Adventure motorcycles are street-legal motorcycles built around the idea of touring on and off road. Learn more about these machines at Dirt Rider.
Adventure motorcycles, also known as ADV bikes, are street-legal motorcycles designed with the ability to be able to cover large distances on asphalt, as well as in the dirt. The bigger brother of the dual-sport, the adventure motorcycle features a large-displacement engine, greater fuel capacity, modern electronic rider aids such as ABS and traction control, crashbars, and tires that can handle off-road as well as on-road environments.
The adventure motorcycle is the do-anything touring bike. It can be raced at a national enduro, thrown through gravel roads, or can traverse multiple countries like many people have done. Every adventure motorcycle tries to live up to its name.
Adventure motorcycle gear is built around the rider, allowing them to stay protected from the harsh elements of off-road riding while making sure to keep them protected from an on-road crash. Adventure motorcycle helmets sport visors that help keep the sun out of a rider’s eyes and a large eyeport, so it is easier to wear goggles and keep the visor attached at the same time. Jackets are generally made out of breathable textile material and some feature a waterproof liner.
On the lower half, pants try to keep the knees and hips protected while keeping the rest of the pants breathable and rainproof. Adventure motorcycle boots take some protection from the off-road segment by including hinged ankle protection, allowing the rider to easily sit down or stand up in the saddle.
Adventure motorcycles come with a fair amount of aftermarket-type parts from the factory. Hard pannier bags are an industry standard and the addition of crashbars to the motorcycle ensure its protection on any journey. Items such as GPS units, phone cradles, taller windscreens, and larger pannier bags are normally supplied by the OEM, or by multiple aftermarket retailers.
Riding an adventure motorcycle takes the best of street motorcycle riding and combines it with the best of dirt and trail riding. On an ADV bike, you can enjoy the vastness of the open road, hop the curb, and start sliding the rear around in the dirt. During these off-road adventures, you can enjoy standing on the pegs, and really working the motorcycle through the terrain. On road, you can keep the revs low as the large-displacement engine does its job.
If you have an adventure motorcycle and don’t know how to ride off road, there are multiple schools, online learning material, and even an entire section of Dirt Rider devoted to making you a better off-road motorcycle rider.
Riding an adventure motorcycle and touring on an adventure motorcycle are two completely different styles of riding. Touring on any motorcycle is a war of attrition and your bike will run out of gas before your will does. If you’re going to tour on an ADV bike, start with your tires. Make sure you have a set of tires installed that will handle the terrain you’re going to be traversing. If your route is mostly on asphalt, it doesn’t make sense to install a tire with knobbies on it. You’re going to wear them down before you get to any serious off-roading.
The next tip is on packing. If you’re packing for an ADV motorcycle adventure, make sure you have something to repair the tires with. A tire patch kit can be the difference between your getting to a shop to get a new tire, or ending your trip right there and towing your bike home. Another simple tip—know where you are going, either by using a GPS, a map, or the stars, but don’t get lost. Not only will the stress of being lost fatigue you, but you could also get seriously injured by not knowing the foreign terrain.
Plan out your adventure trip. Let your loved ones know where you’re going to be. If those plans change, let them know. Since you’re on an adventure bike, make sure to enjoy the scenery. You are outside after all.