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ADV: The Best Adventure Bikes 2016

Adventure is a segment that's hard to categorize. It combines long distance touring with the ability to go off-road. The premise of an adventure bike is enticing - it's a machine that can take you wherever your heart desires, as far as you want. Nothing, nowhere is an obstacle. Pure total freedom.

The idea of an adventure bike may be seductive, but the downside is that they're not the most budget friendly. And it's actually not that easy to ride a large, heavy bike off-road.

Before sinking your money into an adventure bike, consider your riding abilities and if you really will ride it far and off the beaten path. Some adventure bikes lean more towards the off-road side of things while some are more geared for street riding. (If you think you're more likely to have adventures closer to home, then you may be better off with a cheaper dual-sport bike.)

That said, we've rounded up our favorite adventure bikes for those of you who have an epic journey on the horizon.

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

A bike that's designed to take you around the world, the Honda CRF1000L Africa twin comes with a four-valve Unicam cylinder, six speed options, & Honda's all-new DCT transmission allowing riders to choose between street and off-road riding. The Africa Twin runs on its short 998cc engine, lighter camshaft, twin spark plugs, and powerful 270 degree phased crankshaft. The six speed options also come with an assist slipper clutch to keep you grounded whenever you decide to actually slow your speed. This bike has been heavily anticipated by the moto community and from recent reviews and test rides, it appears to live up to the hype.

MSRP starting at $12,999

KTM 1190 Adventure R

Boasted as the safest twin cylinder adventure bike, the KTM 1190 Adventure R offers a comfortable ride for all your off-roading adventures. It easily conquers gravel, loose dirt, rocks, and any other tough surface it comes into contact with. It's outfitted with the Bosch Motorcycle Stability Control, lean-sensitive cornering ABS, and lean-sensitive traction control. Together, these make the 1190 Adventure R one of the most technologically advanced adventure bikes on the market.

The 1195cc engine delivers a whopping 150 horsepower. And with the bike weighing in at just over 500 pounds on a full tank, this is an incredible power-to-weight ratio for its class. The problem with a lot of adventure bikes is that they're too heavy to handle well off-road, but this relatively light weight for its class allows for agile handling.

The bike is also designed for maximum comfort. It features an ergonomic seat with state-of-the-art 3D foam padding. The windscreen, handlebar and footpegs can all be adjusted to suit the rider, and the hand levels have 5 reach settings.

MSRP starting at $16,999.

BMW R1200GS Adventure

This is perhaps the most well known adventure bike. This is the bike that started it all. No list of "best adventure bikes" is complete with the R1200GS.

The BMW R1200GS churns out high performances on all surfaces, wet + dry, and has two dedicated modes (Rain or Road). You can get it in either Standard or Premium packages. The Standard package gives you Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment, cruise control, hand guards, heated grips, and saddlebag mounts. The Premium package adds a LED headlight, tire pressure monitor, On-Board Computer Pro, 4 other rider modes (Dynamic, Enduro, Enduro Pro, and ABS Pro), and GPS mount.

With a 7.9 gallon tank, you won't run dry any time soon (good for those trekking across deserts & through forests). Rounding out the luxury features is the new navigation system that'll keep you aware of gas and speed levels.

MSRP starting at $16,495.

Yamaha Super Ténéré

The Yamaha Super Ténéré has a strong history of being a champion bike, having won the ever first Paris to Dakar Rally in 1978, and going on to win several more in the decades since. It has a powerful 1199cc inline twin engine, and is built for lengthy adventures. However, test rides show it's better suited to on-road versus off-roading. It's slim design is built for comfort during long treks.

Where the Super Ténéré excels is in covering very long distances (paved and unpaved) without the rider doing anything too crazy. It features a 6-speed transmission, ABS and unified braking, traction control, cruise control, and two riding modes. The 2016 model also comes with anodized, aluminum side cases each holding 32L. 

MSRP starting at $15,090.

Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS

The Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS has been redesigned for greater comfort and enhanced performance. Suzuki added new traction control & updated the engine, fuel injection system, radiator, 6-speed transmission, and lots of other little system updates to iron out earlier model's kinks. The 645cc engine is surprisingly torquey and delivers smooth, strong power in the mid-low RPM range.

At MSRP of $8,399, this is our top pick for a budget-friendly adventure bikes. It gets excellent fuel economy for your long trip or for daily commutes. For this price, it comes with some nice features such as a 3-step adjustable windscreen, lightweight luggage rack, and LED freeze warning indicator. 

BMW 800GS Adventure

The BMW 800GS has a more budget-friendly price tag at $12,295. Compared to the iconic R1200GS, it's more off-road focused. It won't be as comfortable as the R1200GS when riding for a long distance on the street, but is agile for some serious off-roading. 

This is a bike designed for everyone, so no one has to miss out on the fun. It offers 4 different seat heights as well as an optional low-slung version, so shorter or less experienced riders can find their perfect height. It's available in two different style variations, each with different color design and accessories so you can get the bike more suited for you. The bike is also equipped with 3 rider modes (Normal, Comfort, and Sport), ASC traction control, and Electronic Suspension Adjustment.

Triumph Tiger 800XCX

The Triumph Tiger 800XCXAs is the top edition of the Tiger model. It features a 800cc triple cylinder engine that delivers 95 horsepower. This new generation of the 800cc engine now comes with ride-by-wire throttle system with provides smoother power delivery. It has been given a 17% improvement in fuel economy, along with a reduction in carbon emissions. Technology includes adjustable traction, 3 modes for riding, cruise control, and an adjustable suspension that can be fully customized.

MSRP starting at $13,700.

What is your favorite adventure bike? What would you add to this list?

*All photos courtesy of manufacturers. 

By Daniel Relich

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