There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to motorcycling. Where to ride, what to ride, what to wear while riding, and so on.
ADV Riding can be anything you want it to be. Do you dream of circumnavigating the globe by motorcycle? Or do you just want to get your tires dirty every once in a while? Adventure motorcycles are very capable machines able to conquer both ends of the above spectrum and anything in between.
For those new to adventure motorcycling, hitting the trail for a year-long journey probably isn’t in the cards, so if you’re new to ADV riding something a little closer to home is most likely more realistic. Here are some examples of rides very close to major cities where you can get off the beaten path.
For those in-the-know, there is a hidden gem of an ADV ride just above the bustling Southern California metropolis of Orange County. Main Divide is a dirt fire road that stretches between The Ortega Highway and Corona California. Depending on the time of year, fire conditions, and closures, this road can be ridden on adventure or dual-sport motorcycles. It definitely has some challenging sections and recovery in the event of a crash or mechanical is very difficult, so ride with caution.
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One of the most epic off-road riding areas in the U.S. has to be Moab, Utah. And although there is plenty of hardcore riding for dual-sport and off-road riders, there is also a ton of adventure riding. This ride out of the town of Moab features a lot of scenic on-road and also a good chunk of dirt. Follow the contours of the Colorado River and then tackle the dirt north of Arches National Park.
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Looking for a very cool ADV road in central South Africa? Look no further than the R339 gravel road between Knysna and Uniondale. This 53 mile road is the longest mountain pass in South Africa and remains in the same configuration as when it was opened in 1867. Expect breathtaking views all along the route, before ending up in the quaint town of Uniondale.
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This route scouted by our friends at Remote Moto New Zealand, heads out of Christchurch and does a counterclockwise loop of the Banks Peninsula. There is an equal amount of asphalt and dirt for the dual-sport or ADV riders. Highlights include the Old Le Bons Track which is a grass track sprinkled with a few rocky sections.
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In the past decade, adventure bikes have not only evolved from their humble roots, but they’ve splintered off into different categories just as quickly. That may sound complicated if you’re new to the genre and not sure what you want to buy, but at the same time, it means that there is something for just about everyone.
One segment of the ADV market that is showing signs of growth, is the entry-level category. It wasn’t long ago that the most diminutive ADV bikes available were still more than 600cc, or not even ADV bikes at all, but more along the definition of dual-sports (off-road bikes with lights).
In an effort to ensure that riders wanting an ADV-style machine who aren’t ready to move straight onto bigger, more powerful, and vastly equipped bikes can get their feet wet, BMW has created the G 310 GS.
Right away, it’s obvious that the G 310 GS is part of BMW’s ADV family. The classic GS profile, upright riding position, long-travel suspension, and styling are all familiar traits to its siblings. Like its sportier cousin the G 310 R naked sportbike, the mini GS has a 313cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine with electronic-fuel injection. Claimed output is 34 horsepower, and 21 foot-pounds of torque.
The chassis has a tubular steel frame with bolt-on subframe. Upfront a 41mm inverted fork supports a 19-inch cast-aluminum wheel, while an aluminum swingarm with an adjustable monoshock hosts a 17-inch hoop (also cast aluminum); suspension travel measures 7.1 inches at both ends. Dual-purpose tires in 110/80R-19 front and 150/70R-17 will provide good all-around traction on a variety of terrain.
Like every BMW motorcycle, the GS comes standard with ABS, and for those that want to disable ABS while riding on dirt surfaces, it can be shut off from the dash. Braking hardware comes in the form of a single 300mm disc and four-piston caliper up front, and a 240mm disc pinched by a single-piston caliper aft.
To ensure that the G 310 GS appeals to a large variety of people, two optional seats can be ordered if the standard 32.9-inch-high seat isn’t ideal (A Low seat sits at 32.3 in., or a 33.5-in. High seat). And with a low ready-to-ride weight of 374 pounds, this GS is anything but a handful at slow speeds or simply getting in and out of parking spaces.
If you need another number to put a smile on your face, the bike’s claimed 71-mile-per-gallon fuel economy should do the trick, giving the bike a possible range of more than 200 miles. So, for those who are new to adventure riding, those new to motorcycling and looking for ADV styling, or for those just looking for a good all-arounder at an affordable price, the G 310 GS is well worth considering.
Until recently, BMW had little to offer for those new to motorcycling. Its F650 series may have been the most diminutive of its adventure range, but wasn’t nearly as welcoming to new riders as the new G-series Singles. That family consists of two models, the R and the GS.
If urban chops are what you are looking for, the R is the right choice. The bike is lightweight (349 pounds fully fueled), has a very reasonable seat height (ranging from 30.3 to 31.5 in.), and offers good performance from its 313cc engine. Horsepower is rated at 34, with 21 lb.-ft. of torque claimed by BMW. One of the great attributes of this small-displacement, single-cylinder, fuel-injected engine is excellent fuel consumption, which is a claimed 71 mpg! With just shy of three gallons of fuel capacity, 200 miles between fill ups is a realistic figure.
The G 310 R was made for inner-city exploring and the chassis is what puts it up to the task. The suspension consists of an upside-down 41mm fork up front and a preload adjustable single shock arrears. With 5.5 and 5.2 inches of travel respectively, tackling potholes, train tracks, and all the obstacles the city has to offer won’t be a big deal.
Want to get away from it all and head out of town into the hills on the weekend for some curvy roads? The nicely styled cast-aluminum wheels have sporty 110/70R17 and 150/60R17 rubber spooned on front and rear. A single front brake disc is pinched by a four-piston caliper up front, while a single-piston unit resides out back; ABS is standard. These, combined with nimble geometry, promise a fun and rewarding ride.
Engine: Type: Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine; Capacity: 313 cc; Rated output: 34 hp (25 kW) at 9,500 rpm; Max. torque: 21 lb.-ft. (28 Nm) at 7,500 rpm; Mixture control: Electronic fuel injection; Fuel consumption: 71 mpg; Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, mechanically operated; Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed transmission; Final Drive: Chain; Frame: Steel Frame, tubular steel subframe; Front suspension: Upside down telescopic fork, 41 mm; Rear suspension: Die-cast aluminum, single monoshock, adjustable preload; Suspension travel: front/rear 7.1”/7.1” (180 mm/180 mm); Wheelbase: 55.9” (1,420 mm); Rake: 63.3°; Tires: front/rear: 110/80R19, 150/70R17; Brake: front Single disc, diameter 300 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper; Brake: rear Single 240 mm disc, single-piston floating caliper; ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS; Seat height: High Seat: 33.5″, Standard Seat: 32.9″, Low Seat: 32.3″; Unladen weight: road ready, fully fueled 374 lbs. (169.5 kg); Fuel Capacity: 2.9 gal (11 l).