The MCN Test: Find out which affordable adventure bike REALLY handles the rough stuff


We’ve been spoilt with adventure bikes of all sizes, and indeed prices, for 2023. Yet it’s not all about big, expensive beasts, as two of the most exciting new releases come in at the cheaper end of the middleweight sector: Honda’s XL750 Transalp and Suzuki’s V-Strom 800DE.

Where Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 was pretty much the unrivalled king of the middle ground in terms of value and performance both on- and off-road, it now has seriously stiff competition. Both the Honda and the Suzuki pack more power, more torque, more tech, and in the case of the Honda, a lower price, too.

Purely based on road riding, the Transalp reigned supreme this year; but for an adventure bike, that only tells half the story, as their very nature should allow them to venture off the tarmac.

We equipped each bike with a set of off-road biased Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres so that the OE rubber wouldn’t be a limiting factor and spent two days exploring the glorious roads and varied trails of Sicily.

We also enlisted the help of two hot-shot Pirelli test riders who can push just about any off-road machine to its absolute limit, to give the Transalp, the V-Strom 800DE and the Ténéré 700 their toughest test to date. So, which rules when the roads end and the trails begin?