Despite customers’ pleas for the exact opposite, adventure bikes are getting bigger and bigger. Why is that? According to YouTuber Barry Morris (the guy behind the Cross Training Adventure channel), the answer is the increasing load of built-in technology—stuff like a “dual flux capacitor.”
He’s joking, of course, but he has a point. There are plenty of ADV bikes weighing 500 pounds at the curb, or even far more, and that’s before you add in the weight of luggage and accessories. And even though he mentions machines like the CRF250 Rally at the end of the video, as smaller, lighter alternatives to big-bore ADV machines, the reality is that even those bikes usually weigh more than they should. Honda said the 2020 CRF250 Rally weighed just under 350 pounds, wet. The Honda NX250 was under 300 pounds, and that bike came out about 30 years earlier.
It’s not like our current quandary has sneaked up on us. More than five years ago, I wrote a piece for a Canadian publication saying it was time for moto manufacturers to stop turning adventure bikes into SUVs. The original SUVs (the Ford Bronco, the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee) were all competent off-roaders, with utility emphasized over creature comforts. That changed through the 1990s, as more and more soccer moms bought them for stylish grocery getters. In North America, only the Jeep Wrangler keeps close-ish to the original formula. The easy money lies elsewhere.
It’s the same with adventure bikes, and that’s why we see the problems this video points out. Is there hope for change in the future? Judging from the past decade or so, the trend continues: If you want a truly lightweight ADV tourer, you’ll have to build it yourself. Good thing we’ve got a forum full of users who can give you helpful advice to that end …