Flogging about on big adventure bikes is a lot of fun, as we demonstrated in our Wire Wheel Adventure Shootout this year, but let’s face it: those bikes are heavy! Big adventure bikes can be taxing when ridden on technical off-road terrain, and there were more times than we care to admit that we had to pick them up off their sides after their mass overcame our balance and strength. And all of them are priced well into the quintuple digits, putting adventure out of reach for many riders.

In response, 2017 is looking to be the year of the mini adventure bike. With no less than four new players in this field – the BMW G310GS, Honda CRF250L Rally, Kawasaki Versys-X 300, and Suzuki V-Strom 250 – getting a taste of off-road adventuring has never been easier. Granted, none of the motorcycles in this quartet have serious off-road chops, but then again, only a small percentage of adventure bike owners really explore the deepest depths of the earth anyway. Nonetheless, the ability to perform approximately 80% of what we achieved during the Adventure Shootout last year, at a fraction of the price and with far less physical and mental effort, is an intriguing premise, and one we’re looking to validate in the year to come.