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Poll: Are big adventure bikes killing adventure riding?

Published: 01 May 2012

Updated: 20 November 2014

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 adventure bikes still far too big? Renowned global adventurer Austin Vince thinks so. When we asked him how big an adventure bike should really be, here's what he said:

"Every time anyone at MCN refers to a 1200cc machine as an 'Adventure Bike' you are doing your part to ensure that the long distance overland motorcycling fun that I experienced, and changed my life, will be enjoyed by fewer and fewer people in the future. There is no way on God's green earth that a bunch of utter novices like the Mondo Enduro team [Austin and his mates, who went round the world on minimal budget] could have achieved what they did on 650s and to suggest they could have done it on a giant 1200 is pathetic in its dishonesty.

"The 1200cc bikes are just a farce if what you want to do is 'adventure motorcycling'.

"Go to a Horizons Unlimited Travellers' Meet and drift around the crowd asking the single question: "On your trip around the world did you ever wish your bike was heavier?"   You know what they'll say... 

"But the manufacturers would rather we bought a £12,000 bike and stayed in the UK rather than buying a £3000 bike and actually doing something bike-exciting with the £9000 you saved!

"Also, the way the ridiculous giant adventure bike thing has been launched by the industry/media/Touratech has, at a stroke, excluded pretty much any normal female biker from the scene. If they turn up at an event on a manageable 250 they are mocked and pitied by a load of middle-aged men in twat suits 'Ho Ho, goin' round the world on that are we darlin'? Ho Ho, I don't think so!' 

 

What do you think? Does Austin have a point?

 

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