Top 10s

Top Ten Mid-weight Adventure bikes

Visordown takes a look at the best mid-weight adventure bikes currently available

WITH mid-weight adventure bikes making up a large chunk of the UK’s motorcycle sales, it’s no surprise that pretty much each manufacturer has set their stall out with their take on the theme.

But with so much choice out there, it can be a tricky task trying to figure out which machine will be the right bike for you. We’ve been lucky enough to ride pretty much every bike in the sector over the years so here’s our top ten mid-weight adventure bikes you can buy in 2020.

10. Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT

Not the most high-tech machine on this list but the V-Strom can’t be ignored. Its engine can trace its roots back over 20-years and the chassis components are fairly basic, but the bike has decent on-road handling, has tons of luggage space and accessories and looks every inch the ADV machine.

It’s decent value too, with new examples starting at £7,599 and better offers can be had at dealers and second-hand bikes can be picked up for not much cash at all!

9. BMW F850 GS Adventure

The Bavarian offering comes in the form of the recently updated F850 GS Adventure, the rugged version of BMW’s F850 GS machine. Built around the parallel twin-cylinder engine that forms the basis of a two-bike range and produces 94bhp.

It’s a rugged enough machine with decent suspension and brakes although its 875mm seat height may put some of us shorter folk off!

8. Ducati Multistrada 950 S

Possibly more touring than adventure, although there are some trick accessories that make it a more capable off-road machine.

For 2019 the Multistrada gained the same riding modes and TFT as the bigger 1260 Multistrada, making it a full-on tech-fest for those of a geeky disposition. It’s also one of the bikes on this list that has acres of luggage space and still enough room for a pillion should you need to take one!

7. Benelli TRK 502 X

If you want big-bike adventure appeal and low budget outlay, the Benelli TRK 502 X should definitely be on your radar. Built by the Chinese Qianjiang group, the TRK uses a low-stressed 500cc parallel twin-cylinder engine pushing out 48hp and 33ft-lbs of torque.

While dealer support might be a worry for some, these bikes are getting better with each new model, and the number of TRKs you are now beginning to see is a testament to that. And at just £5,299 on the road, full-size adventure motorcycling doesn’t get cheaper than this!

6. Moto Guzzi V85 TT

One of the biggest surprises of 2019 was the launch of the V85 TT, a bike that on the face of it seems to be more style than substance. How wrong we were, as after riding on and off-road on the launch for this machine in Sardinia it became clear this bike is a true allrounder in the mid-weight adventure bike segment.

It also has something not many other bikes in this market have, a large helping of cool design touches and some retro style.

5. Honda CB500 X

We fell a little bit in love with the mid-weight Honda on the launch last year. In fact, of the three bikes we rode on the launch, which included the CB500 and CBR500R, the adventure-spec CB500 X was the one that stole our hearts!

It’s not the most high-tech machine on the market and doesn’t come packed with tons of tech or IMU controlled ABS. But it is a doddle to ride, comfortable and has decent off-road and on-road potential.

4. Kawasaki Versys 650

With its long-travel suspension and perky parallel twin-cylinder engine, the Kawasaki Versys 650 is another machine that should not be ignored if great value full-size touring is on the cards for 2020. The handling is probably leaning more to the on-road side of adventure riding, although with some careful modifications it’d be more than capable with some light off-road work.

3. KTM 790 Adventure R

For those looking for maximum off-road potential from their mid-weight machine, the KTM 790 Adventure is part of a new wave of bikes that put road touring second on the agenda. Built around the 95hp engine of the 790 Duke, the Adventure R features high-spec suspension, rally seat and a special Rally Mode, only available on the top of the range ‘R’ model.

It isn’t cheap though and comes in at £12,599 making it one of the more expensive options on the list. That said, it is probably one of the most capable machines for hardcore off-road riding.

2. Yamaha Ténéré 700

Using the peppy MT-07 CP3 engine as its base, the Ténéré 700 is a seriously capable off-road machine. With 72bhp on tap and some of the longest travel suspension on the market, the Ténéré 700 looks every inch the Dakar racer. It’s also unbelievable value for money, coming in at £8,399 and can be spec’d to include even more off-road goodies if you like.

If there is one negative with the Ténéré 700 it’s the single-mindedness of the bike. Its off-road prowess comes at the cost of some on-road capability. If this is a bit too hardcore for you it’d be worth considering the road-biased Tracer 700.

1. Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro

With revised styling for 2020, a new T-plane crank and huge TFT dash, the Tiger 900 takes the mid-weight adventure bike from Hinckley from contender to top dog. It’s lighter, more focussed and easier to ride off-road and on it.

The biggest change comes in the form of the innovative engine, which has the feel of a V-Twin at low revs and the free-revving style of a triple higher up the rev range. It’s larger capacity triple and new suspension also make the new Tiger a very capable long-distance touring machine too.

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