The adventure bike market has been the fastest growing sector of the motorcycle industry for many years now and that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. There is a constant search for that unicorn motorcycle, but the reality is, we as riders often want different things.
Choosing The Right Motorcycle For You
With so many adventure bikes on the market and new models released all the time, there should be a motorcycle to suit everyone. It can make it difficult to find the best bike for you though. Few of us have the time to go out and test every one and I learned many years ago not to believe all the hype.
So I thought I would try and work out a way to rank the new adventure bikes available in 2022, in an order which might help you sort out a short list. Then you can go and test those bikes before you make your final decision.
Price inevitably comes into each decision, but what you get for that money is something else. There are some things that are difficult to quantify as a number, like build quality and reliability, so I decided to look at three of the most obvious specifications for this comparison.
The Important Criteria
Price, power and weight are the three variables that arguably make the most difference when buying a new adventure bike. To help everyone look at which bikes offered the best “bang for buck” of all the adventure bikes on the market, I took these three figures and worked out an equation to show which bikes gave the best power and lowest weight for every Pound, Euro or Dollar you spend.
The final number represents the BHP per £1000 spent divided by the weight of each motorcycle.
These bikes are the bikes currently available in 2022 in the UK. So there are bikes like the KLR650 that aren’t included. There are bound to be some others missed to.
I have also not included several bikes that are on the horizon, but not currently available. Bikes like the MV Agusta 9.5 and 5.5, the new Honda Transalp, The new Fantic Rally and the Suzuki DE800 Vstrom. Until there are prices and accurate specs I just can’t include them in the list.
The comparison of the price and power made by each bike is the obvious starting point when you are trying to find out which bike offers the best power for every pound spent, but I thought it was important to include the weight of the bikes too. Beyond the power to weight ratio this is a really important metric. Especially if you are planning to use the bike off road as well as on the tarmac.
We All Have Different Priorities
Remember, many of us want different things, the key is finding the right bike for you. If you always travel with a pillion then some of the smaller, lightweight bikes probably won’t be the best for you. If you are a novice rider the Multistrada V4 is probably not the best bike to learn new skills on. Every motorcycle in the list will suit someone.
There is an old adage that the best adventure bike is the one you already have. That is essentially true, as long as you keep it well maintained. However, that has never stopped any of us looking for our next bike. If that next motorcycle for you is a new adventure bike, then I hope this list helps you choose the bike that really is best for you.
To give you some background I have been riding both on and off road for over 40 years now. In the late eighties I was riding an old Triumph TR25 Trophy Trials. It was my everyday transport as well as my weekend fun. So you could say I have been riding adventure bikes from before the term had been invented.
I customised an old CJ360 Honda at a time I was literally living in the middle of a 200 acre plot of forestry. I turned it into another ‘Go Anywhere’ bike and it did thousands of miles up and down motorways as well as over some seriously rough terrain. More recently I owned a KLE500 Kawasaki and a DR600 Suzuki amongst others.
For over 12 years now though I have owned a Suzuki DL650 Vstrom. Despite having plenty of other bikes, some of which you will see in the footage, the Vstrom has been my go to bike for all of that time. I have tried to replace it on numerous occasions, but it is a bike that suits me and my passenger, something very important to me.
I do most of my own spanner work, so simplicity is also important for me and I do love old bikes. Luckily I have managed to keep the space for several bikes in my collection and until I find one, the search for the replacement for the Vstrom will continue. I have ridden many of the bikes on the list and tested many that aren’t. Riding the Multistrada Enduro was a great experience and the KTM 1090 Adventure is certainly one of my favourite modern bikes. The search can be fun too.
My Latest Adventure
This year I was lucky enough to do a 4,000 mile tour of The Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal, so reliability is also one of the most important factors for me. I’m no Valentino Rossi so absolute speed isn’t high on my list. I’m not Dougie Lampkin either. I just like to be able to get to those out of the way places most people never see, by motorbike.
That is, and probably always will be, the thing that drives me.
Starting in reverse order, this is the list of the 32 best bang for your buck adventure bikes on the market in 2022.
32. Honda CRF300 Rally
RRP – £6449, 27 BHP, 153 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 2.74
I personally expected the Honda CRF300 Rally to feature much higher up this list. It isn’t the least powerful bike here, but despite its lower weight, what you get for what you pay, means there are possibly some better options on this list.
However, if you spend most of your time off road and overall weight is your main criteria, don’t discount this bike. It has dare I say it ‘bombproof’ reliability and will take you to many places the bigger bikes on the list would find impossible.
31. Royal Enfield Himalayan
RRP – £4699, 24 BHP, 185 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 2.76
Despite its impressive sales and loyal following the low power output of the Royal Enfield Himalayan puts it low on our list here. Its budget price and proven performance have however carved it a niche in the market and it will carry a passenger and luggage better than you might think.
Build quality is great these days on the Royal Enfields. With this bike you will get to places some bikes on this list just wouldn’t. Just don’t expect to get there very quickly, especially if you are carrying a pillion or luggage.
30. Suzuki DL 1050 XT Vstrom
RRP – £13699, 106 BHP, 247 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.13
The latest generation of the big Vstrom carries on the long tradition of a “do it all” motorcycle. It is a big heavy bike off road but is more capable than many give it credit for.
As a pillion carrying bike it has always won many friends and it will happily eat up the miles however much luggage you throw at it.
It wont break any records but it does everything pretty damn well for such a big bike. Despite recent price increases it still wont break the bank compared to many.
29. Benelli TRK502X
RRP – £6299, 47 BHP, 235 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.18
The Benelli TRK502X has quickly become the best selling adventure bike in Italy. The price definitely helps but this is another motorcycle that has been built to show the world that not all Chinese owned companies produce poor quality products.
Think of it like a bigger, heavier CB500X and you will maybe understand how it has made such an impact so quickly. It has a big bike feel and is great for touring. It will always be happier on the tarmac, but it performs better off road than you might think. Just don’t expect it to be a motocross bike.
28. Moto Guzzi V85TT
RRP – £10800, 79 BHP, 229 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.19
This was another major surprise for me. The Moto Guzzi is a great bike, but despite price drops, what you get in comparison to what you pay, is maybe not the best on the market.
It does have the advantage of being the only middleweight Adventure bike with a shaft drive and although it carries it weight well, it is on the heavier side of the middleweights.
One place it has won many fans is the looks, style is priceless at the end of the day.
27. Fantic Caballero 500 Rally
RRP – £7399, 39.5 BHP, 165 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.24
Although the Fantic Caballero might not be everyone’s idea of an adventure bike it is a capable motorcycle that is a more powerful lightweight adventure bike than the CRF300L Rally.
A Chinese/Italian motorcycle that does have something to say for itself. The motor is one of the more reliable Chinese built motors out there and the build quality has surprised plenty of people since its launch.
The new Expedition model looks more prepared for the Adventure market, but I do wish they would give it a bigger fuel tank.
26. Zontes ZT350
RRP – £4499, 29 BHP, 196 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.29
You might not have heard of Zontes, but this new bike may start to change that. Acknowledged as having some of the best build quality of any motorcycles manufactured in the far east, they are also filled with technology you wont even see on much more expensive motorcycles.
If speed is not top of your list and you like technology on a motorcycle then it is worth taking a look at this bike. Especially if you are an A2 licence holder.
25. Honda CRF 1100 Africa Twin
RRP – £13050, 100 BHP, 226 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.39
Although one of the most popular big adventure bikes the CRF 1100 Africa Twin is not high on the list. This is because of its comparatively high purchase price and weight.
It has twice the power of the Benelli TRK502X in a package that is slightly lighter. However it is more than twice the price, so for the money it works out similarly rated in this “bang for your buck” list.
A great bike for pillion use and more than capable for long haul touring fully loaded with luggage. It is also surprisingly capable off road. That legendary Honda reliability will always win it many friends too.
It falls between some of the middleweights and big adventure bikes. However, with bikes like the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro and Ducati Desert X, this is becoming one of the most competitive sectors of the market.
24. Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro
RRP – £13595, 94 BHP, 201 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.44
Cheaper and significantly lighter than the Ducati Desert X, the Tiger 900 Rally Pro is a motorcycle full of technological wizardry. It is yet to prove itself but has the potential to be a great motorcycle.
The triple engine is still going to be happier on fast roads but trimming the weight so significantly will undoubtedly help it in comparison to some of the other big adventure bikes. It feels like Triumph have put a lot of effort into this motorcycle. Only time will tell how much of an impact on the market it will have.
23. Ducati Desert X
RRP – £14095, 110 BHP, 223 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.50
No one would argue that the Desert X is a lot of motorcycle. It is slightly more powerful than the Africa Twin and a little lighter too, so the extra cost is outweighed by those two specifications pushing it slightly higher in the list.
Filled with tech it promises to be a great bike, but the weight won’t help it in harder off road terrain and lighter bikes like the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro and KTM 890 Adventure make this a very competitive market sector.
22. Honda CB500X
RRP – £6699, 47 BHP, 199 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.53
The Honda CB500X is a good reliable workhorse of a bike. Its relatively low power in a package that is more compact than it is lightweight place it further down the list than it maybe should be.
The engine is a very refined unit too compared to many of the vertical twins and it will carry a decent load, but passenger space could be better as it is a compact design.
The CB500X has many devout riders who love it. It doesn’t excel at anything, but it is a good value and reliable motorcycle so don’t rule it out without consideration.
21. Moto Morini X-Cape
RRP – £6999, 59 BHP, 232 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.63
One of the latest Italian/Chinese collaborations the Moto Morini X-Cape creeps ahead of many more recognised bikes on this list because it is so much cheaper.
The motor is derived from the 650 Kawasaki twin used in the Versys but has had more power squeezed out. What lets it down is the comparatively high weight, otherwise it could have been a lot higher in the list.
Price will be its major attraction but its extra power might well take part of the market the Benelli TRK502 has won.
20. Aprilia Tuareg 660
RRP – £10600, 79 BHP, 204 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.65
One of the most talked about new middleweight adventure bikes of 2022, the Aprilia Tuareg has some of the most advanced electronics of any middleweight Adventure motorcycle. It rivals and even exceeds the scope of the electronics on several of the bigger range topping models.
The engine is fantastic too. A really exciting parallel twin. It is smaller capacity and less powerful than some of the middleweights though and that doesn’t quite push it as far up the list as I would have expected.
19. Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Pro
RRP – £16700, 148 BHP, 240 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.69
The Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Pro is aimed much more at the fast road miles end of the adventure bike market.
The engine is a bit of a monster. If you like 2 up, long haul, high speed motorway tours, this motorcycle is hard to beat, but the weight can prove a real handful off road.
18. Yamaha Tenere 700
RRP – £9495, 72 BHP, 205 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.70
The Yamaha Tenere 700 is another great bike. It redefined the middleweight adventure market. It has a very rally focussed look that I love, I just wish it had stayed closer to the original concept of light weight as well as simple.
The lack of technology does create an engaged riding experience all to often missing today, but 205Kg would have been a heavyweight bike not that many years ago.
For the weight I would want better pillion facilities at very least. Pillion comfort wasn’t high on Yamaha’s priority list it seems. It is down on power compared to the competition now too, which is the main reason it isn’t further up the list.
17. AJP PR7
RRP – £9495, 58 BHP, 165 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.70
The AJP is perhaps closer to being that unicorn adventure motorcycle than many other bikes right now. The engine is based on an old Husqvarna lump made by SWM. It has the bonus of bigger crankcases for much longer service intervals.
Hand made doesn’t come cheap, but I think it is competitively priced for what you get. A raw, focussed rally motorcycle that will take you anywhere. As long as you are on your own that is, because there is no pillion facilities at all.
One thing I love about the design, is that AJP have used generic bearings and seals throughout and the manuals include all the actual sizes not just part numbers. This means wherever you are in the world you can simply buy the right size seal or bearing from the nearest source very easily. A refreshing approach. So if you never carry a passenger and really want to be able to go to places others can’t reach, this may be the motorcycle for you.
16. CF Moto 800MT
RRP – £11099, 95 BHP, 231 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.71
For those of you that don’t know CF Moto, they have been gradually disproving the myth that all Chinese motorcycles are poor quality for quite a few years now. To the point that they now not only manufacture their own bikes, but also many of the KTM’s including the 390 adventure and the 890 adventure.
Their engines have proved themselves at the Isle of Man TT for several years now, so don’t underestimate them. The engine of the 800MT is derived from the 790 adventure engine but it has been put in a heavier, more road focussed package for this bike. If you spend most of your time on the road then this might be a bike to consider.
15. Harley Davidson Pan America
RRP – £15595, 150 BHP, 258 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.73
As the heaviest motorcycle on the list, despite its power, the Harley Davidson doesn’t score highly. It will always be a handful off road, but if most of your riding is on the highway and you don’t want to tackle anything strenuous off road it could be worth looking at.
Surprisingly it is the bikes power that pushes it above bikes like the Africa Twin on our list, not something most people would expect from a Harley, maybe that is because Porsche had a hand in the design of the engine.
14. Suzuki DL 650 XT Vstrom
RRP – £8799, 71 BHP, 216 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.74
The DL650 Vstrom has proven itself as one of the most reliable bikes of all time and the newest version shows no signs of that changing. The engine might be long in the tooth but still competes with anything else in its class. The lower weight makes it more tractable off road than its bigger brother the DL 1050, and it is still a capable tourer.
There are plenty of motorcycles that will do most individual things better than the Vstrom 650, but as a complete package it is hard to beat unless you spend a lot of time off road. One thing it always wins on is passenger comfort. So if you spend most of your time with a passenger and value reliability, the Suzuki DL 650 XT is a great value for money motorcycle.
13. Husqvarna Norden 901
RRP – £12349, 103 BHP, 223 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.74
Despite it’s similarities to it’s sister company KTM’s 890 Adventure, the Norden 901 is not simply a styling exercise. Plush is not a word I would normally associate with the Husqvarna name, but the Norden is definitely a plusher more pillion friendly alternative to the 890 Adventure.
The extra weight gives it a little more stability than the KTM, and it is a striking motorcycle. The heavier price tag has pushed it down this list, but it is without doubt a capable bike.
It is one of those marmite bikes when it comes to styling, so I think personal opinion may be the biggest factor when considering buying this bike.
12. Sinnis Terrain 380
RRP – £4799, 36 BHP, 200 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.75
The Sinnis Terrain gives A2 licence holders a cheap motorcycle with the feel of a much bigger bike. The downside is that the 36 HP engine is working hard to push along 200Kg and a rider. Having said that, reliability seems to have been good so far, and the price is definitely attractive.
The tech and build quality don’t seem as good as the Zontes but if you are an A2 licence holder it is definitely worth a look.
11. BMW R1250 GS
RRP – £14343, 134 BHP, 249 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.75
The range topping BMW R1250 GS is still the market leader. It has been the go to adventure motorcycle for years now in its various forms. BMW keep honing the design and it is still seen as the benchmark by which other adventure bikes are measured.
The low centre of gravity does give it an advantage over some of the other heavyweights, even though it carries so much weight. Recent engine updates have allso increased power which has pushed it further up this list than I expected.
10. BMW G310 GS
RRP – £5190, 33.5 BHP, 169 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.82
A great lightweight Adventure bike the BMW G310 GS is cheaper and more powerful than the CRF300 Rally. The weight difference is minimal and the extra power more than compensates to make this a serious contender if light weight is one of your deciding factors.
A2 licence compatible, this is a bike that will help any new rider into the world of Adventure motorcycling and it does have a bigger bike feel than some of the lightweight Adventure bikes.
9. Voge 650 DSX
RRP – £6399, 47 BHP, 192 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.83
Voge probably aren’t a familiar name to most people. They are a subsidiary of the Loncin motorcycle company who also make Lexmoto bikes among others. They are one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world.
Rather than buy the name of a European manufacturer they have decided to create a whole new brand with the idea of promoting it as a much more high end Chinese motorcycle.
These bikes are fitted with high end cycle parts by companies like KYB and Nissin which is a good start. Only time will tell with reliability, but the engine is in a low state of tune so it should last fairly well.
8. Ducati Multistrada V2
RRP – £12495, 111 BHP, 225 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 3.96
The Multistrada V2 is a hell of a bike. The introduction of the V4 means it is no longer Ducati’s range topper so the price seems not to have jumped by the same as some others. Lower weight than many of the bigger bikes also helps to push it up the list.
It might not have the off road credentials of the KTM or Africa Twin, but it has a lot going for it and it is easier to ride off road than you might think. The V2 also has an updated engine which is fantastic, with great usable power. Test it and you will see this bike is real a pleasure to ride.
7. BMW F 850 GS
RRP – £10160, 94 BHP, 229 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.04
The F850 GS has been around for a while now and does keep getting better. The Rotax engine is a proven performer, even if it isn’t quite as refined as some of the more newly designed parallel twins on the market.
Tubeless rims are a great touch that is missing from many middleweight adventure bikes, but be aware that this is the base model price. The bigger heavier 850 GS Adventure is more expensive and if you start to add on any extras the price can go up significantly. I wish it was a little lighter but for the money you do get a lot of motorcycle.
6. Voge 500 DSX
RRP – £5499, 47 BHP, 206 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.15
This motorcycles place on the list will be a surprise to most people, but when you consider it is basically a Honda CB 500 X clone, for around £2000 cheaper, you maybe see why it is placed so high.
I did notice that the specs of the engine were recently changed on the website, but I am convinced this is just the make the newer 650 DSX look worth the extra money. The 500 engine unless it has been restricted is a strong, capable lump, and they have managed to keep the weight relatively low too.
5. KTM 1290 Super Adventure
RRP – £15599, 160 BHP, 245 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.19
The amazing engine of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure is what pushes it up this list. The most powerful V-twin adventure bike availale delivers torque and power beyond what most of us could ever use.
The only other bike that produces more power on this list is the Ducati Multistada V4 and it doesn’t have that V-Twin surge of the KTM. This is a hooligan of a motorcycle with many of the best parts available thrown at it. It will outperform all but the very best riders.
4. CF Moto 650 MT
RRP – £6299, 60 BHP, 218 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.37
The newer CF Moto 800 MT featured lower down the list, but it is the older 650 MT that will probably surprise most people here. The engine is derived from the bombproof Kawasaki Versys engine and has proven reliability. The price is a real bargain right now, even when compared to its newer, bigger brother.
It is a more road focussed motorcycle which is a great touring bike. It will happily deal with some gentle off road fun as long as you don’t expect too much. It is happier and very stable on the highways though.
3. Ducati Multistrada V4
RRP – £15495, 170 BHP, 240 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.57
The high price tag of the Ducati Multistada V4 doesn’t stop it from taking the number 3 slot because of the incredible power the engine produces.
It is the most powerful and one of the most technologically advanced adventure motorcycles on the market.
If speed is your priority and cost and weight are no object, then maybe this is the bike for you. Just don’t expect it to be at home in the dirt. The power and weight both make it a handful off road despite all the electronic trickery.
2. KTM 890 Adventure
RRP – £11449, 104 BHP, 196 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.63
When the KTM 890 Adventure came to market as the upgraded 790 Adventure, it was a serious step up in off road performance than most bikes on the market. It still is in many ways. Its reliability has been questioned a lot and there does seem to be issues with build quality at times though. Passengers will hate you too, as this isn’t a bike designed for 2 people. It is a bike that will get you to places other dare not tread though.
This also seems to be the first model KTM are trialling a sort of pay to use scheme on. Many of the features you get free for the first month, you then have to pay a continuous monthly subscription for. If you don’t pay the subscription you don’t get the extra features. Personally this is a deal breaker for me and I just pray other manufacturers don’t start doing the same.
Finally, at the top of the list
1. KTM 390 Adventure
RRP – £5999, 44 BHP, 158 Kg, BHP/£/Kg – 4.64
The most powerful of the lightweight adventure bikes The KTM 390 Adventure is a great motorcycle. Its also cheaper than both the Honda CRF 300 Rally and the Fantic Caballero Rally. Load carrying is more limited than many bikes and passenger comfort has not been given a high priority.
However, if you ride solo and spend more time off road than on the highway it would be plain stupid to not consider this motorcycle. It doesn’t have the legendary Honda reliability, but it does have high quality tech and components.
With 3 out of the top 5 places going to KTM, you might think there is only one winner on this list. But that ignores a very important point. 3 of the top 4 are all actually manufactured by CF Moto. CF Moto manufacture all except the big KTM’s now. I will leave you to decide what that means when buying your next motorcycle.
I have used the models above as a base line. Most of the bikes from the bigger manufacturers have several variants. I haven’t included all the variants as the list would be endless. Some of these variants are more significantly different than others. For example the BMW F 850 GS Adventure is a much heavier and differently specced bike than the standard F 850 GS on the list. If there is a specific bike you want me to do the numbers on, just let me know in the comments.
I’m not foolproof either. I have tried to keep data as accurate as possible, but let me know if you spot any mistakes.
I hope you find this as interesting and revealing as I did, and I hope it helps you to quantify what you get from the many Adventure bikes out there.