I recently had the privilege of attending two events that brought me to Utah two weeks in a row. Utah is, and has been, one of my absolute favorite places to visit. Since I first laid eyes on its mars-esque landscapes, I was hooked. Every cross country ride or drive I take, I route them through Utah. I’ve passed through more than I’d like to admit, while only stopping to enjoy parts of the state a handful of times.
That’s right, masters of the obvious, one of these things is not like the other ones. But what we found out as we rode around on these four is that each of them fills a distinct niche, rendering the Honda less outside the Adventure Bike box than we would’ve thought going into it. Besides, the Africa Twin’s not here yet. Tommy Roderick and I already decided the BMW R1200GS Adventure is the ultimate if your adventures will include unpaved surfaces, but these four adventure bikes are aimed more toward riding on pavement: We’ve all seen the stats about how few of these kinds of bikes and Range Rovers ever make it off road. Not many. And having said that, a couple of these might make reasonable dual-sports depending upon how reasonable you ride off piste.
Motorcycle.com recently got the chance to ride the new 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT at its world launch in Sicily, it’s a motorcycle that’s being offered in the U.S. for the first time. With aggressive styling that mimics Kawasaki’s Ninja model line, coupled with roomy, upright ergonomics and an extremely comfortable and effective handlebar bend, this is a machine which is well-positioned for entry into the rapidly growing Sport/Adventure Touring category, priced nicely at $12,799. This video gives a glimpse into our time with the new machine and sheds a little insight into how it lives up to the outstanding reputation of its smaller Versys sibling.
The Versys 1000 has actually been produced since 2012, but until now its unconventional styling coupled with a relatively soft U.S. motorcycle market have kept it away from our shores. Motorcycle sales are beginning to show serious signs of growth, with several European manufacturers claiming all-time records for the 2014 model year sales, and long-legged upright sportbikes like Ducati’s updated Multistrada, BMW’s new S1000XR, KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure R, Suzuki’s recently revamped V-Strom 1000 and other liter-plus adventure-themed machines comprise the hottest contemporary segment in motorcycling.