Popular Misconceptions about Adventure Bike Riders

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What do most of us think when we see someone riding a GS or an Africa Twin? We think of a middle aged bloke who’s thinning on top with a bit of a paunch. But at least he’s the kind of guy that loves to get out there and go for a proper adventure. The kind of guy that doesn’t care if his wheels are rolling on tarmac, dirt or through a stream – right? Well you’d think so, wouldn’t you? But we’re here to tell you that not everything you believe about adventure bike riders is strictly true. Prejudice is an ill wind, which blows no good over the motorcycle world so join us as we attempt to dispel the myths and kick a few of your false preconceptions into the long grass. Here are five popular misconceptions about adventure bike riders.

They are all old

It’s true that it does tend to be the more ‘experienced’ riders that end up going down the adventure bike route. The ones that have perhaps had a misspent youth on the superbikes of yesteryear. But there are an increasing amount of younger riders biting the bullet and buying an adventurer. I say younger riders, I’m talking about people in their 40s, really, and maybe a few in their 30s. You’re still very unlikely to see a 20-something year old on an adventure bike all panier-ed up. Most of them are far too worried about their street cred. And besides, they probably wouldn’t be able to afford one anyway. No, adventure bike riders aren’t old per se, they just don’t tend to be very young.

They all ride off-road

A bike with wire spoked wheels, knobbly tyres and all the off-road electronics settings you could shake a stick at ought to be the perfect thing for taking down a dusty gravel road. But you’d be surprised. Not all adventure bike riders like taking it up the dirt track. In fact very few of them at all like it. And can you blame them? These days, most of the good places are accessible by road. And getting there amongst all the cars and lorries can be treacherous enough. I suppose it depends how you define the word adventure, doesn’t it? Most adventure bikes are reasonably capable when veering off the beaten track but more often than not, the risk of damage to themselves or their £20k bike and the fear of getting dirty is too great an obstacle to overcome. Shame.

They love an adventure

Again, this is subjective and depends entirely what you mean by adventure, but despite owning ‘adventure’ bikes, there aren’t many Triumph Tiger owners, Suzuki V-Strom owners, Honda Africa Twin owners etc. etc. that tend to embark on serious adventures. I can’t remember the last time I heard of someone packing a backpack and heading for the hills on their bike, on a voyage of discovery, tackling anything that comes their way. They might well complete a four day tour of Europe, with every single route planned to within an inch of its life and a different hotel reservation every night, but that’s not really an adventure, is it? It’s a trip.

And you’d be surprised how many of these so called adventure bike riders only ever use their bikes to get to work (as long as it’s sunny). Or the odd ‘long ride’ (no more than 100 miles) on a Sunday with the wife on the back. If you are a proper adventurer, hats off to you sir (or ma’am); but unfortunately it’s a dying breed.

Adventure Bike Riders KTM

Their wives won’t let them have a sportsbike

This one is simply not true. By the time you decide you’re ready to buy yourself an adventure bike, you wife will have either left you, or be way past caring about the size and shape of the bike you ride. The real reason most people bin the idea of sportsbikes off, in favour of getting an adventure bike, is that they can’t physically fold themselves onto a superbike anymore. They’re not comfortable for anyone, but when you’re in your 50s and you’ve got stiff knees, aching wrists and a bad back, a fast blast on a Panigale would be nigh-on impossible.

Of course the other reason some people ride adventure bikes over sportsbikes is because they’re a bit slow. Being dog-slow can be embarrassing on the latest 200bhp weapon. Riding like a girl is a lot more acceptable when you’re sat bolt upright on an adventure bike… but it’s still a bit wet.

They’re big fans of Ewan McGregor and his mate

The Long Way Round was a massive hit back in the day. We only had about three TV channels to choose from, back then. That said, even though the pair have done a few bits together in the meantime, there will be plenty of adventure bike lads that have never even heard of their latest series, The Long Way Up. Fifteen years has passed and now, and thanks to their being roughly 3 million TV channels, and almost as many ‘online streaming services’ (I think that’s what they are called – I’m talking Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.), the traveling two-some are always going to struggle to draw the same amount of notoriety. Despite one of them being a Hollywood A-lister. No, not every adventure bike rider is a Ewan and ‘Thingy’ fanboy.


12 Responses

  1. I find it a little funny I’m 24 with a KTM 1290SAR I feel like I’m pretty much the opposite of what Boothy is trying to frame? does that make me cool or just delusional?

  2. I am a 26 year old riding my dad’s panier-ed GS adventure. I even learned to ride on it (on private grounds). How can I go back to something more sporty (and less comfortable)? It’s just too good of a bike.

    1. just get an s1000XR you can still look like a dad but you can still take 600’s and some people on 1000’s to the school on that thing, all while rocking the mid 20’s dad bod. Cuban Rider on youtube does that.

      1. I do actually, quite a lot.been mulling it over taking it to an actual MX track and seeing if they’ll let me run it.

  3. I’ll take that one on the chin, however, nothing looks as good, parked outside a Starbucks, as my Africa Twin!

  4. i did a survey of adventure bike riders and found the main reason for buying one is piles/hemorrhoids,the extra comfort in the low alpine region made riding possible again.

  5. 20 something here waiting to trade in my beloved gsxs750 for a Tenere 700. Don’t worry I’ll still ride a like a squiddy bell 😀

  6. I’m 50 and it’s still all about the street cred for me, despite the stiff knees, aching wrists & bad back!

  7. I have a Triumph XRX had it for 7 years does everything I want including carrying enough gear to camp for a week at TT can’t see me changing it anytime soon .Had sports bikes nearly lost my license uncomfortable kept changing trying to find a comfortable one never did fun but not practical been riding for 39 years always had 1 or more bikes currently own 3 .

  8. I like your writing style Boothy but it sounds to me like your being a bit salty on purpose towards us adventure bike riders because secretly deep down what you really, really want is a big, full-fat … LC8 KTM adv bike 🙂

  9. Paunchy 50 year old here with a GSA, I don’t go off road much, but in my defence I did ship my bike to the USA and spent three months riding around the west side, the British plate was a game changer, hung out the real motorcycle clubs at Cooks Corner in CA, met a 90 plus WW2 B-17 pilot, met a major US chat show host in the street, rode through the Mojave Desert, wouldn’t of done it with out an Adventure bike.

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