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  1. Turtle as a spirit animal? You might be more into it when you’re halfway between your bike and hitting the ground. After all, testimonials describing reduced-injury outcomes from unintended dismounts while wearing Helite’s “Turtle Technology” — CO2-triggered air channels capped by CE Level 2 armor — are very convincing. The company’s Turtle 2 Air Vest is especially appealing because it can be mixed and matched with seasonal riding gear, making it the ultimate high-viz cherry atop any savvy ATGATTer’s ensemble.

    For 2019 Helite is replacing its popular Turtle Air Vest with a Turtle 2 model, which is currently available on Revzilla for the same price as the original vest ($659 – $679 dependent on SM-XL vs LG/XL Long sizing). What’s new in the 2 are mostly convenience and fit-and-finish items including new graphics, a more tailored, compact profile, full concealment of the CO2 canister behind a flap, the addition of an opposing flap that hides a small pocket and finally, a neoprene-trimmed neckline for comfort.

    Helite Turtle 2 Airbag Vest


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    How does the technology work? Here’s the gist: The vest is easy to slip into and is adjustable for fit using three side straps that close with slide-release buckles. Each time you get on your bike you clip the frame-mounted lanyard-style teether to the vest and its 60cc CO2 cartridge (100cc in the “long” version). In the unpleasant event of a get-off the clip will disengage and in just .01 seconds the vest’s airbag channels will be fully deployed in order support the sides and back of the neck while cushioning the ribs, chest, collar bones and spine, the latter of which also benefits from a built-in SAS-Tec Level 2 back protector.

    Everyone’s first question about the Turtle Air Vest seems to be “Will I activate the vest if I step away from the bike without unclipping first?” The consensus is no, that the tether will give you a firm tug to remind you to unclip. The next question is will it be comfortable? Users report that aside from a bit of added warmth in hot weather the vest is otherwise unobtrusive while you’re underway.

    Helite Turtle 2 Airbag Vest

    For ADV riders there is the additional quandary of an air vest vs. those more expected step-offs we might encounter as we push through our limits during off-road play. Can you imagine an offroad training clinic? These vests would be popping like popcorn if people were consistently clipped in. While that might not be the most practical scenario for the Turtle 2 Air Vest, at least CO2 canisters are easily replaceable and cost $25 a pop. ($30 for the 100cc.)

    Another appealing feature of the Turtle Vest is that its design is completely mechanical, so no need to fret over electronic sensors or battery replacement. Attaching the lanyard to the bike, or a new cartridge to the vest is super simple. Helite does however say that after six activations you should send the vest in for a free inspection (and hey buddy while you’re at it you might want to consider another hobby?).

    Helite Turtle 2 Airbag Vest

    Helite Turtle 2 Airbag Vest

    As we all know, the best insurance policies don’t come cheap, but when you calculate in recovery time, medical expenses and whoa, maybe even getting a second chance at life, the hundies laid down for a Helite might seem like money very well spent.

    Shopping Options

    0bc894185f6dd616aca74fab9a6acee5?s=80&r=

    Author: Jamie Elvidge

    Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.


  2. revit-expedion-h20-adventure-boots-2a.jp

    ADV boots are a big ask. Like the bikes we ride, we need boots that come with a split personality, offering MX-level protection for all the off-road journeying, as well as flexibility and comfort when we’re ready to explore the waypoints.

    Enter REV’IT!’s very ambitious Expedition H2O. Claimed by REV’IT! to be the most technically-advanced adventure boot on the market, they are also one of the highest priced at $769.99. So what do you get for all that dough? Well, according to the manufacturer, just about everything.

    REV'IT! Expedition H2O Adventure Boots

    The Boa® closure system makes for a more adjustable fit, an extremely fast closure/release and a lighter weight boot. Once locked in place the Boa® reels and aircraft-grade stainless steel laces stay that way.

    Let’s start with the protective features. REV’IT! has wrapped the heel and ankle quadrant of these boots with a Dynamic Control System, which creates a supportive, yet energetic connection by using pivot points between a heel cup and calf support frame. It’s a hybrid of sorts, protecting the ankle from its most common demons – torsion and hyper extension – while allowing for more flexibility than a traditional moto boot. The under-heel portion of the plastic DCS system introduces some stiffness into the great-for-walking three-layer lament Vibram Apex soles, which should help reduce fatigue during long goes standing on the footpegs.


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    In addition to the DCS frame, another prominent features of the H20 Expeditions is the beefy TPU shin plate, backed by REV-IT!’s CE level Seesoft foam, intended to disperse energy in the event of footpeg and rock strikes. The uppers on the black boots are a combination of cowhide and SuperFabric, a puncture- and abrasion-resistant material created by laser welding tiny ceramic plates together. (If you opt for the sweet-looking brown version of these boots for the same price you will forgo the SuperFabric in exchange for the sheer sex-appeal of a full suede-look upper.)

    REV'IT! Expedition H2O Adventure Boots

    REV'IT! Expedition H2O Adventure Boots

    The Vibram® Apex sole features a self-cleaning, open lug pattern for traction and safety, an asymmetrical heel line that optimizes the boot position on the crank and an added multi-density EVA layer that reduces overall weight and absorbs shock.

    Another cool component on the Expeditions is the use of the Boa fastening system, old news in the snowboarding scene and something REV’IT! began introducing into mainstream moto in 2017 with the Discovery Outdry boots. Just slip your foot into the boot, click the dial and turn for an infinitely adjustable fit. When you want to get out, click the dial again for full release. A swatch of hook and loop inside the shin flap seals the deal.

    Touted as a four-season boot, the Expeditions are of course claimed to be H20-proof, utilizing REV’IT!’s own waterproof breathable Hydratex membrane. The felt-backed SuperFabric is said to retain heat in cold weather, making us wonder how these husky boots will feel on a hot summer day. At least the silver-ion antibacterial 3D mesh lining will help quell any funk.

    REV'IT! Expedition H2O Adventure Boots

    REV'IT! Expedition H2O Adventure Boots

    On paper these pricey kicks tick every box for serious adventure riders, including RTW-ready good looks. And yeah sure, it might feel like you’re buying two boots for the price of two boots, but then again, how many can you wear at a time?

    Features

    • Boa closure system
    • Rubber abrasion edge
    • PP insole with integrated shank
    • Vibram apex sole
    • Multi-density EVA shock absorbing midsole
    • Silver-ion antibacterial 3D mesh lining
    • Double cuff closure
    • Gusseted tongue
    • Reinforced heel and toe
    • Rubber gear shift pad
    • Seesoft protection at tongue
    • DSF (Dynamic Support Frame)
    • External TPU Shin Plate
    • Waterproof

    Shopping Options

    0bc894185f6dd616aca74fab9a6acee5?s=80&r=

    Author: Jamie Elvidge

    Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.


  3. Published on 03.20.2019

    Royal-Enfield-Himalayan-ABS-Sleet.jpg

    Royal Enfield has announced new updates for the Himalayan in North America which will now come standard with ABS and a new limited-edition color called ‘Sleet’. The updates were launched last year in India and other international markets and are now seeing their debut in the US and Canada.

    No other details have been announced regarding new accessories/packages coming to America for 2019, but we do know that the ABS update is a dual channel ABS (separate sensors for each wheel) which is always on.

    Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Motorcycle


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    At the heart of the Himalayan is the same 411cc EFI engine in last year’s model. The SOHC engine pumps out 24.5 BHP @ 6500 RPM and 26 ft-lbs of max torque. The Himalayan also sports a 21″/17″ wire-spoked wheel set and 7.9 inches of travel up front and 7.1 inches in the back. Ground clearance is generous at 9 inches all while maintaining a very manageable seat h of 31.5 inches (29.9″ with the low seat).

    Snow and Granite colors will continue to be available in 2019, while the new camouflage Sleet color, inspired by the snow-peaked mountains the bike is named after, will have limited availability.

    Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Motorcycle

    According to Royal Enfield, dealers across the US and Canada will have the new 2019 Himalayan available this April in showrooms. Pricing for the 2019 Himalayan with ABS is MSRP: $4,749. All models in Royal Enfield’s current 2019 lineup now have standard ABS.


  4. Published on 03.20.2019

    Royal-Enfield-Himalayan-ABS-Sleet.jpg

    Royal Enfield has announced new updates for the Himalayan in North America which will now come standard with ABS and a new limited-edition color called ‘Sleet’. The updates were launched last year in India and other international markets and are now seeing their debut in the US and Canada.

    No other details have been announced regarding new accessories/packages coming to America for 2019, but we do know that the ABS update is a dual channel ABS (separate sensors for each wheel) which is always on.

    Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Motorcycle


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    At the heart of the Himalayan is the same 411cc EFI engine in last year’s model. The SOHC engine pumps out 24.5 BHP @ 6500 RPM and 26 ft-lbs of max torque. The Himalayan also sports a 21″/17″ wire-spoked wheel set and 7.9 inches of travel up front and 7.1 inches in the back. Ground clearance is generous at 9 inches all while maintaining a very manageable seat h of 31.5 inches (29.9″ with the low seat).

    Snow and Granite colors will continue to be available in 2019, while the new camouflage Sleet color, inspired by the snow-peaked mountains the bike is named after, will have limited availability.

    Royal Enfield Himalayan Adventure Motorcycle

    According to Royal Enfield, dealers across the US and Canada will have the new 2019 Himalayan available this April in showrooms. Pricing for the 2019 Himalayan with ABS is MSRP: $4,749. All models in Royal Enfield’s current 2019 lineup now have standard ABS.


  5. BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    BMW Motorrad’s vision is ambitious but simple: “Becoming the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.” In the battle for the United States, their most powerful weapon is the flat-twin motor that debuted in the first ever BMW motorcycle, the 1923 R32. In 2018, over 50% of BMW’s US sales were powered by the boxer engine, and 27% of sales came from just two models – the R1250GS and the R1250GSA (R1250GS Adventure).

    The R1250GS has developed a cult-like following over the years, and BMW is as proud of GS owners as the owners are of their bikes. Mark Peine, BMW’s Marketing Communications Manager, noted that, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council Consumer Experience Study, GS owners are “experienced riders” who have 34 years of riding experience and cover 3 times as many miles as the average adventure bike owner in a year (5,000 vs 1,700). GSA owners can pat themselves on the back a little bit harder with 35 years of riding experience as they cover 5,200 miles/year.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The new model sports a more powerful 1,254cc engine with ShiftCam Technology.


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    There are few models more important to a manufacturer than the big boxer GS is to BMW, so when BMW makes a change to the stalwart of their lineup, it’s worth paying attention. Both the R1250GS and R1250GSA were updated for 2019, so let’s start with the new features that they share.

    What’s New on Both the R1250GS and R1250GSA

    The obvious difference is in the name – the formerly 1,170cc boxer twin motor has been bored and stroked out to 1,254cc. In addition, the spark plug covers now advertise a trick feature called ShiftCam.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    Despite the new cam tech, BMW claims there will be no difference in labor costs for routine checks.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The new engine offers improved performance over the entire rev band and enhanced power flexibility with less gear changes.

    ShiftCam is a variable engine timing system that offers up two lobe profiles on the intake cam based on engine load. The partial load cam is designed to reduce fuel consumption and smooth out operation with one lobe at 2mm and the other at 4mm. Per Shawn Thomas, a BMW Brand Ambassador, “the asymmetrical opening creates a swirling effect that leads to more uniform combustion.” It reduces the idle speed by 100 rpm and BMW claims that it decreases fuel consumption by over 6%, from 47 to 50 miles per gallon. Crucially, the new technology ensures that the boxer twin meets the emissions guidelines that will come in 2020 with the implementation of Euro-5.

    As the video below shows, when you open up the throttle butterfly valve, the cam shifts to full load lobes. Note that this switch also happens if the crankshaft is spinning faster than 5,000 rpm.

    Smaller updates to the motor include a toothed chain to replace the roller chain for the camshaft drive, a revision to the oil supply system, twin-jet injection valves, and a new exhaust. Thanks to ShiftCam and the displacement bump, the new engine now produces 136 horsepower (9% increase) and 105 ft-lb of torque (14% increase). But the fancy electronics rule more than just internal combustion.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    New options on the R1250GS and R1250GSA (click to expand).

    The cockpit is now dominated by a 6.5” full-color TFT dash which utilizes the unimaginatively named “Connectivity” feature to exchange information with the free BMW Motorrad Connected phone app as well as a Bluetooth helmet headset. The system allows a rider to listen to music, make phone calls, get basic navigation instructions, and control the on-board computer. A full LED headlight is now standard as well.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    When the motor is cold, the redline position shifts to show you what the limit of safe rpms are as the engine warms up.

    Previously, the standard Ride Modes suite included two modes (Rain/Road). For 2019, both bikes also get Hill Start Control (HSC) and Automatic Stability Control (ASC). To activate HSC, just firmly apply either the front or rear brake while at a stop. An indicator will appear on the dash and the bike will keep the rear brake engaged until you start to ride away.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    R1250GS/GSA Ride Modes explained (click to expand).

    Both bikes now get the option of Ride Modes Pro, which takes nearly everything a step further and throws a few wrenches into the nomenclature. Ride modes double from 2 to 4 with the addition of Dynamic and Enduro (a separate plug turns those into Dynamic Pro and Enduro Pro, which allow further customization). Automatic Stability Control turns into Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), which incorporates lean angles into the calculations of what’s safe and what’s not. ABS becomes ABS Pro due to the same lean angle data. HSC becomes HSC Pro, which will automatically engage the feature when you’re stopped at an incline or decline of more than 5 degrees. You can completely disable this feature or put it in a manual setting where it behaves like the standard HSC. Lastly, you’ll get access to Dynamic Brake Control (DBC). This is implemented to counteract the occasional behavior of riders in which they accidentally open the throttle while panic braking. DBC automatically reduces engine output when it detects emergency braking and utilizes the partially-integrated brake system to apply additional force to the rear if necessary.

    New for the R1250GS

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The base GS is available in two colors – Black Storm Metallic from the previous generation, as well as a new color called Cosmic Blue Metallic that costs an extra $150. There are also two new style packages: the Exclusive Style Package ($500) has a grey frame, gold brake calipers, and blacked-out components such as the seat, handlebars, and powertrain. It also gets a black and yellow paint scheme that feels like a small tribute to the Bumblebee livery of the R100GS.

    The more enticing option for adventure riders is the HP Style Package ($750), which has more of a dirt focus. The center stand is removed, the windshield is shorter, there’s a bench seat instead of the separate rider/passenger units, and the cast rims are replaced with cross-spoked wheels that would make Goldfinger proud. In addition, the frame and hand guards are white, the handlebars and powertrain are black, and the calipers match the gold wheels. The bodywork is painted in a white/red/blue scheme that BMW calls HP Motorsport. The Sport Suspension is also available as an upgrade (+$350) to the HP Style Package, which increases suspension travel, ground clearance and spring rates. No matter the package, you can specify off-road tires at no additional cost.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The dirt-focused HP Package has a shorter windscreen, one-piece seat, gold cross-spoke rims, and removes the center stand.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The R1250GS starts at $17,695, though you’ll have to special order the base model as most bikes delivered to the US will come with the $950 Select Package that includes saddle bag mounts, hand guards, tire pressure monitors, heated grips, chrome exhaust, and preparation for a GPS system. With that said, you’ll probably want to splurge for the $3,050 Premium Package. It includes everything in the Select Package as well as Keyless Ride, Dynamic Traction Control, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Ride Modes Pro, Dynamic Brake Control, Cruise Control, ABS Pro, and Dynamic ESA with automatic damper settings and ride h adjustment.

    New for the R1250GSA

    BMW R1250GSA Adventure Motorcycle

    The quickest way to identify a GSA is the presence of the upper crash bar nestled against the 7.9 gallon fuel tank, which is also a new design for 2019.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The base R1250GSA is only available in Ice Grey, but there are lots of new pieces for 2019. The intake snorkel cover, radiator cover, and crash bars (both for the engine and tank) are all new, as is the black GS molded cover on the storage compartment on the top of the tank. There are also steering geometry and wheelbase differences compared to the previous year, which I’ll go over in more detail below.

    Like the GS, the GSA has Style Package options of Exclusive and HP. The former ($500) is adorned in Kalamata Metallic Matte paint with a grey frame, black/grey seat, and gold brake calipers. The latter ($550) comes with the exact same goodies as with the GS.

    BMW R1250GSA Adventure Motorcycle

    The GSA’s geometry has been revised for 2019 with modifications to the steering head angle, the caster angle and wheelbase for improved stability.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The R1250GSA starts at $19,945, and the Premium Package costs an additional $3,450. It includes the same features as the Premium Package for the R1250GS with the addition of LED auxiliary lights.

    Getting Some Seat Time

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    BMW invited journalists from all over the United States and Canada to evaluate the new R1250GS/GSA in Palm Springs, California. Our ride day consisted of 180 miles through the Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree National Park. Almost 25 miles of the route were off pavement, and they included everything from easy fire roads to sandy washes with loose rocks. To help with the dirt portions, our bikes were outfitted with Continental TKC80 tires.

    On the Road

    I started off the day on a R1250GS with the HP Style package, and even from the deeper idle sound I could tell that the motor would feel different. The 1250 is more powerful than the previous engine throughout the entire rev range – BMW supplied us with a dyno chart that showed an increase from 2,000 rpm to 9,000 rpm, though the difference is only noticeable above 5,000 rpm when the motor switches to the full load cam lobe profile.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    For reference, I’m 6’2”, 190 pounds, and I love long walks on the beach.

    What’s impressive is how seamless the switch between cam profiles is. The shift takes just 2-5 milliseconds depending on the rotational speed of the cam. Compare that to how long it takes you to blink: approximately 300 ms!

    Once we got out of the city, our ride leader wasted no time in letting us explore the high-speed street manners of our bikes. Despite the knobby tires, the R1250GS was as impressive and planted on pavement as ever. The acceleration can’t compare with the Ducati Multistrada 1260 or the KTM 1290 Super Adventure, but it’s more than you’d ever need. Crucially, the EFI computer and throttle-by-wire work perfectly together, even just off-idle when the motor is cold.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The asymmetrical headlight may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s very effective.

    In fact, all the electronic options work very well. Our test bikes were equipped with Ride Modes Pro and the Premium Package. I spent as much time as possible in Dynamic Pro, which offers the snappiest throttle response and customizable interference from the Dynamic Traction Control. More capable riders than myself can get small drifts going on the street, but I was content to stay within the limits of traction provided by the TKC80s. Still, in Dynamic Pro, power wheelies are effortless in first and second gear.

    Reining in that power are dual 305mm disc brakes up front and a single 276mm disc brake in the rear. The 4-piston front calipers are now made by Hayes, while the 2-piston rear caliper is built by Brembo. You can tell which one BMW’s prouder of – the Brembo branding is obvious while the Hayes logo is banished to the inside of the calipers so that most people see BMW instead. The brakes are excellent no matter the logo, and with the electronic assists they require very little skill to operate effectively.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The new model’s front calipers are now made by Hayes.

    What I appreciate about the technology in the R1250GS is that it’s always working yet never feels intrusive. The Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) automatically adjusts preload as well as damping, and it even has an auto-leveling function on startup. Plus, when you take off for the first time and get your feet on the pegs, the suspension will make another adjustment to compensate now that all your body weight is on the machine. The suspension also reads brake, throttle, and lean angle inputs from the IMU, so if you accelerate hard the rear spring will stiffen up to minimize squat. It’s all very impressive from a technological standpoint, though sometimes I wonder who’s in control of the GS – myself or a software engineer in Germany. One electrical gripe is with the Keyless Ride system, as I don’t like that the bike must be completely turned off before you can open the fuel filler cap.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The Sachs sticker has disappeared from the shock reservoir body as the front and rear suspension are now supplied by ZF.

    I also have some minor reservations with the new TFT screen, though the news is mostly positive. As a display device, it’s fantastic. It’s so vibrant that you can easily read it in any lighting conditions, and it’s easy to control the jog dial with your left hand. The most important pieces of information (tachometer, speedometer, gear indicator) are easily visible, and you can customize the information bar at the top so that it only shows you certain tidbits that you’re interested in. But certain tasks take way too many steps. The silliest issue is resetting the trip meter. On most bikes, it’s a simple press and hold of a button. On the new GS, you have to press down on the menu button to bring up the main menu, then press it again once you’ve selected “My Vehicle”. Click right twice on the jog dial to select Trip Computer, scroll down to Reset Individual Values, and then…it just keeps going. Just typing all of that is tedious, let alone going through the process.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    To take advantage of the extra “Connectivity” features, you’ll have to pair some devices via Bluetooth. If you download the free BMW Motorrad Connected mobile app and use it to search for directions, you’ll get access to turn-by-turn navigation prompts on the TFT screen. The app can also record your ride history and even connect to your photo library so you can see where you took a given photo during your trip. It’s all very clever, though BMW’s directions sometimes differ slightly from the route suggested by Google Maps. If you connect a headset, you can also get audio prompts for the navigation, though you’ll have to get used to odd pronunciation – the robotic female voice pronounces “Ave” like it rhymes with cave.

    Connecting a headset also gives your R1250GS the ability to manage phone calls and music. The phone functionality works flawlessly (and it’s nice to get caller ID so you can decide if a call is worth taking or not while you’re on the road), but it’s a shame that you can’t pause or change songs unless you’re specifically in the media menu. Volume adjustment for music or phone calls happens with the jog dial. There’s a lot going on with the Connectivity package, so it’ll take some time before the features are all second nature to you. The learning curve is worth it – it’s an impressive bundle of technology and I look forward to most aspects trickling down through the rest of the BMW lineup.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The GS (left) is not only smaller than the GSA but also sports less suspension travel.

    I made sure to split my seat time with the R1250GS Adventure, though I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it. I normally prefer riding smaller, lighter bikes, and the GSA looked like it was going to be a handful. Don’t judge a book by its cover! I instantly felt more at home on the Adventure. The tank is a little too wide at the knees, but that’s to be expected when it offers 7.9 gallons of fuel capacity versus the 5.3 gallons of the standard GS. Otherwise, I found it to be remarkably comfortable from an ergonomic standpoint. The word I heard uttered most often by my colleagues to describe the GSA was “tank”, but within a few miles I found that I preferred the tank over the relatively svelte R1250GS.

    Riding the GSA was, dare I say, relaxing. I couldn’t figure out why until my friend Spurgeon Dunbar at RevZilla later pointed out something that BMW didn’t mention during the technical presentation – the GSA’s geometry has been revised for 2019. The steering head angle is up from 24.5 degrees to 26.3, the caster angle is up from 3.7” to 4.1”, and wheelbase has been extended from 58.9” to 59.7”. That’s three different ways of telling you that this bike is more stable, and it’s very apparent when you’re behind the bars.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    In the Dirt

    Every adventure bike nowadays is a great street bike. The wheat gets separated from the chaff in the dirt. Off pavement, the R1250GS and GSA are both much better than they have any right to be thanks to the low center of gravity and the electronics packages.

    The highlight is the Enduro Pro ride mode, which makes the optional Ride Modes Pro package worth it if you plan on spending quality time off-road. Enduro Pro is specifically optimized to work with knobby tires like the TKC80. It maintains ABS on the front wheel while allowing the rider to lock up the rear, and it also permits the rider to slide the rear wheel out to a degree that BMW suggests is for “experienced riders only.” By default, the throttle response is softened to the Rain configuration, though you can customize it to use the throttle mapping from Road or Dynamic if you’re feeling frisky. The suspension also switches to Enduro mode, which is stiffer and automatically set for dealing with rough surfaces. Can you make your way through a trail without all these tech features? Of course. But they sure make the experience much more comfortable and a bit easier, which usually translates to more fun for the average rider.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    The quickshifter is also a pleasant surprise off-road because it’s nice to have the option to shift while keeping your hands on the grips in difficult terrain. The 1-2 shift is a little rough, but everything else is smooth enough (especially the rev-matched downshifts) that I’d even consider using it while riding with a passenger.

    While the GS and GSA have more power, they’ve also gained some weight as well. The GS is 11 pounds heavier than last year, and the GSA has packed on an additional 18 pounds. While I’d rather see less weight than more power, I must concede that I couldn’t notice the additional heft on the GS. Realistically, a change in preload will have a bigger effect on your riding confidence than a ~2% weight gain, especially when bikes like these often get loaded up like pack mules.

    A few important specifications remain the same: suspension travel for the GS is 7.5” up front and 7.9” in the rear, while the GSA has 8.3” up front and 8.7” in the rear. Seat hs are 33.5” (you can get a two-inch lower suspension) on the GS or 35” on the GSA. Also unchanged are the cross-spoked tubeless wheels, but I still have to commend BMW for the design. I managed to ride over a rusty nail that punctured the TKC80, and after some quick work with a plug kit I was back on the trail in mere minutes. What is new is the tire pressure stem design, which I appreciated when I was ready to inflate the tires back up again.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    All valve stems should be this easy to access.

    BMW claims that fuel consumption improved by 6 percent up to 50 miles per gallon, but even when I was on the smaller GS and on pavement I was getting 35 mpg. I was riding aggressively but I don’t think anyone’s getting BMW’s claimed number on this bike unless they always ride like they have 5 miles of range left when the nearest gas station is 6 miles away.

    Final Thoughts

    When Shawn Thomas introduced the new motor to us, he made a point to highlight that engineering is all about trade-offs. When you modify a motor to increase horsepower and torque, it typically comes at the expense of emissions, fuel economy, and sometimes even tractability. With ShiftCam, BMW wants you to have your cake and eat it, too.

    The R1200GS already made enough power, but in the world of premium adventure bikes there’s always going to be a push for more oomph, more technology, more…everything. If you already own a 2013+ liquid-cooled R1200GS and riding is just about a motor and two wheels to you, I don’t think there’s enough here to require an upgrade. But if you have a previous generation GS or you want to be surrounded by electronics that make you a better rider, the R1250GS or R1250GSA are worth the significant cash outlay.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    The price is the hardest pill to swallow, but it’s reasonable when compared to the Ducati Multistrada Enduro or Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA. If I worked for BMW, the bike that would scare me the most is the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. It weighs less, makes more power, and starts at $18,499. Still, if it was my money, I’d find myself on the BMW, specifically the GSA. I’ve ridden each generation of the GS since the 1100, and BMW keeps finding ways to impress me. Ever since the 1150, I’ve felt that it would be the bike I’d get if I could only have one motorcycle in my garage. Thanks to ShiftCam, it’s even more versatile now. Iron Butt Association conqueror, track day companion, 2-up tourer, canyon carver, or two-wheeled pickup truck – the BMW GS can do just about anything you’d ever ask of it.

    2019 BMW R1250GS/R1250GSA Specs

    Engine Type: Air/Liquid-cooled 4-stroke flat twin, DOHC, BMW Shiftcam
    Displacement: 1254cc
    Bore x Stroke: 102.5 mm x 76 mm
    Rated Output: 136 hp (100 kW) @ 7,750
    Max Torque: 105 lb-ft (143 Nm) @ 6,250
    Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
    Engine Management: Electronic FI w/ ride-by-wire
    Emission Control: Emission standard EU-4
    Max Speed: Over 125 mph
    Fuel Consumption: 50 mpg
    Alternator: Three-phase 510 W generator
    Battery: 12 V / 11.8 Ah, maintenance-free
    Clutch: Multiplate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
    Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed
    Drive: Shaft drive
    Frame: Two section frame, front – and bolted on rear frame, load bearing engine
    Front wheel location/suspension: BMW Telelever, Ø 37 mm, central spring strut
    Rear wheel location/suspension: Cast aluminum single-sided swing arm with BMW Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable
    Suspension travel front/rear: GS 7.5″/7.9″ (190mm/200mm); GSA 8.3″/8.7″ (210mm/220mm)
    Wheelbase: GS 60″ (1,525 mm); GSA 59.7″ (1,517 mm)
    Wheels: GS Cast aluminum; GSA Cross spoke
    Rim, front: 3.00 x 19″
    Rim, rear: 4.50 x 17″
    Tires, front: 120/70 R 19
    Tires, rear: 170/60 R 17
    Brake, front: Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers, diameter 305 mm
    Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 276 mm, dual-piston floating caliper
    ABS BMW Integral ABS (part-integral, can be switched off)
    Length GS 86.9″ (2,207 mm); GSA 89.4″ (2,270 mm)
    Width (incl. mirrors): GS 37.5″ (953 mm); GSA 38.6″ (980 mm)
    Height (excl. mirrors): GS 56.3″ (1,430 mm); GSA 57.5″ (1,460 mm)
    Seat h: GS 33.5″/34.3″; GSA 35.0″/35.8″
    Unladen weight, fully fueled: GS 549 lbs (249 kg); GSA 591 lbs (268 kg)
    Permitted total weight: GS 1,025 lbs (465 kg); GSA 1,069 lbs (485 kg)
    Payload (with std. equipment): GS 476 lbs (216 kg); GSA 479 lbs (217 kg)
    Usable tank volume: GS 5.3 gal (20 L); GSA 7.9 gal (30 L)
    Reserve: Approx. 1 gal (4 L)

    Photos by Kevin Wing and BMW

    c6687bd217673544e7716026385b4da1?s=80&r=

    Author: Abhi Eswarappa

    Abhi Eswarappa runs Bike-urious, a website dedicated to finding interesting motorcycles to put in your garage. He currently pens the Smart Money column in Motorcyclist magazine and has freelanced for several online publications. Abhi got serious about motorcycles when he learned the joys of long-distance travel on a 1988 BMW K75C, a bike that once took him from Canada to Mexico in less than 24 hours. His favorite motorcycle trip of all time was Los Angeles to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and back on a BMW R1150GS.


  6. BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    BMW Motorrad’s vision is ambitious but simple: “Becoming the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.” In the battle for the United States, their most powerful weapon is the flat-twin motor that debuted in the first ever BMW motorcycle, the 1923 R32. In 2018, over 50% of BMW’s US sales were powered by the boxer engine, and 27% of sales came from just two models – the R1250GS and the R1250GSA (R1250GS Adventure).

    The R1250GS has developed a cult-like following over the years, and BMW is as proud of GS owners as the owners are of their bikes. Mark Peine, BMW’s Marketing Communications Manager, noted that, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council Consumer Experience Study, GS owners are “experienced riders” who have 34 years of riding experience and cover 3 times as many miles as the average adventure bike owner in a year (5,000 vs 1,700). GSA owners can pat themselves on the back a little bit harder with 35 years of riding experience as they cover 5,200 miles/year.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The new model sports a more powerful 1,254cc engine with ShiftCam Technology.


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    There are few models more important to a manufacturer than the big boxer GS is to BMW, so when BMW makes a change to the stalwart of their lineup, it’s worth paying attention. Both the R1250GS and R1250GSA were updated for 2019, so let’s start with the new features that they share.

    What’s New on Both the R1250GS and R1250GSA

    The obvious difference is in the name – the formerly 1,170cc boxer twin motor has been bored and stroked out to 1,254cc. In addition, the spark plug covers now advertise a trick feature called ShiftCam.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    Despite the new cam tech, BMW claims there will be no difference in labor costs for routine checks.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The new engine offers improved performance over the entire rev band and enhanced power flexibility with less gear changes.

    ShiftCam is a variable engine timing system that offers up two lobe profiles on the intake cam based on engine load. The partial load cam is designed to reduce fuel consumption and smooth out operation with one lobe at 2mm and the other at 4mm. Per Shawn Thomas, a BMW Brand Ambassador, “the asymmetrical opening creates a swirling effect that leads to more uniform combustion.” It reduces the idle speed by 100 rpm and BMW claims that it decreases fuel consumption by over 6%, from 47 to 50 miles per gallon. Crucially, the new technology ensures that the boxer twin meets the emissions guidelines that will come in 2020 with the implementation of Euro-5.

    As the video below shows, when you open up the throttle butterfly valve, the cam shifts to full load lobes. Note that this switch also happens if the crankshaft is spinning faster than 5,000 rpm.

    Smaller updates to the motor include a toothed chain to replace the roller chain for the camshaft drive, a revision to the oil supply system, twin-jet injection valves, and a new exhaust. Thanks to ShiftCam and the displacement bump, the new engine now produces 136 horsepower (9% increase) and 105 ft-lb of torque (14% increase). But the fancy electronics rule more than just internal combustion.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    New options on the R1250GS and R1250GSA (click to expand).

    The cockpit is now dominated by a 6.5” full-color TFT dash which utilizes the unimaginatively named “Connectivity” feature to exchange information with the free BMW Motorrad Connected phone app as well as a Bluetooth helmet headset. The system allows a rider to listen to music, make phone calls, get basic navigation instructions, and control the on-board computer. A full LED headlight is now standard as well.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    When the motor is cold, the redline position shifts to show you what the limit of safe rpms are as the engine warms up.

    Previously, the standard Ride Modes suite included two modes (Rain/Road). For 2019, both bikes also get Hill Start Control (HSC) and Automatic Stability Control (ASC). To activate HSC, just firmly apply either the front or rear brake while at a stop. An indicator will appear on the dash and the bike will keep the rear brake engaged until you start to ride away.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    R1250GS/GSA Ride Modes explained (click to expand).

    Both bikes now get the option of Ride Modes Pro, which takes nearly everything a step further and throws a few wrenches into the nomenclature. Ride modes double from 2 to 4 with the addition of Dynamic and Enduro (a separate plug turns those into Dynamic Pro and Enduro Pro, which allow further customization). Automatic Stability Control turns into Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), which incorporates lean angles into the calculations of what’s safe and what’s not. ABS becomes ABS Pro due to the same lean angle data. HSC becomes HSC Pro, which will automatically engage the feature when you’re stopped at an incline or decline of more than 5 degrees. You can completely disable this feature or put it in a manual setting where it behaves like the standard HSC. Lastly, you’ll get access to Dynamic Brake Control (DBC). This is implemented to counteract the occasional behavior of riders in which they accidentally open the throttle while panic braking. DBC automatically reduces engine output when it detects emergency braking and utilizes the partially-integrated brake system to apply additional force to the rear if necessary.

    New for the R1250GS

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The base GS is available in two colors – Black Storm Metallic from the previous generation, as well as a new color called Cosmic Blue Metallic that costs an extra $150. There are also two new style packages: the Exclusive Style Package ($500) has a grey frame, gold brake calipers, and blacked-out components such as the seat, handlebars, and powertrain. It also gets a black and yellow paint scheme that feels like a small tribute to the Bumblebee livery of the R100GS.

    The more enticing option for adventure riders is the HP Style Package ($750), which has more of a dirt focus. The center stand is removed, the windshield is shorter, there’s a bench seat instead of the separate rider/passenger units, and the cast rims are replaced with cross-spoked wheels that would make Goldfinger proud. In addition, the frame and hand guards are white, the handlebars and powertrain are black, and the calipers match the gold wheels. The bodywork is painted in a white/red/blue scheme that BMW calls HP Motorsport. The Sport Suspension is also available as an upgrade (+$350) to the HP Style Package, which increases suspension travel, ground clearance and spring rates. No matter the package, you can specify off-road tires at no additional cost.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The dirt-focused HP Package has a shorter windscreen, one-piece seat, gold cross-spoke rims, and removes the center stand.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The R1250GS starts at $17,695, though you’ll have to special order the base model as most bikes delivered to the US will come with the $950 Select Package that includes saddle bag mounts, hand guards, tire pressure monitors, heated grips, chrome exhaust, and preparation for a GPS system. With that said, you’ll probably want to splurge for the $3,050 Premium Package. It includes everything in the Select Package as well as Keyless Ride, Dynamic Traction Control, Gear Shift Assist Pro, Ride Modes Pro, Dynamic Brake Control, Cruise Control, ABS Pro, and Dynamic ESA with automatic damper settings and ride h adjustment.

    New for the R1250GSA

    BMW R1250GSA Adventure Motorcycle

    The quickest way to identify a GSA is the presence of the upper crash bar nestled against the 7.9 gallon fuel tank, which is also a new design for 2019.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The base R1250GSA is only available in Ice Grey, but there are lots of new pieces for 2019. The intake snorkel cover, radiator cover, and crash bars (both for the engine and tank) are all new, as is the black GS molded cover on the storage compartment on the top of the tank. There are also steering geometry and wheelbase differences compared to the previous year, which I’ll go over in more detail below.

    Like the GS, the GSA has Style Package options of Exclusive and HP. The former ($500) is adorned in Kalamata Metallic Matte paint with a grey frame, black/grey seat, and gold brake calipers. The latter ($550) comes with the exact same goodies as with the GS.

    BMW R1250GSA Adventure Motorcycle

    The GSA’s geometry has been revised for 2019 with modifications to the steering head angle, the caster angle and wheelbase for improved stability.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The R1250GSA starts at $19,945, and the Premium Package costs an additional $3,450. It includes the same features as the Premium Package for the R1250GS with the addition of LED auxiliary lights.

    Getting Some Seat Time

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    BMW invited journalists from all over the United States and Canada to evaluate the new R1250GS/GSA in Palm Springs, California. Our ride day consisted of 180 miles through the Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree National Park. Almost 25 miles of the route were off pavement, and they included everything from easy fire roads to sandy washes with loose rocks. To help with the dirt portions, our bikes were outfitted with Continental TKC80 tires.

    On the Road

    I started off the day on a R1250GS with the HP Style package, and even from the deeper idle sound I could tell that the motor would feel different. The 1250 is more powerful than the previous engine throughout the entire rev range – BMW supplied us with a dyno chart that showed an increase from 2,000 rpm to 9,000 rpm, though the difference is only noticeable above 5,000 rpm when the motor switches to the full load cam lobe profile.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    For reference, I’m 6’2”, 190 pounds, and I love long walks on the beach.

    What’s impressive is how seamless the switch between cam profiles is. The shift takes just 2-5 milliseconds depending on the rotational speed of the cam. Compare that to how long it takes you to blink: approximately 300 ms!

    Once we got out of the city, our ride leader wasted no time in letting us explore the high-speed street manners of our bikes. Despite the knobby tires, the R1250GS was as impressive and planted on pavement as ever. The acceleration can’t compare with the Ducati Multistrada 1260 or the KTM 1290 Super Adventure, but it’s more than you’d ever need. Crucially, the EFI computer and throttle-by-wire work perfectly together, even just off-idle when the motor is cold.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The asymmetrical headlight may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s very effective.

    In fact, all the electronic options work very well. Our test bikes were equipped with Ride Modes Pro and the Premium Package. I spent as much time as possible in Dynamic Pro, which offers the snappiest throttle response and customizable interference from the Dynamic Traction Control. More capable riders than myself can get small drifts going on the street, but I was content to stay within the limits of traction provided by the TKC80s. Still, in Dynamic Pro, power wheelies are effortless in first and second gear.

    Reining in that power are dual 305mm disc brakes up front and a single 276mm disc brake in the rear. The 4-piston front calipers are now made by Hayes, while the 2-piston rear caliper is built by Brembo. You can tell which one BMW’s prouder of – the Brembo branding is obvious while the Hayes logo is banished to the inside of the calipers so that most people see BMW instead. The brakes are excellent no matter the logo, and with the electronic assists they require very little skill to operate effectively.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The new model’s front calipers are now made by Hayes.

    What I appreciate about the technology in the R1250GS is that it’s always working yet never feels intrusive. The Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) automatically adjusts preload as well as damping, and it even has an auto-leveling function on startup. Plus, when you take off for the first time and get your feet on the pegs, the suspension will make another adjustment to compensate now that all your body weight is on the machine. The suspension also reads brake, throttle, and lean angle inputs from the IMU, so if you accelerate hard the rear spring will stiffen up to minimize squat. It’s all very impressive from a technological standpoint, though sometimes I wonder who’s in control of the GS – myself or a software engineer in Germany. One electrical gripe is with the Keyless Ride system, as I don’t like that the bike must be completely turned off before you can open the fuel filler cap.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The Sachs sticker has disappeared from the shock reservoir body as the front and rear suspension are now supplied by ZF.

    I also have some minor reservations with the new TFT screen, though the news is mostly positive. As a display device, it’s fantastic. It’s so vibrant that you can easily read it in any lighting conditions, and it’s easy to control the jog dial with your left hand. The most important pieces of information (tachometer, speedometer, gear indicator) are easily visible, and you can customize the information bar at the top so that it only shows you certain tidbits that you’re interested in. But certain tasks take way too many steps. The silliest issue is resetting the trip meter. On most bikes, it’s a simple press and hold of a button. On the new GS, you have to press down on the menu button to bring up the main menu, then press it again once you’ve selected “My Vehicle”. Click right twice on the jog dial to select Trip Computer, scroll down to Reset Individual Values, and then…it just keeps going. Just typing all of that is tedious, let alone going through the process.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    To take advantage of the extra “Connectivity” features, you’ll have to pair some devices via Bluetooth. If you download the free BMW Motorrad Connected mobile app and use it to search for directions, you’ll get access to turn-by-turn navigation prompts on the TFT screen. The app can also record your ride history and even connect to your photo library so you can see where you took a given photo during your trip. It’s all very clever, though BMW’s directions sometimes differ slightly from the route suggested by Google Maps. If you connect a headset, you can also get audio prompts for the navigation, though you’ll have to get used to odd pronunciation – the robotic female voice pronounces “Ave” like it rhymes with cave.

    Connecting a headset also gives your R1250GS the ability to manage phone calls and music. The phone functionality works flawlessly (and it’s nice to get caller ID so you can decide if a call is worth taking or not while you’re on the road), but it’s a shame that you can’t pause or change songs unless you’re specifically in the media menu. Volume adjustment for music or phone calls happens with the jog dial. There’s a lot going on with the Connectivity package, so it’ll take some time before the features are all second nature to you. The learning curve is worth it – it’s an impressive bundle of technology and I look forward to most aspects trickling down through the rest of the BMW lineup.

    BMW R1250GS HP Adventure Motorcycle

    The GS (left) is not only smaller than the GSA but also sports less suspension travel.

    I made sure to split my seat time with the R1250GS Adventure, though I must admit that I wasn’t looking forward to it. I normally prefer riding smaller, lighter bikes, and the GSA looked like it was going to be a handful. Don’t judge a book by its cover! I instantly felt more at home on the Adventure. The tank is a little too wide at the knees, but that’s to be expected when it offers 7.9 gallons of fuel capacity versus the 5.3 gallons of the standard GS. Otherwise, I found it to be remarkably comfortable from an ergonomic standpoint. The word I heard uttered most often by my colleagues to describe the GSA was “tank”, but within a few miles I found that I preferred the tank over the relatively svelte R1250GS.

    Riding the GSA was, dare I say, relaxing. I couldn’t figure out why until my friend Spurgeon Dunbar at RevZilla later pointed out something that BMW didn’t mention during the technical presentation – the GSA’s geometry has been revised for 2019. The steering head angle is up from 24.5 degrees to 26.3, the caster angle is up from 3.7” to 4.1”, and wheelbase has been extended from 58.9” to 59.7”. That’s three different ways of telling you that this bike is more stable, and it’s very apparent when you’re behind the bars.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    In the Dirt

    Every adventure bike nowadays is a great street bike. The wheat gets separated from the chaff in the dirt. Off pavement, the R1250GS and GSA are both much better than they have any right to be thanks to the low center of gravity and the electronics packages.

    The highlight is the Enduro Pro ride mode, which makes the optional Ride Modes Pro package worth it if you plan on spending quality time off-road. Enduro Pro is specifically optimized to work with knobby tires like the TKC80. It maintains ABS on the front wheel while allowing the rider to lock up the rear, and it also permits the rider to slide the rear wheel out to a degree that BMW suggests is for “experienced riders only.” By default, the throttle response is softened to the Rain configuration, though you can customize it to use the throttle mapping from Road or Dynamic if you’re feeling frisky. The suspension also switches to Enduro mode, which is stiffer and automatically set for dealing with rough surfaces. Can you make your way through a trail without all these tech features? Of course. But they sure make the experience much more comfortable and a bit easier, which usually translates to more fun for the average rider.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    The quickshifter is also a pleasant surprise off-road because it’s nice to have the option to shift while keeping your hands on the grips in difficult terrain. The 1-2 shift is a little rough, but everything else is smooth enough (especially the rev-matched downshifts) that I’d even consider using it while riding with a passenger.

    While the GS and GSA have more power, they’ve also gained some weight as well. The GS is 11 pounds heavier than last year, and the GSA has packed on an additional 18 pounds. While I’d rather see less weight than more power, I must concede that I couldn’t notice the additional heft on the GS. Realistically, a change in preload will have a bigger effect on your riding confidence than a ~2% weight gain, especially when bikes like these often get loaded up like pack mules.

    A few important specifications remain the same: suspension travel for the GS is 7.5” up front and 7.9” in the rear, while the GSA has 8.3” up front and 8.7” in the rear. Seat hs are 33.5” (you can get a two-inch lower suspension) on the GS or 35” on the GSA. Also unchanged are the cross-spoked tubeless wheels, but I still have to commend BMW for the design. I managed to ride over a rusty nail that punctured the TKC80, and after some quick work with a plug kit I was back on the trail in mere minutes. What is new is the tire pressure stem design, which I appreciated when I was ready to inflate the tires back up again.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    All valve stems should be this easy to access.

    BMW claims that fuel consumption improved by 6 percent up to 50 miles per gallon, but even when I was on the smaller GS and on pavement I was getting 35 mpg. I was riding aggressively but I don’t think anyone’s getting BMW’s claimed number on this bike unless they always ride like they have 5 miles of range left when the nearest gas station is 6 miles away.

    Final Thoughts

    When Shawn Thomas introduced the new motor to us, he made a point to highlight that engineering is all about trade-offs. When you modify a motor to increase horsepower and torque, it typically comes at the expense of emissions, fuel economy, and sometimes even tractability. With ShiftCam, BMW wants you to have your cake and eat it, too.

    The R1200GS already made enough power, but in the world of premium adventure bikes there’s always going to be a push for more oomph, more technology, more…everything. If you already own a 2013+ liquid-cooled R1200GS and riding is just about a motor and two wheels to you, I don’t think there’s enough here to require an upgrade. But if you have a previous generation GS or you want to be surrounded by electronics that make you a better rider, the R1250GS or R1250GSA are worth the significant cash outlay.

    BMW R1250GS Adventure Motorcycle

    The price is the hardest pill to swallow, but it’s reasonable when compared to the Ducati Multistrada Enduro or Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA. If I worked for BMW, the bike that would scare me the most is the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. It weighs less, makes more power, and starts at $18,499. Still, if it was my money, I’d find myself on the BMW, specifically the GSA. I’ve ridden each generation of the GS since the 1100, and BMW keeps finding ways to impress me. Ever since the 1150, I’ve felt that it would be the bike I’d get if I could only have one motorcycle in my garage. Thanks to ShiftCam, it’s even more versatile now. Iron Butt Association conqueror, track day companion, 2-up tourer, canyon carver, or two-wheeled pickup truck – the BMW GS can do just about anything you’d ever ask of it.

    2019 BMW R1250GS/R1250GSA Specs

    Engine Type: Air/Liquid-cooled 4-stroke flat twin, DOHC, BMW Shiftcam
    Displacement: 1254cc
    Bore x Stroke: 102.5 mm x 76 mm
    Rated Output: 136 hp (100 kW) @ 7,750
    Max Torque: 105 lb-ft (143 Nm) @ 6,250
    Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
    Engine Management: Electronic FI w/ ride-by-wire
    Emission Control: Emission standard EU-4
    Max Speed: Over 125 mph
    Fuel Consumption: 50 mpg
    Alternator: Three-phase 510 W generator
    Battery: 12 V / 11.8 Ah, maintenance-free
    Clutch: Multiplate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
    Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed
    Drive: Shaft drive
    Frame: Two section frame, front – and bolted on rear frame, load bearing engine
    Front wheel location/suspension: BMW Telelever, Ø 37 mm, central spring strut
    Rear wheel location/suspension: Cast aluminum single-sided swing arm with BMW Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable
    Suspension travel front/rear: GS 7.5″/7.9″ (190mm/200mm); GSA 8.3″/8.7″ (210mm/220mm)
    Wheelbase: GS 60″ (1,525 mm); GSA 59.7″ (1,517 mm)
    Wheels: GS Cast aluminum; GSA Cross spoke
    Rim, front: 3.00 x 19″
    Rim, rear: 4.50 x 17″
    Tires, front: 120/70 R 19
    Tires, rear: 170/60 R 17
    Brake, front: Dual floating disc brakes, 4-piston fixed calipers, diameter 305 mm
    Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 276 mm, dual-piston floating caliper
    ABS BMW Integral ABS (part-integral, can be switched off)
    Length GS 86.9″ (2,207 mm); GSA 89.4″ (2,270 mm)
    Width (incl. mirrors): GS 37.5″ (953 mm); GSA 38.6″ (980 mm)
    Height (excl. mirrors): GS 56.3″ (1,430 mm); GSA 57.5″ (1,460 mm)
    Seat h: GS 33.5″/34.3″; GSA 35.0″/35.8″
    Unladen weight, fully fueled: GS 549 lbs (249 kg); GSA 591 lbs (268 kg)
    Permitted total weight: GS 1,025 lbs (465 kg); GSA 1,069 lbs (485 kg)
    Payload (with std. equipment): GS 476 lbs (216 kg); GSA 479 lbs (217 kg)
    Usable tank volume: GS 5.3 gal (20 L); GSA 7.9 gal (30 L)
    Reserve: Approx. 1 gal (4 L)

    Photos by Kevin Wing and BMW

    c6687bd217673544e7716026385b4da1?s=80&r=

    Author: Abhi Eswarappa

    Abhi Eswarappa runs Bike-urious, a website dedicated to finding interesting motorcycles to put in your garage. He currently pens the Smart Money column in Motorcyclist magazine and has freelanced for several online publications. Abhi got serious about motorcycles when he learned the joys of long-distance travel on a 1988 BMW K75C, a bike that once took him from Canada to Mexico in less than 24 hours. His favorite motorcycle trip of all time was Los Angeles to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and back on a BMW R1150GS.


  7. Adventure Motorcycle

    When a manufacturer states their new model is “the most off-road capable travel bike” on the market, you can expect a claim like that to be received with a fair amount of skepticism. That is unless the manufacturer is KTM. They’ve produced so many of the top off-road adventure touring bikes over the years, it’s become expected.

    Going back to 2003, KTM produced their first twin-cylinder adventure bike – the 950 Adventure – a snarling beast that shared 75% of its parts with the race bike that won the Dakar Rally the previous year. Over a decade, KTM produced several different variants of the 950 S/990 R series before bringing the 1190 Adventure R in 2013 – a completely new platform with sophisticated electronics, more power and improved creature comforts. KTM reloaded in 2017 with a stripped-down, smaller-displacement 1090 Adventure R that sported premium off-road suspension and more-usable power delivery.


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    Arguably, these LC8-powered machines were the most off-road capable big bikes of their time and with advancements in technology, they became safer, more comfortable and easier to ride off-road. Yet these bikes also grew in weight and size over the years, leaving many dirt-loving KTM fans longing for something smaller, lighter and more agile.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    KTM is positioning the standard 790 Adventure as an off-road capable travel bike, while the 790 Adventure R is their travel capable off-road bike.

    KTM has been listening to their customers and working hard developing an all-new adventure bike platform they feel meets the demands of long-distance overland travelers and hardcore off-road riders alike. The standard 790 Adventure R is designed to be a balanced machine for those that want a nimble, comfortable travel bike that is still extremely capable and manageable in the dirt. While the 790 Adventure R is a more performance-focused off-road bike that is capable of traveling longer distances.

    So did KTM deliver on its promise? Or is more firepower required to dispatch the entrenched competition? We got a chance to ride both models at the International Press Launch last week in Morocco. Read on below to see how they stack up, but first let’s go through some of the key features and technology.

    A New Chapter Begins With A Parallel Twin

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Gone is the legendary LC8 75-degree V-Twin that powered KTM’s long line of big-bore ADV bikes, replaced by a compact parallel-twin with a matching 435-degree crank firing order.

    One of the most distinctive characteristics of KTM’s big-bore adventure bikes has always been the sweet-sounding LC8 75-degree V-Twin powerplant. The new 790 Adventure retains this same throaty V-Twin exhaust note but it’s now powered by a parallel-twin. Remarkably, KTM engineers were able to match the LC8c parallel-twin’s crank firing order to the V-Twin LC8’s for an almost identical sound.

    Why the switch? There are several advantages to a parallel twin, one of them being a more compact design, and KTM claims the new LC8c is the most compact engine in this segment. What’s more, there is no rear-facing cylinder that sits next to your leg, emanating heat on a hot day. Relocating the second cylinder to the front also frees up room for a lower seat, and allows for easy access to the battery and air filter.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Access to the air filter is now much easier than previous KTM Adventure models for quick maintenance on the road.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The 799cc LC8c motor has instant torque off idle and maintains roll-on grunt throughout the midrange.

    To keep the vibes under control, the LC8c motor utilizes two balancer shafts for a smoother ride on the highway. A power assisted slipper clutch (PASC) also reduces pressure on the clutch plates during deceleration in order to prevent wheel chatter. Another advantage of PASC is an easy clutch pull, which allowed KTM to use a dead simple clutch cable rather than a hydraulic setup.

    KTM’s power numbers are often the highest in the class and the new 790 Adventure is no different, boasting 95 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm and 64.9 ft-lbs @ 6,600 rpm from its 799cc engine. On the numbers, the 790 Adventure bests its closest rivals – the BMW F850GS and Triumph Tiger 800. It even bests the Africa Twin on horsepower, despite the Honda’s 200cc advantage. And contrary to rumors, the 790’s powerplant, and the entire bike for that matter, is being built in Austria, not China.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    With the second piston now located at the front of the engine, there are no more issues with excessive heat exiting the bodywork directly on your legs as with the previous V-Twin configuration.

    WATCH: Quick close-up look at the KTM 790 Adventure and a sound sample of the LC8c parallel-twin powerplant.

    New Electronics

    Further aiding the slipper clutch under braking is MSR (Motor Slip Regulation). If, due to quick downshifts or abrupt throttle chopping, the engine drag is too high, the ride-by-wire system auto-blips the throttle to prevent rear wheel chatter. This system is also lean-angle sensitive.

    Ride modes are similar to what’s been available on the 1090, 1190 and 1290 Adventure models, with the ability to choose an optimal throttle response and traction control setting for Street, Rain and Offroad environments. What’s changed is the replacement of ‘Sport’ with ‘Rally’ ride mode.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Recommended usage of the Rally mode’s nine different Traction Control levels.

    Rally mode decouples TC and throttle response so you can configure them independently. Previously if you wanted Sport throttle response off-road, you either had to ride with asphalt TC or turn TC off completely. Now in Rally Mode, you can select the Rally throttle response (similar to the old Sport mode), then you can select from 9 levels of traction control (or turn it off). Rally mode also lets you match 9 levels of TC with either Offroad or Street throttle response using the “Preferred Throttle Response” setting. Traction Control level 9 is comparable to Rain mode while 1 is virtually no intervention at all.

    The electronics also prevent wheelies in Rain or Street mode but allow them in either Rally or Offroad mode to make it easier to clear obstacles. Traction Control is lean-angle sensing in Street or Rain mode as well but disabled in Rally or Offroad mode to prevent intervention when the rider takes berm-style turns. All settings are retained when you turn off the key, with the exception of turning ABS or TC off.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Both models come with a compact color TFT display that is easy to read day or night.

    Bringing the bike to a halt is a sophisticated ABS system linked to twin 320mm front disks with 4-piston radially mounted calipers, and a 260mm rear disk actuated by a double-piston floating caliper. ABS can be configured to run in Street mode, Offroad mode (front abs only) or completely off, and the system is lean-angle sensing for better accuracy.

    All of these rider aids are managed with handlebar switches and a color TFT display, featuring automatic brightness adjustment to compensate for varying light conditions. The display also features a rev counter that blinks to indicate when to shift and a customizable home screen. In addition, KTM placed a 12-volt port on the dash for convenient charging of electronic gizmos.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Electronic rider aids are managed with simple left-hand thumb controls.

    For those who want to further enhance performance and comfort on their rides, KTM offers electronic cruise control, heated grips, tire pressure monitoring, a quickshifter, and Bluetooth phone connectivity, all as optional equipment.

    790 Adventure Chassis

    KTM’s main intention with the 790 Adventure platform was to produce a lightweight, compact, low CG chassis with sporty handling and class-leading off-road performance. The design was also optimized to offer excellent ground clearance while still keeping a low seat h.

    It starts with a chrome-molly trellis frame that uses the engine as a stressed member to reduce weight and carry it low on the bike. This allows for a shorter wheelbase, while retaining a fairly-long swingarm for improved traction. Both models ride on big 21” / 18” tubeless wire-spoke wheels for added durability and stability, and a WP steering damper is provided to help prevent head shake during aggressive riding.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The standard 790 Adventure has a low seat setting of 32.7 inches, but you can go 0.3 inches lower with the low seat option or up 1.4 inches with the high seat option.

    A low-slung fuel tank is one of the 790 Adventure’s most recognizable features. This not only lowers the center of gravity, but also provides the rider with greater mobility for off-road riding body positioning (sitting and standing). With its 5.3 gallon (20 L) capacity and a fuel efficient engine, the 790 is capable of achieving around 280 mi (450 km) in range. To guard the tank from scratches, KTM uses replaceable protective panels rather than crash bars. This helps to keep weight down and maintains a slimmer profile. And while we are on the topic of bodywork, KTM uses high-quality polymer body panels that are molded in color (not painted) to keep them looking fresh after a fall. Plastic hand guards, rear racks and a robust skid plate are also included on both models.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The low-slung tank design not only keeps the center of gravity low, it also allows you to slide for weight forward on the tank during performance off-road riding.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Both models come with a skid plate, plastic tank protectors and hand guards. Carbon fiber tank protectors, aluminum-backed hand guards and a headlight protector are available as options.

    KTM 790 Adventure vs Adventure R

    The suspension is the main area where the standard 790 Adventure and the 790 Adventure R differ. The 790 Adventure features a WP APEX 43mm USD fork and WP APEX PDS (Progressive Damping System) shock. With its traveling focus, KTM believes this market is less likely to use suspension settings. For that reason, the only adjustability is preload on the shock and it requires tools. With the traveler in mind, KTM also wanted to keep the seat h low (32.7 inches in low setting), so the suspension travel is a reasonable 7.9 inches (200 mm).

    KTM 790 Adventure vs KTM Adventure R Motorcycle

    With the 790 Adventure R’s focus on maximum off-road performance, it sports a WP XPLOR 48mm fork and WP XPLOR PDS shock supported by a progressive spring. Both are fully adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping, and preload. Suspension travel is 9.5 inches (240mm) to maximize bump absorption, which in turn raises the seat h up to 34.6 inches.

    There are a few other key components that set the two models apart. The seat on the standard model is a two-piece with a high/low setting that adjusts seat h by 0.8 inches (20mm). Its stepped design also adds some additional comfort for two-up riding. The R model uses a one-piece design with only a small bump separating the pilot and passenger, allowing more freedom of movement off-road.

    KTM 790 Adventure vs KTM Adventure R Motorcycle

    The standard 790 Adventure comes with an adjustable two-piece seat, while the R model gets a single-piece non-adjustable unit. The R also gets a shorty windscreen and high front fender.

    Another distinctive feature is the low front fender used on the standard 790 for better aerodynamics, engine cooling and less water spray, but the 790 R gets a mud-friendly high fender. The windscreen is shorter on the R to give the rider more helmet room in technical terrain, while the standard model gets a taller screen for the highway. Both are adjustable in h with a tool.

    Electronics are identical on both models, except Rally mode is optional on the standard model and included on the R model. Tires also differ, with the R model getting off-road-biased Metzeler Karoo 3s and the standard 790 getting more street-oriented Avon Trailriders. In addition, the standard model has a shorter wheelbase for better maneuverability (1,509 mm vs. 1,528 mm), while the longer wheelbase on the R gives it better high-speed stability.

    First Look

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Fit and finish are top notch and all 790 Adventures are being built at KTM’s Austrian plant – including the motor.

    Our first opportunity to get some seat time during the press launch came on the standard KTM 790 Adventure. The seat h feels low, giving the bike even more of a small bike feel compared to other mid-sized ADV bikes. Adjusting the seat to the high position was incredibly easy, which provided a more comfortable knee bend for my longer legs. Bar clamps allow six positions of adjustment for the handlebar to further optimize rider ergonomics. And wide platform footpegs can be run with vibration damping rubber inserts for a smoother ride or without for extra grip off-road.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The bike has nice dirt bike ergos for both sitting down and standing positions, and it’s a shorter reach to the bars than on its LC8 predecessors. The low-profile tank also lets you slide forward on the seat to get more weight over the front wheel. Standing on the pegs, the bars are a nice h even for tall riders and there is plenty of room for your knees and calves to move around.


  8. Adventure Motorcycle

    When a manufacturer states their new model is “the most off-road capable travel bike” on the market, you can expect a claim like that to be received with a fair amount of skepticism. That is unless the manufacturer is KTM. They’ve produced so many of the top off-road adventure touring bikes over the years, it’s become expected.

    Going back to 2003, KTM produced their first twin-cylinder adventure bike – the 950 Adventure – a snarling beast that shared 75% of its parts with the race bike that won the Dakar Rally the previous year. Over a decade, KTM produced several different variants of the 950 S/990 R series before bringing the 1190 Adventure R in 2013 – a completely new platform with sophisticated electronics, more power and improved creature comforts. KTM reloaded in 2017 with a stripped-down, smaller-displacement 1090 Adventure R that sported premium off-road suspension and more-usable power delivery.


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    Arguably, these LC8-powered machines were the most off-road capable big bikes of their time and with advancements in technology, they became safer, more comfortable and easier to ride off-road. Yet these bikes also grew in weight and size over the years, leaving many dirt-loving KTM fans longing for something smaller, lighter and more agile.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    KTM is positioning the standard 790 Adventure as an off-road capable travel bike, while the 790 Adventure R is their travel capable off-road bike.

    KTM has been listening to their customers and working hard developing an all-new adventure bike platform they feel meets the demands of long-distance overland travelers and hardcore off-road riders alike. The standard 790 Adventure R is designed to be a balanced machine for those that want a nimble, comfortable travel bike that is still extremely capable and manageable in the dirt. While the 790 Adventure R is a more performance-focused off-road bike that is capable of traveling longer distances.

    So did KTM deliver on its promise? Or is more firepower required to dispatch the entrenched competition? We got a chance to ride both models at the International Press Launch last week in Morocco. Read on below to see how they stack up, but first let’s go through some of the key features and technology.

    A New Chapter Begins With A Parallel Twin

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Gone is the legendary LC8 75-degree V-Twin that powered KTM’s long line of big-bore ADV bikes, replaced by a compact parallel-twin with a matching 435-degree crank firing order.

    One of the most distinctive characteristics of KTM’s big-bore adventure bikes has always been the sweet-sounding LC8 75-degree V-Twin powerplant. The new 790 Adventure retains this same throaty V-Twin exhaust note but it’s now powered by a parallel-twin. Remarkably, KTM engineers were able to match the LC8c parallel-twin’s crank firing order to the V-Twin LC8’s for an almost identical sound.

    Why the switch? There are several advantages to a parallel twin, one of them being a more compact design, and KTM claims the new LC8c is the most compact engine in this segment. What’s more, there is no rear-facing cylinder that sits next to your leg, emanating heat on a hot day. Relocating the second cylinder to the front also frees up room for a lower seat, and allows for easy access to the battery and air filter.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Access to the air filter is now much easier than previous KTM Adventure models for quick maintenance on the road.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The 799cc LC8c motor has instant torque off idle and maintains roll-on grunt throughout the midrange.

    To keep the vibes under control, the LC8c motor utilizes two balancer shafts for a smoother ride on the highway. A power assisted slipper clutch (PASC) also reduces pressure on the clutch plates during deceleration in order to prevent wheel chatter. Another advantage of PASC is an easy clutch pull, which allowed KTM to use a dead simple clutch cable rather than a hydraulic setup.

    KTM’s power numbers are often the highest in the class and the new 790 Adventure is no different, boasting 95 horsepower @ 8,000 rpm and 64.9 ft-lbs @ 6,600 rpm from its 799cc engine. On the numbers, the 790 Adventure bests its closest rivals – the BMW F850GS and Triumph Tiger 800. It even bests the Africa Twin on horsepower, despite the Honda’s 200cc advantage. And contrary to rumors, the 790’s powerplant, and the entire bike for that matter, is being built in Austria, not China.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    With the second piston now located at the front of the engine, there are no more issues with excessive heat exiting the bodywork directly on your legs as with the previous V-Twin configuration.

    WATCH: Quick close-up look at the KTM 790 Adventure and a sound sample of the LC8c parallel-twin powerplant.

    New Electronics

    Further aiding the slipper clutch under braking is MSR (Motor Slip Regulation). If, due to quick downshifts or abrupt throttle chopping, the engine drag is too high, the ride-by-wire system auto-blips the throttle to prevent rear wheel chatter. This system is also lean-angle sensitive.

    Ride modes are similar to what’s been available on the 1090, 1190 and 1290 Adventure models, with the ability to choose an optimal throttle response and traction control setting for Street, Rain and Offroad environments. What’s changed is the replacement of ‘Sport’ with ‘Rally’ ride mode.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Recommended usage of the Rally mode’s nine different Traction Control levels.

    Rally mode decouples TC and throttle response so you can configure them independently. Previously if you wanted Sport throttle response off-road, you either had to ride with asphalt TC or turn TC off completely. Now in Rally Mode, you can select the Rally throttle response (similar to the old Sport mode), then you can select from 9 levels of traction control (or turn it off). Rally mode also lets you match 9 levels of TC with either Offroad or Street throttle response using the “Preferred Throttle Response” setting. Traction Control level 9 is comparable to Rain mode while 1 is virtually no intervention at all.

    The electronics also prevent wheelies in Rain or Street mode but allow them in either Rally or Offroad mode to make it easier to clear obstacles. Traction Control is lean-angle sensing in Street or Rain mode as well but disabled in Rally or Offroad mode to prevent intervention when the rider takes berm-style turns. All settings are retained when you turn off the key, with the exception of turning ABS or TC off.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Both models come with a compact color TFT display that is easy to read day or night.

    Bringing the bike to a halt is a sophisticated ABS system linked to twin 320mm front disks with 4-piston radially mounted calipers, and a 260mm rear disk actuated by a double-piston floating caliper. ABS can be configured to run in Street mode, Offroad mode (front abs only) or completely off, and the system is lean-angle sensing for better accuracy.

    All of these rider aids are managed with handlebar switches and a color TFT display, featuring automatic brightness adjustment to compensate for varying light conditions. The display also features a rev counter that blinks to indicate when to shift and a customizable home screen. In addition, KTM placed a 12-volt port on the dash for convenient charging of electronic gizmos.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Electronic rider aids are managed with simple left-hand thumb controls.

    For those who want to further enhance performance and comfort on their rides, KTM offers electronic cruise control, heated grips, tire pressure monitoring, a quickshifter, and Bluetooth phone connectivity, all as optional equipment.

    790 Adventure Chassis

    KTM’s main intention with the 790 Adventure platform was to produce a lightweight, compact, low CG chassis with sporty handling and class-leading off-road performance. The design was also optimized to offer excellent ground clearance while still keeping a low seat h.

    It starts with a chrome-molly trellis frame that uses the engine as a stressed member to reduce weight and carry it low on the bike. This allows for a shorter wheelbase, while retaining a fairly-long swingarm for improved traction. Both models ride on big 21” / 18” tubeless wire-spoke wheels for added durability and stability, and a WP steering damper is provided to help prevent head shake during aggressive riding.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The standard 790 Adventure has a low seat setting of 32.7 inches, but you can go 0.3 inches lower with the low seat option or up 1.4 inches with the high seat option.

    A low-slung fuel tank is one of the 790 Adventure’s most recognizable features. This not only lowers the center of gravity, but also provides the rider with greater mobility for off-road riding body positioning (sitting and standing). With its 5.3 gallon (20 L) capacity and a fuel efficient engine, the 790 is capable of achieving around 280 mi (450 km) in range. To guard the tank from scratches, KTM uses replaceable protective panels rather than crash bars. This helps to keep weight down and maintains a slimmer profile. And while we are on the topic of bodywork, KTM uses high-quality polymer body panels that are molded in color (not painted) to keep them looking fresh after a fall. Plastic hand guards, rear racks and a robust skid plate are also included on both models.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The low-slung tank design not only keeps the center of gravity low, it also allows you to slide for weight forward on the tank during performance off-road riding.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Both models come with a skid plate, plastic tank protectors and hand guards. Carbon fiber tank protectors, aluminum-backed hand guards and a headlight protector are available as options.

    KTM 790 Adventure vs Adventure R

    The suspension is the main area where the standard 790 Adventure and the 790 Adventure R differ. The 790 Adventure features a WP APEX 43mm USD fork and WP APEX PDS (Progressive Damping System) shock. With its traveling focus, KTM believes this market is less likely to use suspension settings. For that reason, the only adjustability is preload on the shock and it requires tools. With the traveler in mind, KTM also wanted to keep the seat h low (32.7 inches in low setting), so the suspension travel is a reasonable 7.9 inches (200 mm).

    KTM 790 Adventure vs KTM Adventure R Motorcycle

    With the 790 Adventure R’s focus on maximum off-road performance, it sports a WP XPLOR 48mm fork and WP XPLOR PDS shock supported by a progressive spring. Both are fully adjustable for compression damping, rebound damping, and preload. Suspension travel is 9.5 inches (240mm) to maximize bump absorption, which in turn raises the seat h up to 34.6 inches.

    There are a few other key components that set the two models apart. The seat on the standard model is a two-piece with a high/low setting that adjusts seat h by 0.8 inches (20mm). Its stepped design also adds some additional comfort for two-up riding. The R model uses a one-piece design with only a small bump separating the pilot and passenger, allowing more freedom of movement off-road.

    KTM 790 Adventure vs KTM Adventure R Motorcycle

    The standard 790 Adventure comes with an adjustable two-piece seat, while the R model gets a single-piece non-adjustable unit. The R also gets a shorty windscreen and high front fender.

    Another distinctive feature is the low front fender used on the standard 790 for better aerodynamics, engine cooling and less water spray, but the 790 R gets a mud-friendly high fender. The windscreen is shorter on the R to give the rider more helmet room in technical terrain, while the standard model gets a taller screen for the highway. Both are adjustable in h with a tool.

    Electronics are identical on both models, except Rally mode is optional on the standard model and included on the R model. Tires also differ, with the R model getting off-road-biased Metzeler Karoo 3s and the standard 790 getting more street-oriented Avon Trailriders. In addition, the standard model has a shorter wheelbase for better maneuverability (1,509 mm vs. 1,528 mm), while the longer wheelbase on the R gives it better high-speed stability.

    First Look

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    Fit and finish are top notch and all 790 Adventures are being built at KTM’s Austrian plant – including the motor.

    Our first opportunity to get some seat time during the press launch came on the standard KTM 790 Adventure. The seat h feels low, giving the bike even more of a small bike feel compared to other mid-sized ADV bikes. Adjusting the seat to the high position was incredibly easy, which provided a more comfortable knee bend for my longer legs. Bar clamps allow six positions of adjustment for the handlebar to further optimize rider ergonomics. And wide platform footpegs can be run with vibration damping rubber inserts for a smoother ride or without for extra grip off-road.

    KTM 790 Adventure Motorcycle

    The bike has nice dirt bike ergos for both sitting down and standing positions, and it’s a shorter reach to the bars than on its LC8 predecessors. The low-profile tank also lets you slide forward on the seat to get more weight over the front wheel. Standing on the pegs, the bars are a nice h even for tall riders and there is plenty of room for your knees and calves to move around.


  9. Published on 03.07.2019

    Leatt just announced the launch of their brand-new range of goggles. The name Leatt is synonymous with protection, so you can bet they look at goggles with an eye on maximum safety. And you can bet they are serious about it — their new Velocity 6.5 goggles are bulletproof. Yes, literally bulletproof – tested to military ballistic impact standards (MIL-DTL-43511D).

    Yet the new Velocity 6.5 goggles do more than just protect your eyes from stray bullets, or the vicious roost of your buddy’s KTM 1090. They also feature dual pane anti-fog lenses with a 170° of visual range. What’s more, they come in a number of different colors and several different lens tint options are available. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to clip-in/out the lenses when you need to swap or clean them. Better yet, they come with a dual-density frame for a perfect fit, seal and comfort.

    Leatt Velocity 6.5 Goggles


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    Leatt Velocity 6.5 Goggles

    The Velocity range consists of three types of goggles, namely the 6.5 Iriz, the 6.5 and the 6.5 Roll-Off goggles. The 6.5 Iriz is available in six colorways and has an MSRP of $89.99, the 6.5 in seven colors at $79.99, and the Roll-Off in four colors for $99.99. There are also nine anti-fog lenses ranging from 20-83% Visible Light Transmission (VLT), with prices starting at $9.99-$24.99.

    We’ve already begun testing a pair and we can attest that they are some of the best fitting, most comfortable, goggles we’ve ever worn. And if they can stop a bullet (we’ll take their word for it), we expect them to be super durable too. Stay tuned for more details!


  10. Published on 03.06.2019

    Eric Hougen, owner of Wolfman Luggage gives us a demo of their new Un-Rack system – a unique rackless luggage system that lets you adjust the size of your bags to different types of rides.

    It starts with a base mount that attaches straight to the bike with 3 straps. Then you can pick and choose, mix and match, different bags to strap onto the base in various configurations depending on your needs.

    Wolfman Unrack Motorcycle Luggage System

    The Unrack system lets you customize your luggage capacity and configuration to suit your needs.

    ADV Pulse recently teamed up with Wolfman to offer a sweet deal on a Limited-Edition UnRack Luggage Set that includes three sand-colored 303 Large Rolie Bags with the Unrack B-Base mount system, for a total carrying capacity of 51 liters. You can customize your kit for your trips by running just two Rolies as saddle bags, a single tail bag, or add additional bags in a stacked configuration for longer adventures.


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    This versatile luggage system is built tough for off-road travel, utilizing heavy-duty buckles, straps and D-Rings to keep your gear locked down tight in technical terrain. The exclusive sand-colored 303 Rolies have a 1000D Cordura shell, and include waterproof inner bags that make packing and transporting gear to camp a breeze. Plus it’s all 100% made in the USA!

    Adventure Motorcycle

    Right now you can get $40 off when you buy the set (sand-colored bags and base) or you can buy the bags individually at the standard price. This is a limited time offer with a limited quantity, so get them while they last!

    Shopping Options

    Photo by Jon Beck


  11. BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Take a peek at this stunning, custom BMW R100GS. It’s sleek, poised and purposeful. It’s light and agile, yet tough and capable. It’s the kind of bike that could carry you to a rally from several countries away, through dunes and rocks and mud bogs, put up solid numbers in the race itself, then carry you several countries away again. It oozes old-school adventure as interpreted by a master craftsman.

    It’s the bike BMW should have built at some point during the four-decade history of the GS, but didn’t. Enter Gregor Halenda and his BMW project bike. It’s an interesting story.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Halenda is a professional photographer who started building custom bikes in 1998 after totaling his BMW R90S in a crash. He had just purchased a beautiful one-off polished aluminum fuel tank for it and didn’t want it to go to waste. A friend taught him machining and welding basics and he turned the bent BMW into a cafe racer that looked as good as it performed. Form and function had to merge on the project and that’s been the motivation behind his seven or eight builds since. One of his notable collaborations was the AWD KTM 950 Super Enduro built for REV’IT!. “My feeling then, and now, is that adventure bikes are the most relevant and interesting bikes to work with,” Halenda said.


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    BMWs have been a passion for him since he was a kid. A neighbor’s R69S clocked 200,000 miles, which impressed him, and when Gregor’s father passed a few years ago he inherited his BMW with 294,000 miles on it. “[Older] BMWs are over built, simple and smartly designed,” he said. “I love the sound, the maintenance-free drive shaft and the look of the cylinders in the wind. They’re cool.”

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    He first saw this R100GS on Bike-urious – a website that showcases unique motorcycles for sale. The previous owner, from Canada, modified the frame and built the tanks. Once again, it was the lovely polished aluminum tanks that started the wheels turning. “The tanks were the thing I loved most of all as they looked just like the sketches I’d done for REV’IT! but didn’t use,” he said.

    A buyer from California snapped up the bike before Halenda could. A couple months later, Halenda followed up with the new owner to see how he liked it and learned the guy was having trouble getting it titled, and that there were mechanical issues. He sold it to Halenda.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    The bike turned out to be a bit of a heap. The engine burned a quart of oil every 100 miles, the brakes were marginal, the suspension worn out and the electrical system a mess. Even the tanks were more form than function: they leaked water into the fuel.

    In the last year, Halenda has remade the bike top to bottom, front to back. He rebuilt the engine from the crank out, modified the frame to reposition the bodywork, machined a custom stem to fit the 450SX triple clamps, and swapped in 48mm WP forks from a KTM 690 Enduro R. The bike now sports over 11 inches of suspension travel, an increase from the previous 9 inches. The BMW also features Brembo calipers with custom stainless-steel brake lines. In the rear, he replaced the driveshaft, rear end and brakes.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Halenda’s decision to run a large 140/80-18 rear tire forced him to cut the swingarm apart and modify the mount. “I wanted to run Golden Tyre’s GT723R Rally Raid tires but in order to fit them, I had to cut apart the swingarm and machine a new mount out of billet and then weld this in. This mod took several days but allows me to run the largest wheel/tires ever run on a BMW,” explained Gregor.

    The brake and shift levers are all custom fabricated with precision needle bearings and new linkages. And the tanks got attention as well: Halenda put in new petcocks, fuel necks and caps, and modified the mounts. Together, the three tanks hold a combined eight gallons (30 liters) of fuel.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Fuel capacity speaks to the bike’s purpose: long-distance exploration without sacrificing high-speed, off-road fun. Halenda understood that achieving those often-contradictory goals in a single bike meant shedding as much weight as possible. That was factored into every design decision. The wheels, for example, were built by Woody’s Wheel Works in Colorado with lightweight in mind.

    “The single most important thing to improve on is weight reduction,” he said. “I got the weight of this bike down to 400 pounds, with most of that weight coming off the wheels, the most important place to take off weight. Every pound of rotating weight is worth about three pounds of static weight. The wheels Woody’s Wheel Works made for me knocked off 20 pounds of rotating weight and the bike feels like its lost 100 pounds.”

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    According to Gregor, the bike is now reliable and the handling is much quicker and lighter. “I have geared it down in the back with the lowest rear drive that BMW makes so the acceleration is pretty quick and the torque is really strong. Right now I’m working on the engine with the plan to get another 10 rear wheel horsepower out of the bike. This will give a good power to weight ratio.”

    As well thought out, complete and beautiful as this R100GS is now, it’s really a test mule for Halenda’s next build, which he says will be “the ultimate BMW adventure bike, the bike my father would have wanted when he was 25 years old. Light, powerful, well suspended, simple and exceedingly beautiful. A bike you’d like to look at as you ride around the world.” Target weight on that bike is below 350 pounds, a goal he says is achievable by starting with a custom frame and lighter bodywork.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    “In my mind, adventure bikes are just as amazing a platform for a custom as anything; better in my mind,” says Gregor. When the next bike is fully developed, this one will go up for sale, he said, so stay tuned if you share his vision of what constitutes a great adventure bike. We’ll sure be following!

    Halenda’s Custom BMW R100GS Mods

    Base Bike: Mid 90’s BMW GS
    Engine: Early 80’s BMW R100RS big valve
    Head Work: Baisley High Performance
    Body/tanks: Made by the previous owner from Canada
    Frame: Cut, braced and the engine is raised and tipped
    Driveshaft: R1100GS/R100GS hybrid
    Swingarm: R1100GS cut, sectioned & shock mount repositioned with billet mount to allow 18” tire
    Rear end: R850R 37/11 (lowest possible)
    Brakes: Brembo
    Suspension Travel: 11 inches (279 mm)
    Forks: 48mm WP upside-down 2018 WP forks from a KTM 690R
    Triples: KTM 450SX
    Bars: ProTaper CR High
    Wheels: Woody’s Wheel Works custom billet hubs, Superlight & Superlaced with two part disk rear hub laced with double butted spokes to Excell A60 rims
    Tires: Golden Tyre GT723R Rally Raid in 90/100-21 front and 140/80-18 rear
    Tubes: Tubliss
    Grips Renthal half waffle
    Shift/Brake: Handmade from 304 stainless on precision needle bearings
    Footpegs: Fastway – adapted with custom hardware
    Exhaust: 304 Stainless – handmade
    Electronics/Ignition: Euro MotoElectric (EME) charging system and ignition
    Dash/GPS/Gauges: Trailtech Voyager Pro

    Photos courtesy of Gregor Halenda

    4604c6c362dda161ae1a7cee811096a6?s=80&r=

    Author: Bob Whitby

    Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.


  12. BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Take a peek at this stunning, custom BMW R100GS. It’s sleek, poised and purposeful. It’s light and agile, yet tough and capable. It’s the kind of bike that could carry you to a rally from several countries away, through dunes and rocks and mud bogs, put up solid numbers in the race itself, then carry you several countries away again. It oozes old-school adventure as interpreted by a master craftsman.

    It’s the bike BMW should have built at some point during the four-decade history of the GS, but didn’t. Enter Gregor Halenda and his BMW project bike. It’s an interesting story.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Halenda is a professional photographer who started building custom bikes in 1998 after totaling his BMW R90S in a crash. He had just purchased a beautiful one-off polished aluminum fuel tank for it and didn’t want it to go to waste. A friend taught him machining and welding basics and he turned the bent BMW into a cafe racer that looked as good as it performed. Form and function had to merge on the project and that’s been the motivation behind his seven or eight builds since. One of his notable collaborations was the AWD KTM 950 Super Enduro built for REV’IT!. “My feeling then, and now, is that adventure bikes are the most relevant and interesting bikes to work with,” Halenda said.


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    BMWs have been a passion for him since he was a kid. A neighbor’s R69S clocked 200,000 miles, which impressed him, and when Gregor’s father passed a few years ago he inherited his BMW with 294,000 miles on it. “[Older] BMWs are over built, simple and smartly designed,” he said. “I love the sound, the maintenance-free drive shaft and the look of the cylinders in the wind. They’re cool.”

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    He first saw this R100GS on Bike-urious – a website that showcases unique motorcycles for sale. The previous owner, from Canada, modified the frame and built the tanks. Once again, it was the lovely polished aluminum tanks that started the wheels turning. “The tanks were the thing I loved most of all as they looked just like the sketches I’d done for REV’IT! but didn’t use,” he said.

    A buyer from California snapped up the bike before Halenda could. A couple months later, Halenda followed up with the new owner to see how he liked it and learned the guy was having trouble getting it titled, and that there were mechanical issues. He sold it to Halenda.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    The bike turned out to be a bit of a heap. The engine burned a quart of oil every 100 miles, the brakes were marginal, the suspension worn out and the electrical system a mess. Even the tanks were more form than function: they leaked water into the fuel.

    In the last year, Halenda has remade the bike top to bottom, front to back. He rebuilt the engine from the crank out, modified the frame to reposition the bodywork, machined a custom stem to fit the 450SX triple clamps, and swapped in 48mm WP forks from a KTM 690 Enduro R. The bike now sports over 11 inches of suspension travel, an increase from the previous 9 inches. The BMW also features Brembo calipers with custom stainless-steel brake lines. In the rear, he replaced the driveshaft, rear end and brakes.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Halenda’s decision to run a large 140/80-18 rear tire forced him to cut the swingarm apart and modify the mount. “I wanted to run Golden Tyre’s GT723R Rally Raid tires but in order to fit them, I had to cut apart the swingarm and machine a new mount out of billet and then weld this in. This mod took several days but allows me to run the largest wheel/tires ever run on a BMW,” explained Gregor.

    The brake and shift levers are all custom fabricated with precision needle bearings and new linkages. And the tanks got attention as well: Halenda put in new petcocks, fuel necks and caps, and modified the mounts. Together, the three tanks hold a combined eight gallons (30 liters) of fuel.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    Fuel capacity speaks to the bike’s purpose: long-distance exploration without sacrificing high-speed, off-road fun. Halenda understood that achieving those often-contradictory goals in a single bike meant shedding as much weight as possible. That was factored into every design decision. The wheels, for example, were built by Woody’s Wheel Works in Colorado with lightweight in mind.

    “The single most important thing to improve on is weight reduction,” he said. “I got the weight of this bike down to 400 pounds, with most of that weight coming off the wheels, the most important place to take off weight. Every pound of rotating weight is worth about three pounds of static weight. The wheels Woody’s Wheel Works made for me knocked off 20 pounds of rotating weight and the bike feels like its lost 100 pounds.”

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    According to Gregor, the bike is now reliable and the handling is much quicker and lighter. “I have geared it down in the back with the lowest rear drive that BMW makes so the acceleration is pretty quick and the torque is really strong. Right now I’m working on the engine with the plan to get another 10 rear wheel horsepower out of the bike. This will give a good power to weight ratio.”

    As well thought out, complete and beautiful as this R100GS is now, it’s really a test mule for Halenda’s next build, which he says will be “the ultimate BMW adventure bike, the bike my father would have wanted when he was 25 years old. Light, powerful, well suspended, simple and exceedingly beautiful. A bike you’d like to look at as you ride around the world.” Target weight on that bike is below 350 pounds, a goal he says is achievable by starting with a custom frame and lighter bodywork.

    BMW R100GS Bike Build

    “In my mind, adventure bikes are just as amazing a platform for a custom as anything; better in my mind,” says Gregor. When the next bike is fully developed, this one will go up for sale, he said, so stay tuned if you share his vision of what constitutes a great adventure bike. We’ll sure be following!

    Halenda’s Custom BMW R100GS Mods

    Base Bike: Mid 90’s BMW GS
    Engine: Early 80’s BMW R100RS big valve
    Head Work: Baisley High Performance
    Body/tanks: Made by the previous owner from Canada
    Frame: Cut, braced and the engine is raised and tipped
    Driveshaft: R1100GS/R100GS hybrid
    Swingarm: R1100GS cut, sectioned & shock mount repositioned with billet mount to allow 18” tire
    Rear end: R850R 37/11 (lowest possible)
    Brakes: Brembo
    Suspension Travel: 11 inches (279 mm)
    Forks: 48mm WP upside-down 2018 WP forks from a KTM 690R
    Triples: KTM 450SX
    Bars: ProTaper CR High
    Wheels: Woody’s Wheel Works custom billet hubs, Superlight & Superlaced with two part disk rear hub laced with double butted spokes to Excell A60 rims
    Tires: Golden Tyre GT723R Rally Raid in 90/100-21 front and 140/80-18 rear
    Tubes: Tubliss
    Grips Renthal half waffle
    Shift/Brake: Handmade from 304 stainless on precision needle bearings
    Footpegs: Fastway – adapted with custom hardware
    Exhaust: 304 Stainless – handmade
    Electronics/Ignition: Euro MotoElectric (EME) charging system and ignition
    Dash/GPS/Gauges: Trailtech Voyager Pro

    Photos courtesy of Gregor Halenda

    4604c6c362dda161ae1a7cee811096a6?s=80&r=

    Author: Bob Whitby

    Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.


  13. Yamaha-Tenere-700-Adventure-Motorcycle-5

    Back in November, we learned the highly-anticipated Tenere 700 would become available as a 2019 model (in Europe only) with just a rough delivery date and no pricing. Today Yamaha Motor Europe has more news about their all-new adventure bike — confirming details about pricing, priority ordering and delivery dates. After a long, drawn-out wait, Christmas is almost here for fans of the rally bike-inspired machine.

    Be Among the First Tenere 700 Owners

    On March 27th 2019 at 14:00 CET, Yamaha will launch an Online Ordering System for Europe. The first deliveries of the Tenere 700 planned in July of 2019 will be allocated to customers who order online on a first-come first-served basis. Those who order online will also receive a special discounted price of €9,299 (£8399) for the standard model. This price is exclusively for online orders and applies until the online system closes on July 31st 2019.

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Adventure Motorcycle


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    The Online Ordering System will enable customers to confirm their order for a variety of Tenere 700 options, which will be available in the full power specification and in a restricted 47 horsepower (35kW) version. Both versions will be available in three colors: Ceramic Ice, Competition White or Power Black.

    After supplying the initial batch of online orders, Yamaha will commence delivery of the Tenere 700 to dealerships across Europe from September 2019 at the standard price of €9,699 (£8699).

    U.S. Availability

    No information about an early ordering system has been given for the U.S. at this time. Due to differing government regulatory standards and factory production line schedules, the Tenere 700 is scheduled to arrive at U.S. dealerships a year later in the second half of 2020. And while Europe receives three color options, so far, it seems Ceramic Ice will be the only color available for the U.S. market.

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Adventure Motorcycle

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Key Features

    • High-torque 689cc four-stroke CP2 parallel twin-cylinder engine

    • Adjustable 43mm upside down coil-spring forks with long-travel (210mm)

    • Remotely adjustable link-type rear suspension with 200mm of travel

    • Compact rally-style cockpit with tapered handlebars

    • 452 lbs (205 kg) wet weight

    • 21-inch/18-inch lightweight spoked wheels with adventure tires

    • Average 358+km (217 mile) fuel range

    • Switchable ABS option

    • 880mm seat h

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Options

    To further optimize the versatility and look, Yamaha will release a wide range of Genuine Accessories for the Tenere 700. The line-up will include luggage options and several other items to enable riders to travel further in comfort and convenience. Yamaha will also offer several rally-oriented items to further sharpen the bike’s off-road capability.

    For more details and specs go here.


  14. Yamaha-Tenere-700-Adventure-Motorcycle-5

    Back in November, we learned the highly-anticipated Tenere 700 would become available as a 2019 model (in Europe only) with just a rough delivery date and no pricing. Today Yamaha Motor Europe has more news about their all-new adventure bike — confirming details about pricing, priority ordering and delivery dates. After a long, drawn-out wait, Christmas is almost here for fans of the rally bike-inspired machine.

    Be Among the First Tenere 700 Owners

    On March 27th 2019 at 14:00 CET, Yamaha will launch an Online Ordering System for Europe. The first deliveries of the Tenere 700 planned in July of 2019 will be allocated to customers who order online on a first-come first-served basis. Those who order online will also receive a special discounted price of €9,299 (£8399) for the standard model. This price is exclusively for online orders and applies until the online system closes on July 31st 2019.

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Adventure Motorcycle


    ADVERTISEMENT

    The Online Ordering System will enable customers to confirm their order for a variety of Tenere 700 options, which will be available in the full power specification and in a restricted 47 horsepower (35kW) version. Both versions will be available in three colors: Ceramic Ice, Competition White or Power Black.

    After supplying the initial batch of online orders, Yamaha will commence delivery of the Tenere 700 to dealerships across Europe from September 2019 at the standard price of €9,699 (£8699).

    U.S. Availability

    No information about an early ordering system has been given for the U.S. at this time. Due to differing government regulatory standards and factory production line schedules, the Tenere 700 is scheduled to arrive at U.S. dealerships a year later in the second half of 2020. And while Europe receives three color options, so far, it seems Ceramic Ice will be the only color available for the U.S. market.

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Adventure Motorcycle

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Key Features

    • High-torque 689cc four-stroke CP2 parallel twin-cylinder engine

    • Adjustable 43mm upside down coil-spring forks with long-travel (210mm)

    • Remotely adjustable link-type rear suspension with 200mm of travel

    • Compact rally-style cockpit with tapered handlebars

    • 452 lbs (205 kg) wet weight

    • 21-inch/18-inch lightweight spoked wheels with adventure tires

    • Average 358+km (217 mile) fuel range

    • Switchable ABS option

    • 880mm seat h

    Yamaha Tenere 700 Options

    To further optimize the versatility and look, Yamaha will release a wide range of Genuine Accessories for the Tenere 700. The line-up will include luggage options and several other items to enable riders to travel further in comfort and convenience. Yamaha will also offer several rally-oriented items to further sharpen the bike’s off-road capability.

    For more details and specs go here.


  15. Motorcycle-Soft-Bags.jpg

    Still on the fence about what kind of luggage to use? Hard and soft luggage both have their advantages and disadvantages, but here are 10 good reasons to embrace the soft side of the debate:

    1. Big or Small, Same Bags

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    There’s a limit to how much you can stuff into any bag, of course. But soft bags expand and contract with the load. Just carrying a few things for a day trip? Roll the top down a couple extra times and they compress. Out for a couple weeks? Do the opposite and you’ve got more space. This also comes in handy when you find something on the road you just have to bring home with you, though as we note below, exercise self-restraint. Weight is not your friend.

    2. The Soft Side

    Advantages of Soft Luggage


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    When the going gets tough and the tough starts falling over, the last thing you want is a leg pinned under a hard case. Also, think of all the times you’ve caught a foot on something in slow going, or left one planted just a little too long while paddling in deep sand, and had your leg jerked backwards into your luggage. That’s painful with soft luggage, but potentially a broken bone or twisted ankle with hard cases.

    3. Exterior Pockets

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    Many soft luggage systems have pockets to carry items conveniently outside the bag itself, things like wet clothing, sandals, a quart of oil, etc. That’s also great for carrying stuff you need to access quickly, like rain gear or water bottles.

    4. Travel Light

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    As an adventure-riding philosophy, it’s a good idea to embrace minimalism. You can ride a heavily-loaded bike off the pavement, people do it all the time, but it just isn’t as much fun as riding a lighter bike. Soft bags are lighter than hard bags to begin with and some don’t require racks, saving more weight.

    5. Sweet Dreams

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    If you take traveling light to the extreme and decide to jettison your pillow, a soft bag makes a nice substitute. Just fill it with some soft stuff (your clothes, for example), scrunch it up and off to dream land you go.

    6. Handy Camp Mat

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    Use one as a doormat to keep your tent from getting dirty. Turn your bike’s front wheel all the way to the stop, throw your soft bag down in front of it and you’ve got a reclining seat that will keep your pants dry and clean, and you can leave the camp chair at home.

    7. On Foot

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    Soft luggage can double as a backpack when you’re spending time off the bike. Some brands even come with arm straps for this purpose, which makes them great as carry-on airplane bags, a convenient way to move stuff from your bike to a hotel room or tent, or as way to carry your lunch and a camera on a hike. If worse comes to worse and you have to walk out of the bush with only what you can carry, would you rather have a soft bag or an aluminum case strapped to your back?

    8. Lane Splitting

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    If you are lucky enough to ride in a place where lane splitting and filtering are legal, or at least tolerated, the lower profile of most soft bags is your friend. Some, but not all, hard cases are wider than an adventure bike’s handlebars, a situation that would make riding between slower cars interesting to say the least. You’re also less likely to damage someone’s car if you brush it with your soft bag versus your aluminum cases.

    9. Easy Storage

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    When not on the bike, soft luggage takes up less space in the garage or closet. Just fold it up and tuck them on a shelf or in a corner. Hard cases are the same size on and off the bike: big.

    10. Cost

    Advantages of Soft Luggage

    Last but certainly not least, soft bags are generally less expensive than a hard case system, meaning more money in your pocket to extend that trip, buy that extra farkle, upgrade your riding gear or just save for a rainy (non-riding) day.

    How else have you reaped the benefits of soft bags or gotten creative in finding different uses? Share your own tips in the comments below!

    Photos by Stephen Gregory and Spencer Hill

    4604c6c362dda161ae1a7cee811096a6?s=80&r=

    Author: Bob Whitby

    Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.


  16. Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Adventure Motorcycle

    When the Africa Twin was first introduced, it was touted as the ideal big-bore adventure bike – a perfect balance between small dual sports and touring behemoths. Since then, the adventure bike class has expanded rapidly with options and even more promise (KTM 790 Adventure & Yamaha Tenere 700 I’m looking at you!). And yet, even with challengers, the AT still has a place and definite purpose.

    As hype for the new Honda cascaded through the adventure community before its release in 2016, Cory Hanson, owner of Camel ADV, knew that it was the logical next bike to focus his company’s product development efforts on. Not only would it be vital for research & development in producing aftermarket parts but also for progressing his personal racing and travel aspirations.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    As the joke goes: How do you know that someone rode around the world? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you… This could not be further from the truth with Cory Hanson, who has been designing parts for adventure motorcycles since completing a RTW trip in 2009. Cory is a seasoned adventure rider who has traversed routes around the globe that most of us will only ever dream of. Each year, he also competes in large-displacement off-road racing events, attends many of the top adventure rallies, and still finds time to run his rapidly expanding business.


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    When the Camel ADV team took delivery of their 2016 Africa Twin (Manual), they immediately started taking steps to make it live up to its full potential off-road. This was done to bring effective products to market and also out of necessity for the thrashing they had in store for this particular bike. The following are products Camel ADV has developed for the Africa Twin to turn it into a more durable and capable adventure machine:

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Identified early on in testing of the CRF1000L was the real danger of shearing off the right foot peg on a rock. This might sound trivial enough, but it is, in fact, a severe liability. For one, losing a foot peg in a remote area and not being able to stand can present a real challenge if not a safety issue. Secondly, replacing a broken peg on this side of the bike is not a simple procedure, it requires removing the exhaust header and is quite labor intensive. The solution that the team came up with is what they named the Camel Brace. This small skid plate made of ¼” thick aluminum protects the vulnerable aluminum peg perch from impacts while also providing much-needed reinforcement. This was not a simple equation since the part does quadruple duty as a peg mount, an exhaust hanger, center stand stop, and rear brake pedal pivot. Camel ADV are confident enough in this product that a money back guarantee is offered if you manage to break a peg with the Camel Brace installed.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Through customer interaction and online feedback, it was discovered that the factory windscreen brackets were regularly cracking. The other common complaint about the windscreen bracket is that it’s the perfect place to mount a GPS unit or phone, but a lack of support means vibration is a problem. Like the right side foot peg on this bike, it seems like replacement of the windscreen bracket would be a snap, but it too is a significant undertaking that requires nearly the whole front end be disassembled. With no solution on the market, the collective mind of Camel ADV set about creating what would become the Africa Twin Windscreen Brace. This innovative product supports the stock bracket to prevent failure and provides an even better place for mounting GPS units or other electronics.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    While competing in the 24-hour endurance race at Starvation Ridge, the Camel ADV Africa Twin was immobilized by mud that accumulated in the front fender and wholly prohibited the wheel from turning. After an extraction that involved a flatbed trailer, a side-by-side, and ridiculous frustration, development began on a high fender kit almost immediately. This too turned out to be a complex product to generate and was not a simple matter of slapping on a motocross style fender. It required designing a new brake manifold, custom stainless braided brake lines, brackets, and mounting hardware. The end product is a very tidy solution that is easy to install and gives you the ability to mount a wide variety of fenders. Most importantly it removes the risk of rendering your Africa Twin motionless due to packed mud between the tire & fender.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    This was the first and most natural addition to the Camel ADV Africa Twin, since it was the product that launched the brand. It also made a whole lot of sense since the usable fuel range on an Africa Twin is less than ideal for true adventure travel. This auxiliary fuel tank occupies otherwise unused space between the body of the bike and inside of the luggage rack. It provides 1.7 gallons of extra capacity that translates to 62-93 additional miles of adventuring! The Camel Tank is vacuum fed, requiring no auxiliary pump and no permanent changes to your motorcycle. It is vacuum supplied through the main tank vent and empties itself as the level of the stock tank lowers. With a seamless roto-molded body made of extra tough XLPE plastic, it’s adventure ready and built to last the life of your motorcycle. Worry less about where the next fueling station is and focus more on the road (or trail) ahead!

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    The OEM side stand is another known weak point established by several cases of snapped or bent units. The stock aluminum kickstand has brittle tendencies that render it mostly useless for pivoting the bike in close quarters or breaking the bead on a tire. The Camel Toe replaces the cast aluminum OEM stand with a robust steel assembly that won’t fail under normal riding conditions. It also negates the need for an aftermarket side stand foot by coming equipped with a sizable pad welded in place. Like all of his products, it has been tested under extreme conditions to ensure that it would never let any customer down.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Any Africa Twin owner that ventures off pavement will tell you the stock pegs aren’t suitable for real off-road use. Camel ADV’s goal with this product was to make pegs that were beneficial for all riders improving traction and providing more square footage for long stretches on your feet. They accomplished both goals doubling the surface area over stock Honda pegs and drastically enhancing grip with 17 stainless steel cleats. Another useful feature is the large cut-outs surrounding the cleats to make sure they stay free of mud. The BigFoot Pegs are one of Camel ADV’s coolest looking products which is a bonus considering their functionality. Their size makes it very easy to transfer weight at your feet and control the bike off-road. Also, your boots have a better chance of staying where you want them during water crossings or when things get rough.

    Beyond the parts offered by Camel ADV, this Africa Twin also features several products by other top manufactures to round out its adventure prowess:

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Stock suspension just wasn’t up to snuff for what the Camel ADV crew had planned for this AT. The front forks were swapped with custom tuned (by Al Dyck at Too Trick Racing) 48mm KYB SSS forks from a Yamaha YZ450F, increasing the travel to 10.2 inches (260mm). Camel ADV tailor made a billet axial to radial mounting bracket for the stock front brake caliper, along with a billet speed sensor mounting bracket for the front wheel. The rear shock was custom built by TFX Suspension utilizing an oversized reservoir to reduce heat fade during aggressive riding, and an extended piston for improved damping. An extended shaft also increased travel to 10.0 inches (255mm). The result of all this witchcraft is one of the most off-road capable Africa Twin’s in circulation; with the kind of plush ride usually reserved for rally bikes.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Constructed of superior materials with the off-road rider in mind, the Seat Concepts Rally Seat was an obvious upgrade from the OEM saddle. Its tall h; ergonomic shape and improved comfort make it ideal for long hauls. Another benefit of the tall seat is that it is equal in h to the rear seat allowing for more surface area and unimpeded movement in rough conditions. Red stitching is a nice touch with a subtle nod to the AT’s original color scheme.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    The OEM headlights on the CRF1000L only go so far in the dead of night, so Cyclops Pegasus LED’s were mounted neatly on the upper crash bars. These compact and rugged auxiliary lights put out 4,800 lumens with a 300-foot range. Perfect for garnering attention from distracted drivers during the day and being able to see the terrain ahead at night.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    No product used on this bike has seen more abuse than the SW Motech skid plate. Time and time again, it has taken a beating then come back for more, demonstrating its importance each time. This particular belly pan was chosen due to its simple design, ability to remove & install quickly for maintenance, and comprehensive coverage.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Dirt naps are inevitable when you are riding on the edge, in those instances, Cory didn’t want to destroy expensive plastics or worse. With protection in mind, AltRider upper and lower crash bars were selected. Built from 1 ¼’’ thick stainless steel lowers and 1’’ uppers secured to optimal mounting points, makes this one of the most comprehensive protection options available for the Africa Twin. With multiple crash tests at speed and no broken body panels or engine cases yet, it’s safe to say they were the right choice.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Camel ADV Africa Twin Build List

    Photos by Spencer Hill and Camel ADV

    7c4ceabff7b7846d139fb2b60ef498ed?s=80&r=

    Author: Spencer Hill

    “The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.


  17. Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Adventure Motorcycle

    When the Africa Twin was first introduced, it was touted as the ideal big-bore adventure bike – a perfect balance between small dual sports and touring behemoths. Since then, the adventure bike class has expanded rapidly with options and even more promise (KTM 790 Adventure & Yamaha Tenere 700 I’m looking at you!). And yet, even with challengers, the AT still has a place and definite purpose.

    As hype for the new Honda cascaded through the adventure community before its release in 2016, Cory Hanson, owner of Camel ADV, knew that it was the logical next bike to focus his company’s product development efforts on. Not only would it be vital for research & development in producing aftermarket parts but also for progressing his personal racing and travel aspirations.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    As the joke goes: How do you know that someone rode around the world? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you… This could not be further from the truth with Cory Hanson, who has been designing parts for adventure motorcycles since completing a RTW trip in 2009. Cory is a seasoned adventure rider who has traversed routes around the globe that most of us will only ever dream of. Each year, he also competes in large-displacement off-road racing events, attends many of the top adventure rallies, and still finds time to run his rapidly expanding business.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    When the Camel ADV team took delivery of their 2016 Africa Twin (Manual), they immediately started taking steps to make it live up to its full potential off-road. This was done to bring effective products to market and also out of necessity for the thrashing they had in store for this particular bike. The following are products Camel ADV has developed for the Africa Twin to turn it into a more durable and capable adventure machine:

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Identified early on in testing of the CRF1000L was the real danger of shearing off the right foot peg on a rock. This might sound trivial enough, but it is, in fact, a severe liability. For one, losing a foot peg in a remote area and not being able to stand can present a real challenge if not a safety issue. Secondly, replacing a broken peg on this side of the bike is not a simple procedure, it requires removing the exhaust header and is quite labor intensive. The solution that the team came up with is what they named the Camel Brace. This small skid plate made of ¼” thick aluminum protects the vulnerable aluminum peg perch from impacts while also providing much-needed reinforcement. This was not a simple equation since the part does quadruple duty as a peg mount, an exhaust hanger, center stand stop, and rear brake pedal pivot. Camel ADV are confident enough in this product that a money back guarantee is offered if you manage to break a peg with the Camel Brace installed.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Through customer interaction and online feedback, it was discovered that the factory windscreen brackets were regularly cracking. The other common complaint about the windscreen bracket is that it’s the perfect place to mount a GPS unit or phone, but a lack of support means vibration is a problem. Like the right side foot peg on this bike, it seems like replacement of the windscreen bracket would be a snap, but it too is a significant undertaking that requires nearly the whole front end be disassembled. With no solution on the market, the collective mind of Camel ADV set about creating what would become the Africa Twin Windscreen Brace. This innovative product supports the stock bracket to prevent failure and provides an even better place for mounting GPS units or other electronics.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    While competing in the 24-hour endurance race at Starvation Ridge, the Camel ADV Africa Twin was immobilized by mud that accumulated in the front fender and wholly prohibited the wheel from turning. After an extraction that involved a flatbed trailer, a side-by-side, and ridiculous frustration, development began on a high fender kit almost immediately. This too turned out to be a complex product to generate and was not a simple matter of slapping on a motocross style fender. It required designing a new brake manifold, custom stainless braided brake lines, brackets, and mounting hardware. The end product is a very tidy solution that is easy to install and gives you the ability to mount a wide variety of fenders. Most importantly it removes the risk of rendering your Africa Twin motionless due to packed mud between the tire & fender.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    This was the first and most natural addition to the Camel ADV Africa Twin, since it was the product that launched the brand. It also made a whole lot of sense since the usable fuel range on an Africa Twin is less than ideal for true adventure travel. This auxiliary fuel tank occupies otherwise unused space between the body of the bike and inside of the luggage rack. It provides 1.7 gallons of extra capacity that translates to 62-93 additional miles of adventuring! The Camel Tank is vacuum fed, requiring no auxiliary pump and no permanent changes to your motorcycle. It is vacuum supplied through the main tank vent and empties itself as the level of the stock tank lowers. With a seamless roto-molded body made of extra tough XLPE plastic, it’s adventure ready and built to last the life of your motorcycle. Worry less about where the next fueling station is and focus more on the road (or trail) ahead!

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    The OEM side stand is another known weak point established by several cases of snapped or bent units. The stock aluminum kickstand has brittle tendencies that render it mostly useless for pivoting the bike in close quarters or breaking the bead on a tire. The Camel Toe replaces the cast aluminum OEM stand with a robust steel assembly that won’t fail under normal riding conditions. It also negates the need for an aftermarket side stand foot by coming equipped with a sizable pad welded in place. Like all of his products, it has been tested under extreme conditions to ensure that it would never let any customer down.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Any Africa Twin owner that ventures off pavement will tell you the stock pegs aren’t suitable for real off-road use. Camel ADV’s goal with this product was to make pegs that were beneficial for all riders improving traction and providing more square footage for long stretches on your feet. They accomplished both goals doubling the surface area over stock Honda pegs and drastically enhancing grip with 17 stainless steel cleats. Another useful feature is the large cut-outs surrounding the cleats to make sure they stay free of mud. The BigFoot Pegs are one of Camel ADV’s coolest looking products which is a bonus considering their functionality. Their size makes it very easy to transfer weight at your feet and control the bike off-road. Also, your boots have a better chance of staying where you want them during water crossings or when things get rough.

    Beyond the parts offered by Camel ADV, this Africa Twin also features several products by other top manufactures to round out its adventure prowess:

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Stock suspension just wasn’t up to snuff for what the Camel ADV crew had planned for this AT. The front forks were swapped with custom tuned (by Al Dyck at Too Trick Racing) 48mm KYB SSS forks from a Yamaha YZ450F, increasing the travel to 10.2 inches (260mm). Camel ADV tailor made a billet axial to radial mounting bracket for the stock front brake caliper, along with a billet speed sensor mounting bracket for the front wheel. The rear shock was custom built by TFX Suspension utilizing an oversized reservoir to reduce heat fade during aggressive riding, and an extended piston for improved damping. An extended shaft also increased travel to 10.0 inches (255mm). The result of all this witchcraft is one of the most off-road capable Africa Twin’s in circulation; with the kind of plush ride usually reserved for rally bikes.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Constructed of superior materials with the off-road rider in mind, the Seat Concepts Rally Seat was an obvious upgrade from the OEM saddle. Its tall h; ergonomic shape and improved comfort make it ideal for long hauls. Another benefit of the tall seat is that it is equal in h to the rear seat allowing for more surface area and unimpeded movement in rough conditions. Red stitching is a nice touch with a subtle nod to the AT’s original color scheme.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    The OEM headlights on the CRF1000L only go so far in the dead of night, so Cyclops Pegasus LED’s were mounted neatly on the upper crash bars. These compact and rugged auxiliary lights put out 4,800 lumens with a 300-foot range. Perfect for garnering attention from distracted drivers during the day and being able to see the terrain ahead at night.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    No product used on this bike has seen more abuse than the SW Motech skid plate. Time and time again, it has taken a beating then come back for more, demonstrating its importance each time. This particular belly pan was chosen due to its simple design, ability to remove & install quickly for maintenance, and comprehensive coverage.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Dirt naps are inevitable when you are riding on the edge, in those instances, Cory didn’t want to destroy expensive plastics or worse. With protection in mind, AltRider upper and lower crash bars were selected. Built from 1 ¼’’ thick stainless steel lowers and 1’’ uppers secured to optimal mounting points, makes this one of the most comprehensive protection options available for the Africa Twin. With multiple crash tests at speed and no broken body panels or engine cases yet, it’s safe to say they were the right choice.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Camel ADV Africa Twin Build List

    Photos by Spencer Hill and Camel ADV

    7c4ceabff7b7846d139fb2b60ef498ed?s=80&r=

    Author: Spencer Hill

    “The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.


  18. Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Adventure Motorcycle

    When the Africa Twin was first introduced, it was touted as the ideal big-bore adventure bike – a perfect balance between small dual sports and touring behemoths. Since then, the adventure bike class has expanded rapidly with options and even more promise (KTM 790 Adventure & Yamaha Tenere 700 I’m looking at you!). And yet, even with challengers, the AT still has a place and definite purpose.

    As hype for the new Honda cascaded through the adventure community before its release in 2016, Cory Hanson, owner of Camel ADV, knew that it was the logical next bike to focus his company’s product development efforts on. Not only would it be vital for research & development in producing aftermarket parts but also for progressing his personal racing and travel aspirations.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    As the joke goes: How do you know that someone rode around the world? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you… This could not be further from the truth with Cory Hanson, who has been designing parts for adventure motorcycles since completing a RTW trip in 2009. Cory is a seasoned adventure rider who has traversed routes around the globe that most of us will only ever dream of. Each year, he also competes in large-displacement off-road racing events, attends many of the top adventure rallies, and still finds time to run his rapidly expanding business.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    When the Camel ADV team took delivery of their 2016 Africa Twin (Manual), they immediately started taking steps to make it live up to its full potential off-road. This was done to bring effective products to market and also out of necessity for the thrashing they had in store for this particular bike. The following are products Camel ADV has developed for the Africa Twin to turn it into a more durable and capable adventure machine:

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Identified early on in testing of the CRF1000L was the real danger of shearing off the right foot peg on a rock. This might sound trivial enough, but it is, in fact, a severe liability. For one, losing a foot peg in a remote area and not being able to stand can present a real challenge if not a safety issue. Secondly, replacing a broken peg on this side of the bike is not a simple procedure, it requires removing the exhaust header and is quite labor intensive. The solution that the team came up with is what they named the Camel Brace. This small skid plate made of ¼” thick aluminum protects the vulnerable aluminum peg perch from impacts while also providing much-needed reinforcement. This was not a simple equation since the part does quadruple duty as a peg mount, an exhaust hanger, center stand stop, and rear brake pedal pivot. Camel ADV are confident enough in this product that a money back guarantee is offered if you manage to break a peg with the Camel Brace installed.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Through customer interaction and online feedback, it was discovered that the factory windscreen brackets were regularly cracking. The other common complaint about the windscreen bracket is that it’s the perfect place to mount a GPS unit or phone, but a lack of support means vibration is a problem. Like the right side foot peg on this bike, it seems like replacement of the windscreen bracket would be a snap, but it too is a significant undertaking that requires nearly the whole front end be disassembled. With no solution on the market, the collective mind of Camel ADV set about creating what would become the Africa Twin Windscreen Brace. This innovative product supports the stock bracket to prevent failure and provides an even better place for mounting GPS units or other electronics.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    While competing in the 24-hour endurance race at Starvation Ridge, the Camel ADV Africa Twin was immobilized by mud that accumulated in the front fender and wholly prohibited the wheel from turning. After an extraction that involved a flatbed trailer, a side-by-side, and ridiculous frustration, development began on a high fender kit almost immediately. This too turned out to be a complex product to generate and was not a simple matter of slapping on a motocross style fender. It required designing a new brake manifold, custom stainless braided brake lines, brackets, and mounting hardware. The end product is a very tidy solution that is easy to install and gives you the ability to mount a wide variety of fenders. Most importantly it removes the risk of rendering your Africa Twin motionless due to packed mud between the tire & fender.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    This was the first and most natural addition to the Camel ADV Africa Twin, since it was the product that launched the brand. It also made a whole lot of sense since the usable fuel range on an Africa Twin is less than ideal for true adventure travel. This auxiliary fuel tank occupies otherwise unused space between the body of the bike and inside of the luggage rack. It provides 1.7 gallons of extra capacity that translates to 62-93 additional miles of adventuring! The Camel Tank is vacuum fed, requiring no auxiliary pump and no permanent changes to your motorcycle. It is vacuum supplied through the main tank vent and empties itself as the level of the stock tank lowers. With a seamless roto-molded body made of extra tough XLPE plastic, it’s adventure ready and built to last the life of your motorcycle. Worry less about where the next fueling station is and focus more on the road (or trail) ahead!

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    The OEM side stand is another known weak point established by several cases of snapped or bent units. The stock aluminum kickstand has brittle tendencies that render it mostly useless for pivoting the bike in close quarters or breaking the bead on a tire. The Camel Toe replaces the cast aluminum OEM stand with a robust steel assembly that won’t fail under normal riding conditions. It also negates the need for an aftermarket side stand foot by coming equipped with a sizable pad welded in place. Like all of his products, it has been tested under extreme conditions to ensure that it would never let any customer down.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Any Africa Twin owner that ventures off pavement will tell you the stock pegs aren’t suitable for real off-road use. Camel ADV’s goal with this product was to make pegs that were beneficial for all riders improving traction and providing more square footage for long stretches on your feet. They accomplished both goals doubling the surface area over stock Honda pegs and drastically enhancing grip with 17 stainless steel cleats. Another useful feature is the large cut-outs surrounding the cleats to make sure they stay free of mud. The BigFoot Pegs are one of Camel ADV’s coolest looking products which is a bonus considering their functionality. Their size makes it very easy to transfer weight at your feet and control the bike off-road. Also, your boots have a better chance of staying where you want them during water crossings or when things get rough.

    Beyond the parts offered by Camel ADV, this Africa Twin also features several products by other top manufactures to round out its adventure prowess:

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Stock suspension just wasn’t up to snuff for what the Camel ADV crew had planned for this AT. The front forks were swapped with custom tuned (by Al Dyck at Too Trick Racing) 48mm KYB SSS forks from a Yamaha YZ450F, increasing the travel to 10.2 inches (260mm). Camel ADV tailor made a billet axial to radial mounting bracket for the stock front brake caliper, along with a billet speed sensor mounting bracket for the front wheel. The rear shock was custom built by TFX Suspension utilizing an oversized reservoir to reduce heat fade during aggressive riding, and an extended piston for improved damping. An extended shaft also increased travel to 10.0 inches (255mm). The result of all this witchcraft is one of the most off-road capable Africa Twin’s in circulation; with the kind of plush ride usually reserved for rally bikes.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Constructed of superior materials with the off-road rider in mind, the Seat Concepts Rally Seat was an obvious upgrade from the OEM saddle. Its tall h; ergonomic shape and improved comfort make it ideal for long hauls. Another benefit of the tall seat is that it is equal in h to the rear seat allowing for more surface area and unimpeded movement in rough conditions. Red stitching is a nice touch with a subtle nod to the AT’s original color scheme.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    The OEM headlights on the CRF1000L only go so far in the dead of night, so Cyclops Pegasus LED’s were mounted neatly on the upper crash bars. These compact and rugged auxiliary lights put out 4,800 lumens with a 300-foot range. Perfect for garnering attention from distracted drivers during the day and being able to see the terrain ahead at night.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    No product used on this bike has seen more abuse than the SW Motech skid plate. Time and time again, it has taken a beating then come back for more, demonstrating its importance each time. This particular belly pan was chosen due to its simple design, ability to remove & install quickly for maintenance, and comprehensive coverage.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Dirt naps are inevitable when you are riding on the edge, in those instances, Cory didn’t want to destroy expensive plastics or worse. With protection in mind, AltRider upper and lower crash bars were selected. Built from 1 ¼’’ thick stainless steel lowers and 1’’ uppers secured to optimal mounting points, makes this one of the most comprehensive protection options available for the Africa Twin. With multiple crash tests at speed and no broken body panels or engine cases yet, it’s safe to say they were the right choice.

    Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Bike Build

    Camel ADV Africa Twin Build List

    Photos by Spencer Hill and Camel ADV

    7c4ceabff7b7846d139fb2b60ef498ed?s=80&r=

    Author: Spencer Hill

    “The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.


  19. Published on 02.18.2019

    Ever since it was first displayed as a concept bike at the 2017 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, the response to the Moto Guzzi V85 TT has been overwhelmingly positive. Fast forward 15 months and potential owners are now handing over cash deposits and scheduling test rides for this much-anticipated machine. So what’s all the excitement about?

    The powerplant is typical Moto Guzzi with a 90° transverse air-cooled V-Twin 853cc engine connected to a shaft drive, but its classic-inspired look is a fresh approach to the techno-modern styling so common in the Adventure Touring segment. It also incorporates an array of advanced rider aids and high-quality components designed to make it more versatile for adventure travel. Plus it offers a more manageable seat h for the Big-Bore Adventure Class. The V85 TT strives for the perfect balance of old-school styling in a modern, functional package — and if the excitement for this bike is any indication, Moto Guzzi may have just hit the sweet spot.

    Moto Guzzi V85TT Adventure Motorcycle

    Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure in Rosso Kalahari.

    At the recent International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, we got an up close look at the V85 TT. We also caught up with Moto Guzzi Public Relations Manager Shane Pacillo to get more details on this much-anticipated machine. Shane gives us a rundown of the different features, options and technology that will be available on the 2019 V85 TT, then shares his opinion on who he thinks this new Moto Guzzi adventure bike will most appeal to when it is released later this Spring.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    The new Moto Guzzi V85 TT is scheduled to be released in the US starting this May for a price of $12,990. In Canada, expect to see it on showroom floors starting in June for a price of $14,990 CAD. Now’s the time to start scheduling a test ride with your local dealer.

    For full specs on the V85 TT, click here.


  20. Published on 02.18.2019

    Ever since it was first displayed as a concept bike at the 2017 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, the response to the Moto Guzzi V85 TT has been overwhelmingly positive. Fast forward 15 months and potential owners are now handing over cash deposits and scheduling test rides for this much-anticipated machine. So what’s all the excitement about?

    The powerplant is typical Moto Guzzi with a 90° transverse air-cooled V-Twin 853cc engine connected to a shaft drive, but its classic-inspired look is a fresh approach to the techno-modern styling so common in the Adventure Touring segment. It also incorporates an array of advanced rider aids and high-quality components designed to make it more versatile for adventure travel. Plus it offers a more manageable seat h for the Big-Bore Adventure Class. The V85 TT strives for the perfect balance of old-school styling in a modern, functional package — and if the excitement for this bike is any indication, Moto Guzzi may have just hit the sweet spot.

    Moto Guzzi V85TT Adventure Motorcycle

    Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure in Rosso Kalahari.

    At the recent International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, we got an up close look at the V85 TT. We also caught up with Moto Guzzi Public Relations Manager Shane Pacillo to get more details on this much-anticipated machine. Shane gives us a rundown of the different features, options and technology that will be available on the 2019 V85 TT, then shares his opinion on who he thinks this new Moto Guzzi adventure bike will most appeal to when it is released later this Spring.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    The new Moto Guzzi V85 TT is scheduled to be released in the US starting this May for a price of $12,990. In Canada, expect to see it on showroom floors starting in June for a price of $14,990 CAD. Now’s the time to start scheduling a test ride with your local dealer.

    For full specs on the V85 TT, click here.


  21. Published on 02.12.2019

    Battlecross-e50-tires.jpg

    Bridgestone has announced the launch of new street-legal enduro rubber for competitions, the Battlecross E50. Leveraging the experience and technologies gained through the development of tires for off-road riding, the Battlecross E50 tires have been designed to deliver high traction and cornering performance on a variety of road surfaces as is required in enduro competitions. The new tires are both DOT approved and compliant with FIM regulations.

    The Battlecross E50 employs the company’s proprietary Castle Block technology to ensure effective grip, even on slippery surfaces. A specialized edge, called a bunker, located at the base of the tread blocks enables the tires to exert strong traction on soft surfaces. Bridgestone also used 3D simulations to optimize the shapes and positions of the tread blocks to deliver higher levels of cornering performance in the front tire and enhanced traction performance in the rear tire.

    Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Tires


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Surfaces such as stones or logs buried in soil and rain-drenched can be extremely slippery. The Castle Block profile incorporates secondary tread blocks that protrude from the conventional tread block profiles to increase total edge components and improve contact pressure on slippery surfaces for enhanced grip.

    In turn, the bunker enables the edge portion at the base of the tread block to exert traction even when the block is submerged in a surface.

    Engineers set to also change from a harder tread rubber integrated with the sidewall rubber to an optimized dual compound division. Other changes targeted the shape and profile at the bottom part of the sidewall by redesigning the rim guard part. According to Bridgestone, both these modifications increase the mounting ease on the side of the track and improve the rim fitting.

    Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Tires

    Bridgestone Battlecross E50 Tires

    The Battlecross E50 tires are available now in the U.S. and Canada, and will launch in other regions in February 2019.

    • Front: Size 90/90-21 M/C 54P W
    • Rear Size: 120/90-18 M/C 65P W
    • Rear Size: 140/80-18 M/C 70P W

    For more information visit Bridgestone.com
     

    Shopping Options


  22. REV'IT! Poseidon 2 GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    The multitasking Poseidon 2 GTX leans toward the road touring side of REV’IT!’s top of the line adventure riding suits, giving way to the Dominator, which has a more off-road focus. As the namesake of the Greek God of the Sea, one would expect excellent performance in the wet. It replaces the Poseidon, retaining many proven attributes but adopting some modifications. It’s billed as a four-season suit and I can say from my experience that it certainly lives up to the hype in winter weather.

    REV’IT! Poseidon 2 GTX Tech

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    Large vent panels on the chest and thighs are held in place by glove-friendly magnetic fasteners.

    The Poseidon 2 jacket’s outer layer is 400-denier high-tenacity nylon, which makes it softer and lighter than the 600-denier shell of its predecessor. REV’IT! starts the process of moisture control by lining the shell with laminated two- and three-layer Gore-Tex membranes, which allows perspiration to wick through. Their Aquadefence Ventilation Control System (VCS) offers six vents in the jacket. Lower arm vents from the original Poseidon have been moved to the upper arms where they can get more airflow riding in the seated position with a windscreen. Those open via 4” waterproof, rubberized zippers and two vertical 6” back vents provide an escape path. Two folding panels (now larger than before) open as chest vents and are held in place by REV’IT!’s easy-to-operate FidLock magnetic fasteners. They are a cinch to open or close in flight, making sudden showers easier to accommodate without stopping.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit


    ADVERTISEMENT

    A sturdy plastic hook and single loop hold the collar open for more ventilation when needed. Closure is handled by an adjustable flexisnap, allowing proper fit for varying neck sizes. The removable storm collar shuts down wind and rain. When closed, a flexible, Neoprene throat piece contacts the Adam’s apple, reducing chafing, and a microfiber lining does the same for the permanent collar. A full-length rain gutter seals over the zipper in front, reinforcing the garment against the elements. Both jacket and pant also come with zip-in thermal liners for cold weather riding. The thermal liner is fairly basic in the jacket, not a destination liner that can be worn as a standalone garment.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    Front pockets are protected by a storm flap and utilize waterproof zippers.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    The jacket includes a zip-in thermal liner for cold weather riding.

    The Poseidon 2 GTX pants use the same VCS technology and two- and three-layer Gore-Tex laminating process as the jacket. The two large thigh vent panels open in front and latch back with the magnetic FidLock fasteners, just like the chest pockets in the jacket. A YKK slide lock securely latches the fly and REV’IT!’s short and long connection zipper system allows the jacket or pant to attach to each other, or any other jacket or pant in the REV’IT! Line.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    The Poseidon 2 GTX comes with Seeflex CE Level 2 armor in the knees, elbows and shoulders. A Seesoft CE Level 2 back protector is optional

    As far as crash protection, the suit features Seeflex CE Level 2 shoulder, elbow and knee armor, along with Seesmart CE Level 1 hip protector inserts as standard equipment. Back and chest armor are optional. For abrasion protection, the jacket uses ceramic bead SuperFabric to cover the elbow and forearm area.

    Storage

    The jacket has two waterproof outside pockets in front, a single Napoleon pocket in the right-side vest area and a waterproof lumbar pocket. Two mesh pockets are located inside the jacket lining and a large stash pocket resides in the thermal liner.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    The pants have two slit-style front pockets with 5” hooded, waterproof zipper closures just below the beltline. Zippered, Velcro flares open at the lower legs to facilitate putting on and taking off various-sized boots, including off-road boots.

    Extra Features

    • Laminated, reflective accents including the REV’IT! logo grace the garment front and back and the jacket has attachment loops to accept their reflective vest.
    • Pull-tabs are used for strap adjustments at rib cage, upper and lower arms and lower pant legs.
    • Gussets can be zipped open at the jacket’s waist to allow more hip room.
    • The jacket lining accepts the Challenger cooling vest.
    • The pants have a grip panel in the seat to help prevent slippage.
    • YKK slide lock front closure ensures the fly won’t open spontaneously.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    How it performed

    A sage rider will tell you that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear. It’s 40 degrees and raining hard as I head out for my final test of the new REV’IT! Poseidon 2. An hour into the ride my worn-out boots are soaking through. My hands are also going numb, as they so often do, but my body is warm and dry. Two hours in, I turn toward home, slog into the house and peel my boots from my cold and sodden feet. A lot of riding suits give up the ghost in a rain like this but the Poseidon 2 withstood the test with flying colors.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    In the dirt, hard activity like negotiating rocks and sand in temps above 80 degrees I found the suit wanting a bit. With vents on the shoulders and not the lower arms, ventilation is more suited to sitting than standing, and there are no outflow vents in the pants. That said, REV’IT!’s large VCS vent panels on the thighs and chest are a nice touch for all but the warmest conditions.

    Ergonomically, the pre formed shape of the jacket felt good. The 400D outer shell is also lightweight and pliable. The fit is classic European, snug in the arms and chest, and the pants are also slim but comfortable. I am 5’10” and 170 lb. The size chart called for size medium in both jacket and pants but I found the medium jacket much too tight. A large was a better fit, although still snug in the arms with the liner installed. Without liners the suit was roomy and comfortable. Arms are curved just enough to allow a relaxed riding position and the open grid design of strike point armor was malleable, even when cold. Flexibility of movement was good off-road in both pants and jacket. A grip panel in the seat also helped prevent unwanted movement when sitting.

    Who is it for?

    The REV’IT! Poseidon 2 GTX straddles the fence between a full-on adventure and a street touring suit. If you often find yourself in both environments, the Poseidon might just fit the bill. It works particularly well for those who ride frequently in cold wet climates. If you take your off-pavement riding seriously and ride a lot in the summer months, however, it might be a little warm for comfort.

    REV'IT! Poseidon 2GTX Adventure Motorcycle Suit

    Our Verdict

    The Poseidon 2 GTX suit is versatile and comfortable. Although lacking hot weather ventilation to the extent I would prefer, it’s a breath of fresh air to be warm and dry at the end of a long, wet, winter ride. And with CE Level 2 armor in the shoulders, elbows and knees, you are well protected in all conditions.

    What We Liked

    • 100% waterproof.
    • Durable cinch straps, not Velcro.
    • 400D nylon shell is tough but pliable.
    • FidLock flaps, YKK Slide Lock closure, and hook and loop collar are trick.

    What Could Be Improved

    • A tad more room in the arms for layering.
    • Ventilation is marginal for a suit billed as four-season.
    • Pants and jacket pockets are hard to access while seated.
    • A jacket destination liner would be nice.

    REV’IT! Poseidon 2 GTX Specs

    COLORS: Black and Silver Anthracite
    SIZES: Jacket (SM-4XL), Pant (SM-4XL, MD-2XL Short, MD-2XL Tall)
    PRICE: Jacket ($899), Pant ($649)

    Shopping Options

    Poseidon 2 GTX Jacket:

    Poseidon 2 GTX Pant:

    Photos by Susan Dragoo

    d8cae371c9ce6410754a2139dc24fcc9?s=80&r=

    Author: Bill Dragoo

    The adventure lifestyle permeates all he does, providing grist for the writing mill. Bill owns and operates DART (Dragoo Adventure Rider Training), an Oklahoma based school for folks seeking to improve their off road skills, primarily on big motorcycles. He is a certified BMW Motorrad Off Road Instructor and actively writes for several adventure related magazines. His work expands to the four-wheel overlanding community as well, as he and his wife Susan explore Mexico and the American West in their fast and light travel vehicle dubbed the Tacoma GS after the Gelande Strasse (Land and Street) line of BMW motorcycles.


  23. Adventure Motorcycle

    Kawasaki has always marketed their Versys-X 300 conservatively as a street bike designed to handle light off-road terrain. That may be what the engineers had in mind, but after getting some seat time on the stock machine, we began to realize there was a lot more potential.

    For years, ADV enthusiasts have been calling for a lighter, simpler, economical adventure bike that is capable off-road and smooth on the highway. The Versys-X didn’t quite get there from the factory, but it does have a good foundation with its smooth 296cc inline-twin pumping out 39.3 horsepower, a 386-pound wet weight, 200+ mile fuel range, wire-spoke wheels, low seat h, and an affordable $5,499 price tag.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Despite its potential, there are several limitations that hold it back from being the versatile do-it-all ADV Bike it could be. The goal of this build was to outfit the Versys-X 300 for long-range off-road travel, with improvements in off-road performance, carrying capacity, and protection. Nothing too extreme that would take it out of its design envelope – just address a few of its weaknesses, enhance its strengths, and make a nice step forward in off-road capability.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    We’ve been wrenching away on our little Versys-X Project Bike for months now, experimenting with different aftermarket parts and even helping develop some new ones. It’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for the Versys-X 300, but we scoured around until we found top-level componentry that offers real improvements. We are pretty excited with how it turned out. Check out what went into the build below. We also provide a full build sheet for the bike, including pricing for each part:

    PROTECTION

    Our first order of business was to give the Versys-X some proper protection for the trail. The stock plastic lower cowling really doesn’t protect from much more than pebbles. With an exhaust header that routes underneath the engine and low ground clearance, it’s a disaster waiting to happen on a rocky trail. There are also no stock hand guards to protect levers and the stock mirrors are not up for the hard knocks of off-road riding.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Ricochet’s skid plate for the Versys-X 300 is constructed with 3/16″ 5052 H-32 aluminum and features wrap-around wings to help protect the cases. Coverage is good for both the exhaust, oil filter and sump. And with its durable anodized black finish, it stays looking good after riding through rock gardens. The plate includes cutouts for access to the oil drain plug, so you don’t have to remove it for routine maintenance. It also works with or without a centerstand.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    GIVI’s crash bars for the Versys-X 300 are made of 1” diameter steel with a connecting crossbar to help distribute the energy in a fall. It helps protect against those common tip overs and low-side falls on the trail – a good investment to avoid damaging the fragile plastic fairing or the radiator. GIVI crash bars feature a durable black powder coat finish and come with plastic sliders to help keep your bars looking scratch free.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Whether it’s the tree branches constantly knocking your mirrors, or your helmet when you are banging through whoops, mirrors are one of those things that just get in the way off-road. The stock mirrors on the Versys-X 300 look more at home on a Ninja than a real adventure bike, so we put on a set of the tried and tested DoubleTake breakaway mirrors. Hit them with a bat and they just ask “May I have another please?”. They also handle falls on roots, logs or rocks just as well, and you can loosen them up and adjust them down flat on the handlebars so they won’t slap you in the face on those whooped out trails.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Any handguards are better than no handguards, and that’s what the Versys-X 300 comes with from the factory – nilch. But we wanted something real sturdy to keep from being stranded on the trail with broken levers. These look like your typical metal-braced off-road handguards, but they also offer a little extra room for larger “street bike” master cylinders. There was ample room to fit all of our handlebar controls and enough coverage to provide some good wind protection for our hands on the highway.

    Off-Road Performance

    While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the 300cc powerplant performs on the street – on both twisty back roads and long highway stretches – its off-road performance is what could use the most help. With just 5.1 inches of travel up front and 5.8 inches in the rear, it’s below average for adventure bike specs. A little more low-end power and some better grip from the tires were other performance improvements we wanted to make for the trail.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    With front end bottoming being the biggest problem holding the Versys-X 300 back on the trail, increasing suspension travel was a big priority. More travel would allow us to ride at increased speeds without blowing through the suspension and give us more ground clearance as well. We didn’t find any companies offering an upgrade for the Versys-X, so we reached out to Cogent Dynamics. They were already making lowering kits and suspension upgrades for the Versys-X 300, but had never tried extending the suspension travel. With our custom requirements, they increased fork travel by roughly one inch (~ 6.1 inches) and installed DDC Valves (Drop-In Damper Cartridge) for improved damping function over stock.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Next we worked with Cogent to develop an all-new Monotube shock for the Versys-X 300 to replace the harsh ride of the stock shock. The replacement shock Cogent engineered offers approximately one inch of extra suspension travel, improved damping, along with preload and damping adjustability. Cogent was able to achieve this without using a piggyback or remote reservoir, so the cost is more reasonable and there are no fitment issues to deal with. Now with roughly 6.8 inches of suspension travel and premium damping control, the Versys-X 300 has better bump absorption and ground clearance in the dirt. Seat h is also raised roughly an inch, but at about 33.1 inches, it’s still relatively low.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Swapping the stock 80/20 (Street/Dirt) dual sport tires for a set of DOT knobbies is one of the easiest ways to improve performance in the dirt. MotoZ are known for their competition off-road and enduro tires, but their Tractionator Adventure tires are street legal. They have an aggressive tread pattern, somewhere around the 25/75 range, to give our Versys a real edge in more technical terrain like steep inclines, wet mud, and loose gravel. Tread blocks are deep, but a specialized compound helps extend durability. So far, the grip in the dirt is much improved and they are predictable when they slide on asphalt. The Versys-X uses a 110/80-19 front and 130/80-17 rear, but they also come in a range of sizes for various adventure bikes.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    It’s fair to say the Versys-X impresses for a 300cc on the street with the capability to take you over 100 mph. It gains speed slowly though and it feels a little choked up in the lower RPMs. We wanted to see if we could open it up a bit and give it a more responsive low end for off-road riding. The Akrapovic Slip-On offers an increase in horsepower of 2.8% and 2.6% in torque. While the gains are modest, we noticed a snappier throttle response and it feels punchier down low. The noise level is similar to stock but it offers a richer sound that is music to the ears. What’s more, we shaved almost 5 pounds off the bike in the process. The carbon-fiber tip, Titanium sleeve, and carbon-fiber heat shield also offer a little flair to our Kawi.


  24. Adventure Motorcycle

    Kawasaki has always marketed their Versys-X 300 conservatively as a street bike designed to handle light off-road terrain. That may be what the engineers had in mind, but after getting some seat time on the stock machine, we began to realize there was a lot more potential.

    For years, ADV enthusiasts have been calling for a lighter, simpler, economical adventure bike that is capable off-road and smooth on the highway. The Versys-X didn’t quite get there from the factory, but it does have a good foundation with its smooth 296cc inline-twin pumping out 39.3 horsepower, a 386-pound wet weight, 200+ mile fuel range, wire-spoke wheels, low seat h, and an affordable $5,499 price tag.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Despite its potential, there are several limitations that hold it back from being the versatile do-it-all ADV Bike it could be. The goal of this build was to outfit the Versys-X 300 for long-range off-road travel, with improvements in off-road performance, carrying capacity, and protection. Nothing too extreme that would take it out of its design envelope – just address a few of its weaknesses, enhance its strengths, and make a nice step forward in off-road capability.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    We’ve been wrenching away on our little Versys-X Project Bike for months now, experimenting with different aftermarket parts and even helping develop some new ones. It’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for the Versys-X 300, but we scoured around until we found top-level componentry that offers real improvements. We are pretty excited with how it turned out. Check out what went into the build below. We also provide a full build sheet for the bike, including pricing for each part:

    PROTECTION

    Our first order of business was to give the Versys-X some proper protection for the trail. The stock plastic lower cowling really doesn’t protect from much more than pebbles. With an exhaust header that routes underneath the engine and low ground clearance, it’s a disaster waiting to happen on a rocky trail. There are also no stock hand guards to protect levers and the stock mirrors are not up for the hard knocks of off-road riding.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Ricochet’s skid plate for the Versys-X 300 is constructed with 3/16″ 5052 H-32 aluminum and features wrap-around wings to help protect the cases. Coverage is good for both the exhaust, oil filter and sump. And with its durable anodized black finish, it stays looking good after riding through rock gardens. The plate includes cutouts for access to the oil drain plug, so you don’t have to remove it for routine maintenance. It also works with or without a centerstand.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    GIVI’s crash bars for the Versys-X 300 are made of 1” diameter steel with a connecting crossbar to help distribute the energy in a fall. It helps protect against those common tip overs and low-side falls on the trail – a good investment to avoid damaging the fragile plastic fairing or the radiator. GIVI crash bars feature a durable black powder coat finish and come with plastic sliders to help keep your bars looking scratch free.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Whether it’s the tree branches constantly knocking your mirrors, or your helmet when you are banging through whoops, mirrors are one of those things that just get in the way off-road. The stock mirrors on the Versys-X 300 look more at home on a Ninja than a real adventure bike, so we put on a set of the tried and tested DoubleTake breakaway mirrors. Hit them with a bat and they just ask “May I have another please?”. They also handle falls on roots, logs or rocks just as well, and you can loosen them up and adjust them down flat on the handlebars so they won’t slap you in the face on those whooped out trails.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Any handguards are better than no handguards, and that’s what the Versys-X 300 comes with from the factory – nilch. But we wanted something real sturdy to keep from being stranded on the trail with broken levers. These look like your typical metal-braced off-road handguards, but they also offer a little extra room for larger “street bike” master cylinders. There was ample room to fit all of our handlebar controls and enough coverage to provide some good wind protection for our hands on the highway.

    Off-Road Performance

    While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the 300cc powerplant performs on the street – on both twisty back roads and long highway stretches – its off-road performance is what could use the most help. With just 5.1 inches of travel up front and 5.8 inches in the rear, it’s below average for adventure bike specs. A little more low-end power and some better grip from the tires were other performance improvements we wanted to make for the trail.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    With front end bottoming being the biggest problem holding the Versys-X 300 back on the trail, increasing suspension travel was a big priority. More travel would allow us to ride at increased speeds without blowing through the suspension and give us more ground clearance as well. We didn’t find any companies offering an upgrade for the Versys-X, so we reached out to Cogent Dynamics. They were already making lowering kits and suspension upgrades for the Versys-X 300, but had never tried extending the suspension travel. With our custom requirements, they increased fork travel by roughly one inch (~ 6.1 inches) and installed DDC Valves (Drop-In Damper Cartridge) for improved damping function over stock.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Next we worked with Cogent to develop an all-new Monotube shock for the Versys-X 300 to replace the harsh ride of the stock shock. The replacement shock Cogent engineered offers approximately one inch of extra suspension travel, improved damping, along with preload and damping adjustability. Cogent was able to achieve this without using a piggyback or remote reservoir, so the cost is more reasonable and there are no fitment issues to deal with. Now with roughly 6.8 inches of suspension travel and premium damping control, the Versys-X 300 has better bump absorption and ground clearance in the dirt. Seat h is also raised roughly an inch, but at about 33.1 inches, it’s still relatively low.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Swapping the stock 80/20 (Street/Dirt) dual sport tires for a set of DOT knobbies is one of the easiest ways to improve performance in the dirt. MotoZ are known for their competition off-road and enduro tires, but their Tractionator Adventure tires are street legal. They have an aggressive tread pattern, somewhere around the 25/75 range, to give our Versys a real edge in more technical terrain like steep inclines, wet mud, and loose gravel. Tread blocks are deep, but a specialized compound helps extend durability. So far, the grip in the dirt is much improved and they are predictable when they slide on asphalt. The Versys-X uses a 110/80-19 front and 130/80-17 rear, but they also come in a range of sizes for various adventure bikes.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    It’s fair to say the Versys-X impresses for a 300cc on the street with the capability to take you over 100 mph. It gains speed slowly though and it feels a little choked up in the lower RPMs. We wanted to see if we could open it up a bit and give it a more responsive low end for off-road riding. The Akrapovic Slip-On offers an increase in horsepower of 2.8% and 2.6% in torque. While the gains are modest, we noticed a snappier throttle response and it feels punchier down low. The noise level is similar to stock but it offers a richer sound that is music to the ears. What’s more, we shaved almost 5 pounds off the bike in the process. The carbon-fiber tip, Titanium sleeve, and carbon-fiber heat shield also offer a little flair to our Kawi.


  25. Adventure Motorcycle

    Kawasaki has always marketed their Versys-X 300 conservatively as a street bike designed to handle light off-road terrain. That may be what the engineers had in mind, but after getting some seat time on the stock machine, we began to realize there was a lot more potential.

    For years, ADV enthusiasts have been calling for a lighter, simpler, economical adventure bike that is capable off-road and smooth on the highway. The Versys-X didn’t quite get there from the factory, but it does have a good foundation with its smooth 296cc inline-twin pumping out 39.3 horsepower, a 386-pound wet weight, 200+ mile fuel range, wire-spoke wheels, low seat h, and an affordable $5,499 price tag.


    ADVERTISEMENT

    Despite its potential, there are several limitations that hold it back from being the versatile do-it-all ADV Bike it could be. The goal of this build was to outfit the Versys-X 300 for long-range off-road travel, with improvements in off-road performance, carrying capacity, and protection. Nothing too extreme that would take it out of its design envelope – just address a few of its weaknesses, enhance its strengths, and make a nice step forward in off-road capability.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    We’ve been wrenching away on our little Versys-X Project Bike for months now, experimenting with different aftermarket parts and even helping develop some new ones. It’s fair to say there aren’t a lot of aftermarket options out there for the Versys-X 300, but we scoured around until we found top-level componentry that offers real improvements. We are pretty excited with how it turned out. Check out what went into the build below. We also provide a full build sheet for the bike, including pricing for each part:

    PROTECTION

    Our first order of business was to give the Versys-X some proper protection for the trail. The stock plastic lower cowling really doesn’t protect from much more than pebbles. With an exhaust header that routes underneath the engine and low ground clearance, it’s a disaster waiting to happen on a rocky trail. There are also no stock hand guards to protect levers and the stock mirrors are not up for the hard knocks of off-road riding.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Ricochet’s skid plate for the Versys-X 300 is constructed with 3/16″ 5052 H-32 aluminum and features wrap-around wings to help protect the cases. Coverage is good for both the exhaust, oil filter and sump. And with its durable anodized black finish, it stays looking good after riding through rock gardens. The plate includes cutouts for access to the oil drain plug, so you don’t have to remove it for routine maintenance. It also works with or without a centerstand.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    GIVI’s crash bars for the Versys-X 300 are made of 1” diameter steel with a connecting crossbar to help distribute the energy in a fall. It helps protect against those common tip overs and low-side falls on the trail – a good investment to avoid damaging the fragile plastic fairing or the radiator. GIVI crash bars feature a durable black powder coat finish and come with plastic sliders to help keep your bars looking scratch free.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Whether it’s the tree branches constantly knocking your mirrors, or your helmet when you are banging through whoops, mirrors are one of those things that just get in the way off-road. The stock mirrors on the Versys-X 300 look more at home on a Ninja than a real adventure bike, so we put on a set of the tried and tested DoubleTake breakaway mirrors. Hit them with a bat and they just ask “May I have another please?”. They also handle falls on roots, logs or rocks just as well, and you can loosen them up and adjust them down flat on the handlebars so they won’t slap you in the face on those whooped out trails.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Any handguards are better than no handguards, and that’s what the Versys-X 300 comes with from the factory – nilch. But we wanted something real sturdy to keep from being stranded on the trail with broken levers. These look like your typical metal-braced off-road handguards, but they also offer a little extra room for larger “street bike” master cylinders. There was ample room to fit all of our handlebar controls and enough coverage to provide some good wind protection for our hands on the highway.

    Off-Road Performance

    While we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how well the 300cc powerplant performs on the street – on both twisty back roads and long highway stretches – its off-road performance is what could use the most help. With just 5.1 inches of travel up front and 5.8 inches in the rear, it’s below average for adventure bike specs. A little more low-end power and some better grip from the tires were other performance improvements we wanted to make for the trail.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    With front end bottoming being the biggest problem holding the Versys-X 300 back on the trail, increasing suspension travel was a big priority. More travel would allow us to ride at increased speeds without blowing through the suspension and give us more ground clearance as well. We didn’t find any companies offering an upgrade for the Versys-X, so we reached out to Cogent Dynamics. They were already making lowering kits and suspension upgrades for the Versys-X 300, but had never tried extending the suspension travel. With our custom requirements, they increased fork travel by roughly one inch (~ 6.1 inches) and installed DDC Valves (Drop-In Damper Cartridge) for improved damping function over stock.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Next we worked with Cogent to develop an all-new Monotube shock for the Versys-X 300 to replace the harsh ride of the stock shock. The replacement shock Cogent engineered offers approximately one inch of extra suspension travel, improved damping, along with preload and damping adjustability. Cogent was able to achieve this without using a piggyback or remote reservoir, so the cost is more reasonable and there are no fitment issues to deal with. Now with roughly 6.8 inches of suspension travel and premium damping control, the Versys-X 300 has better bump absorption and ground clearance in the dirt. Seat h is also raised roughly an inch, but at about 33.1 inches, it’s still relatively low.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    Swapping the stock 80/20 (Street/Dirt) dual sport tires for a set of DOT knobbies is one of the easiest ways to improve performance in the dirt. MotoZ are known for their competition off-road and enduro tires, but their Tractionator Adventure tires are street legal. They have an aggressive tread pattern, somewhere around the 25/75 range, to give our Versys a real edge in more technical terrain like steep inclines, wet mud, and loose gravel. Tread blocks are deep, but a specialized compound helps extend durability. So far, the grip in the dirt is much improved and they are predictable when they slide on asphalt. The Versys-X uses a 110/80-19 front and 130/80-17 rear, but they also come in a range of sizes for various adventure bikes.

    Kawasaki Versys X-300 ADV Pulse Adventure Build

    It’s fair to say the Versys-X impresses for a 300cc on the street with the capability to take you over 100 mph. It gains speed slowly though and it feels a little choked up in the lower RPMs. We wanted to see if we could open it up a bit and give it a more responsive low end for off-road riding. The Akrapovic Slip-On offers an increase in horsepower of 2.8% and 2.6% in torque. While the gains are modest, we noticed a snappier throttle response and it feels punchier down low. The noise level is similar to stock but it offers a richer sound that is music to the ears. What’s more, we shaved almost 5 pounds off the bike in the process. The carbon-fiber tip, Titanium sleeve, and carbon-fiber heat shield also offer a little flair to our Kawi.

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