Author: Phil Turner Posted: 24 Jul 2015
Falling short of adventure?
The growth in the adventure bike sector is showing no signs of slowing, with the majority of mainstream manufacturers now offering at least one dual sport machine in their line-up.
Saturating the market? Diluting the genre? That's one way to look at it, but the other is that there's now something to suit pretty much all tastes, budgets...
...and leg lengths. The physical size and weight of adventure bikes, coupled with the very attributes that give them the ability to tackle the odd off-road route – high ground clearance and long travel suspension – can be a bit off-putting to the shorter rider but with the array of capacities, sizes and types of bikes available now there are plenty of lower and lighter options.
Here are six of the best:
Seat Height: 800mm (770mm with factory low suspension option)
Kerb Weight: 192kg
Often dismissed as simply a stepping stone to an 800 or 1200GS, the G650 is perfect for the shorter adventurer. Off-the-peg, the GS's seat measures 800mm, can be taken down to 770mm with the low-suspension factory option and even lower with an aftermarket seat. Add to that a manageable 192kg kerb weight, the torquey and flexible motor and BMW reliability, comfort and quality, and you can't go far wrong.
Seat Height: 830mm
Kerb Weight: 219kg
If your adventures are only really going to take you on tarmac and the odd bit of gravel, Honda's NC750X should be more than capable. It's not to lowest seat here at 830mm, but the under-seat fuel tank and engine design make for a low centre of gravity and lots of confidence at low speeds. Not the most powerful or characterful of rides, but it's easy to handle and very economical, which should make for long relaxing journeys.
Seat height: 795mm
Kerb Weight: 175kg
A bit of a wild card this one, but at just 795mm, 175kg and 25bhp the Honley definitely doesn't intimidate. It's well spec’d with a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled motor; upside down forks, LED lighting and a Siemens digital dash; three-piece hard luggage, engine bars and pannier protectors as standard. It'll handle a green lane or two, and doesn't cost the earth to buy either. If you're comfortable with the badge on the tank, it's well worth considering.
Kawasaki Versys 650
Seat height: 840mm
Kerb weight: 214kg (216kg ABS)
At 840mm the Versys' seat is the tallest here but like the Honda, it's well balanced chassis and low centre of gravity give bags of confidence when you're up and running. More sports-tourer than adventurer the Kawasaki's alloy wheels, road tyres and short suspension travel limit its off-road capability, but the sharp handling and flexible motor will keep you amused on-road for years to come.
Suzuki V-Strom 650
Seat Height: 835mm
Kerb Weight: 214kg
Often overlooked, the V-Strom offers serious value for money. A lively and characterful V-twin motor with good fuel economy, a decent amount of power and reliability; a predictable and stable chassis; and factory panniers, a large windscreen, a big fuel tank and ABS all as standard. The V-Strom is big and weighty, but the soft suspension and nicely balanced chassis mean most riders should be able to handle it with ease.
Triumph Tiger 800XR / XRX
Seat Height: 810-830 mm (790-810mm with Accessory Low Seat)
Wet Weight: 213 / 216kg
Triumph really got it right with the new Tiger 800. It's competent off-road and behaves superbly on it; the three cylinder motor is flexible, punchy and sounds fantastic; it's well spec'd and has an endless list of upgrades and add-ons. It looks fab too. The adjustable seat and narrow chassis, mean even the shortest adventurer can get a firm footing. If that's not enough there's a low seat option too.
Take a look at our advice feature and video for the shorter rider by clicking this link.
What are your recommendations? or !