Adventure Bike Circuit Racing is a Thing, and We Want More

A round of the 2024 Suzuki International Series in New Zealand will feature adventure bikes racing on asphalt, and we’re jealous

Ducati Multistrada V4 RS

Suzuki New Zealand has confirmed it is to host a race featuring large-capacity adventure bikes at its Boxing Day street race in Whanganui. And that’s got us thinking, if King of the Baggers is such a huge success, why can’t an on-track adventure bike racing class?

While the round confirmed by Suzuki New Zealand is taking place on a fairly gnarly-looking street course, a bit like Parliament Square on the Isle of Man but a mile long and with guaranteed sunshine, it does make us think; why haven’t series organisers already chucked a bunch of big-bore adventure bikes around a traditional circuit?

Manufacturers are seemingly pretty keen to show off their latest adventure bikes in the cauldron of competition, see Ducati’s DesertX taking on the Iron Road Prologue for just one example, but that’s not really how 90 per cent of adventure bike owners actually use their ADV bikes. Surely a more realistic example of a bike’s prowess would be to shod it in some super sticky road-legal tyres, tweak the suspension and then hand it over to a tame motorcycle racer so they can show the world what it can really do. And just this week the AMA announced a flat track class for large-capacity adventure motorcycles, so the appetite to show off the sectors seems to be there!

Manufacturers, primarily Ducati with its bonkers Multistrada V4 RS, also seem fairly clued up on this fact, and for almost every off-road biased ADV bike in a manufacturer’s range, there’s a more road-focused and sporty one for those that only ride on the road.

The King of the Baggers series has proven that unconventional bikes, racing on track is something that captures the imagination, and circuit racing adventure bikes could be the next big thing. You also can’t ignore the fact that, of all the large capacity bike categories, ADV bikes regularly out-sell sports bikes and super nakeds. Surely from a manufacturer's perspective highlighting that dominance can only be a positive move?