There comes a time in our lives when we find ourselves looking to purchase a new motorcycle, whether new to us or brand-spanking new from the showroom. But, wait, is that model due for an update? Should you wait for the new one or buy an older model to save some cash?
The one overriding edict in choosing this year’s consortium of adventure bike players is obvious from the story’s title – spoked-hoops, which essentially demonstrates a manufacturer’s commitment to the off-road worthiness of its bike. The introduction of Honda’s new Africa Twin has the potential of re-racking the pecking order in motorcycling’s hottest category, so we gathered five of its likely competitors that are either top-rated or recently updated. The Honda bridges engine displacements, ranging from Triumph’s 800cc Tiger XCx to Yamaha’s 1199cc Super Ténéré ES, and we also included ADV icons like KTM’s 1190 R Adventure and BMW’s what-will-they-think-of-next R1200GS Adventure, plus Ducati’s radical A-T entrant, the new Multistrada Enduro.
Last year’s Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout – a six-day, nine-bike extravagasm – pitted some of the lesser dirtable models (Versys 1000 LT, Multistrada S, S1000XR) against some of the industry’s more formidable off-roaders (1290 Super Adventure, 1190 Adventure, R1200GS) as well as a few inbetweeners (Caponord, V-Strom, Tiger Explorer). With this year’s introduction of Honda’s Africa Twin, Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro, and Triumph’s Tiger Explorer XCx, three more off-roady models have emerged.
Adventure bikes are one of the trendiest motorcycle segments today, but for every ADV review or unveiling we publish, it’s become de rigueur for commenters to ask “…but how often are people actually going to ride these off-road anyways?” It’s a fair question, as a lot of so-called adventure-tourers will rarely stray off the tarmac.
Your choice of the 1190 Adventure R solidifies KTM’s ascension to one of the top motorcycle marques on the planet. BMW essentially created the big-bore adventure-bike market with its twin-cylinder GS, but KTM’s Adventure series has shaken up the status quo. The regular 1190 Adventure delivers a power punch even the liquid-cooled Boxer BMW can’t match, giving it a sporting edge evidenced during our Battle of the Adventures shootout.