The Best Adventure Motorbikes (2021)

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If you want a bike that's comfortable, good at everything and which will take two people plus luggage hundreds of miles you probably want an adventure bike. What is an adventure motorbike?

For similar bikes designed to head off the tarmac check out our top ten off-road adventure bikes.

BMW R1250GS

What Is It?

Thanks to a major update in 2017 the popular BMW R1200GS has evolved into the R1250GS with shiny new looks, reduced vibration, variable valve timing and plenty of new high tech options like hill start control and self levelling suspension; both incredibly useful on a bike which weighs a quarter of a ton before two people and a full luggage accompaniment are added into the mix.

The model continually tops the UK best sellers chart, has a massive following around the world and can be totally customised using the BMW parts catalogue.

If you intend on doing lots of proper off-road work they offer a version called the R1250GS Adventure (R1250GSA) which has a larger tank, lots of drop protection and more ground clearance although it's another 8kg heavier.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £13,705
  • Engine: Boxer VVT
  • Capacity: 1,254 cc
  • Power: 134 bhp / 100 kW
  • Top Speed: 125 mph / 201 km/h
  • Economy: 50 mpg / 5.6 L/100km
  • Range: 220 miles / 354 km
  • Seat Height: 850 mm / 33.5 inches
  • Wet Weight: 249 kg / 549 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.538 bhp/kg

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S

What Is It?

The 2021 update of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure S definitely deserves a look if you are after a great all-rounder. It has loads of power, semi-active suspension, radar adaptive cruise control and loads of options to make light work of long distances.

More info, pics, prices and videos

Key Specs

  • RRP: £15,000
  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 1,301 cc
  • Power: 158 bhp / 118 kW
  • Top Speed: 165 mph / 265 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 230 miles / 370 km
  • Seat Height: 849 mm / 33.4 inches
  • Wet Weight: 245 kg / 540 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.645 bhp/kg

Ducati Multistrada V4 S

What Is It?

New for 2021 the Multistrada V4 replaces the 1260 V-Twin model, with a brand new V4 engine derived from the Panigale V4, making it one of the most powerful adventure bikes you can buy. This Granturismo version of the V4 is smaller, less powerful than the Panigale and optimised for long service intervals.

It has literally all of the equipment you would expect including the new option of radar adaptive cruise control with rear blind spot monitoring.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £18,605
  • Engine: V4
  • Capacity: 1,158 cc
  • Power: 168 bhp / 125 kW
  • Top Speed: 160 mph / 257 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 190 miles / 306 km
  • Seat Height: 840 mm / 33.1 inches
  • Wet Weight: 243 kg / 536 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.691 bhp/kg

BMW S1000XR

What Is It?

The S1000XR is a well established adventure bike with a sporty bias and is powered by a de-tuned version of the engine found in BMW's S1000RR sports bike.

For 2020 there's a new wasp styled nose, LED lighting, TFT dash, lighter frame / swingarm, new lighter Euro 5 exhaust, cornering ABS, hill hold control and electronic suspension. It should prove just as popular as the old model.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £14,290
  • Engine: Inline Four
  • Capacity: 999 cc
  • Power: 162 bhp / 121 kW
  • Top Speed: 160 mph / 257 km/h
  • Economy: 40 mpg / 7.1 L/100km
  • Range: 180 miles / 290 km
  • Seat Height: 840 mm / 33.1 inches
  • Wet Weight: 226 kg / 498 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.717 bhp/kg

Honda Africa Twin

What Is It?

The original Africa Twin 1000 sold in great numbers as is loved by owners. New for 2020 is a larger engine, more power, a new clever dash with Apple Carplay, cruise / wheelie control and a chunk knocked off the weight.

A popular option is Honda's clever DCT automatic gearbox and for longer distances you should also check out the range topping Adventure Sports version.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £13,050
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,084 cc
  • Power: 101 bhp / 75 kW
  • Top Speed: 130 mph / 209 km/h
  • Economy: 45 mpg / 6.3 L/100km
  • Range: 190 miles / 306 km
  • Seat Height: 850 mm / 33.5 inches
  • Wet Weight: 226 kg / 498 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.447 bhp/kg

Gear

Moto Guzzi V85 TT

What Is It?

Most adventure bikes look, shall we say, uninspiring but the V85 TT is a retro work of art. It isn't super powerful but has bags of character and all the modern equipment you would expect. For 2021 it gets improved low end torque, lighter tubeless wheels and Sport / Custom ride modes.

More info, pics, prices and videos

Key Specs

  • RRP: £11,200
  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 853 cc
  • Power: 79 bhp / 59 kW
  • Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 km/h
  • Economy: 55 mpg / 5.1 L/100km
  • Range: 280 miles / 451 km
  • Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 229 kg / 505 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.345 bhp/kg

BMW F900XR

What Is It?

New for 2020 the XR uses the F850GS as a base to create a baby brother to the popular S1000XR. It's more powerful and lighter than the GS, plus can be packed with all the modern high tech options you can think of.

More info, pics, prices and videos

Key Specs

  • RRP: £9,830
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 895 cc
  • Power: 103 bhp / 77 kW
  • Top Speed: 150 mph / 241 km/h
  • Economy: 50 mpg / 5.6 L/100km
  • Range: 170 miles / 274 km
  • Seat Height: 825 mm / 32.5 inches
  • Wet Weight: 219 kg / 483 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.470 bhp/kg

BMW F850GS

What Is It?

Alongside Triumph's Tiger 900 the 2018 BMW F850GS is well worth a look, however with only 94 bhp on tap it's probably best suited to one up riding.

Using the options catalogue you can spec it up to have all the features of the big adventure bikes, including a 6.5" TFT dash, LED lighting and dynamic electric suspension but without the massive weight.

More info, pics, prices and videos

Key Specs

  • Launch RRP: £10,185
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 853 cc
  • Power: 94 bhp / 70 kW
  • Top Speed: 140 mph / 225 km/h
  • Economy: 50 mpg / 5.6 L/100km
  • Range: 160 miles / 257 km
  • Seat Height: 860 mm / 33.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 229 kg / 505 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.410 bhp/kg

Honda CB500X

What Is It?

The Honda CB500X has been around since 2013 and in that time has gathered a massive fan base, for very good reason. It's a cunning mix of A2 compliance, value for money, comfort, handling and incredible economy.

For 2019 it gets taller suspension, a modern slip / assist clutch, LED indicators, new dash, a gear position indicator and a 19" front wheel. For 2022 Honda have listen to owners and added a Showa SFF-BP fork, dual front discs, a lighter swingarm and improved LED headlight.

More info, pics, prices and videos →

Key Specs

  • RRP: £6,200
  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 471 cc
  • Power: 47 bhp / 35 kW
  • Top Speed: 110 mph / 177 km/h
  • Economy: 85 mpg / 3.3 L/100km
  • Range: 330 miles / 531 km
  • Seat Height: 830 mm / 32.7 inches
  • Wet Weight: 197 kg / 434 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.239 bhp/kg
10th

BMW G310GS

BMW G310GS

What Is It?

BMW's G310GS, launched in 2017, is arguably the most exciting thing to happen to the small adventure bike sector in years.

It doesn't have much in the way of an electronics package but does have a solid core of equipment, it's A2 compliant and can be adapted to have some off-road potential if you want to go down that route.

For 2021 it gains Euro 5 compliance, an electronic throttle controller, increased automatic idle speed, an up to date assist and slipper clutch, LED lighting all round and adjustable levers.

More info, pics, prices and videos

Key Specs

  • RRP: £5,435
  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 313 cc
  • Power: 34 bhp / 25 kW
  • Top Speed: 90 mph / 145 km/h
  • Economy: 65 mpg / 4.3 L/100km
  • Range: 160 miles / 257 km
  • Seat Height: 835 mm / 32.9 inches
  • Wet Weight: 170 kg / 375 pounds
  • Power to Weight: 0.200 bhp/kg

Want To See More Bikes Like This?

Head over to the Choose & Compare Tool to see them all.

How Did We Rank Our Top Ten?

We looked at all the best adventure bikes you can buy new at a variety of price points and picked the top contenders, taking into account style, power, technology and value for money.

What Is An Adventure Bike?

What is an adventure motorbike?

Adventure bikes are designed to be a jack of all trades, much like SUVs in the car world, although some older definitions also describe them as dual purpose, dual sport or on / off road bikes.

The bikes tend to be so good at commuting, touring, some sporty riding and more recently looking good, that they are generally taking over from the other types of bike, particularly sports bikes with their aggressive geometry.

They tend to feature long travel suspension, a decent sized screen, high seat height, extensive luggage options, optional wire-spoked wheels and decent drop protection.

The aim is maximum capability, range and the odd bit of very light off-road adventuring, although taking a large heavy bike properly off-road can be very hard work if you drop it and need to lift quarter of a ton yourself. In fact the vast majority never leave the tarmac.

The benchmark for adventure bikes is arguably set by the road focused BMW R1250GS and most manufacturers also offer the same bike in a more off-road focused variant as well.

Some adventure bikes, like the BMW S1000XR and Ducati Multistrada, tend more towards the sports riding experience.

Check out the other types of motorbikes.