One of the quickest growing segments in the motorcycle industry is middleweight adventure bikes. Growing interest in active and adventure lifestyles, mixed with the rise in popularity of adventure vehicles, has buoyed the production and sale of on-road-off-road two-wheelers.
Traditionally, adventure motorcycles, or ADVs, tip the scales as some of the heaviest bikes available and run with eye-watering price tags. Hence why manufacturers like BMW, Triumph, Ducati, and Honda are leaning on more accessible, lighter, and more affordable models. Price tags still easily run into the five-digit territory, but the power and weight of a middleweight ADV is exponentially more manageable.
With the selection growing by the day, it’s tricky to keep a keen eye on what’s out there. These are the best new and upcoming middleweight adventure bikes to look out for.
Available This Year
All new from the ground up, the BMW F850GS is a big step up over its predecessor. The redesigned engine, elecrtonically adjustable rear suspension and full suite of riding modes lets the F850GS fit right in with the legendary BMW adventure bike family. A big drawback, however, is that even though the middleweight Beamer starts just over an already steep $13,000, if you want the top-tier Adventure trim, you’ll be spending closer to $17,000.
Engine: 853cc Parallel-Twin
Weight: 504 lbs
Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC / XE
Triumph did an amazing job fitting a modern adventure motorcycle into the skin of the vintage-look Scrambler 1200. It can’t be beat on style, that much can be said for sure. Price-wise, the Triumph is up there with the BMW. The worry with the Triumph is, if you do take it off road and lay it down, there’s a lot more to mangle, like the exposed metal fuel tank. The Scrambler also has the biggest engine on this list by far, but at a manageable 452 pounds, it lands right in the middle of the middleweight spectrum.
MSRP: $14,000 / $15,400
Engine: 1,200cc Parallel-Twin
Weight: 452 lbs (dry)
The Honda CRF450L just sneaks into the middlewight category, by virtue of its power-to-weight ratio. Honda’s new enduro might have around half the horsepower of the other bikes, but at 289 lbs it’s also twice as light, so the extra power isn’t needed. It’s not good for longer hauls, but throw some enduro saddle bags on the back and a tank bag up front and you’ve got one hell of an affordable middleweight ADV. It’s most ideal for quick day trips and single-track riding.
Engine: 449cc Single-Cylinder
Horsepower: ~40-45 (Honda doesn’t give exact figures for the US market)
Weight: 289 lbs
Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
The Desert Sled has been around for a few years now, but Ducati freshened it up for 2019. The updates are cosmetic for the most part, aside from the new, light hydraulic clutch and LED headlight. Most natably, the Desert Sled gets the Bosch’s new cornering ABS and traction control system.
Engine: 803cc L-Twin
Weight: 461 lbs
Down the Line
KTM 790 Adventure R
The KTM 790 Adventure and Adventure R are hotly anticipated bikes. KTM’s off-road department is legendary, but until the 790 comes out later this year, your choices are either the big 1290 Super Adventure or a high-strung featherweight enduro. The 790 brings some exciting middleground to the Austrian brand’s lineup, mixing lightweight racing-bred performance with more comfortable long-distance riding architecture.
Engine: 799cc Parallel Twin
Yamaha Ténéré 700
Of all the bikes in the middleweight category, both here and on the way, this Yamaha is stirring the most excitement. It’s a bike with rally racing roots like the KTM. But where the KTM carries a $13,499 price tag, you can be almost certain the Japanese counterpart will be significantly more afforadble and attainable.
Engine: 689cc Parallel Twin
Horsepower: 74 (speculated)
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