) and me.

I wouldn't have dared ride up on anything bigger/heavier than an already heavy Tenere (bike + aluminium panniers + topbox + tent + food + 23 litres fueltank).

Out in that wilderness - and there are huge swathes of real 'wilderness' - there were a few days when I only saw one other person. Literally a couple of hundred kilometres from anything meaningful. That's scary.

Drop a big bike, and if you don't hurt yourself in the process, then getting up and dusting y'self down would still entail a few hours of load-lightening to give you half a chance of righting the bike.

I had a couple of near-misses with the Tenere but, somehow, managed to just keep the bike upright - but the effort involved still hurt.

The Tenere and its single cylinder competitors (from KTM and Bimmer)  are good 'realistic' bikes for covering huge distances on greatly varying road surfaces (with everything bar the kitchen sink attached). They're not necessarily the fastest... don't want to break any speed limits cos 'adventure' biking is more about the 'travelling' and less about the actual 'arriving'... saying that, it is still nice to arrive!!!

But why can't we have more 250 trail bikes here? Yamaha in South America (Brazil, if I'm not mistaken) has a 250cc Tenere.

Please Mr Yamaha, can I have one?



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May 05

Posts: 8

Bmw_Mick says:

X2Glider - And you just proved my point for me.  What was a niche market grew rapidly.

Rogerborg - And your point is? Unless you are doing it as the proverbial one man/woman band, all the companies offering adventure holidays/rides/experiences or whatever you want to call them have backup.  Strange, that.  And where did I say that I would use a 1150/1200 GS? I didn't. I simply pointed out that Ewan and Charlie made them and the idea of adventure biking more popular.

And as I pointed out, what MY idea of an adventure is may not be yours.  But wether you like it or not, the big GS's are popular.  Personally I will stick with the bike I have for doing my own adventuring.  Which doesn't involve off roading but does involve going to places I haven't been to meeting people of a different culture and history.  It doesn't matter if you call it touring or adventuring.  The two terms are interchangeable.  The point, however, is the same.  To go places you want to, how you want to on whatever you want to.

And for the record, I wouldn't think of using a 1150/1200 GS's to go for an off road type of adventure.  But I would use one for the type of adventuring I do.


Oh, and rfl3 - have you ALWAYS been a berk or do you practice?  I am neither insecure nor do I feel the need to 'project an image'.  But it does sound like you are. So what if they are never used off road? I suspect there are lots of 'off road' bike types that never see use off road.  Does it REALLY matter? Dear god, people like you make me want to throw up.

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Feb 06

Posts: 3

pikipiki says:

adventure bikes

Back in the mid nineties I spent a very happy year swanning about Africa on a Yamaha XT600E. It was more than big enough for the road work where it’s best not to ride at daft speeds due to surprises that run out into the road. On the dirt bits it was about the right size most of the time, but in a few areas way too heavy. Something smaller would have been more nimble & far easier to pick up over & over again. There was no Touratech & aluminium panniers were unheard of here in Blighty. A friend was going to make some for me. When that didn’t work out I scorced some from Erik Wunderlich in Germany. I made my own sump guard which was welded by a mate. My comfort seat was bought at the side of the road once in Africa, in the form of a sheep skin. Surely part of the adventure is improvising parts of the bike & its luggage, not just bolting on another pre-formed add on…..?
I feel that adventure bikes have been about conquering a country or continent. Some of the experience of people & places is lost. If I were going back to do it all again I’d choose a Yamaha AG200 or a DT175MX or a Honda CG125, all sourced in Africa, modified in Africa & ridden at a more African pace. It would go everywhere I went in 1995-96, but the distance I could cover in the day would be much less. All of these can be found parts for easily & fixed in the bush. I’d find myself stopping at many of the paces I rode through last time. As a result I would enjoy a much richer experience.

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Oct 10

Posts: 186

zoobaz says:


Anyone read Jupiters Travels? Ted Simon went round the world on an early 70s 500cc triumph twin, modded with a single carb and a few other bits and bobs. 150K miles over 4 years, then he did it again when he was a 70 year old on a BMW 650 single. And at the opposite end of the scale Nik Sanders has done it on a Triumph Daytona, an R1 and a Super Ten..

Kinda proves you can do it on any bike you like really...


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Jan 10

Posts: 429

rlf3 says:


You can only enter the Mongol Rally on a bike up to 125cc, so you definitely don't need 1200cc to have a proper adventure.

1200cc "adventure" bike = "ooh look at my BIG one"


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Mar 09

Posts: 5208

Nostrodamus says:

Fantastic book Jupiters Travels

I read it in the midst of my own round the world trip on a Honda Dominator 650 10-11 years ago. Plenty of dirt road riding and river crossings involved. The later of which were a bit hairy being fully laden - only one dunking though! A poster said it earlier, a nice robust, lightish 400cc single machine would be ideal for me - a modern XL350 perhaps!

The point being my best days in the saddle were the days I spent off road. To adventure a modern adventure bike means not much real adventure at all in my books.

I think they're all wonderful machines - wonderful tarmac tourers.....

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Oct 10

Posts: 186

zoobaz says:


Yep totally - let's no lose sight of the fact that these bikes are all still great bikes, great on tarmac.

But who's to say every adventure needs to involve off-roading? what about that guy in MCN a year or  so ago who went to Mongolia on a Ural fitted with a sidecar? compared to my daily commute and occasional holidays to ireland or mainland europe I'd definately say that's an adventure!

I totally admire people who've got the guts to head off round the world on a bike, i'd love to do it, but we've all got to start somewhere, and a trip to a european GP on a big 1200 isn't a bad place to start.



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