What makes an adventurebike?

So not too long ago I bought the R1150GSA, but before that I rode a Ducati Multistrada 1000DS. And I rode it pretty much as an adventurebike for as much as it would allow me.

Since I posted images of this on Instagram quite often, I'd get the occasional 'disapproving' comments mentioning either outright or between the lines it's not an adventurebike. Probably won't have to tell you the motorcyclejournalists didn't seem to think so either, seeing the pretty much all write the same thing: It's called Multistrada, but you better just stay on tarmac and it's a great bike. And even the guys at an organised offroad event openly questioned my sanity as I drove up on the Multi.

Back to Instagram, I've been seeing quite a few images on adventurebike-dedicated accounts of for example the Kawasaki Versys 1000, which seems to be considered an adventurebike At least by those IG-accounts. 

So all this made me wonder; why is the Multistrada often condemned as being a longlegged streetbike even though it has more groundclearance than the Versys and roughly the same suspentiontravel? Same goes for e.g. the Vstrom1000 (earlier models). I agree that the wider tyres on the Duc are definitely more road oriented and it will never be able to do the same things offroad as a KTM/GS/AT, but still... Keeping in mind that when the first GS's arrived on stage, the journalists didn't think much of it either.


My previous Concours 14 was an adventuring sport-tourer. :D Defining a sport-tourer can be convoluting as defining an adventure bike. Both are clearly different from each other, but uses merge. So, it almost would be easier to describe what an adventure bike is not. I think... :unsure:

Riding up the Moki Dugway in Utah in 2016.




Much better photo of Mexican Hat than I took when I was there :thumbsup:

On 8/1/2017 at 11:08 AM, Motopreneur said:

And I rode it pretty much as an adventurebike for as much as it would allow me.


An excellent article dealing with this (in a way): https://www.atomic-moto.com/blogs/news/dual-sport-or-adventure

One paragraph that I like in particular from the above link, which should be a sticky on any forum where this type of discussions pop-up: 


First, we don't subscribe to the concept that says "how you use it defines what it is".  There is a common opinion that says an adventure bike is defined by the way that one uses it. In other words, if you ride your FatBoy in the woods, then it is an enduro. We like that attitude, however, it contradicts what we need to do our job correctly. 

Of course, everybody is free to go everywhere they want with their bike, but that won't transform the bike and the purpose for which it was designed. I can ride my KTM 690 Enduro in the sportiest manner I can, it still won't be a superbike. And that Ducati Panigale with TKC80s, wandering in the woods, was a superbike with knobbies, not an enduro or adventure bike.

An adventure bike is a bike designed to go both on street and offroad. Which means it has at least a 19" front wheel and longer suspension. Plus other smaller details, but at least a 19" front wheel.

Simply having an upright riding position doesn't suddenly make a touring bike into an Adventure bike. The Multistrada is, at most, a touring supermoto. And the Versys is not an adventure bike, either.

I think ground clearance and suspension are the big factors.  I consider the Multi and the Versys ADV bikes.  17" wheels are not great, but they aren't a major limiting factor IMO.  I've raced Supermoto against Jeremy McGrath and Jeff Ward and those guys could go faster on dirt with 17" slicks than I ever could on brand new knobbys!

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