Originally Posted by Gryphon12
Please feel free to correct me, but wasn't the start to the whole multi-cylinder adventure bike segment the Paris-Dakar Rally? There was a multi-cylinder class. I'm no racing expert or Dakar expert - I'm just trying to recall the history. BMW had an R1100GS PD, didn't they? And this race spawned the KTM 950 Adventure. Was the first Honda Africa Twin developed before or after the early PD races?
In any event, the PD Rally is an open desert, long distance endurance race. I don't believe that there were any tight woods segments, or significant water / mud sections, although I could be wrong. We are now, years later, asking multi-cylinder ADV bikes to perform well over a much wider range of terrain and weather. It's no wonder that the offerings and our satisfaction with them is such a rich topic of conversation.
P.S. Wasn't the PD Rally also the driver for development of the Suzuki DR-Big series (DR-750, DR-800) in the large displacement thumper class? Then the KTM 640 ADV in the 650cc class? And now a new Honda in the new 450cc class? Too bad international politics keep getting in the way of that race!
This and the post by bluesman are the best I have read regarding the genesis and purpose of "adventure" bikes.
These bikes were (and still are) designed largely for primitive (unpaved and/or poorly maintained) roads, like the Haul Road.
You will never wish you had a heavier bike when riding offroad, and you'll never wish you had a lighter bike when riding down the freeway - so any bike that does both is a compromise.