Adventure Rider

Adventure Rider |  Adventure Motorcycles

The adventure motorcycle crowed continues to expand as can be seen by the number of new motorcycle models launched in 2015 to cater to adventure riders that keep pushing the envelope as to what and where motorcycles can go. As well, manufacturers anticipate selling even more motorcycles to riders who increasingly enjoy  the life style associated with adventure riding. With the most popular adventure riding Ewen McGregor, and Charley Boorman pushing the industry forward, with two films they produced about their motorcycle adventures.

Adventure Rider - Adventure Motorcycles

With more motorcycles being marketed under the “adventure” umbrella it is just about the right time to ask what is really an adventure rider, and what is an adventure bike?

All the while this niche has been around since motorcycles have been around, but only recently has it been given a name, and categorized as a significant sub niche in the marketplace.

I was curious myself what it means to be an adventure rider, and wanted to know more about it, but found the pieces scattered. So this article was written in part for my own sanity, but also to serve as a reference to some great stuff I found online, so I could share it with everyone. 

Adventure Rider - 

steve mcqueen

Let’s talk about some of the famous motorcycle riders, and how they popularized the culture. While the great  Steve McQueen’s, was famous for his dirt bike riding, perhaps he was an adventure rider before they even coined the term, often quoted ideas about riding motorcycles:

"One of the things that make motorcycling so great is because it never fails to give you a feeling of freedom and adventure." - STEVE MCQUEEN

With that statement we can determine that a motorcycle does not necessarily need to be judged as being an adventure riding motorbike, in order for it to be an adventure.

 If you want to jump on your Harley and high-tale it down to Baja Mexico, and take a ride down the coast, all the way down to Brazil.

Ewen Mcgregor & Charley Boorman

 "Adventure" has been a part of motorcycling since its invention, the "Adventure Bike" as we know it today is a fairly modern concept; many bikers riding today were around when the first branded adventure bike hit the markets. With the help of celebrities like Ewen McGregor, and Charley Boorman leading the way into the market boon of adventure riding, and adventure touring there a lot of history and substance that defines this category and pushing the adventure touring craze.

If your an enthusiast, I recommend you check out their website and buy some swag, Ewen and Charley's experiences moving through different cultures and have to overcome the elements and adversity of the road ahead.

After Ewen McGregor and Charley Boorman road off into legendary motorcycle history with their films. They inspired a few film makers from Colorado to make their own adventure story. Inspired by the film Long Way Round, John Eldridge the author of Wild at Heart, his sons and two friends pursue a lifelong dream of riding BMW adventure motorcycles across a thousand miles of Colorado's back country in order to uncover the secret to a story worth living.

Synopsis: A film about the universal human search for meaning, set in a high-stakes wilderness adventure on BMW GS off-road motorcycles. Six men—father, sons and friends—set off as rookies through the backcountry of Colorado, exploring the universal longing for meaning, the loss of story in the postmodern world and how the secret to life is discovered “only in a larger story.” Featuring Dan Allender, Jon Dale, Blaine Eldredge, John Eldredge, & Sam Eldredge.

Adventure Riding Babes

When I think of adventure riding I personally think about the free spirits over at Hookers & Popcorn, their blog is absolutely epic, and filled with massive motorcycle adventures.

woman adventure riders

By the time she started her solo around-the-world trip in 2013, Anna Grechishkina was already a seasoned motorcycle traveler. She’d spent nine years riding in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East, mostly on her Kawasaki Vulcan 900.

After each short trip, coming home to the Ukraine and working a regular job became harder and harder. She wanted to go farther, and she didn’t want deadlines. So she followed her dream, quit her job and took off around the round with just $1,000 in her pocket. Before she left she convinced KTM to give her an 1190 Adventure to make the journey, but the rest was up to her.

just as the industry is really pushing itself to evolve. Woman striking out to be bolder, and even banding together to form their own motorcycle groups, and woman's only events are really enriching this culture to be fuller and way more awesome. I believe this is yet another part of the new adventure motorcycle shift. 

what is adventure motorcycle riding?

 I would say that when you do look up pictures of the adventure motorcyclist, when you start to peer into the world of rain soaked out doors adventure, you start to see what these bikes really look like. What they are up against. When they say adventure they mean treading through the Misty Mountains of Mordor, passing through the jungle gardens of Jurassic park, and treading through a river rapid where you may be up to your wheels in mud soaked water. 

Having a bike capable of doing it takes a special kind of two wheeled work horse.You might be looking at a battle tested Triumph Tiger or a BMW GS, or something similar.

What ever the ride you decide to adventure in, I'm sure that will be a life changing event, of epic proportions. You'll have more than enough adventure badges to fill up your adventure book, to stack inside your "Up" House, just watch out for dogs that talk... ( PS I love that movie )

Where did the Adventure bike even come from? The year was 1980, and BMW arrived at the IFMA international show in Cologne with something new up their sleeves. They shocked the attendees by revealing the R80 G/S, a motorcycle that was designed to eat up pavement, dirt, and everything in between. The G/S stands for Gelände/Straße - literally translated, it means "terrain"/"street", the first of it's kind.

Generally speaking, most of us accept this version of how BMW created the first "official"  adventure touring motorcycle. 

A quote from Chouinard, from the movie 180° South:

Taking a trip for six months, you get in the rhythm of it. It feels like you can go on forever doing that. Climbing Everest is the ultimate and the opposite of that. Because you get these high-powered plastic surgeons and CEOs, and you know, they pay $80,000 and have Sherpas put the ladders in place and 8,000 feet of fixed ropes and you get to the camp and you don’t even have to lay out your sleeping bag. It’s already laid out with a chocolate mint on the top. 

The whole purpose of planning something like Everest is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain and if you compromise the process, you’re an asshole when you start out and you’re an asshole when you get back.”

So now that you have some history, and insight you get the idea of what it really is, if your still not clear. Watch the Long Way Round again... I'm sure you'll get the idea.


When we talk about adventure motorcycles today we are really referring to the big trips through the mountains on a class of bike that is really made to handle mud, dirt, rain, and street. The road bikes you need to travel through these kind of conditions and keep the motor running are a special kind of machine, and honestly if your looking for a two wheeled beast that has the stamina, and wheel power of a marvel super hero. Then you need to do some research or check out our list of bad ass adventure bikes below.




2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°, 1050 cc liquid cooled


212 Kg / 467 pounds


6-speed, chain driven, PASC (TM) slipper clutch, hydraulically actuated  

Seat Height

850 mm | 33.46 inches

Fuel Capacity

23 liters | 6 gallons


An amazing bike that will take anything your adventure can throws at it!  The KTM 1050 Adventure is made for the same adventure as its bigger brothers; the KTM 1190 Adventure, KTM Adventure R 1190 and KTM 1290 Super Adventure. A little smaller, lighter and with lower fuel consumption, the 1050 Adventure stands proudly alongside its larger siblings and is better suited to what you'll find on the tri. It is a supremely competent and well equipped motorcycle. Traction control with different modes and ABS (with offroad ABS which works only on the front wheel - perfect!)  The engine is built with the same state-of-the art technology as the 1190 engine and even though the engine is a little smaller, it delivers nearly the same power and torque up to 95 hp (70 kW).  The chassis combines lightness with outstanding geometry and well-balanced suspension, which allows undreamed of riding enjoyment in all conditions.  

ADVENTURE BIKE: Suzuki V-Strom DL650



645 cc Liquid cooled, four stroke, 90°-V-twin, DOHC, fuel injected


 220 kg (490 lb) (wet)


6-speed, constant mesh, final drive chain

Seat Height

32.25 inches || 82 cm

Fuel Capacity / Consumption

5.8 US gallons || 22 Liters / 54 mpg (4.4 L/100 km)


The Suzuki V-Strom DL650 is a middleweight dual sport adventure bike that has the comfort of  a bigger bike yet has the agility to make those curvy roads even more fun.  It's responsive fuel injected 2 cylinder engine is super smooth and delivers reliable power whether you are cruising along the coastline or climbing up the foothills of a Volcano.  This bike also goes well with Hepco & Becker Gobi side cases set with Gobi top case to safely and comfortably carry everything you need for your adventure.  Side crash bars, skid plate, headlight protectors and full vinyl covering are highly recommended to protect you from costly scratches and damages.    

ADVENTURE BIKE: Moto Guzzi Stelvio TT



V2, four-stroke,  : 102.00 HP (74.5 kW)) @ 7500 RPM


214.0 kg (471.8 pounds) (dry)


Shaft drive (cardan), Injection. Multipoint sequential electronic injection,

Seat Height

840 mm (33.1 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.

Fuel Capacity 

  18.00 litres (4.76 gallons -US)

Ewan McGregor's bike he road in the Long Way adventure series. This was the bike he switched to after the BMW bike he road in his first epic adventure.

. It’s based on the stock Stelvio with some additions, including an aluminum sump guard, hand protectors, a pair of aluminum side cases, engine protector bars and halogen spotlights. The rear wheel rim is narrower to increase the range of off-road and trail tires that can be fitted – indeed, you can specify enduro tires when buying new, though in practice the vast majority of these bikes will be used for touring. More important than any of this, the NTX has a revised engine, with new cam profiles and air box designed to boost mid-range torque. In fact although the claim for peak horsepower remains the same, Guzzi says it’s a little lower, maybe 3bhp.

More important, peak torque is up from 80lb.ft (11.0kgm, 108Nm) at 6,400rpm to 83lb.ft (11.5kgm, 113Nm) at 5,800rpm, a significant attempt to fill out that missing mid-range. Better still, the stock Stelvio will also get the new engine from this year too. 

This bike is less of a dirt bike and more built for long distance – among the many features some of the highlights here include comfort and fuel range. The seat is very roomy and all-day comfortable, and the same applies to the passenger accommodation.

What is adventure riding?

Adventure motorcycling is about riding to new places, seeing new things, meeting new people, and having new experiences. It's associated with hybrid motorcycles that are street and off road capable. Adventure riding is also well known for a kind of cross country travel in terrain that will in many cases lead you through conditions of all kinds, rain, snow, wind, through rivers, and over mountains. It's an adventure after all. 

Adventure motorcycle travel is not about packaged tours, cruise ships, fixed itineraries, or gift shops. Certainly, it could be riding your bike to the tip of South America, or across the Sahara. Unfortunately, for most of us in North America the realities of our world make big trips like that a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If we’re lucky. It’s just not feasible to take four months off work for an epic motorcycle trip across a dozen international borders.





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