Eight Adventure Bikes You Can Actually Take Off-Road

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ADV

Adventure Touring sounds awesome, right? Ride somewhere far away, somewhere most other people never go. Somewhere exciting and remote. Somewhere dangerous. Trouble is, most bikes that claim to be capable of this are just too heavy, too complicated, too luxurious or too road focussed to hang on with the going gets truly rough. Here’s eight bikes that back up their image with genuine capability.

What it takes to go off-road
Well, we suppose that should be more about what it doesn’t take: weight and complication. Ask yourself two questions: Can you pick the bike up? On a slope? In the mud? With all your luggage? With a broken body party? And, once you’ve gotten it up, will you need to fix it and can you? If the answer to any of that is “no,” then you’re not looking at a bike you can trust a million miles from nowhere. Or one that could simply spoil that quick Sunday fire road ride with your buddies.

Oh, and the other thing about ADV bikes is that none of them, none of them, are capable of doing the things you see them doing in ads, in catalogs, in action videos or even here on RideApart without being on the right tires. Our favorites for taking big heavy bikes into places they shouldn’t go? Continental TKC80s. You’ll be surprised at how good they are on-road too, just don’t expect a rear to last more than 3,000 miles.

Honda NC700X
The little Honda that could. Where most ADV bikes are impossibly tall, it has a low seat height of just 32.1 inches. Conversely, it’s one of the few ADV bikes that also tall person compatible for standing, with completely stock equipment. Just rotate the bars a bit forward to suit.

The magic here lies in the NC’s engine. Its cylinders are canted forward at 62 degrees which combines with the under seat fuel tank to drastically lower the center of gravity. Based on the Honda Fit hatchback’s motor, it also develops pretty much all of its torque just above idle. Both those things make the Honda exceptionally easy to ride, on road or off. No, you’re not going to jumping it down 50-foot step downs or whipping table tops, but for the vast majority of riders who just want to travel to somewhere remote through some difficult terrain, it’ll prove easier and more fun to ride than most of the bigger bikes.

Necessary ADV upgrades: tires, radiator protection, sump guard, lever guards.

Suzuki DR650
Wait, this is a dual sport, isn’t it? Well, it’s also capable of carrying you a long ways in some semblance of comfort and is actually decent off-road. Those two factors are what should describe the ADV segment, right?

Introduced wayyyy back in 1990, the big DR is as simple as it gets — air-cooled single, a double-cradle frame, decent suspension. That 46bhp, 644cc single is equipped with a counter balancer, so it’s less vibey than you might think, and also an electric starter. Suspension isn’t bad with cartridge forks and a linkage shock, but stock tires and ergos are far from dirt friendly. At 366lbs (wet) it’s reasonably light for a bike that’s also comfy over distance, but you’ll need to spend money on bars, pegs, tires and a larger fuel tank before getting to serious on it.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: Ergonomics, Seat, Luggage, Tank, Tires.

Yamaha WR250R
Another one for the guys that actually want to enjoy riding off road once they get where they’re going. Yamaha’s revvy little single is surprisingly smooth and frugal, making it as happy on the highway as the big singles. And, once you’ve left dirt behind, you’re rewarded with one of the more capable dual sports available. That capability is reflected in its spec — fancy motor, fancy suspension, aluminum frame — and then predictably its price.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: Seat, Seat, Seat, Seat, Seat, Tank, Luggage.

Kawasaki KLR650
The KLR is old as dirt, but capable on it as a result. Pre-dating the modern heavyweight ADV craze, Kawasaki basically bolted a big seat, big fairing and big tank onto a dual-sport and called it a day. That approach, and the subsequent lack of updates over the years (introduced in 1987, only moderate changes since) keeps the price down, but you’ll find the outright capability of important stuff like its suspension to be lacking. Oh, and the motor makes just 37bhp.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: Suspension, Protection, Tires, Motor.

Honda XR650L
Like a DR650 with a few more vibes and a little less weight. And much less fuel capacity — just 2.5 gallons. The stock ergonomics are bizarre; a 37-inch seat combines with pegs so high and bars so low so that, if you’re tall enough to ride one, you’re too tall to stand on one. D’oh. Fix that and you’re rewarded with a capable, bulletproof bike that even manages to be comfy. Like the DR, any mechanic or mechanically inclined person you find anywhere in the world will be able to help you fix one and you may even be able to find parts too.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: Tank, Ergos, Luggage, Subframe, Tires.

Ural Yamal
Like a highway-legal quad bike, the Ural can go places no other vehicle can. A locking rear differential engages 2WD and will plow the rig through deep mud, snow or nearly any other terrain you can imagine. It’ll do that while carrying a spare tire, a foot pump, jerry can, a complete tool kit (and we mean complete, it’s everything you need) and, should everything go really bad, an oar. There’s room in the passenger compartment for well, a passenger, a dog or enough luggage to keep you totally self-sustained for months at a time. And that’s before you get to the locking trunk. Mechanicals are dead simple and easy to repair yourself, while you’ll find a surprisingly complete knowledge base of these bikes in remote parts of the world, where they’ve likely served as military vehicles. The downside? They’re slow and difficult to ride. Just ask Wes’s crooked left arm.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: a spirit of adventure.

BMW G650GS Sertao
Basically an old F650GS in new clothes, the G650GS is relatively light at 390lbs (dry), dead simple, proven and reliable. Yes, that’s in complete contrast to the company’s other “Adventure” models. Oh, and unlike bigger GS’s, it’s affordable too.

The Sertao — named after the hinterlands of South America — brings a 21-inch front wheel, longer travel suspension, hand guards and a larger screen. Upgrades that make it both more capable and more comfortable. Don’t expect much speed from the 47bhp single-cylinder, but it should, at least, be dead reliable.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: Tires, Protection.

KTM 990 Adventure
The one big ADV bike that actually lives up to the class’s promise. Rides like a big enduro bike off-road, is all-day comfy, good around town and, on reasonable road rubber, capable of keeping up with sport bikes on mountain roads. This Baja edition — an end-of-model special before the more complicated 1190 hits US shores — comes with everything you need to really get out there too, including luggage and tires. Some will worry about the maintenance requirements of the relatively high-strung, liquid-cooled V-Twin, but the overbuilt nature of the KTM means that if you arm yourself with knowledge of how to work on it, and keep it serviced, nothing should really go wrong.

Clever design features abound on the 990 Adventure. Where other ADV bikes move their tanks under the seat in an effort to lower the center of gravity, KTM uses a saddle-style arrangement right up at the front of the bike, where the weight is actually needed. As an added bonus, those extremely heavy-duty plastic tanks double as crash protection. More talented riders than we have successfully put these things around motocross tracks.

Necessary ADV Upgrades: If you get the Baja, nothing. Otherwise you’re looking at tires and luggage.

  • Zachary Church

    You wouldn’t recommend the Honda 250L?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’s great on the highway if you’re going like 25 miles, not so great if you’re going 2,500 miles.

      We’d totally recommend it as a first dual-sport and a great commuter or just a fun second bike, but the above are going to be better if you’re spending a weekend in death valley, self supported.

      • John

        How about the KTM EXC 350 F with tires similar to the ones on these bikes?

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          You’ve got to open that engine up every 40 hours or so for a very expensive, specialized service. It’s also sketchy as can be at highway speeds on the road. Dirt bike, not travel bike.

    • Stuki

      Unless you’re unusually waifish, the rear suspension cannot handle enough weight to pack it for an adventure. That’s one area where the WR250 is infinitely better. You’re going to need a few gallion cans back there, in addition to camping/traveling supplies, and for average sized US males, the CRF is at it’s limit pretty much with rider alone.

  • Johnny Thunder
    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Damn, knew we forgot one.

    • Motorcycle Extremist

      I love how he talks to his bike like it’s his just beaten wife; creepy guy! :o

  • Paul Emery

    The Triumph Scrambler is an amazing bike for adventures, especially the carb version, I have a fair amount of experience with the bike off road and its great fun, even fully loaded.

  • Jonathan Berndt

    geez i wouldnt recommend the NC700X! it may be balanced and short, but its got alloy rims as youve pictured it. also it may have a low seat height but true adventure bikes have tall seats because of the suspension for ground clearance. it would be smarter to learn to control a true adventure bike off road, learn how to pick it up if it falls, rather than taking a bike clearly designed as a street bike. it could be done but then you could also try with a Sportster!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      You know we base this stuff on our own experience, right? I’ve ridden all the ADV bikes out there and the NC is honestly and surprisingly capable. Yeah, you gotta watch the cast wheels a bit, but you have to watch the F 800 GS’s zero front end feel or the Triumph Tiger 800XC’s pillion peg/subframe/frame thing a lot more. The Honda is vastly more capable than it looks on paper.

  • davidcz

    i nominate the triumph scrambler!

    • Corey Cook

      It’s a 500 pound road bike with crap suspension and “dirt-ish” tires. That may have been what people considered an adventure bike back in the 60′s, but now it’s just a novelty.

      • Paul Emery

        I just rode a triumph scrambler around the world solo through mongolia and siberia. so you’re wrong I’m afraid

        • Eric

          Just came back from a mediterranean to atlantic and reverse trip. Shure was an adventure two-up and packed with luggage

          Bike: 92 CB 250

          good gas mileage and absolutely flawless ride, slow of course but lots of fun

          I am not sure with what to compare the CB nowadays. Of course I somehow would upgrade but still recommend to go do the trip with what is at hand if the occasion presents itself.

          • Paul Emery

            Hey man rad pic, great bike, yeah the best bike you can do trip on is one you know. Whats the next trip install?

            • Eric

              yeee thanks! maybe on the next trip i will give this one a try:

          • Piglet2010

            The new Suzuki GW250 seems to be the closest thing that will be (is already?) available in the US market.

          • appliance5000

            “I am not sure with what to compare the CB nowadays. ”
            How about a cb? cb500f

            • Eric

              that would be a good upgrade. even the old cb 500 twins with twin shocks are still around and look good, they are quite light, too.
              pity that in Spain all bikes are significantly more used and expensive. Right now i am in Germany and the second hand market is so much cheaper and it i see low mileage bikes around.
              Kawas Versys looks good, too.

              but for the time being, i have to run what i have:
              my 87 xt600z single and the CB.

        • Piglet2010

          Well, reportedly there was a guy who rode across Siberia (except for the ~1,000 miles where there is no road and you have to take the train) on an Electra Glide.

  • Andy

    Interesting list, loving the inclusion of the Ural!

    I’m no team orange fan, but why no 690 Enduro R? Lack of range? Cost?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      You’re not really putting in big road miles on one. Great bike otherwise though.

  • grahluk

    Interesting that you point out the adventure bike market is like the two wheeled version of the SUV market. It has veered off of it’s original design brief to be tall heavy road bikes that can carry a bunch of junk.

  • DrLove

    Correction: DR650 do not come with cartridge forks; they use damper rods.

  • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

    URAL! I plan to have one someday. Seen a few of them around and got to ride a Solo T around a parking lot. Pretty cool bikes.

  • markbvt

    Curious that you guys included a number of dual sports but left out the obvious choices that many people have thoroughly put through their paces offroad, namely the F800GS and Tiger 800 XC. Sure, they may not be trail bikes, but that’s why the adventure bike category is different from the dual sport category. And that NC700X isn’t exactly a trail bike either…

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I think the “actually take off-road” bit is the answer to your question there.

      Nearly every single bike on the F800GS Adventure media launch was crashed. Its front end is vague and the center of gravity very high. The Triumph won’t stand up to even low speed drops.

      If you follow the red links above, you can find full content around every bike.

      • markbvt

        I think the many people that have dropped their Tigers at low speed without incident (like me) would disagree that it won’t stand up to those drops. I know you’re unhappy with the passenger footpeg hanger arrangement, but that’s been proven to be much less of an issue than people initially assumed. All the crash-damaged footpeg hangers I’ve heard of have resulted from higher-speed crashes… and in some of those cases the owners simply had them welded back into place. That’s easily done, since the frame is steel.

        I can’t come to the F800GS’s defense though. I’ve never owned one, and when I test-rode one I didn’t like it. You’re right, the front end sucks. Undersprung. Still, a lot of people seem to like them.

        I guess the point that I was trying to make is that populating half the list with dual sports in an article discussing adventure bikes is a bit unfair. How about a list of the most dirt-worthy ADV bikes, with a sidebar explaining why these four dual sports are better choices if you’re going to be riding a lot of dirt?

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Lists like these are intended to provide guidance. I think we’ve done so in a way that discusses the limitations of the class and suggesting bikes that actually live up to the ADV image. The Tiger’s a fantastic bike on the road, but it’s tall, heavy and just plain limited on anything more complicated than a fire road.

          I totaled a tiger at approximately 25-30mph with a simple on-road lowside. Those kind of speeds are totally realistic in dirt riding. Widest part of the bike? Pillion pegs. Those are hard welded to the subframe, a long ways back from the main frame, with no stress relief points. Tweaking the pillion peg mounts tweaks the subframe, which pops the welds to the main frame. Voila, totalled bike. In contrast, of all the crashes on that 800GSA launch, the worst damage was tweaked bars.

          • markbvt

            Interesting. All the crash damage I’ve heard of previously had the footpeg hangers bending/breaking off the subframe, with little/no damage to the subframe itself. I’ve also heard of plenty of crashes that resulted in no damage at all to the footpeg hangers aside from a few scrapes. Obviously it all depends on the dynamics of the crash. But ultimately, I do agree that Triumph would be smart to reconsider how the footpegs are attached.

      • Eric

        how about the 660 Tenere? does it sell in the states?

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Not sold here.

          • Eric

            pity! how about ride apart europe??

    • Stuki

      A colleague has an F800GS, and one big issue with it is that, with
      knobbies, it is LESS comfortable and confidence inspiring on road than
      my WR250. It pretty much permanently fells like it’s on the brink of a
      tank slapper. Not relaxing at all. It’s better than the 1200 off road
      (according to him. He has both), but isn’t nearly the road bike the 1200
      is.

      After having had my little WR for two years now, I find it sufficiently comfortable that in order to pick a bigger bike for a trip, that bigger bike has to be able to substantially beat it when it comes to on road comfort; meaning being comfortable at extended (8 hr days) cruising at 75-80 or above on slab. The Vstrom, S10 and 1200GS (and presumably that darned Honda) probably does this. But, on any tire that inspires confidence off road, I have not found the 800GS to do so. But I realize that ‘inspires confidence’ is subjective. The GS may well be fine, simply speaking to the rider in a language that is different enough from what I am used to, to render me uncomfortable.

  • Kevin

    Man, that NC700X looks like the ticket for my big planned Alaska trip. Still cheaper than a well-used GS!

    • Stuki

      Haven’t ridden the NC, but the most common ‘failure’ on the dirt hwys up north (just came back from there) seem to be flats from sharp gravel cutting tires. The lighter weight, longer travel and suppler suspension, bigger rolling circumference and bigger tire selection of the WR250, would make me pick that one over the NC any time up there. For even less money. And, you can even ride it on “real” trails, as long as you pack light. The NC is likely more comfortable on paved roads, and can carry more without getting out of it’s comfort zone.

  • Brian

    what? the MiniStrom DL650 didn’t make the list?

  • Billlllyyyyy

    Glad to see the WR250R on the list. Really think that’s gonna be my next bike, good step up and sideways from the CBR250 I’ve been learning on. But I’m a little surprised there’s no Husky TR650 Terra. As far as I can see it’s like a lighter, more powerful Sertao with USD forks and in Australia at least they’re far cheaper than a Sertao as well.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Please stop asking about the Terra. Husqvarna has no dealer presence, was just sold and that bike will soon be cancelled if it hasn’t been already. And it wasn’t anything special to begin with.

      • Piglet2010

        Would be interesting to see the Terra come back as a KTM with the same engine as the Duke 690, along with the level of suspension one expects on a Katoom.

  • TelemarkTumalo

    Lots of comments about bikes that are left in or left out. The bottom line is that there is not ONE bike that will work for everyone’s needs. I know really skilled riders who can plow through the Oregon Outback Adventure on a Tenere without incident. Likewise, I know some who fall over in parking lots on their 37″ standover height KTM’s. You can take almost any bike off road, treat it well and it will probably do just fine within its and the rider’s limits. All of these bikes are great bikes and the variety from the little Yamaha 250 to the 990 KTM show what a variety can be used. The right bike for all of us is the one that we are currently on. Let’s all shut up and ride!

  • Versys Jake

    Man the list of current dual sports is really disappointing… can’t somebody just put a reliable engine with 6 speeds into motocross bike chassis? Wr450x? Drz400s with 6 speeds? I am working on a street legal wr450r project but it is still lacking a 6th gear and fuel injection. Come on industry impress me…

    • Von

      CRF450L ftw!

  • BillW

    It’s probably worth mentioning that, because they’ve been around so long, there is HUGE aftermarket support for the DR650, KLR650 and XR650L. I suspect a great many of the shortcomings you mention can be addressed with aftermarket parts. And of course, there are lots of used ones out there.

    • TheBoatDude

      That’s one of the things I consider whenever I ponder buying an ADV bike: How easy will it be to get parts in BFE (in my ponderances, I travel often to BFE). Sure I can get BMW parts in The Bay Area, but what about between Vegas and Zion NP?

      • BillW

        Well, speaking specifically of that area, you can get parts for the Japanese brands and H-D in St. George, but I think that’s about it. Gotta go back to Vegas or up to SLC for BMW. That being said, BMW ADV bikes have probably been to a lot more non-US BFEs than any of the bikes in this list. They did invent the category, after all. But I think the modern ones have gotten too complex for world touring, along with all the other self-styled ADV bikes. Which is kind of the point here.

        • Stuki

          I doubt there’s a spot even theoretically reachable by bike, that hasn’t been visited by at least one KLR at one point or another. And, the KLR is basically one bike. The BMW GS are a whole slew of different bikes, that happen to share the same name.

          After Wes’ rumbles in the dessert on the S10, I’m surprised that one is not included. For being a way too big bike, it’s pretty darned nice on most any road and trail adventure bikes have much business going down. And, your local Yamaha dealer will probably offer to sell you one of those, AND a WR250R, for the same out the door price as BMW charges for the new 1200GS alone.

          I just returned from 3 weeks up north (AK, YT, BC), and aside from being shocked at how few bikes at all I saw on those famous adventure hwys (Dempster (1 Vstrom 650, 1 1200GS) , Dalton (1 1150GS, 1 1200GS, 1 650GS, 1 older Tiger, 2KLRs, 1 S10, 4 ‘dirt bikes’, and, tah-dah, 3 Harelys), Campbell( 1 Harley, that’s it) ) All in all, The Electra Glide was probably the most common bike I saw out on the road up there, slogging their way through cement grade mud and dusty sand. In total, there were probably 20 retired couples in motorhomes for every bike, on any of those roads.

          Out of all your picks, on any unpaved surface, as long as I could ride solo and weren’t traveling though barren dessert where I would need to carry 100+ pounds of water and fuel; I’d take the WR over any of the others. Every time. It’s comfortable up to any speed one/I would ride off pavement, and is infinitely superior to the bigger bikes everywhere aside from paved freeways. It would be nice if Yammy made an adv version with a bigger tank and the ABS system from the S10. That’s all.

  • Tuscan Foodie

    I know you people LOVE the NC700X, but I don’t see how you can go past the BIG problem of having to lift the passenger seat to refuel. Especially when you are traveling, and you have stuff secured to the passenger seat with straps and bungees, this is a major pain in the neck. And I know what I am talking about, since I owned a Mana a few years ago.

    That bike would have been perfect if they had put the gas tank cap on the side of the bike, GS650 style, so as to be able to refuel without having to unpack everything. To me, this is a serious design flaw that will never make me buy that bike, even if I honestly LOVE everything else about it.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’ve taken big trips on the NC with a milk crate bungeed to the back. An extra 5 minutes every 250 miles really isn’t a big deal. You’re likely gonna stop for a coffee and a pee too.

      • Tuscan Foodie

        I disagree. This was my bike on my last trip: http://i.imgur.com/5ZxOhFs.jpg

        Unpacking and packing it back is way more than 5 minutes, believe me: taking all the bungees off, take the dry bag off, take the saddle bags off. Put it all back, hook it once again to make sure everything is balanced. I don’t need to add this time when I am traveling 750 miles a day…I’d rather spend my coffee and pee breaks…drinking coffee and peeing!

        • Afonso Mata

          You own an H-D. Any of your arguments is invalid :-P

          • TheBoatDude

            Well…at least it’s an XR1200 and not a Nightster Softail Dyna Super Extra Duper Mambo Glide FHLXKQRST

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          That’s a ton of stuff!

          • Tuscan Foodie

            it was a long trip…

        • runnermatt

          That actually looks like a H-D I would like. I don’t really see myself as the “cruiser type”, but that looks more like a standard/naked.

  • Regder

    Curious why not the V-Strom? To paraphrase the HFL review that I can’t find, “the best bike that you probably won’t buy”

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Not nearly as good off-road as the DR650. Even if you can actually stand on it.

    • Beale

      Ain’t no adventure like riding a fully loaded Strom through miles of sand. Butt pucker factor 10. I’ve had a KLR and a Wee Strom. Not once did I ever enjoy riding in the dirt with the Strom while some of my best, most stellar motorcycling memories, both on road and off, were made on my old, ugly, slow, out of date KLR.

  • Piglet2010

    What about the Suzuki DR-Z400S, since you like the supermoto DR-Z400SM?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      We rode out to Nevada earlier this year with the DR-Z400S and DR650. On similar tires, the 650 was noticeably more comfortable on the highway and very nearly as capable off road.

  • Eric

    Wondering bout the Yamaha Super Tenere? I’ve seen all the other ADV bikes plenty of times, the Super Tenere has only beaten my unicorn sighting record by one. There was a lot of press shortly after it’s debut, but nothing since. How good or bad is it at this sorta thing? Cheaper than some of it’s European cousins, worth a thought or two.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’s a good bike, but it weighs 636lbs with a full tank of fuel. They’ve been clever with the engine placement and radiators so it has a very planted front end, but you just never escape that weight.

      • Stuki

        It’s an absolutely marvelous bike on dirt ROADS, though. At least until they get really wet and muddy. Eats up washboard like nobody’s business without losing the front end (the rear is a different story, but less critical); unlike that other oversized adventure bike…. :) And has has sufficient load capacity for adventures to Costco. Best thing is, the Yamaha dealer will pretty much throw in a WR250 if you buy one, for the same out the door that BMW charges for the new 1200 alone…. Then all your adventure needs should be covered.

    • nick

      Oddly enough, the opening picture looks to have a set of Super Tenere panniers next to the boots…

  • DavidyArica Freire

    What about a Ninja 300 with some knobby tires and protection?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      You’ve been reading Reddit, haven’t you?

      • runnermatt

        I’m not on Reddit. Could you enlighten the rest of us?

    • runnermatt

      The Honda CBR250R’s single would be better off-road. Oh wait, Honda already builds an off-road version.

  • Na Cho

    Oh, and the little Honda that could is atually this one: http://www.hondavstheworld.com

  • Scott Moore

    I think this article is more about dual sport bikes instead of adventure bikes. I would hardly call a Yamaha 250 an adventure bike. Add panniers, gear, tent, food, water and more. How much weight will it carry? You’ll be loading it in a truck and driving it to the offroad area. The KTM is a good choice. Some of the one lungers will also carry weight but if you have any offroad experience, plan on wheel damage, radiator and engine case issues as part of the fun when out on the trail. Adventure bikes carry all the things you may or may not need for such trips. Backpacking on a motorcycle is not adventure riding.

    • CruisingTroll

      If you’re having an adventure, it’s adventure riding. More to the point, the thing that distinguishes “adventure riding” from plain old woods riding/trail riding/desert racing is that you go out yonder (riding TO yonder and then riding in/through/about yonder) and STAY out there. For some folks, that’ll mean an ultra-light backpacking style load, while trusting to fate that they won’t be busting any wheels, radiators, etc. For other folks, it means loading up like the Great White Hunter with the bike playing the role of Bwana and carrying EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink. Most folks are in between these two extremes.

      Lots of people call a WR250R an adventure bike. They tend to take their adventure in shorter road chunks and longer off-road chunks than somebody on a bigger bike. And they tend not to be going as quickly on the road, but often make up for it off road, if for no other reason than picking up a lightly loaded WR takes less time than picking up a fully loaded R1200GSA. :D

  • CruisingTroll

    Not available in the US, so not available to the RideApart crew.

    • Na Cho

      That’s too bad for you then. I hear it’ll be arriving soon though

  • Rob Dabney (www.advpulse.com)

    I would rate the BMW G650GS, Suzuki SV650 and Kawasaki Versys higher on off-road capability than the Honda NC700X. The G650GS has a lower seat height than the NC700X as well. None of those four are good off-road bikes though and shouldn’t be on this list. What I think is missing from the list are the BMW F800GS, Triumph Tiger XC and Husqvarna TR650 Terra.

  • Von

    Is it possible to throw a larger front rim on the NC700X? At least a 19 or a more durable 17″ spoke rim? The NC700X originally came off totally dorky and boring to me. It looks like a different bike with knobbies and crash guards everywhere. Too bad it doesn’t have as much fun factor for daily riding as a CB500X. Too bad the 500X has no offroad ability. @wessiler:disqus your Taste of Dakar write-up made me a believer in the offroad capabilities of the adventure looking scooter. I want a daily driver for my first bike that can come camping with me or spend a weekend in the desert and keep up with my buddies on their mini bikes. I used to race motocross, and realize a true dual sport for offroading can only be expected from a KTM 990 or Yamaha WR250, those would be my second bike. I want something easy to learn on and on the daily ride, and tough enough to pound some whoops at Ocotillo Wells. The NC700X seems to check off all those boxes, too bad it doesn’t check off the ‘fun’ or ‘sexy’ boxes as well.