Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What exactly is the ADVenture thing?! 1

ADV explained... read this and it will be clear as red mud.

Arguably the hottest thing on two wheels these days are ADV (adventure) bikes.  Adventure bikes are a hybrid of sports motorcycles (fairings and gearing) Touring bikes (fairing, gearing and luggage) and to a much lessor extent, dual purpose bikes.  For those of you that are considering real trail riding, ADV is NOT for you.

Reminds me of a trip on my XT225 Serow during the late fall of 2004.  I was riding the Sierra Giganta mountains in Baja Sur, I rode a loop of some 220 miles, most of it without seeing a human being.  When I dropped onto the coast at Loreto, I met a group of five bikes riding completely kitted out KLR 650's, surely one of the best known ADV bikes on the planet.  Most excellent soft luggage, knobby tires, decals etc.

They were making a big circle tour down the mainland and then crossing over into Baja at La Paz before heading north back to California.  I asked what the off roading was like only to hear the only time they spent off the pavement was gassing up at the Pemex stations!

The appeal may be there like watching that 'exotic dancer' but really... you're dreaming right?!

Sure a graded gravel road is not out of the question but riding off road is.  Some of these motorcycles weigh as much as a Gold Wing or Dressed Harley... surely you wouldn't ride from Paris to Dakar on your HD Bagger... with knobby tires!!

ADV is well populated with a great deal of variety both in displacement, performance and utility.  I'm not going to get into the various manufacturers or models, you can find anything you want on the net.  I am going to talk about why these bikes 'are'.

Many, many riders in my age group were interested in motorcycles at a young age.  I began my riding career in 1968 when bikes were small and could be used for different things.  If you watched any of the "Then Came Bronson" T.V. programs you could be forgiven if you actually thought Michael Parks rode his 'Sportster' up steep hills, raced it on Scrambles (forerunner to MX) and across the many miles.

It may seem hokey today but I actually liked watching the series. Then again I liked watching 'CHIPS' too.

1970'S "Street Scrambler" The beginning of ADV?

In 1968, when Yamaha introduced the DT-1 they created a category of bikes that ultimately spawned a renewal of the spirit of off roading/dual purpose riding that today's ADV bikes emulate.  The DT-1 was light of weight, had a very willing engine that if not producing large amounts of HP certainly produced large grins when riding them!  The forerunner of the DT-1 Enduro were street bikes with some altered parts (high exhaust pipes, cross braced handlebars and shortened fenders, the ADV bikes of today are nothing but extensions of CL 350 Scramblers and DT-1's.

The Street Scramblers were therefor the for runner of the modern Adventure motorcycle. Many of us went on to ride Enduro's which caught on so swiftly after the Yamaha Enduro line met the market, that everybody including all the Japanese and even an Oregon based company called Pabatco produced Hodaka's!  Even the Brits, gasping their collective last had bikes based on street models that were sold as trail/adventure bikes.

Inevitably we got older.

Dual purpose/Enduro bikes nearly died.  I say nearly because thanks to Kawasaki, and some others, models that soldiered on with few changes over decades proved that real adventure was still alive. You could still bungee on the bedroll and shorty tent and head for the hills whether across the Rockies or the Dakota hills.

Trouble is of course, as we did age, we rode less and less often off road,  Belly's got bigger, Cruisers allowed us to look like Hell's Angels, and like them we as riders wanted to look like them or in the case of Enduro bikes, we wanted to look like off road racers without having to race and get muddy or visit the emergency room of your local hospital.  Nothing new here, this went on in every line of models the manufacturers produced.  The Enduro went into near hibernation and lines/models were axed significantly with only a few left by the end of the 80's.

The continuation of Enduro??

I will conclude this first chapter by pointing out that during those times, the core group of Enduro riders Some of whom became MX racers and XC racers kept the spirit alive.

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