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Top five… adventure motorcycles for 2024

Tenere 700 Extreme

We love adventure motorcycles here at Insidebikes. Combining go-anywhere practicality and day-long comfort with enough performance and handling to have fun on the twisties, it is little wonder these practical all-rounders have been the best-selling big bikes for decades now.

Such is the popularity of this style of motorbike, the category once known as dual sport has expanded beyond all recognition. There are bikes for riders of all types of experience and needs, with many manufacturers making multiple variations of their most popular models to accommodate the individual wants of the customer. Our selection includes more road focussed adventure bikes which are lower and designed solely to be ridden on the asphalt while, at the other end of the scale, there is an increasing trend for taller machines with long travel suspension – giving maximum ground clearance for riders looking to tackle tough off-road terrain on their bikes. Here are some of the new models to look out for in 2024…

 

 

Ducati DesertX Rally

Introduced in 2022 as Ducati’s answer to the Honda Africa Twin, the DesertX combines the Bologna company’s famous V-twin motor with a proper adventure bike chassis and styling which combines the modern with retro touches inspired by the Dakar Rally winning Cagivas (which ran Ducati engines) of the early 1990s.

The Rally is a new variant for this year, being a more hardcore model based around the standard bike’s platform. That Ducati trailed it by entering a prototype in the extreme Erzberg Rodeo probably tells you all you need to know about this bike: it has been designed to cross deserts and pass rocky terrain, making it a big and physically imposing machine. Seat height is a lofty 910mm as standard, with the 21” front wheel and long suspension travel giving plenty of ground clearance.

The 110bhp, 937cc V-twin is shared with the standard model, but the suspension and wheels are of a much higher specification and have a pure off-road focus.

The physical size means the DesertX Rally is unlikely to appeal to everyone, but if it ticks your boxes, it costs £18,995 – which is £4000 more than the base model.

 

 

Suzuki V-Strom 800DE

Introduced last year, the V-Strom 800DE was a very important model for Suzuki. Based on an all-new platform, the company’s first since 2017, the 800DE has big boots to fill. The V-Strom has been a hugely popular model for Suzuki for over two decades, and the latest incarnation uses the new 776cc parallel-twin engine shared with the GSX-8S roadster.

The DE is a typical ‘tall-rounder’ but new for this year is the road focussed V-Strom 800RE. The RE (which stands for Road Explorer rather than Dual Explorer) utilises smaller wheels and shorter travel suspension to create a lower machine (with a 825mm seat height to the DE’s 855mm) that’s also over £1000 less expensive, costing £9699 in the UK.

The RE may be more accessible but we can still see the DE attracting more customers, especially when fitted with the new Tour pack, which adds a three-box luggage system for an RRP of £12,499.

 

BMW_R1300G_Rider

BMW R1300GS

BMW’s boxer powered GS is legendary, it’s the model that popularised adventure bikes and is consistently the best-selling bike over 125cc year after year.

So the introduction of an all-new GS is a really, really big deal. The new R1300GS is BMW’s 100th birthday present to us and replaces the outgoing R1250GS. Considering how stonking a bike the 1250 is, the 1300 carries some big expectations with it.

When we reviewed the new 1300 we were well impressed. While it may lack a little bit of the 1250’s unmistakable character, the R1300GS trades it in for more tech, more refinement and more power. It’s very much at the ‘road’ end of the adventure bike market and more accessible than before – being lighter and lower than before, with the optional Adaptive Vehicle Height lowering the bike at a stop to aid the rider in getting their feet down.

It might not appeal to fans of more rugged adventure bikes, although we fully expect that to be addressed soon, with an R1300GS Adventure almost certain to be announced in the not too distant future.

There’s no doubt it will remain a best seller both here and around the world, despite a £1000 price rise which sees the base model come in at £15,990.

 

Yamaha Ténéré 700 Extreme

Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 has been around for five years now, with the hugely popular base model being joined by a number of factory modified variants in the intervening years.

This year sees a staggering sixth version join the range, with this new ‘Extreme’ version hitting dealerships. The core of the bike remains the same, with the 689cc parallel-twin motor from the MT-07 once again pressed into duty, but the main difference is the suspension, which gets pumped up for true off-road capability.

The fully adjustable KYB suspension is 20mm taller than the standard model, giving a total of 260mm of ground clearance. The saddle is also more padded, taking the seat height up to 910mm

The high-level front mudguard, road book style dashboard and high-grip footpegs all add to the off-road credentials, and it’s not all show and no go either. Yamaha has been entering the 700 in professional rally raid events with some success recently, and the £10,900 Extreme is the closest thing you can buy to their rally race bikes.

 

Tiger_900_Rally_24

 

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

Triumph’s Tiger 900 (née Tiger 800) has always provided a unique proposition in the middleweight adventure bike market. In a class dominated by twins, the British company’s three-cylinder engine gives it a character all of its own, providing an easy to ride alternative to bigger capacity machines.

The model got a comprehensive revamp four years ago, with the new crankshaft configuration, dubbed T-plane by Triumph, creating a bottom end power delivery more like that of a twin, without losing the performance edge of a triple.

The 2024 update sees a rationalisation of the range with three variants now available. As before there’s a GT version, which is lower and more road orientated, and a taller ‘Rally’ spec machine with longer travel suspension and a 21” front wheel. The headline upgrades come in the engine department, with internal modifications leading to 13% more power over the outgoing model (107bhp to 94bhp) and a claimed 9% improvement in fuel consumption.

Prices start at £12,195 for the entry level Tiger 900 GT, through to £14,495 for the top spec Rally Pro, which is beautifully finished and features all the gizmos and gadgets you’d expect on a high-end adventure tourer

Honourable mentions

None of these take your fancy? Here are five more you might want to consider…

 

Royal_Enfield_Sherpa_450

 

Royal Enfield Himalayan

We’ve omitted this from our top five after already covering it in our best A2 list, but the latest ‘Himmy’ really is a great option for riders looking for a simple, lightweight and relatively inexpensive adventure bike. Sure it has its limitations, but this really is the very definition of a go-anywhere motorcycle. It’s designed to take on the worst its native India can throw at it, meaning its designed to be dropped and repaired easily. Basic and rugged, it’s like a two-wheeled mountain goat. Read more about it here.

BMW R1250GS Adventure

While everyone is (rightly) fawning over the new R1300GS, spare a thought for the R1250GS Adventure. The GSA will surely be replaced by a new model on the 1300 platform in the not too distant future, and while the new tech of the 1300 is dynamically better it somehow lacks some of the glorious character which has defined the GS boxers for over four decades. The Adventure is a physically bigger bike than the standard GS, thanks to longer travel suspension and the 21” front wheel. The 1250 is still a great bike, and these are discounted now, as BMW no doubt aims to clear stock ahead of a replacement model. Get one while you can!

Moto Guzzi Stelvio

Italy’s Moto Guzzi is back in the middle-to-big adventure bike market with the new Stelvio. Sharing its transversely mounted 1042cc V-twin motor with the Mandello sports tourer, the Stelvio delivers a unique proposition. It sits at the more ‘road’ end of the market and is a quirky alternative in a way only Moto Guzzi can deliver. Priced from just under £15,000, the Stelvio isn’t cheap. We’re curious to see how it will catch on with buyers.

Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin

Honda’s Africa Twin has been a massive success since being reintroduced in 2016. It sits as something of an inbetweener in the adventure bike marketplace, being less powerful than the likes of the BMW R1300GS, but feeling like a step up from other parallel twins, like the KTM 790 Adventure and BMW’s F900 models, especially now the motor has been punched out to nearly 1100cc. With a 21” front wheel and long travel suspension, the Africa Twin has always been a big and imposing bike – even if the narrow saddle makes it more accessible than it looks. Its trump card is the DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) automatic gearbox, which is a factory option most bikes are sold with. It’s a great system.

KTM 890 Adventure

Finally, no feature about bikes designed to go off-road would be complete without KTM. The masters of dirt bikes have some pretty handy adventure bikes in their range too, built around platforms as diverse as their 390 single to the bonkers 1290 V-twin. We’re going for the 890 Adventure, which is a new and more mainstream offering but, with its 21” front wheel, has the classic adventure bike stance and some off-road chops – without being too extreme for road use (they’ll sell you an R version for that). If it’s a bit too orange for you, KTM’s sister brands CFMOTO and Husqvarna are also offering some reengineered versions of the Austrian company’s offerings with their own distinct style.

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