Big bikes, high-tech gear, a commanding stance, and never-ending routes. Everyone could be an Ewan McGregor.
When Ted Simon traveled around the world in the 70s, there were not such terms as “adventure riders.” He made it on a 500 cc Triumph Tiger 100. A basic motorcycle, no Gore-Tex, no GPS, no camel-back, no cameras. But its "Jupiter’s Travels" book and following expeditions such as Mondo Enduro led to an aspirational image of the fearless adventure rider, ready to go around the world on his bike.
The peak of the adventure momentum was Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman’s "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down." Since then, the status quo of the adventure motorcycling is represented by big, powerful, and heavy bikes, expensive riding gear and dusty roads. It was a starting point which convinced every big manufacturer to have its adventure range.
Nowadays, although most of the adventure riders are not in their 20s, they have a cool portrait. Here’s why:
- High-tech motorcycles & state-of-art comfort: The perfect bike to travel the world should normally be simple, ugly and with less than 200 kg. But today’s adventure motorcycles have more than 100 horsepower (KTM and Ducati – 160 hp – just as many sportbikes) and a full-range electronic package: ride-by-wire, traction control, cornering ABS, dynamic suspension. A high-end adventure bike has almost the same electronics as a top superbike. And the same price. Moreover, the adventure bikes are so comfortable than you can ride the whole day without getting tired.
- Best Riding Gear: Nothing looks better than a leather suit on a muscular body. But most of us aren’t muscular. And usually it rains, and it’s cold outside. So a proper Dainese Adventure gear looks damn well on everybody.
- Adventure Heritage: even if you’re just visiting your grandma, everybody will think you’re travelling to Mongolia. Or maybe your grandma is in Mongolia. Anyway, you'll look just like Ewan McGregor.
- You can go off-road: your 250 kg adventure motorcycle might not be able to tackle mountains trails. But with some riding technique and dual-sport tires you can reach places so far away that the rest of the people only dream of.
- Well-behaved. Unlike the "hooligans" riding at full-throttle with an aftermarket exhaust, hated by the pedestrians and drivers, the adventure riders have a better image. Even if they pop a wheelie from time to time.
Passenger comfort: a cruiser or a superbike is a chick magnet. But after a couple of miles on that suppository-seat, she’ll choose the wide and comfortable seat of a GS.
- Access to a million-star hotel: there’s nothing better than a bike and a tent under a sky full of stars. Everybody will envy you when you Instagram it.
- The stickers are looking better on aluminum panniers. It looks like that those country-related stickers were specially made for your Zega Pros. Put them on a plastic sidecar and they it will look just carrying a shopping bag.
But it’s not just about looking adventure. There’s a thing that separates the men from the boys. That nameless feeling when going alone at dawn on the open road, in a remote country in the adventure motorcycling zone. It’s the moment when you feel like Magellan smelling the ocean in his ship. And there’s nothing capable to stop you.