Choosing the right adventure touring bike may be a case of easier said than done, considering the number of options available in India right now. For the sake of simplicity, we have limited these adventure bikes to those with twin-cylinder engines, or more, and with price tags of over ₹ 5 lakh to justify the 'premium' tag. While choosing the right motorcycle will depend on individual riding style, and purpose of use, whether primarily for tarmac touring duties or a mix of both tarmac long distance touring and some off-road duties thrown in, this list will help you decide which bike will be the right choice for your needs.
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Kawasaki Versys 650
The Kawasaki Versys 650 is a superb choice for a companion for touring, and is priced at ₹ 6.69 lakh (Ex-showroom). With a sporty 649 cc, parallel-twin engine which puts out 67.4 bhp of power and 64 Nm of torque, engaging dynamics and a comfortable riding position, with long travel suspension, the Kawasaki Versys 650 is a very good choice for purely tarmac, and can handle the occasional gravel road and minor off-road duties with the right kind of tyres. But long distance tarmac duties are where the Versys 650 truly shines at, and all at a price tag, which could be considered affordable for riders looking for their first touring motorcycle with a parallel-twin engine.
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Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT
The Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT is expected to get an updated BS6 model in India very soon. With a strong fan following internationally among the motorcycle touring crowd, the V-Strom 650 XT offers a practical and value-for-money touring motorcycle which is known for its reliability and excellent road manners. Powered by a 645 cc, parallel-twin engine, with 71 bhp of power and 62 Nm of torque in the outgoing BS4 motor, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT offers a superb choice in the sub- ₹ 10 lakh price budget for a mid-size adventure bike, even though it's more expensive than the Kawasaki Versys 650.
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Triumph Tiger 900
There's nothing quite like the Triumph Tiger 900 range in the middleweight adventure segment, especially for off-road riding aficionados who want a true-blue, off-road capable adventure touring bike. The new Tiger 900 is available in three variants, but the top-spec off-road Tiger 900 Rally Pro is our pick, which can very well rub shoulders with the best full-size adventure touring bikes. Priced at ₹ 15.50 lakh (Ex-showroom), the Tiger 900 Rally Pro is superb value for money, and loaded with features to make it one of our top picks in the premium adventure motorcycle segment.
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BMW F 900 XR
For those looking for a fully-loaded tarmac touring option, the BMW F 900 XR offers a superb choice. In fact, with prices at ₹ 10.5 lakh (Ex-showroom), the BMW F 900 XR offers superb value, and is loaded to the brim with features and electronics. With the road-oriented Triumph Tiger 900 GT as its biggest rival, the BMW F 900 XR gets a bunch of electronic rider aids, and features. Two riding modes, ABS, optional features and Pro modes with drag torque control, dynamic traction control, and an optional electronic suspension adjustment, the BMW F 900 XR makes for a superb touring bike at that price point. With 17-inch alloy wheels and a taut chassis, the F 900 XR promises an engaging and sporty ride as well, together with the 895 cc parallel-twin engine belting out an impressive 105 bhp of maximum power at 8,500 rpm and 92 Nm of peak torque at 6,500 rpm.
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Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports
The Honda Africa Twin completely changed the middleweight adventure motorcycle segment in India. For one, it's the only motorcycle available in India with an automatic transmission, and it has superb off-road capability, despite being not as popular as its competition. The new Honda Africa Twin gets a bigger engine and is now available with both manual and automatic transmission options. The new engine gets some added displacement, and is now a 1,084 cc, parallel-twin engine, which puts out 105 bhp at 7,500 rpm and 105 Nm of peak torque at 6,250 rpm. Considering the earlier Africa Twin with the 999 cc engine which we have reviewed, the new Africa Twin promises to be more enjoyable and capable than ever. The sum of the bike's performance, touring comfort and off-road ability is what makes the Honda Africa Twin such a special bike. It may not be as popular as its closest rival, the Triumph Tiger, but the Africa Twin certainly has its own qualities to make it a very desirable and capable ADV.
Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
The Ducati Multistrada 1260 range is available in India with prices starting at ₹ 19.99 lakh (Ex-showroom). With the 1,262 cc, Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) engine putting out 156 bhp at 9,500 rpm and 127 Nm at 7,500 rpm, the Multistrada 1260 offers the best of both worlds, almost superbike performance and the ground clearance and off-road ready hardware to take on all kinds of terrain. With four riding modes, full electronic Sachs suspension, as well as a six axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) which controls the cornering ABS, cornering lights, cornering traction control and wheelie control system, the Multistrada 1260 is one of the most advanced adventure bikes with state-of-the-art electronics that money can buy.
BMW R 1250 GS
The world's most popular adventure motorcycle got a bigger engine with more power last year, and more technology. A heavyweight, full-size adventure bike weighing 250 kg may seen like a daunting prospect, particularly for riders looking for some off-road action. But, the big GS comes with superb weight distribution, low centre of gravity, and a torque-y boxer twin engine with 1,254 cc displacement and a whole range of hi-tech electronic rider aids which make it sliding around in the dirt as easy as it looks. And it's a superb touring machine, with plush suspension and an engine which is tailor-made for covering hundreds of kilometres in a day. With 134 bhp of power, 143 Nm of torque, a long list of riding modes, dynamic traction control, quickshifter and more, it's not easy to understand why the BMW R 1250 GS is so popular. With no budget constraints, it's easily one of the best-equipped and off-road capable full-sized adventure bikes available on sale.