2019’s New Adventure Bikes

2019 Adventure bikes featured image

It’s bike launch season, which means there’s a whole host of new adventure bikes ready to hit the showrooms!

While the winter season might seem like the end of biking for a while (it really shouldn’t though, there’s definitely a charm to riding on a crisp, winter day), it’s the time when manufacturers announce new bikes for the upcoming year.

A few months ago, the motorcycle industry was abuzz with announcements of new bikes galore, and 2019 is looking to be a really exciting year, with there being a number of nice-looking adventure motorcycle offerings ready to hit the market. So, here are seven that we’re super excited to see and get our hands-on.

Moto Guzzi V85 TT

Moto Guzzi

Walking past the Moto Guzzi stand at Motorcycle Live in November, it was clear to see which of the company’s new bikes was drawing attention. The V85 TT, which was proudly placed on a plinth, was constantly surrounded by a hoard of admirers, and it’s easy to see why.

The bike has something of an ‘old school’ adventure bike look to it, though it comes packed with all of the modern technology that you’d expect from a new motorcycle, with ABS and traction control being the tip of the electronic iceberg.

Designed to combine the ‘stylistic features reminiscent of the golden age of motorbike adventures with the content and function of a modern touring enduro’, the V85 TT takes direct inspiration from Moto Guzzi’s 1985 contender in the Dakar Rally, the V65 TT.

With a 21-litre fuel tank, a brand-new 90-degree transverse air-cooled 850cc V-twin engine, and classic Moto Guzzi styling, the V85 TT is set for a mid-2019 launch, and boy are we excited to see how it rides.

­ Yamaha Ténéré 700

Tenere 700

The wait is finally over… well, sort of. Having teased the launch of the Ténéré 700 since 2016 (when the T7 prototype was first seen), Yamaha has now revealed that the production-ready version of its new mid-weight adventure bike will be available in the UK for the second half of 2019. It’s not quite the first quarter release that many were hoping for, but at least we now know it’s on its way.

With the bike on display at November 2018’s Motorcycle Live show, Yamaha says the new Ténéré 700 is a ‘rally-bred, long-distance adventure bike built to master a wide range of riding conditions on the dirt or asphalt’.

The bike will arrive with a 689cc parallel-twin engine, a ‘special, optimised transmission that gives the ideal balance of power and control’, an all-new lightweight double cradle tubular steel frame, an LCD dash tower, and a unique 4-LED headlamp.

The bike’s seat height has been confirmed to be 880mm, while it will have a wet weight of 205kg. While there’s currently no news on the cost of the machine, sources indicate that it’s going to be very competitively priced.

­ KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R

KTM 790

While Yamaha seemingly had the undivided attention of riders who wanted a mid-weight adventure bike, KTM snuck in and stole the Japanese company’s thunder by announcing the KTM 790 Adventure and its more off-road focussed R version.

While the Yam has had potential buyers waiting around for coming up to three years, KTM first teased the 790 last year, and with a release date that’s set to be earlier than the Ténéré, it looks as though we’ve got a real midweight adventure bike battle on our hands. The KTM 790 Adventure shares the same engine as the 790 Duke, a 799cc LC8c parallel twin, and was developed in tandem with the company’s Dakar version of the bike.

The dry weight of 189kg will undoubtedly appeal, while the bike also features a TFT digital dash, LED head and tail lamps, a quick shifter, and off-road ABS and traction control. Unlike KTM’s other adventure bikes, the 790 has a seat height of 850mm, making it more accessible for those too short in the leg to comfortably handle the monstrous perches of the 1090 and 1290s.

The R version of the bike builds on the stock 790 to make it more off-road focussed, with 40mm more suspension travel on the front and rear (240/240mm) and a higher seat height of 880mm. It also comes with a beak while the standard model doesn’t.

­BMW R 850 GS Adventure

BMW 850

Last year, BMW said goodbye to the F 800 GS, and hello to the new BMW F 850 GS. The machine saw extensive aesthetic and mechanical changes, including a number of electronic upgrades that brought it more in-line with modern motorcycles. For 2019, BMW has predictably introduced a beefed-up variant of the BMW F 850 GS, the F 850 GS Adventure.

The Adventure will arrive with a host of adventure-style add-ons and upgrades, including a significantly larger fuel tank (now 23-litres instead of the 15-litres of the standard 850 GS), a larger screen for better wind protection, and a sturdier rear subframe to handle two-up touring with luggage more effectively.

Like most of BMW’s ‘Adventure’ models, the F 850 GS Adventure makes use of much of the standard model’s gear, with the same liquid-cooled, two-cylinder, parallel-twin engine powering the machine. Due to the extra bits and bobs, the F 850 GS Adventure will weigh in at 244kg, which makes it 15kg heavier than its little brother, and it has had its seat height raised to 875mm from 860mm.

BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

BMW 1250

Typically, we have to wait at least a year before BMW releases the ‘Adventure’ variant of any updated model in its popular GS range of adventure motorcycles (see the BMW F 850 GS above), that’s not the case with the R 1250 GS though. BMW’s new 1250 flagship was announced in September 2018, and it took just over two months for the German company to lift the lid on its beefier, more adventure-ready big brother, the R 1250 GS Adventure.

For the most part, there’s little difference between the standard 1250 GS and the GS Adventure, which is no bad thing. What the GS Adventure does get though, is a huge 30-litre fuel tank which, when combined with the range’s new, more efficient ShiftCam technology, means this landship could (if BMW’s claims of 62mpg are to be believed) offer a whopping 400 miles per tank.

Other additions include engine and tank protection bars as standard and a new cover on the oil intake snorkel. Head to page 98 to see our report from the launch of the new GS Adventure.

Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro


Last year, Ducati unveiled plans to ditch the Multistrada 1200 and bring the Multistrada 1260 to market, so it’s not exactly surprising that the Italian manufacturer is now ringing in the changes for the Enduro version of its large capacity adventure bike.

On the face of it, the Multistrada 1260 Enduro is identical to last year’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro, but the bike has undergone numerous surgeries in order to make it more appealing to your average Joe. The 1200 Enduro was a monster of a bike in terms of its size and, despite the increased engine capacity, the 1260 Enduro has been lowered to make it more accessible and easier to handle.

For a full rundown of what’s changed, and how the 1260 Enduro performs, check out page 102 of this issue for our full review of the bike.

­Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE

Versys 1000

While KTM and Yamaha undoubtedly stole the headlines at EICMA this year, Kawasaki quietly revealed the new Versys 1000 SE. While the Versys 1000 receives a number of updates for 2019, it’s the top-spec SE model that looks most interesting.

Ride-by-wire, cruise control, a number of different power modes and traction control will all be making an appearance on Kawasaki’s adventure bike, making it a real contender for those adventure bike riders who prefer to stay on the tarmac and munch the miles.

Excitingly, the SE model also includes semi-active electronically adjustable suspension, a colour TFT dash, hand guards, heated grips, a larger touring screen, Bluetooth integration, and cornering lights. Nice.

ABR Fans have their say

There are going to be a few fierce battles between adventure bikes this year, with the KTM 790 Adventure and the Yamaha Ténéré 700 going head to head, while the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro is a direct competitor to the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure.

We asked our Facebook followers which they’d rather own, and the results were certainly interesting.

Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro Vs BMW R 1250 GS Adventure

Out of 1,355 people who voted in our poll, 499 preferred the Multistrada while a whopping 856 would rather have the GS Adventure in their garage.

With 63% of the votes, the BMW R 1250 GS Adventure was a clear winner here. This isn’t particularly surprising, given the BMW’s dominance in the market place over the past few years.

Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro KTM 790 Adventure R Yamaha Ténéré 700

Things weren’t quite so clear cut when it came to 2019’s midweight adventure offerings though. Nearly 1,700 people took part in our poll, with the Yamaha Ténéré 700 gaining 751 votes and the KTM 790 922.

This put the 790 Adventure R as the winner with 55% of the votes. A number of comments referenced the fact that the voters are fed up of waiting for the Yam to hit the showrooms.