Dual Sport and Adventure Motorcycles
Dual Sport and Adventure motorcycles take you across asphalt and dirt, getting you to any destination. Read our reviews and learn more at Cycle World.
The adventuring gene is inherent in every motorcyclist. Getting out on the open road or exploring the wilderness is what drives us to push the limits of our minds, bodies, and our bikes. Dual sport and adventure motorcycles are the style that can conquer both the asphalt and the dirt, making it the motorcycle for the true adventurer.
Dual sport motorcycles are often street-legal counterparts to enduro off-road models. Adventure motorcycles, also known as ADV bikes, are larger-displacement multi-cylinder motorcycles developed for on- and off-road travel and are capable of covering great distances while providing the rider with relative comfort. The addition of pannier bags make adventure bikes the ideal choice for touring motorcyclists who will encounter off-road terrain.
The most popular dual sport motorcycle manufacturers are Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, and Yamaha, with KTM having the most wins by a manufacturer at the Dakar Rally, one of the most challenging off-road races. KTM also shares the lead of the adventure motorcycle segment along with BMW, Honda, and Yamaha.
Dual sport and adventure motorcycles are meant to take a beating from any environment you stick them in and get you to your destination. Whether you’re touring across the northern United States, exploring some single track, or competing in a multistage, cross country rally, you’re expecting your dual sport or adv bike to perform. At Cycle World, we have the benefit of testing these bikes in every condition.
With our dual sport motorcycle reviews, we focus on the on-and off-road capability of the motorcycle. We drill down into the heart of the machine to determine what makes the best dual sport motorcycle. In our adventure motorcycle reviews, you’ll find us taking the bikes out for longer trips, analyzing its ability to carry our gear and tackle any off-road terrain. Our long term reviews go into even more depth and our dual sport and adventure motorcycle comparison reviews give you the top bikes in this segment.
The best dual sport or adventure motorcycle is the one that you can handle both on and off road. The handle and feel of a 600-pound adventure bike in the dirt is an opposite world compared to the feeling of that same bike through the apex of a turn on asphalt. So the first step in deciding the dual sport or adventure bike for you is figuring out how much time you will spend off road and how much long-distance traveling you plan on doing.
Take into consideration your experience as a rider. How long have you been riding? How long have you been riding in the dirt? Could you lift a tipped-over motorcycle out of the mud? Have you been adventure riding before? Coupled with how much dirt riding that you are going to do, you should have narrowed down your dual sport or adventure bike choice.
If you aren’t a skilled off-road rider, it will be beneficial to you to find an off-road school near you, or to read up and practice some off-road skills linked below.
Dual sport and adventure motorcycle riding focuses more on being able to move freely and having the ability to move about the motorcycle, and stay safe while off-road riding. This is reflected in dual sport gear and adventure motorcycle gear that you’d be wearing. Jackets are made of textile material with tons of breathability, helmets have bills and the ability to be fitted with goggles, and boots offer more ankle and lower-leg protection compared to their sporty counterparts.
Many modern-day dual sport and adventure motorcycles come completely kitted out from the factory. Bolted on engine and crash protection, pannier bags, saddlebags, motorcycle gps units, and even phone mounts for your handlebar, manufacturers and aftermarket support for the dual sport and adv segment is massive. That’s not including what you can put inside your panniers: tire plug kit, hatchet, hot plate, rain gear, tent, changes of clothes, and a lot more, depending on where you’re going and how tight of a packer you are.
A supermoto is like your hyper cousin. Bouncing off the walls, won’t keep its front wheel on the ground, and sliding its back wheel through corners. Jittery, vibrating, foaming at the mouth, a supermoto is the asphalt, and some dirt, racing side of the dual sport motorcycle class.
Rocking a dirt bike chassis, and most of the time, a thumping single-cylinder engine, you’d think this bike would be ready to hit some single track, until you look at the tires. Sitting on 17-inch rims wrapped in sticky sport tires, a supermoto begs to be ridden hard on the road, slid into corners, ripped through hardpack dirt, and force you smile to the entire time.
Supermotos are extremely popular in Europe, and are finding a resurgence in the US with the long-produced Suzuki DRZ400SM, the Italian Hypermotard 950, and the newer KTM 690 SMC R, and Husqvarna 701 Supermoto. Not quite a dirt bike, dual sport, enduro, or even a sportbike, a supermoto is a motorcycle that Frankenstein would build.