Your top 10 adventure-sport bikes

And guess which one doesn't make the top ten?

HERE in Visordownland, we have the ability to gather real-life insights from the vast repertoire of biking knowledge that is our readers' collective experience. Our Bike Reviews section, with over 950 entries and a staggering 2,500-odd owner reviews, is an absolute goldmine of real-world information.

So we lowered ourselves in, armed with a pickaxe and a caged canary, to see what nuggets we could dig out of your ratings and reports. This month, we look at the Top 10 adventure-sport bikes out there - as rated by you! 

The base criterion is that a bike has to have a minimum of five user reviews. We then averaged out the detailed ratings - as scored by owners - on Engine, Brakes, Handling, Comfort and Build. The higher the resulting score, the more highly rated the bike. 

Ask the average man on the street to tell you just one thing about adventure motorcycles, and chances are he'll name That Bike Ewan Rides. But life, as we know, is more complex than that. Our datamining exercise threw up some surprises: and the big surprise is that the BMW R1200GS doesn't make the Top 10. It is, with an average user score of 4.11, in fact, a whisker out of the top ten, and sits at No.11. Triumph's Tiger 955i (No.12, score 4.05) and Kawasaki's popular Versys (No. 13, score 4.03) also just missed out.

So which bikes made the cut? Scroll down to discover what your ten most highly-rated adventure-sport bikes are!

10. Yamaha TDM900

Owner's overall rating: 4.16/5

Launched in 2002 as the successor to the TDM850, the TDM900 had a tough time taking over from the 850, a bike which sold by the thousands in Europe but here in the UK we never quite 'got it'.

However, take over it did. The no-nonsense TDM900's sales story is similar to the bike itself, solid, reliable if a little underwhelming compared to the lastest offerings in the Adventure market. The rise of GATSOs, petrol prices and hefty speeding fines in recent years have made the TDM900 a more attractive option in the UK for those who want to keep their biking under the radar.

Owners love the comfort, the fuel economy (65mpg) and two-up touring potential. Ironically, now they're discontinued, they're growing in popularity.

Click here to see 15 Yamaha TDM900 owner's reviews.

9. Buell XB12X Ulysses

Owner's overall rating: 4.21/5

It looks rather ridiculous and is powered by a Harley engine - so why does this big touring Buell put such a big smile on owners' faces? Despite some panning from the press, the XB12X proved popular with buyers - in fact it was Buell's best selling model in the UK in 2007 - until Harley pulled the plug on the company. 

The XT is essentially a Ulysses with fewer off-road pretensions, and as such is far better on the road than off it. The shorter suspension, different tyres and more normal seat height make it a great handling adventure bike, and users attest to its skill in the twisties, as well as its comfort for both rider and pillion, and suprisingly good build quality and reliability. 

Click to read 7 user reviews of the Buell Ulysses XB12XT

=7. Honda Varadero

Owner's overall rating: 4.26/5

The venerable Varadero has been around a while - since 1999, to be precise. It's a big ol' beast, under-rated but eminently capable. The grunty, under-stressed Firestorm-derived V-twin is unburstable and build quality is typically Honda. Owners sing the praises of its overall touring capability, thanks to its comfort, seating position, reliability and understated mile-munching. A tough old goat, and that's a compliment.

Read 13 user reviews of the Honda Varadero

=7. Suzuki V-Strom 650

Owner's overall rating: 4.26/5

Despite the initial schock-horror reaction to the V-Strom's looks when it was intorduced in 2002 (1000cc version; the smaller sibling was introduced the next year), the bike's styling has mellowed and the model has won a strong and vocal fan following. The 650 is an all-rounder with good town manners and the legs to hit the open road. 

Visordown owners scored the 'Strom highly enough to rank it on par with the Varadero. The punchy engine gets universal acclaim, as does its all-day comfort, fuel economy/tank range and the value-for-money equation. On the flipside, the bike's suspension, finish and luggage do cop some flak. 

Read 15 user reviews of the V-Strom DL650.

6. Triumph Tiger 1050

Owner's overall rating: 4.3/5

Triumph introduced the Tiger 1050 with a clear road focus, acknowledging the truth that most adventure stays on the road. The 1050cc triple's urgent, pacy feel gives the Triumph loads of character and makes for an involving ride, while the sporty yet comfortable position and road-oriented tyres make it feel sharper and more nimble than the likes of BMW's GS.

Owners - lots of them; the 1050 has more reviews than any of the others in this top ten - cannot get enough of the engine's power, torque and sound. They also commend its handling, weather protection and  fuel economy. Quality problems are a concern on the earlier models though, with the gearbox and clutch drawing complaints, as does the headlight and luggage. 

Read 33 user reviews of the Tiger 1050

5. Honda Crossrunner VFR800X

Owner's overall rating: 4.5/5

The essence of the acclaimed VFR800 in a less sporty package, the Crossrunner corrects that bike's bugbears - the stuttery VTEC transition and the midrange dip. Add a comfy, upright riding position into the mix, and the Crossrunner is an equally good all-rounder, in its element with a swift but relaxed rider.

This capable, honest and practical bike has touched a chord with owners, who love the sound, power and fuelling of the V4 engine, the riding position and handling. Its thirst for fuel gets a few frowns though. 

Read 6 owner reviews of the Honda Crossrunner

4. Yamaha XT660Z Tenere

Owner's overall rating: 4.6/5

The 660Z has impeccable lineage - the original Ténéré (note accents) of 1983 was developed from the Dakar-winning XT500. The new-generation (from 2008) Tenere is less hardcore than its granddad, but still a capable adventure machine. The smooth and refined liquid-cooled motor is a solid if not exceptional performer, and the high seat and long-travel, well-damped suspension are designed to help you punt it quickly across the land. 

For owners, the 350-mile+ tank range is especially creditable, and the bike's dependability and practicality stand out. However the tall seat is a factor for potential buyers to consider. 

Read 6 owner reviews of the XT660Z Tenere

the top three

3. Triumph Tiger 800

Owner's overall rating: 4.68/5

Launched in 2011, the smaller Tiger (road-focused 800 and off-road-oriented 800XC) is a fantastic proposition. With terrific handling and a torque curve that's a dyno operator's dream, all at a sensible price, it's the characterful British alternative to a midweight BMW.

Journalists have soundly praised the bike and Tiger owners vehemently agree, with Visordown's review pages speckled with superlatives about the great-sounding 800cc triple's silky performance and the slick gearbox, as well as handling, comfort and value.

Read 8 owner reviews of the Triumph Tiger 800.

2. KTM 990 SMT

Owner's overall rating: 4.83/5

The KTM 990 SMT is a slightly saner, hugely versatile touring version of the barking 990 Supermoto. A high-spec road bike with plenty of legroom and good wind protection, it'll sit at 100 mph all day on the motorway, and then carve up the backroads with aplomb. 

A do-it-all bike with a mad potential for fun, it's much loved by Visordown readers, with its average rating score placing it at No.2 in our top ten. Owners gush over the engine, brakes and handling, awarding perfect scores, and praise it as the 'most entertaining bike on UK roads' - but all of them pan the SMT's poor fuel economy.

Read 6 user reviews of the KTM 990 SMT.

1. Ducati Multistrada 1200

Owner's overall rating: 5/5

Aaaand Visordown readers' top-rated adventure sport bike is... Ducati's brilliant Multistrada 1200. With a perfect score of 5 on 5, the Multi has certainly made an impression!

With the frog-faced looks of its predecessor swapped for sharper styling, the 2010-2012 Multistrada overcame one of the few obstacles in the way of it being a really desirable bike. Designed to be a 'four in one' motorcycle (sports, tourer, commuter and enduro) the 150bhp Multi is smooth and powerful, sumptuously comfortable and kitted out with electronic suspension, mode selection and ride-by-wire throttle. 

Owners especially praise the power delivery, customisable modes, seat comfort and styling. 

Read 5 user reviews of the Ducati Multistrada 1200.

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