Buying THAT adventure bike.
The best thing about riding your bike is the fact that you are able to discover the world and take those path’s that lead to new adventures. If you agree, you might want to buy yourself an Adventure Bike. On 26/03/2014 ADVPulse rated the top 10 Adventure bikes for new adventure riders. And guess what…. the Suzuki Vstrom 650 is the No. 2 on that list. Just sayin’.
Whenever you are looking at buying an adventure bike, think about the following:
- What is my ability level?
- Where will I most likely do my riding?
- What can I afford?
Just be honest to yourself. Are you a seasoned adventure rider, then go on and buy that BMW GS and ride those sand dunes! But it’s more likely you’re better off buying a lighter and more accessible bike, like a Vstrom 650 / Kawasaki versys or a BMW F800. These are way easier to get through those single trail mud covered routes. And easier to pick up. Trust me… I had to wake my sleepy Strom up a few times. All in all choosing the right bike will depend on a lot of factors. Choose the one you think will fit you and your skills. But that bike is not going anywhere if the rider is laying down somewhere with a hydrationtube in his mouth after riding 5 km through the forest. Your physical condition is also very important in riding off-road. Pulling your 250+ kg machine through the dirt and recovering from a fall multiple times on a track, is very demanding for your body and mind. If you want to ride those back trails with the steep rocky inclines and sheer drop-dead cliffs, keep yourself in good physical condition.
This brings us to the next choice. Where will I be riding? Will you be riding across the world in 80 days and only using unpaved paths leading you thru the most unpronounceable countries? Or are you going to tour around, for example Europe, and take the occasional dirt road? This will let you decide between a heavier bike with more load capacity or a lighter bike which tracks thru the dirt better. Both have their pro’s and con’s in both situations. Bigger bikes are harder to handle in trail riding situations but have more power and more luggage capacity. Lighter bikes are often a little bit less powerful but handle easier in the field. Bigger isn’t always better. And if you are riding through those unpronounceable countries then be aware that spare parts for most of the Japanese brands are not that readily available. The most logical choice will be a BMW in that case. BMW is arguably the most wide spread motorcycle brand and its relatively easy to get parts.
But! Those big, solid and robust BMW machines are pretty pricy. Especially when they first roll off of the production line. So take a good hard look at your bank account then to the shared account and don’t tell your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or husband about your plans of buying a new bike. Use the simple ‘add’ formula and take a look at the outcome. Is this less than 15k then don’t bother looking to a new BMW and check out the Suzuki 650!
What about a used bike? Highly recommendable… We’ve all had it. Tiptoeing at the traffic light: left, right, left, right, left….. and then having to slowly lower that freshly bought bike to the ground.. This will also happen in the field. So buying a used bike to get more comfortable in off-road riding isn’t a bad idea. And don’t be afraid to bring someone who knows their stuff when it comes to bikes when you finally found that one dream bike. Because all dreams can turn into nightmares.
Just be honest about all the above and you can make a reasonable cut in the amount of bikes around on the market. Last tip, take a motorcycle safety course or an off-road class. Costs a bit but that’s a good investment.