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Over the last five or so years, dual-sport "Adventure" riding has become very popular - the segment has been a bright spot in the market with rapidly increasing sales and has prompted the development of some wonderful motorcycles and gear by companies like BMW (probably the original ADV bike manufacturer, with their Bumblebees presaging the GS series) and Klim motorcycle clothing. Even stalwart street motorcycle maker Harley Davidson is getting into this game with their Pan America.

The question for this thread is: Does it have to be off-road in order to be adventure?
 

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There can be some exciting riding on the public highways. Calling it an adventure is a stretch, like therapy shopping.
The real motorcycle riding experience, comes from OFF Road riding. When you follow the deer tracks to climb a steep hill, negotiating sage brush and alkaline lakes, mountains too steep to climb, and too steep to ride down, fallen trees across the trail, or acres of dead fall after a heavy rain. Fresh snow that has compacted to ice, freshly plowed fields.
Pretty much anywhere a good 3 day event horses could go. Now to look up alkaline.

I will give you one, just one example where all the ADV bikes would fail. A large fir has fallen across your trail. You must get over it. It is 27 inches high. Please tell me how you are going to do this.

UK
 

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I think the idea of adventure riding is to go to far off places on roads that may sometimes not be paved, or that are poorly paved.

You don't need an "adventure bike" to do that.

When I rode my kawasaki Ninja 650 across the country seven years ago when I turned 70 it felt like an adventure to me, and some of the roads that my Garmin gps let me on were not paved.
 

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I would dismount my current Adventure bike and remove the tree from my path and then proceed:grin:

I was a trophied Trials bike rider many, many years ago so maybe I'd just loft the front wheel until the rear tire hit the log, lean forward and roll on just enough power to go over the obstacle.:smile:

Or I would turn around and take a different route:kiss:

I have had many 'Adventure' bikes and it doesn't take rough, dirt, gravel, hills or jeep roads to enjoy the EXCELLENT ergonomics, long travel suspension and comfort of most Adventure bike's for them to be popular. Most pot holes in roads just sort of disappear or a re barely felt, whereas on most 'street' bikes the ride is ROUGH, unless on smooth roads:grin:

Sam:nerd:
 

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After a rain it can be very much an adventure just getting from my house to the highway or vice versa. No off-roading at all. Just a slick slimmy road before pavement that turns back to near concrete a day later before it turns back to dust after that. An adventure is what you encounter but you certainly don't have to go off-road for that. I took my Electra Glide down many forest fire trail roads in Cali. Would do the same with my Indian in Texas but we don't have many national forests here.:grin: But yes, any other off-roading would require something with more ground clearance and better suspension. But an adventure is what you make of any traveling.
 

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Adventure is everywhere if you look for it and has nothing to do with a road surface :)

One adventure I don't miss though is that steep, rutted mud alleyway full of round rocks behind my old house, some wet or icy mornings that was the most exciting 100 yards of my ride :) I never did drop a bike there, neither did my wife, but we both have a few good stories. My stepdaughter lives there now, but her 500 pound Scout bobber is a lot easier to handle on that mess than a 900 pound touring bike :)
 
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A lot of the problem with the so called 'Adventure bikes,' is the FALSE NEWS way in which they are promoted and marketed to the general public:plain:

A little history on my ADVENTURE experience:

I have raced semi-professionally on many tracks, desert courses, trials, ISDT type enduros and even raced the BAJA 360 event several times and have done so on some of the periods finest machinery from dedicated, high speed desert sleds to many so called, semi-street legal and legal adventure bikes and there isn't a one of the BIG major brands that won't show you who's boss and high side or low side you in a heartbeat as soon as you forget that the 500 to 600 lb scoot with the standard DOT approved, almost street tires, loose all traction because their air pressure is way to high and their size way to small and it will dawn on you as you try to right the WHALE, that maybe something smaller and lighter would have been a better choice:grin:

Here is an example of the false way that 'Adventure bikes,' are sold to Joe public:

A few years ago, I visited a large multi-brand 'Powersports' dealer to buy a clutch lever for my Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster and while I was there, I looked and spotted the fully outfitted, 3 cylinder 1200 Triumph Trophy Adventure bike, fully farkled with the factory aluminium side cases and top case, crash bars, fog lights, huge skid plate, hand quards etc-etc and it was impressive---only if you were unaware of what would happen if you weren't extremely careful trying to pilot the probably 650-700 lb, Exon Valdez, sister ship, over 10 mph on a straight gravel, graded road:surprise:

The salesman, not knowing me, intimated that the HUGE Behemoth I was sitting on was set up and perfect for all types of 'off road' fun, from jeep trails to single track--yada yada yada:wink2: I just smiled and walked away:smile_big:

I guess it boils down to what 'Adventure' really means as in what ol' 'Slick Willy' Clinton meant when he tried to explain his lies about his interpretation of what SEX "IS." I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder:kiss:

Sam:nerd:
 

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Its clear that "adventure" bikes are the "in" thing right now. Open up most motorcycle magazines and you might think that these are the only bikes being made today. I'd bet that many of these bikes will never leave paved roads, but the owners will buy them so that they can pretend to themselves that they are ready for a true "adventure". Just like all the SUV's that will never ride in snow, mud or sand and never, ever go off road because to do so, if nothing else, they would get really dirty!

Maybe the image of "adventure" bikes is what the industry needs to attract new riders, and if that works, all the better. Personally I miss the days when every motorcycle was a "standard" that was good for any and all kinds of riding, even if none of the various areas you could use them would be the bike be exceptional. In those days there were just motorcycles, without some prefix describing them like "adventure", or "cruiser" or "touring" or whatever (other than dirt bikes which were different, non street legal vehicles).

But as to the question of this thread, I think that the term "adventure" does mean going off road. For me, even a hard packed gravel road, or a hard dirt road is a real adventure as my heart rate goes up while I try to keep the 900 pound bike rubber side down. As much as I can, I stick to real pavement so that I can enjoy my cruise control, ABS, AM/FM/Satellite radio, heated seats and grips, etc, etc.
 
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It seems clear to me, that most here do not, or have not done any serious off road riding. That is a pity, as there are many more things to learn from off road riding. Depending on location of course. I would still ride off road if I was on the big island. There are logging roads that could take me places otherwise never seen. The wilderness would be refreshing.

Only Porky answered my question above, correctly. A tree across the trail requires a wheelie, then a forward lean as the bike slides on the skid plate. Other option is to lift the bike and swing it over. Size of the rider determines the size of the bike, for the lifting option.
My bikes of choice were a 250 Canam, and a TL250 Honda. I put a larger gas tank and seat on the Honda, and stiffened the suspension. It was better for the more treed and bushed areas, the Canam was much faster on the trails or back roads.

None of the current ADV bikes would be suitable for any serious off the main road riding IMO. Even the stock of off road 450cc bikes are too heavy, and too tall IMO. But for metal ( gravel ) logging roads they would be okay.

UK
 

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In my opinion, adventure is about meeting new people, seeing new countries, experiencing new cultures. There is an adventure around every bend whether it's on dirt or tarmac.

Sent from my E6810 using Tapatalk
 

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When people talk about "adventure" bikes, and what the manufacturers are pushing, are bikes capable of at least moderate off road riding. Usually that includes a high seat and a suspension system not geared to always being on smooth pavement. Of course, every ride on every motorcycle can be an "adventure", but that's not what is commonly thought of in the motorcycle vernacular when using the word "adventure".
 

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To me, every ride is an adventure, and I don't ride off-road.
Adventure is heading out to see what's out there, whether it's on the road or off.
 
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Adventure Bikes are like the Jeeps of the motorcycle world. The marketing is "go anywhere, see wild places, have adventure!". Even is owners never use that function, people like to believe that they could if they wanted. The guy in the Wrangler Rubicon may never even leave the tarmac, and the lady on the GS might only use it for commuting to work. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Truth is, ADV bikes are just really good at most things. They are comfortable enough to tour, nimble enough to carve canyons, get groceries in the big panniers, and suspension to soak up bad road surfaces.

My next bike will be an adventure bike (likely a Yamaha Super Tenere.) Not because I am training for the Dakar or riding across Mongolia, but because of the above mentioned. And because the upright seating and position of the pegs/seat fit the 6"2"- 35" inseam frame of this lanky, longhaired, biker dude.
I'll have my Jeep for Overlanding across the wilderness; but it'll be nice having a bike more capable of tackling gravel, rustic roads, and crappy Wisconsin highways.

People see nothing wrong with the accountant riding the Harley dressed like a Hells Angel; why do we care about the same guy on an Africa Twin dressed like Charlie Boorman?

As many on this thread have stated, adventure is a very personal thing. To me, it's an unplanned several day wandering tour of places, people, and roads, I've never experienced. To my GF it's a weekend-long planned route to a destination that she wants to see.

Ride what you ride, find adventure where you can, try to adult as little as possible and keep a smile on you face.:wink2:
 

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Adventure Bikes are like the Jeeps of the motorcycle world. The marketing is "go anywhere, see wild places, have adventure!". Even is owners never use that function, people like to believe that they could if they wanted. The guy in the Wrangler Rubicon may never even leave the tarmac, and the lady on the GS might only use it for commuting to work. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Truth is, ADV bikes are just really good at most things. They are comfortable enough to tour, nimble enough to carve canyons, get groceries in the big panniers, and suspension to soak up bad road surfaces.


People see nothing wrong with the accountant riding the Harley dressed like a Hells Angel; why do we care about the same guy on an Africa Twin dressed like Charlie Boorman?

As many on this thread have stated, adventure is a very personal thing. To me, it's an unplanned several day wandering tour of places, people, and roads, I've never experienced. To my GF it's a weekend-long planned route to a destination that she wants to see.

Ride what you ride, find adventure where you can, try to adult as little as possible and keep a smile on you face.:wink2:
I agree with most of the above, except. ADV bikes are no good for any serious off road riding.
If I were to go to Tuktoyuktuk on a bike, it would likely be an ADV bike similar to the 650 Suzuki. But, we will most likely take the RV ( red van )
Same is true for a trip to Bamfield BC, which has a very bumpy 40 mile section of logging roads. As do quite a few remote areas of the big island. I think the big single 650 Suzuki would be good for that. Nearly all of the new bikes of any type, are too tall for me.
Long rides on gravel roads have the possibility of extreme tippy. So getting the bike upright would be a required feature.
In three years I will have been licensed to thrill for 60 years.

UK
 

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I absolutely agree, UK. For that type of riding, the smaller ADV bikes (ie. larger dual sports as they were known before the ADV term was popular)
If the "adventure" includes more off-road work where knobbies are required (instead of only "suggested") then the thumper breed are definitely a better option. If I were heading around the world in the spring, I would hop down to my local Kawasaki dealer and start outfitting a KLR650
It's all fine to say, "My 98 pound girlfriend can pick up an Ultra-Glide with the proper technique" But that all goes out the window when the bike is laying on it's side, on a hill, in sand.


As my sig line on a Jeep forum reads, "The path to enlightenment is not paved."
But I have not had the opportunity in the past to learn off-road motorcycle skills, and I feel my reconstructed knee will prevent me from getting into it now. So, I will keep my two wheels on the road and use the Grand Cherokee for getting out of captivity:cool:
 

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I believe is simply changing the way

I not a psychologist, however I understand that there is some wisdom in things like Neuro-linguistic programming, which I believe is simply changing the way you think about something by methods like small levels of exposure to the thing you feel anxious about.
 
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