Top 10 Adventure Motorbikes

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.

The Best Adventure Motorbikes:


BMW R1250GS For Sale

Thanks to a major update in 2017 the outgoing BMW R1200GS received shiny new looks, reduced vibration 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 topped the UK best sellers chart, has a massive following around the world and can be totally customised using the BMW parts catalogue.

Fast forward to 2019 and BMW have replaced it with the evolutionary R1250GS. The bike is essentially the same winning formula as before but gets a brand new engine with Variable Valve Timing tech (BMW ShiftCam).

The result is a bit more power and fuel efficiency at the expense of another 5kg added to the weight (and the best part of £20k new fully spec'd up). Read the review.

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.

  • Engine: Boxer
  • Capacity: 1,254 cc
  • Power: 134 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 850 mm
  • Wet Weight: 249 kg

Ducati Multistrada 1260 S GT

Ducati Multistrada 1260 S GT For Sale

New for 2020 the Grand Tour builds on the 1260 S with most of the options catalogue and a special colour scheme with a red frame finish.

You get fancy electronic suspension, LED cornering lights, hill hold control, keyless start and fuel cap, a quickshifter, heated grips, LED fog lights, a premium seat and a vast array of rider aids. Check out the review of the 1260 S.

  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 1,262 cc
  • Power: 156 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 825 mm
  • Wet Weight: 238 kg

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R For Sale

New for 2017 KTM's Super Adventure R compares favourably with the offerings from BMW and Ducati with semi active suspension, colour TFT dash, LED lighting, ride modes and adjustable screen, not to mention a plethora of options to bring it up to top spec.

The looks aren't to everyone's taste but there is an off-road GSA equivalent available in the Super Adventure T.

  • Engine: V-Twin
  • Capacity: 1,301 cc
  • Power: 158 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 890 mm
  • Wet Weight: 240 kg

Honda Africa Twin

Honda Africa Twin For Sale

It's new for 2020 with 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 new Adventure Sports version.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 1,084 cc
  • Power: 101 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 850 mm
  • Wet Weight: 226 kg


BMW S1000XR For Sale

It's been around since 2015, but don't let that put you off the BMW S1000XR. Like the Multistrada it's an excellent road focused adventure bike based around a de-tuned S1000RR superbike engine.

Using the options catalogue it can spec'd up to match the other bikes on the list, including dynamic electric suspension and it's equally at home on long tours or the occasional track day. Read the review.

  • Engine: Inline 4 Cylinder
  • Capacity: 999 cc
  • Power: 165 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 840 mm
  • Wet Weight: 228 kg

Triumph Tiger 800 XRT

Triumph Tiger 800 XRT For Sale

Triumph's Tiger 800 range has been a best seller for years and for 2018 there's a new selection of three on-road and three off-road models.

The Tiger XRT is the top of the road models with the XRX and XR sitting below it, each dropping a selection of equipment to keep the cost down. Like the bigger bikes on this list colour TFT dashes, LED lighting and ride modes all make an appearance on the range topping models.

The three off-road equivalents feature more protection and wire spoked wheels as standard, topping out at the XRT's equivalent in the XCA but you can pretty much spec up either side to do exactly what you want.

Triumph also do a special low ride height version of the XRX with a seat height of 760mm.

  • Engine: Triple
  • Capacity: 800 cc
  • Power: 94 bhp
  • Licence: A
  • Seat Height: 810 mm
  • Dry Weight: 202 kg


BMW F850GS For Sale

Alongside Triumph's Tiger 800 the 2018 BMW F850GS is well worth a look, however with only 94bhp 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. Read the review.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 853 cc
  • Power: 94 bhp
  • Licence: A2 (Restricted)
  • Seat Height: 860 mm
  • Wet Weight: 229 kg

Honda CRF250 Rally

Honda CRF250 Rally For Sale

Until very recently, if you wanted a small adventure bike, the Honda CRF250 Rally would have been your only option.

It's super light with genuine on and off-road potential although the field has now opened up with offerings from BMW, Kawasaki and Suzuki to consider as well. Read the review.

  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 249 cc
  • Power: 24 bhp
  • Licence: A2
  • Seat Height: 895 mm
  • Wet Weight: 157 kg


BMW G310GS For Sale

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. Read the review.

  • Engine: Single Cylinder
  • Capacity: 313 cc
  • Power: 34 bhp
  • Licence: A2
  • Seat Height: 835 mm
  • Wet Weight: 170 kg

Suzuki V-Strom 250

Suzuki V-Strom 250 For Sale

The 2017 Suzuki V-Strom 250 doesn't have much going on in the equipment stakes but does seem to be a capable all-rounder if you are in the market for an A2 licence compliant bike. Read the review.

  • Engine: Parallel Twin
  • Capacity: 248 cc
  • Power: 25 bhp
  • Licence: A2
  • Seat Height: 800 mm
  • Wet Weight: 188 kg

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.