EICMA 2016: Top 5 Adventure Bikes
By Preetam Bora
1 mins read
Published on November 10, 2016
- BMW G 310 GS displayed at EICMA 2016
- G 310 GS jointly developed by BMW Motorrad and TVS
- Kawasaki unveils 300cc Versys
Adventure bikes, or ADV bikes as they are popularly known, have always been bulky, heavy and powerful machines. Over the past decade, adventure bikes have become ever more popular across the world, not just for the round the world traveller but also for the rider who indulges in the occasional weekend ride and uses the bike for even the daily commute.
The adventure crowd though has always sought to make their bikes lighter and many even seek light, middleweight machines, not just for multi-day adventures but even for extended round the world adventures. Manufacturers finally seem to have taken that feedback seriously and this year, at the EICMA show in Milan, there have been several updates and new adventure and touring motorcycles on display. Here's a list of the top five adventure bikes from EICMA and all that they offer.
1. BMW G 310 GS
The baby GS retains similar styling cues from the bigger GS models with the distinctive 'beak' that seems to be synonymous with adventure models these days. Overall fit and finish is excellent and the bike proudly wears the GS badge on the fuel tank, underlining its 'adventure' DNA.
The G 310 GS is powered by the same single-cylinder 313cc fuel injected engine that powers the BMW G 310 R, the first bike jointly developed by TVS and BMW. The motor makes 34bhp at 9500rpm and 28Nm of torque at 10,500rpm. Expect a top speed of around 140kmph
Although it gets adventure styling, the G 310 GS is more suited for commuting or the occasional long distance ride, than hard core off-road riding. The bike gets long travel suspension and a large 19-inch alloy wheel at the front to take on rough terrain, with a 41mm USD fork at the front and a 180mm monoshock at the rear.
But the disappointment is the fuel tank - with a 11 litre tank, the baby GS has limited range for long distance riding, at best requiring more fuel stops than is ideal. It may not be a hardcore off-roader but the G 310 GS promises a whole lot of adventure, both in the urban jungle as well as on the occasional long distance tour. Expect the bike to be launched in India by the first quarter of 2017.
2. Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Kawasaki has extended its Versys family with a new member at the lower end of the displacement graph. The Versys-X 300 takes the 296cc parallel-twin engine from the Ninja 300 and offers an adventure touring option in the lightweight segment.
The Versys-X 300 borrows styling cues from the bigger Versys bikes, yet manages to look unique in its own way. Like most ADV bikes, the Versys-X also follows a tall-ish stance with a large 19-inch front wheel, wide handlebars and tall windscreen. And to take on rough roads, suspension is handled by a 41mm telescopic fork at the front and a Uni-Trak gas charged monoshock at the rear.
Kawasaki will be offering two accessory editions of the Versys-X, apart from a standard variant. The Urban package will have a tank pad, hand guards, centrestand and a 30-litre topbox, while the Adventure package will get a tank pad, tubular engine guard, centrestand and a pair of 17-litre panniers.
The small capacity Versys will have around 38bhp power and also come with an assist and slipper clutch for aggressive downshifting. There's no word yet on pricing or availability, and no confirmation if Kawasaki will be bringing the X 300 to India.
3. Suzuki DL250 V-Strom
The mini-ADV space gets another contender at the EICMA 2016 with Suzuki introducing the smallest capacity V-Strom - the Suzuki DL250 V-Strom. The V-Strom 250 borrows its underpinnings from the Inazuma, with a 248cc parallel-twin engine that makes around 24.7bhp.
While the design clearly underscores the V-Strom's touring creds, the refined parallel-twin engine offers relaxed cruising ability rather than outright sportbike-like performance. The subframe rails are designed to double up as mounts for optional hard case panniers and the 17-litre fuel tank offers nearly 500km of range, so there's no need for frequent fuel stops.
The mini V-Strom promises to be a fun machine, yet easy on the pocket and gets the right equipment for long distance riding and to take on the occasional broken road. Suzuki though has denied any plans of introducing the DL250 V-Strom in India.
4. Honda CRF 250L Rally
Honda's CRF250L Rally is the only bike on this list which seems to be equipped for off-road use, thanks to the design inspired by Honda's CRF 450 Dakar race bike. And it's also just not styling which gives the CRF 250L Rally a purposeful look, but it's got some decent equipment for off-road use.
The CRF250L Rally gets the same 249cc, single-cylinder engine of the CRF 250L, which makes around 24.4bhp power and 22Nm of torque. The engine gets some updates for 2017, with new throttle bodies, new airbox, new mapping and a new exhaust system. The fuel tank though is limited, for long distance riding, getting just over 10 litres to a tankful.
The Rally though gets equipped with the right cycle parts for off-road use - there's additional suspension travel with a high quality 43mm Showa fork at the front, and wheels are spoked with a large 21-inch front wheel shod with off-road focussed tyres. ABS is standard, with the option to switch it off for the rear wheel during off-road riding. The gear lever gets a folding tip - a handy thing to prevent it breaking off in case of a fall or hitting a rock while riding off-road.
5. 2017 BMW R1200 GS
The big daddy of all adventure bikes - the BMW R 1200 GS also gets updates for 2017, focussing on its customer base, and in how many different ways they use the bike. Overall changes include a Euro4 compliant engine and additional electronics.
The boxer engine continues with the same state of tune, making 125bhp at 7,750rpm but gets some new components, primarily to meet Euro4 regulations. The upgrades to the engine have meant a slightly heavier bike, but the updated design makes the bike look less bulky than the outgoing model.
There's revised ergonomics in the knee area which makes the bike more comfortable when standing on the pegs in off-road situations and there are new winglets, trim pieces and metal radiator shrouds. The R 1200 GS - BMW's bestseller, is used by different riders, many never taking it off-road and others using all kinds of crash protection for multi-day off-road adventures.
BMW now offers the big GS in two packages - Exclusive and Rallye. It's the Rallye which is designed for the aggressive off-road user, giving it spoked wheels, a single piece seat, short windshield, radiator and frame guards, wide endure footpegs and optional dual sport tyres. The Exclusive package is more suited for road riding, keeping in mind the rider's comfort.
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