Top 10 new-for-2019 Adventure bikes

Now the dust has settled from the winter’s bike shows, we take a look at the adventure bikes we can’t wait to ride in 2019

KTM 790 Adventure

WHILE THE FICKLE finger of fashion regularly wavers from one class of bike to another the popularity of adventure bikes seems unshakable. So it’s no surprise that every year there’s a crop of new or updated machines hitting the market, all with the aim of becoming best-sellers.

And for 2019 there’s a bumper harvest, with most major manufacturers having added at least one new adventure model to their ranges. We haven’t ridden them all yet, but already it’s becoming clear which of next year’s new adventure bikes will be the ones to keep an eye on.

So here are Visordown’s top 10 new-for-2019 adventure models based on what we’ve seen of them so far:

10: Honda CB500X

Most adventure bikes have engines at least twice the size of the Honda CB500X’s 471cc parallel twin but as an entry-level gateway to the adventure scene there’s little to rival Honda’s effort. The 2019 version might not look vastly different to its predecessor, but the adoption of longer-travel suspension and a 19in front wheel instead of the old bike’s 17in rim, plus a gruntier engine, means it’s a much more capable bike than before.

9: Kawasaki Versys 1000

Most adventure bikes never venture anywhere away from asphalt and Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 makes a virtue of the fact it’s designed purely for on-road use. It’s a tourer with a high-rise riding position rather than a rally raid refugee, and for 2019 it finally gets the revamp that it’s been crying out for. As well as divisive new styling – at least it’s distinctive even if you don’t like the origami-like shapes – there’s a welcome injection of new technology. Ride by wire appears on all versions, while the SE model gains semi-active electronic suspension, a quickshifter and IMU-assisted traction control and cornering ABS.

8: Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro

A year after the normal Multistrada adopted Ducati’s 1262cc V-twin, the same motor has been dropped into the more off-road-oriented Enduro version. While the road-targeted Multistrada is the better buy for most riders, if you’re really going to take your adventure bike off road rather than just talk about it, the Enduro is the one to opt for. As well as the beefier engine, the 2019 bike gets an even more extensive electronics package than its predecessor and a tweaked riding position that makes it a little friendlier to those who don’t shop in the ‘big and tall’ section.

7: Norton Atlas

Norton won’t have a vast number of its new Atlas machines on sale in 2019 but the firm plans to deliver at least 250 of each version of the bike. The Atlas Nomad and Atlas Ranger are variations on a common theme, both centred around Norton’s completely new parallel twin 650cc engine, itself derived from the 1200cc V4 in the firm’s long-awaited superbike. Starting at £9995 for the Nomad, it’s Norton’s most accessible model, and based on looks alone the bikes deserve to be winners.

6: BMW F850 GS Adventure

While the BMW F800 GS was replaced with the entirely new F850 GS a year ago, we’ve had to wait until now for the longer-range Adventure version. Taller suspension, with Dynamic ESA, plus an oversized 23 litre fuel tank and more off-road-inspired styling are the key differences that distinguish the Adventure from the normal F850 GS. It might be BMW’s middleweight GS, but with 94hp and a 244kg weight the F850 GS Adventure is roughly on a par with the first-generation R1200GS when it comes to size and performance.

Head to page two for the top five...

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