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5 of the best ways to own an adventure bike

Published: 08 March 2019

bikes for sale

We've been riding the 2019 KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R and it got us thinking about the adventure bike category in general.

If a new bike is beyond reach, there are a wide range of adventure bikes on the used market from those intended to conquer the globe, to some much more at home on the tarmac. So, here’s a list of five great ways to get adventurous on two wheels:

BMW R1200GS

BMW R1200GS for sale

  • Engine: 1170cc air/oil-cooled boxer twin
  • Seat height: 850mm
  • This one: £4595 – 29,500 miles

It’s impossible to talk about adventure bikes without mentioning at least one member of the BMW GS family. The R1200GS is the quintessential go anywhere, do anything machine. This is the first of three versions of the 1200 that will be superseded in 2019 by the BMW R1250GS.

The astonishing thing about the GS is that even with its considerable height and weight, it remains nimble and can hustle with the best of them when things get twisty.

Ducati Multistrada 1200

Ducati Multistrada 1200 for sale

  • Engine: 1198cc liquid-cooled V-twin
  • Seat height: 850mm
  • This one: £6999 – 11,906 miles

The base Multistrada 1200 doesn’t get Ducati’s impressive Skyhook suspension system, but the Marzocchi forks and Sachs rear shock are perfectly good enough and the main star of the show is that V-twin engine, borrowed from the 1198 superbike.

Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro modes adjust the power delivery and traction control, to help keep you shiny side up when the conditions don’t suit 150bhp.

Triumph Tiger 800 XC

Triumph Tiger 800 XC for sale

  • Engine: 799cc transverse triple
  • Seat height: 845mm
  • This one: £5988 – 31,473 miles

Proof that you don’t strictly need a 1200cc engine to go exploring, the Triumph Tiger 800 XC uses a more modest 94bhp engine adapted from the 675 Street Triple. The XC is the off-road biased version of the Tiger 800 (and the later XR) but it is capable on the roads, too.

The Triumph’s lower seat and lightness make it a more practical off-road prospect than 1200cc adventure bikes so it’s worth bearing in mind if you want to get muddy.

Honda Africa Twin

Honda Africa Twin for sale

  • Engine: 998cc parallel-twin
  • Seat height: 870mm
  • This one: £6499 – 7200 miles

The Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin is a much more serious off-roader than some of the other bikes in this list with a tall, narrow seat and spoked rims. The Africa Twin can trace its lineage to successful Paris-Dakar racers and this heritage has survived in the DNA of the modern bike.

Despite being tall, the narrowness of the seat means that shorter riders shouldn’t be put off before they’ve sat on one. Touching your feet down is nowhere near as difficult as with shorter but wider options.

KTM 1050 Adventure

KTM Adventure for sale

  • Engine: 1050cc 8v V-twin
  • Seat height: 850mm
  • This one: £6790 – 7566 miles

KTM’s off-roaders have a bit of a reputation for being highly capable but unforgiving and racy. The 1050 Adventure, however, is entirely manageable with a gentlemanly 95bhp, ABS and traction control.

The 1050 didn’t grab headlines like its 1290 Super Adventure bigger brother, but it’s a really fun bike whether you’re on the dirt or the road. It can also be restricted to comply with an A2 licence.

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