So far as ADV riding goes, you can’t get a lot better than the proven reliability and simple ruggedness of the BMW G650GS. But, momentum is still your enemy and dropping the 423lbs bike at speed is going to break stuff. It’d also be nice to be able to carry a few things without those things being stolen. Enter Touratech, which has thrown its entire catalog at this Sertao in an effort to make it round-the-world capable.
Crash guards are added in the expected places — the engine, sump and radiators — but this bike also benefits in areas you might not casually consider. Even the little ABS sensors on the brake discs gain steel covers and new steel heel plates protect vulnerable parts like the rear brake cylinder.
Comfort is also something that most ADV bikes lack. Made mostly for long highway tours, specifically comfort while standing. To make the Sertao a more natural fit while standing up, Touratech moves the pegs two inches to the rear and the bars nearly an inch higher. Less leaning over and a more natural center of gravity are both big bonuses.
To carry shit, they’ve fitted the full complement of the insanely expensive Zega Pro luggage. It locks, is waterproof and can survive huge crashes. All that’s especially good since you won’t be able to afford to replace your gear after you’ve re-mortgaged the house to buy the luggage.
Then there’s all the little practical touches that increase weather protection or reduce service frequency. A tall screen, bark busters (keeping the levers on when you crash is nice, so is having dry, warm hands) and fork guards see to that. A side stand footprint and a center stand will also make life that much more convenient on the road.
Another pretty much necessary addition are the HID running lights. Seeing stuff at night is really nice, especially when those things might include hippos or wombats or just plain old potholes, so it’s always baffled me as to why bike makers don’t bother fitting effective headlights (SuperTen and V-Strom 650 excepted) to bikes intended for adventure. As an added bonus, by creating a triangle-like face, you’re forcing anthropomorphic object recognition on dozy drivers, meaning someone’s less likely to pull out on you, ending your trip just yards from your front door.
Together, all these additions add thousands and thousands of dollars to the price of the already optioned-up Sertao, which sort of highlights the hypocrisy of the class. In stock form, most ADV bikes need half again as much dumped into them just to facilitate the kind of riding you see them doing in ads and whatnot. Dump a stock, 500-ish pound bike onto rocks at 30mph in the desert and there goes your adventure. Of course, you’d have trouble getting to those rocks on the stock tires. But, if you can afford to do it right, as seen here, then you can legitimately go pretty much anywhere. And that divergence between stock promise and stock capability is the entire reason companies like Touratech exist.