When it comes to adventure bikes, is the newest and best tech really worth it, or can you live with an affordable classic?
Modern adventure bikes are do-all, go-anywhere machines. Of course, they’re built to take on the wilds of Baja, the Rockies and pretty much anything else Mother Nature can throw at them, but they also make incredibly capable daily-riders and in some cases, perfect city bikes. A high ground clearance and high seating position affords the rider a good line of sight that works just as well in the concrete jungle as it does in the true wilderness. Modern ADV bikes also come with a host of electronics, ride modes and creature comforts that make an extended stay in the saddle infinite times more comfortable. But, all that extra refinement comes at a cost. When it comes down to it, is all that extra tech worth it? Sure, it’s nice to have but how often does it get put to use?
The Honda Africa Twin has cemented itself as one of the truly great adventure bikes of this era. Not only is it incredibly capable in almost every situation, it’s also one of the more affordable options for the 2017 model-year. And therein lies the problem: even with a five-digit price tag, it’s still somehow considered affordable. It should come as no surprise to anyone by now that all the best motorcycle deals are in vintage adventure bikes, and yet it’s an overlooked market. That’s where you’ll find yourself a capable bike, both in town and on the trails — and at a realistic price.
Want This: 2017 Honda Africa Twin CRF 1000L
There’s no denying that the Africa Twin is one of the better deals when it comes to the heavyweight adventure bikes. It comes with an optional CVT transmission (though polarizing, it still has its upsides), long travel suspension with nine inches of travel in the front and 8.7 inches in the back, multi-level traction control and an adjustable seat and windscreen for fine-tuning comfort. It’s a complete package that’s thousands less than the equivalent BMW or KTM. Some might say all of that is overkill on a daily basis — something much simpler, more practical and more affordable makes much more sense.
Get This: 1976 Yamaha XT500
Introduced in 1975, the XT500 put its stamp on the off-road world early by dominating and winning the first two runnings of the legendary Paris-Dakar Rally (in 1979 and 1980). Its simple architecture and design contributes to a bare-bones bullet-proof reputation. That’s also what makes this a perfect, minimalist daily rider. And, like the rest of the vintage adventure motorcycle market, incredibly well-kept and fully restored examples are going for next to nothing.