ADV bikes vs ST bikes on the road

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Colorado_Rider, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,815
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I was riding purely on pavement with the sport bikes and generally at speeds between 40 and 80 MPH, occasionally 80-100. Once I got my first real dual sport bike I started exploring more and found many great paved roads that turned into dirt, then back into pavement. Not only are these roads fun but have little traffic and virtually no police.

    Where someone rides will partly dictate what bike works best. Although I have never ridden in Europe, I have done some driving in Germany and Italy. The roads and driving conditions are considerably different. If I lived in Germany I would not have the same bikes I have now. I recently moved from Georgia to Alabama and the conditions are different enough that my bikes are no longer as good of a fit as they were in Georgia. I do plan on buying something more powerful than what I have now although nothing near 150 HP and nothing over 500 lbs.

    So, how much experience do you have on American roads?
    #61
  2. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    11,391
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    The big adventure bikes are pretty much the same as the sport touring bikes in general equipment or ability to equip them. Obviously there are the differences that make for the sport versus adventure, but that may be beside the point for you. If you have leanings toward harder sport riding then the sport tourer makes sense, but even then there are divisions within the rank itself when you compare even the Kawasaki Concours versus the ZX10 sport tourer that just came out. Same is true with the adventure bikes, some better than others when hitting the rough stuff and all.

    Now I cannot speak for you and others, but for me the big difference is in the ergonomics. I found I do not work well with the sport and even sport touring set up. Just never been comfortable and now with knees starting to show age it is just that much worse. I also found I absolutely love the dual sport/adventure bike set up. So much like the off roaders and flat tracker I had and enjoyed. It just works well for me and they handle well enough for me to ride one with the guys even on the sport bikes in general riding. So I will give up that extra speed and edge in handling for the ability to be comfortable in seating virtually 100% of the time anytime versus maybe 20% of the time when at speeed.

    Then there is the suspension. In many cases more is better, especially after a midwest winter ravages the roads. Besides you might just find that not planning on dirt roads to change once you find you can do so with reasonable comfort. I'm not talking all the goofy ass rock strewn or muddy rutty crap, I'm just talking about a nice graded back road that can be so inviting when the bike is right.

    Oh, by the way, I'm sure there are those who road race their GSs and those who motocross their GSXRs, that is not the norm and I am covering the norm here. So save it for some other argument. This is about honest to goodness differences, which aren't as wide and varied as expected.
    #62
  3. sonnystile

    sonnystile Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    487
    Maybe the perfect stable is one ST and one ADV bike?

    You could tour on either and be better suited to bendy roads or gravel depending on the plan...


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #63
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,815
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    There is another issue that has not been discussed. Roads like the one in Wraith rider's video or Deals Gap tend to become very popular with the sport bike crowd. They are well paved, relatively predictable and easy to ride fast on. They also tend to be heavily patrolled and have way too much traffic. Since I like to go fast enough to have some fun and speed limits tend to be too low, I avoid the more popular roads and ride the ones that aren't so popular. These roads often have tight curves, less than perfect pavement and sometimes turn into dirt. An ADV or dual sport bike simply works better on these roads. I used to ride sport bikes but back when I did, many of my favorite roads had higher speed limits and much less enforcement.

    [​IMG]
    #64
  5. Soldier311

    Soldier311 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3,771
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    Damn, why in the heck would anyone even want to go mess with riding Deal's Gap anymore?
    #65
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,815
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    If you catch it at the right time, it can still be fun. Mainly I go there because it's a fun place to hang out and there are plenty of great roads, paved and unpaved, in the area.
    #66
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,815
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I took this pic on a road that I have never seen a sport bike or cop on. Great paved twisties at both ends but about 2 miles of gravel in the middle. If I was still riding a sport bike I would probably have missed out.

    [​IMG]

    No, don't ask me where it is but not too far from Deals Gap.
    #67
  8. Wraith Rider

    Wraith Rider Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,604
    Location:
    Germany
    @klaviator
    40 to 80? Than I think I hit the nail on the head with my video. So we were talking about the same conditions. Nothing put into your mouth.
    Germany and Italy are part of Europe. I have no experience with American roads, but was in Italy too, north (Varadero 125 over the Alps) and south as well including the Montalto (dirt, dropping my CBF 600 two times) and I went through Serbia and Bulgaria to Turkey and the Greek island Lesbos (with that same CBF 600). The burst open roads in Turkey where quite impressive.
    Of course visited the Alps with the big girls (ZZR 1400 and VFR 1200) as well, but the Austrian roads are very very nice, better maintained than the German ones.
    Looking forward to take my VFR to the Scottish Highlands this year.

    Than I'd say an ADV style bike is the completely right choice. :-)

    @markk53
    I know the American standards of sports tourers are a bit... well, you call it a sports tourer as soon as it has full fairing... but let me put in an european view: The Conny is a full on tourer, nothing sporty about her. The sport toury counterpart of the Conny would be the ZZR 1400 or as far as I know it's called Ninja ZX-1400 in the USA.

    @klaviator again
    The road on your photo wouldn't be a problem for any sports bike. However, no matter what bike I'm on, I'm not particulary fond of hairpins, they are just so unharmonic to ride and tend to drop out of the stable riding speeds (>20mph). On the other hand, as seen in my vid, I have no problems with our friends and helpers or other traffic.

    P.S.: For the nice pics.
    [​IMG]
    #68
  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,815
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    We don't get many of the bikes here that you do. This is the land of "bigger is better" so most of our sport touring bikes are over 1200cc and 600 lbs.

    I put over 66,000 miles and up to 700 miles a day on my old sport touring bike:

    [​IMG]
    #69
  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,204
    Location:
    Central MA
    There are some of us who have found the newer GSs more comfortable (1-up) on long rides than the ST or most LT bikes for all the reasons mentioned above. Suggesting such, though, can strain your relations with the LT crowd.
    #70
  11. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    11,391
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    There is a difference because of the kind of country the U.S. is. The biggest surprise to most Europeans when they visit the U.S. is just how HUGE it is. There is so much open roadways that bikes like the Wings and Harley dressers are totally in their element. From what I understand Europe has NOTHING like I-70 running across the flat lands of the midwest. Probably as much as 1500 flat straight miles of freeway interrupted only by the ramps and such of the next city it goes through. And that's just one east-west interstate. There are the north-south an other east-west ones. A touring bike here is a freaking tank with trick sound systems, cruise control, blue tooth, Barcalounger quality seating, cup holders to be installed and a hitch to pull the trailer to haul all the junk found at the flea markets and gift shops encountered on the way. Most tourers here would consider your "tourers" to be road racer excuses for such, they don't like to "lay down on the gas tank". Stuff we often heard in the bike shop. Thus the difference in designation from there to here.

    When selling, we differentiated between models within the genre of sport tourers. An ST emphasized tour over sport, where the FJR emphasized the sport over tour. The Concours C10 kind of split it. The C14 is huge and I have to agree it is more tour than sport, but no Gold Wing. The new ZX10 sport tour is more like hanging bags off a VFR back in the day.

    By the way, we'd be sliding our dual sport/supermotos around the bends over that bridge. That's just plain fun.
    #71
  12. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,545
    Location:
    Pleasanton, CA
    Thankfully California doesn't have many roads like that either.

    You flat-landers seem proud of your long straight roads. I would be bored out of my mind if that was all that was available to ride on. I'll stick to the west side of the continental divide, thanks. :wink:
    #72
  13. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,324
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    +1, if I lived in a flat place I'd move. Before I got there.
    #73
  14. cjmadura

    cjmadura Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    155
    Location:
    Western Oregon
    I've been riding Triumph Tiger 955's for 10 years after a youth spent on sportbikes/sport tourers. I added a 2008 KLR650 as a commuter/off-roader.
    2006 Tiger:
    [​IMG]

    2008 KLR
    [​IMG]


    I set up my 2006 Tiger as a road-only bike for long trips and fun weekend runs, but started to think about upgrading the bike's suspension to make it a better road bike. Just as I was about to sink $3000 :eek1 into the suspension, I had an epiphany - Stop trying to make the Adventure bike something it isn't, just sell it and grab a great Sport-Tourer. The KLR will handle the adventure duties - it's lighter, simpler, powerful enough for the off-road world, and I won't weep when I slam it down.:thumb

    It's hard to let go of the Triumph:cry, but this made so much sense. Now my long tourer is a modern, technology-laden bike with power to spare, ABS, TC and a host of other goodies I can get use out of. This beauty should arrive by transporter this weekend.

    2011 K1300s
    [​IMG]:clap:clap:clap

    Together with the KLR I have both worlds well covered. I sadly put the Tiger back to stock (mostly) and soon it goes up for sale. I'm looking forward to the next chapter..........
    #74
  15. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,399
    Location:
    Tampa
    ^^^that.
    #75
  16. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    11,391
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio

    Not at all. I moved to Columbus Ohio from the foothills of the Appalachians in eastern Ohio. We had a network of dirt/gravel and paved supermoto quality county and township roads within a few miles in any direction in eastern Ohio. You have to figure all those settlers who went west had to meander through those hills and mountains. Many of those roads originated as trails and paths for wagons and livestock, meandering around and around along the hill sides. Makes for some mighty fine riding.

    Now central Ohio and west turns into a pancake. I don't really know if I'd ever been a motorcyclist if I'd lived here in central Ohio all my life. In the east it was almost natural. In the 60s-70s there was so much off roading available it was the golden age of that. Heck, the Pentons used races down east of I-77 to develop their bikes and to warm up for the six days and such.

    You guys never look east into the mountains we have. Yours are more open and sweeping in the turns, ours are tight and winding. Different riding, but good. I have friends who have done both and said both are great. Remember, this is the area where there is the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive, along with Deal's Gap. In the area of Ohio I have ridden a lot has two roads that frequently appear on lists of highly technical riding, Ohio State Route 555 just south of Zanesville Ohio and State Route 164 just east of New Philadelphia Ohio. In the past year there was a dual sport tour that did a run through eastern Ohio foothills on all the back roads.

    Here's one in the top 100 and no patrols, plus others nearly as good SR536 been there done that.
    #76
  17. MikeJansen

    MikeJansen Lost

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Essex, UK - Still looking for home
    For me, there are several critical differences.

    I have been on a DL650 for 9 years and 60,000 miles. 40,000 of that as commuting and riding in Europe.

    Last June I moved to an aprilia RST1000 Futura. For the last 4,000 miles there is a night and day difference.

    Filtering.

    On the DL, I have to really watch mirrors on other vehicles, especially white vans. On the Futura, as it is both narrower and lower, I miss 90% of the mirrors I used to have to be careful around.

    Power.

    On the DL, I spend much of my time above 50% throttle. I ride in a fast aggressive area of the UK and I needed to pretty much flat out that bike most mornings to keep ahead of traffic. On the RST, yeah not so much.

    Speed.

    On the DL, 90mph is really all it will go. Yes, I have seen 120 on the clocks but it takes an awfully long time to get there. When cruising on the motorway, 85-95 is average. On the ape, not an issue. I only kick it into 6th north of 65mph.

    Brakes.

    On the DL, with up rated suspension, a fork brace, up rated pads, ss lines, and good tyres, it can't hold a candle to the Futura.

    Wind management.

    The DL has handgards the futura does not. On the DL I need my gerbings below 5 degc. On the Futura, 2 deg c. Also my hands stay dryer on the Futura. Go figure.

    Also, as I am crouched a bit and behind a better screen, I stay a bit dryer and warmer. I have only used my heated jacket once this winter so far.

    As for comfort.... it is a tie. I am 6'1@ 95 kg and have a 33 inch inseam. The futura and the DL fit like a glove. My knees are a bit tighter on the ape, my hips are tighter on the DL. The seat on the RST is MUCH better!

    As always, YMMV.

    Mike
    #77
  18. NSA

    NSA Silently Listening

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    356
    Location:
    Twin Hills, OK
    Asking that question in here, you're sure to get some biased answers.

    I've owned both (among other bikes), and spend a couple of weeks a year riding in CO and surrounding states. Of course, you know there is no perfect bike for all conditions. We have to compromise.

    My ST1300 was an amazing machine. It handled incredible, had insane but manageable power, provided great wind protection even at rediculous speeds, would carry a weeks worth of gear (stock), and it was nothing to lay down an 800 mi day on it. If I lived in an area where 90% of my riding day was spent wizzing along the paved twisties, highways, long open stretches, there would be no other machine I'd want. On the downside, it did have a little forward riding position that would cause an aching in my hands during extended city riding (from my weight going forward under braking - but I'm out of shape and some core strengthening would have gone a long way to help with that), and at 6'4", after an 600mi day, my legs were deffinately looking for a new position.

    I can see no advantage to having long travel suspension on paved roads, until they get really really bad. I can't think of any highway that qualifies, but deffinately can think of a few single lane roads through the back country. They're the same ones that I always think to myself "Why did they pave this? It would be smoother if they left it dirt". The long travel bikes do tend to have a more upright riding position and more room to move around and strech out, but that comes at the cost of wind protection, high speed stability, handling, etc. Some of the long travel bikes are still "good", but I've yet to see one where the handling is mind bogglingly great.

    That was an attempt to answer your exact question. However - If I lived in Colorado, there would be no question - I would own an adventure bike. Easily half the roads in CO are not paved, and every time I rode there on my street bikes, I'd run across a road that I couldn't take because it turned to dirt at some point.

    So in my opinion, if you're sure you're never going to leave the tarmac, go sport/touring. If you think you just might want to see what's over that next ridge a couple of miles down that dirt road, go Adventure. If you're riding a lot of city - just don't. Cities suck.
    #78