Best adventure motorbikes in 2024


Let’s clear the air before we start; any motorbike can be used to go on an adventure. This page, however, will concentrate on the adventure bike market sector that covers mostly middle and heavyweight machines with at least some off-road capability and a nod to comfort over distance.

The obvious king of the sector is the BMW R1250GS (we’re running a new BMW R1300GS on the MCN test fleet in 2024) – and, of course, the previous versions all the way back to the original top dog of the ‘big trailies’, the R80GS of 1980.

Over time, adventure bikes got bigger, heavier, more expensive and more tarmac-focused and this is where the middleweight versions came into play. With a clear emphasis being made towards a more ‘do it all’ bike, ones that could tour the tarmac and have some off road ability.

This segment has boomed as of late to include 2022’s MCN adventure bike of the year-winning Ducati DesertX, Yamaha Ténéré 700, KTM 890 Adventure, Aprilia Tuareg 660 and the latest models on the scene – the 2023 Honda Transalp, Suzuki V-Strom 800DE, Triumph’s updated Tiger 900 and BMW’s F900GS range.

Below we have grouped together some of MCN’s favourite adventure bikes below, both heavier and middle weight options including some A2 license appropriate options for those just starting their adventures.

Jump to…

Heavyweight adventure

Let’s start with the crème de la crème of the heavyweight class. The biggest of the adventure bike market, with features and comfort packages rivalling that of dedicated tourers. These bikes, albeit on the weighty side still have some adventure and off road credentials. The likely hood being they will mostly only see tarmac, and thats okay, as they perform fantastically at that as well.

2023-on Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally

Riding a Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally in a sports-touring helmet
  • Highlights: Incredible engine and power delivery / Real world rider aids and advanced electronics / Usability, grip and stability
  • SpecsEngine size: 1158cc Power: 170bhp Weight: 240kg Seat height: 870mm
  • Price: £23,950 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally here
  • Review: Ducati’s bid to become the class leader in the flagship big bike adventure class spawned the Multistrada V4 Rally based on the fourth generation and ever popular road orientated adventure bike the Multistrada V4S. Winning in the power bragging rights department, the Rally also gets a suite of rider aids filtered down from the other models and tailored to the Rally’s needs.

2024-on BMW R1300GS

MCN fleet BMW R1300GS on the road
  • Highlights: 1300cc, 143bhp flat twin / 12kg lighter than R1250 / New chassis design
  • SpecsEngine size: 1300cc Power: 143bhp Weight: 237kg Seat height: 850mm
  • Price: £15,990 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the BMW R1300 GS here
  • Review: With an MCN rating of 5 stars given buy our Chief Road Tester Michael Neeves its the lightest, punchiest, most compact and powerful GS there’s ever been. The popular adventure bike has a higher level of standard equipment, a new face and a bewildering array of optional extras. Its one of the long term test bikes on MCN’s fleet for 2024 follow MCN’s Editor Richard Newland as he puts some serious miles and adventures on the bike.

2022-on KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

KTM 1290 Super Adventure spinning up off-road
  • Highlights: Addictive low down grunt from the engine / Fully adjustable WP andPDS suspension / Strong road performance along with true off-road pedigree
  • SpecsEngine size: 1301cc Power: 160bhp Weight: 221kg (dry)  Seat height: 880mm
  • Price:  £17,299 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert long-term test review of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R here
  • Review: “It’s one of the most unapologetic motorcycles I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding thanks to its ‘all-in’ 1301cc, 160bhp and 101.7lb.ft torque V-twin. It’s an absolute weapon, and it’s genuinely hard to keep the smile off your face whenever you open the throttle”. Read more on what our MCN tester Micheal Guy thinks of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R.

2024-on Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer

2024 Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro and Explorer side profile of the bike riding past
  • Highlights: Modified engine internals give fewer vibes / Redesigned crank for better low speed running / Active Preload Reduction for push-button low seat height
  • SpecsEngine size: 1160cc Power: 148bhp Weight: -kg Seat height: -mm
  • Price: £18,295 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Explorer here
  • Review: With a total overhaul in 2022 Triumph’s flagship adventure bike got more poke and put on a diet with less weight, full-spec features and a new frame, suspension, brakes and styling. 

Middleweight adventure bikes

Moving away from the heavyweights and into the middleweight sector with bikes that stand now in a league of their own. The middle weight class of adventure bikes which is currently getting a lot of attention from bike manufacturers as they serve up their offering for the perfect adventure steed. Road presence, handling and pedigree on the black top and dirt. This selection of bikes can be packed up for a long tour with pillions whilst having the ability to explore that forest trail all the while keeping bike weight and cost down.

2024-on Suzuki V-Strom 800DE

2023 Suzuki V-Strom 800 DE tight turn on gravel
  • Highlights: New 776cc parallel-twin engine / Gravel mode and switchable ABS added for off roading / 21-inch front and spoked rims as standard
  • SpecsEngine size: 776cc Power: 83bhp Weight: 230kg Seat height: 855mm
  • Price: £10,655 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Suzuki V-Strom 800DE here
  • Review: The V-Strom 800DE is the first version of Suzuki’s adventure bike to use a parallel-twin engine. The new motor uses a 270-degree crank to behave more like the previously-used V-twin and has a twin balance shaft design to minimise vibration.The 800DE is more off-road capable than its 650cc predecessor but it’s still predominantly a road bike – where it is excellent.

2023-on Honda XL750 Transalp

2023 Honda Transalp XL750 riding shot showing handling
  • Highlights: Potent 91bhp, 755cc parallel-twin / Superb handling / Excellent value for money
  • SpecsEngine size: 755cc Power: 91bhp Weight: 208kg Seat height: 850mm
  • Price: £9499 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Honda XL750 Transalp here
  • Review: Released shortly after the Suzuki V-Strom above and after years of speculation and spyshots, the Honda Transalp hasn’t disappointed. Chief road tester Michael Neeves gave it a maximum five stars overall and was really impressed by the lively engine and excellent road handling. As with the V-Strom, the Honda is predominantly a road bike with some off-road capability but if you’re looking for a truly focused mud plugger then buy an enduro bike.

2024 BMW F900GS Adventure

2024 BMW F900GSA - cornering on country road
  • Highlights: 14kg weight loss / Best off-roader in BMW’s range / New suite of goodies
  • SpecsEngine size: 895cc Power: 105bhp Weight: 219kg Seat height: 875mm
  • Price: £11,995 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the BMW F900GS here
  • Review: A leap forward down the muddy path for BMW as the new F900Gs couldn’t be more different than its predecessor F850GS. A bigger parallel twin engine, a new steel chassis, its lighter, more powerful and now a more dirt focused machine.

A2 License compliant adventure bikes

Full size bikes for full size tours, at a fraction of the cost. A few horses less when compared to the others but don’t let the stats fool you. With great ergonomics, handling, and characterful engines, this class of bikes can bring many adventures and many smiles per mile.

2024-on Honda NX500

Honda NX500 on the road
  • Highlights: 5in TFT dash with connectivity / HSTC as standard / 1.5kg lighter wheels
  • SpecsEngine size: 471cc Power: 47bhp Weight: 196kg Seat height: 830mm
  • Price: £6,799 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Honda NX500 here
  • Review: With a new name, and a new frock, the Honda NX500 is essentially a Honda CB500X. However, Honda have taken the five time best MCN A2 Legal bike winner and improved it again, with a TFT dash lighter wheels, tweaked suspension and traction control.

2024-on Royal Enfield Himilayan 450

Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 cornering on the road
  • Highlights: All new water cooled 452cc engine / Good quality Showa suspension / User friendly and unintimidating
  • SpecsEngine size: 452cc Power: 40bhp Weight: 196kg (wet) Seat height: 825mm
  • Price: £5300(new- base model) – £6300 (new – top of the range model)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Royal Enfield Himalayan 450 here
  • Review: A new era for Royal Enfield with the introduction of their first water cooled engine. A significant step up and in real world adventure terms it nows ticks even more boxes than its predecessor

2024-on CFMoto 450MT

CFMoto 450MT tested for MCN by Chris Newbigging
  • Highlights: 2024’s lowest-priced adventure lightweight / High-spec chassis and electronics / Only ‘faux V-twin’ 270-degree parallel motor under 700cc
  • SpecsEngine size: 449cc Power: 42bhp Weight: 175kg Seat height: 820mm
  • Price: £5,699 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the CFMoto 450MT here
  • Review: The baby of CFMoto’s range comes with the highest specfication of any of the 300-500 dual sport bikes, yet its the lowest price. Boasting great tech and. a4 yeat manufacture warranty, its a serious contender.

Electric adventure

A nod towards the underdog, electric bikes are slowly breaking more ground, and whilst there are not many options in the way of dedicated electric adventure bikes, the ones that do tackle the job are worth taking a look at. If an electric bike is something that can fit into your lifestyle and routine, then having a bike which can provide a bit of an adventure and practicality seems like a the perfect crossover.

2022-on ZERO DSR/X

Zero DSR/X on the road in the UK
  • Highlights: First electric adventure bike to hit production / Claimed combined range of 115 miles / Optional rapid charge gets to 95% in 1 hour
  • SpecsEngine size: Electric Power: 100bhp Weight: 247kg Seat height: 828mm
  • Price: £1600 (used) – £24,150 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Zero DSR/X here
  • Review: Winning the title of worlds first all-electric adventure bike, the Zero will happily take you on any adventure, providing adequate planning and recharging is planned in. A decent range of 115 miles, and a rapid recharge ability of 1 hour. It coule be the perfect adventure bike for some.
  • MCN’s own Alison Silcox took her long term test bike the Zero DSR/X for an adventure round Scotland, read more about it here.

Best used adventure bikes:

What about buying a used adventure bike? It’s possible to get your hands on a bike with with serious capability without breaking the bank, and there are plenty for sale on the MCN website too. For starters, check out our best adventure motorbikes for less than £3000. We have produced a selection or older adventure bikes that are worth keeping your eye out for as well:

2019 KTM 790 Adventure

The KTM 790 Adventure offers the best of both worlds - it's great on and off road
  • SpecsEngine size: 799cc Power: 93.8bhp Weight: 189kg Seat height: 850mm
  • Price: £9500 (used) – £11,099 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the KTM 790 Adventure here

No motorcycle manufacturer has a better off-road pedigree than Austrian specialists KTM and, following the success of its big bore V-twin adventure bikes, its new middleweight parallel twin has enhanced its reputation further. With the lively engine from the 790 Duke, sophisticated electronics and quality spec including full colour TFT dash it’s a quality offering befitting its price and with off-road ability few rivals can match.

Two versions are available: the base, more road-orientated Adventure and the more hardcore, off-road R with top spec longer suspension, one-piece seat, low screen, high mudguard and extra Rally riding mode for £900 more. Both are brilliant, but if off-roading’s less important there are cheaper options.

BUYING ADVICE A few used examples are out there now the 790 Duke powertrain has a few stories regarding camshaft issues which should be investigated if looking to by. In general KTMs are generally solid but watch out for off-roading scars.

2019 BMW R1250GS Adventure

BMW's R1250GS is the latest and greatest version of the German's firm flagship adventure bike
  • SpecsEngine size: 1254cc Power: 134bhp Weight: 268kg Seat height: 890-910mm
  • Price: £16,400 (used, loaded) – £14,4150 (new, basic)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the BMW R1250GS Adventure here

The big GSA should need little introduction: The first 1150, in 2002, set the big tank/off-road enhancements ‘adventure’ template and found fame via Ewan and Charley’s Long Way Round. It’s been a best-seller ever since, was updated in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and for 2019 gains an extra 84cc, 11bhp and BM’s clever, performance-boosting ShiftCam technology, along with classy colour TFT screen, LED lights and more. A big, comfy, sporty, flexible and classy all-rounder, the improvements are enough to keep it on top – but it is big and, depending on spec, can be pricey, too.

BUYING ADVICE BMW’s famed residual values, owner profiles and dealer experience means used GSAs are a popular (and wise) used buy. If cosmetics are good, there’s little to fear but options are huge so be sure to find one with the spec you want.

Honda's Africa Twin Adventure Sports has proved a strong seller
  • SpecsEngine size: 998cc Power: 94bhp Weight: 243kg Seat height: 900mm
  • Price: £8750 (used) – £12,599 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports here

The return of Honda’s famous Africa Twin after over 20 years in 2016 was largely a success and, with its 94bhp twin, genuine on/off-road ability and slightly more middleweight proportions compared to some, proved a refreshing, well-positioned option. For 2019 this new Adventure Sports option gave it more presence, range and style thanks to a bigger tank and improved, longer-travel suspension, even if it still lacks some of the electronics and luxuries of some rivals. If you like Honda refinement, quality and the Africa Twin backstory and want a genuine dual-purpose adventure bike, it doesn’t disappoint.

BUYING ADVICE More already available than you might expect – although many are Honda’s clever ‘DCT’ auto version. Quality and mechanicals are class with no concerns, extras such as luggage are always welcome. Don’t forget there’s a new Honda Africa Twin for 2020, too…

2014 Honda CB500X

Honda's CB500X offers top value
  • SpecsEngine size: 471cc Power: 47bhp Weight: 197kg Seat height: 830mm
  • Price: £2750+ (used) – £6069 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Honda CB500X here

First introduced in 2013 as the adventure-style variant of Honda’s all-new, A2-focused, 47bhp CB500 twin (the others being the CB500F roadsters and CBR500R sports), the X was the taller, more upright option, but still a doddle for novices. A refresh came in 2015 followed by a further update this year, including larger 19in front wheel, new bodywork, engine tweaks and smart new clocks. Although no off-roader, it remains probably the best starter adventure bike out there and is affordable, reassuringly easy and unintimidating to ride and decent quality.

The CB500X took MCN’s sub 500cc Bike of the Year Award in 2020, too.

BUYING ADVICE Simple, understressed and with no mechanical horror stories in its 10-year life, the CB500X is also popular so there’s plenty to choose from. They tend to be looked after but watch for novice-style neglect and possible damage.

2014 Honda NC750X

The Honda NC750X keeps things simple, but it works well
  • SpecsEngine size: 745cc Power: 54bhp Weight: 229kg Seat height: 830mm
  • Price: £3600 (used) – £6879 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Honda NC750X here

First introduced as the NC700X in 2012 then facelifted and enlarged into 750 form in 2014, the NCX is an adventure-style commuter with more than a little scooter DNA. Novel design gives a luggage compartment in the false tank while a scooter-style twist-n-go DCT automatic version is also available. With just 54bhp it’s not the most exciting adventure bike, admittedly, but it’s effective, charming, easy to ride and impressively cheap to buy and run.

BUYING ADVICE Under-stressed, low-revving twin is solid and frugal, rest of bike is simple and they’re the sort of bike that tends to attract mature, careful owners. Popularity again means there’s plenty out there. Go for the DCT option if you’re feeling brave.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 S

Ducati's Multistrada 950 S is cheaper than its 1260 bigger brother but just as capable
  • SpecsEngine size: 937cc Power: 111bhp Weight: 230kg Seat height: 840mm
  • Price: £9,000 (used) – £13,355 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S here

There’s no argument that Ducati’s latest, range-topping Multistrada 1260 S is phenomenally capable and quick, but with 160bhp and a £17k price tag it’s also too much for some. The new 950 S has all of its big brother’s electronic brilliance (including multi modes and semi-active suspension), composure and class but with its 111bhp Hypermoto engine and £13k price is within reach of more. The ‘Strada is arguably the best road performing and sophisticated adventure bike of all. In this 950 S trim it’s more accessible than ever.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S also took the best adventure sport category in the 2020 MCN Bike of the Year Awards.

BUYING ADVICE the 937cc engine’s proven on the Hypermotard and the rest of the chassis and cycle parts on other ‘Stradas. Condition and proper servicing is key.

2010 Triumph Tiger 800 

The Triumph Tiger 800 XCA can do it all
  • SpecsEngine size: 800cc Power: 94bhp Weight: 205kg Seat height: 840-860mm
  • Price: £9,000 (used) – £13,355 (new)
  • Read MCN’s in-depth, expert review of the Triumph Tiger 800 XCA here

Although a three-cylinder adventure bike sounds odd, the Tiger 800 is a brilliant all-rounder and, in XC (cross-country) rather than XR (road) trim makes a reasonable off-roader, too. Triumph triple is a charismatic gem, handling is typically-triumph good and versatility is peerless. What’s more successive updates, most recently with improved modes, TFT screen and more in 2018 have kept it up to date plus the options list is immense. Get one with the spec you like and you won’t want for anything more.

BUYING ADVICE The Hinckley Tiger has now been around since 2010 and has proved hugely popular and shown up virtually no problems. High mileages are not unusual as they’re a popular commuter but check cosmetics. Quality extras can be a bonus.

Do I need to be an expert rider to manage an adventure bike?

Although admittedly some adventure bikes are imposing and expensive, today there’s a wider variety of sizes, types and prices than ever, ranging from budget A2-licence-compliant offerings to a new breed of off-road-centric middleweights such as Yamaha’s exciting new Ténéré 700 to luxurious, fully-laden heavyweights such as BMW’s new, ‘ShiftCam’ R1250GSA. They don’t need to be bank-breaking to buy, or indeed to insure.

Not enough adventure for you?

For more speed and tarmac based adventures check out MCN’s round up of best sports tourers. For more mile munching comfort the best tourers. If off the beaten track and more dirt is your kind of adventure check MCN’s best off roaders here. Remember anything can be an adventure, and you don’t have to stick with just one type. Happy riding.


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