Josh at Each Adventure argues that a cheaper bike is better than a more expensive bike if you can avoid taking on debt. The argument makes sense: adventure motorcycling is not a cheap sport, and the bike itself is only the start. As Ryan rides dirt track in California, he discusses his thoughts on a range of lower cost bikes including the Honda CRF250L, Kawasaki Versys X-300, BMW G310GS, CSC RX3, and Royal Enfield Himalayan!
The transcript …
How long is it to get up there?
[inaudible 00:00:04] It would take you ten minutes.
Oh, so it’s a ways.
I don’t even think it’s that far.
I saw your video on it.
How long was the video? Five minutes?
It felt like 30.
What’s going on everybody? Welcome to the Each Adventure Channel. My name is Josh. Today we’re out riding to Margarita Peak. This is one of our weekly hump day rides. Riding with a bunch of Adventure Bikes today. Mostly Adventure Bikes. We’ve got a couple 650s, KOR650s. Got a couple of XR650s. Got my DRZ here. I think I saw an African Twin. A KTM690 and some other bigger KTM.
Anyways, this is a pretty good Adventure Bike route. I’ve actually ridden this route before. The last time I rode this route I made a little video about small Adventure Bikes. This was around this time last year. It was right around the launch of the CRF250 Rally. I don’t think the Versus had come out yet. The BMW was still a ways off. I spent a little bit of time talking about what my ideal Adventure Bike would be. If you follow this channel you know that I’m a fan of small displacement bikes.
When I recorded that video I was actually riding my CRF250L. And so, it turns out I didn’t end up getting any of those bikes. I got rid of my CRF250L. And I’m riding a DRZ400. That was not planned. It was just kind of me taking advantage of a good opportunity. Kind of downsizing my bike stuff right now while I try to reach my financial goals. My goal of being debt free. I wanted to kind of revisit that topic now that all of those bikes are out. Just kind of want to see where we’re at today and what the future may hold.
First of all, let’s talk about the 250L Rally. The 250L Rally is essentially a CRF250L with [inaudible 00:02:19] and a wind screen. And a little bit better suspension, bigger throttle body. Out of all the bikes I was least excited about the 250L Rally. Let me back off a little bit here. Getting very dusty. Dusty, dusty. Kind of sweeping back here with some of the slower guys. I’m slower myself. In the mind. But anyways, I was least excited about that bike, and to my surprise, it ended up being one of the … Probably one of the most popular out of the three. I don’t know why. I think it was because of the small Adventure Bike craze that everyone was eating up the Rally. Out of all of them, it is the most off road worthy.
But like I said before, coming from a CRF250L owner, it kind of felt like a bit of a soft ball. If they would have made it a 300, 350, and still being able to keep that 250L platform, that would have been freaking amazing. That would have been probably one of the best, small adventure bikes out there. I’m hoping it did well enough to spark Honda to do something about the 250. If you know anything about the CRF250L, it’s based on the CBR250R’s engine. The CBR250R has since been replaced by a 300. And so, what I’m hoping is that we’ll see a CRF300 or something. That would be ideal. But for now, we’ll settle for the 250L Rally.
Now, the Versus is probably my favorite out of all of them. It’s the one I had been considering since I first heard about all these new small bikes. And it’s one of those … I don’t know it’s just weird. It’s a weird bike. It’s a parallel twin. It’s got over a four gallon gas tank. It’s got the spoked wheels. It makes 39 horse power. That’s pretty impressive. I know most of that power is up top, in the top end, but if you ride as much highway and street as I do, having some of that extra top end power might not be such a bad thing.
So ADV Pulse, which is one of my favorite motorcycle publications, they did a review between the Versus X300 and the BMW G310GS. Out of the two, they picked the Versus as their favorite due to some of the reasons I just listed. The larger gas tank, the extra top end. They said even for the suspension, being about five inches of travel on each side, they said the way it was sprung actually felt better than the GS, which as about an inch more suspension on both sides. I’ve heard this from not only ADV Pulse, but the review that Fortnite did on it as well.
I can’t see man. I can’t see. Oh. Watch out for those branches. Chugging Chug Chug Chug. Ow. So, out of all of them, that’s my favorite. And if I had to choose a small adventure bike today, that’d probably be the one that I chose. From everything that I’ve seen, it will eat this stuff up no problem and then still have the fuel range to do some serious, serious road adventures, serious, serious, off road adventures out into nowhere. So that’s pretty cool.
Since we mentioned the GS, let’s talk a little bit about the GS. I thought the GS was probably one of the most unique bikes. The fact that it has that weird, flipped around engine with the header coming out the back, that’s pretty cool. I don’t understand why more engines aren’t designed that way, but it probably has something to do with maintenance. I don’t know how hard it is to get inside that engine and do valve clearance checks and stuff. But the initial reviews of the GS seem to be really good as well. There is a guy in this group that actually has one. He seems to like it. He says it’s definitely not an off road bike. It’s really fun on the road and it’s capable enough in the dirt for this kind of stuff. It does have a decently sized tank. I think it’s 2.9, 2.8 or 2.9. that’s not bad. But that’s also what my TTT250 had and it cost half as much.
Some of my concerns with that GS were, its street bike look, number one. Number two was those cast wheels. The initial reports from when the bike was first launched was that BMW was going to have spoked wheel options. I haven’t seen those, but what I did see is the Rally Raid kit for it. That’s freaking cool. I wanted to go buy one that day when I heard that Rally Raid was making a kit for it. And if you’re not familiar with Rally Raid, they make customization parts and all that kind of stuff for adventure motorcycles. But one of the ones their most well known for is their Rally Raid kit for the Honda CB500X.
That basically turns it into a full-fledged adventure bike with spoke wheels, better suspension and armor and all kinds of stuff. That’s pretty cool. That’s one of the things that I’m hoping to see for the Versus, maybe not from Rally Raid but maybe some type of better suspension components or something along those lines. But yeah, I’m excited that it’s out. It hasn’t been very long. It’s only been a couple months since it’s been out. What I’d like to do is be able to ride each one of these bikes and formulate my own opinion but you don’t quite have that ability yet, but we’ll see.
So the fourth bike on my list last year was the CSCRX3. You could argue that that bike was kind of the bike that started the small adventure bike craze. Which, really, it is. But the reality of it is that all of the bikes, the RX3, the Versus, the Honda, and the BMW, they’re all road bikes. They’re all designed so that every single one of those manufacturers can sell them around the world. If you know anything about the global motorcycle markets, 250s and below dominate. They dominate because people use motorcycles as transportation. And they don’t have high speed highways and that kind of stuff like we do here in the U.S..
But the RX3, I’m really, really impressed by it. It’s been out since late 2015. I’ll have to check my date on that. But most owners really, really love it. Most owners do own multiple bikes, but most owners really, really like it. My buddy Matt owns one. He’s actually going to let me borrow it and do some reviews and stuff on it. So I’m very, very excited for that actually. I can’t wait to do that. Get back to my Chinese bike roots. But the RX3 man, for being a Chinese bike, it has really proven to be a good value.
I did see the review on the RX3. For the most part I disagree with Tyler, just because, if you’re reviewing it as a dual sport then yeah, I can definitely see his point. But if you’re reviewing it as a small adventure bike, for what it comes with and for how reliable it’s been, I’ve had some people leave comments saying that their’s ran for 40, 50,000 miles before they have really any issue with it. That’s pretty impressive.
Some of my complaints on the RX3 from last year are that it didn’t come with at 19 inch front wheel. [inaudible 00:09:38] actually addressed that this year. It comes standard with that one, so that’s pretty cool. It also comes with ABS this year, but they did raise the price which is kind of a bummer.
We are here in Margarita Peak.
How long is it to get up here?
If you were moving the whole time it would take you ten minutes.
Oh, so it’s a ways.
I don’t really think it’s that far.
I saw your video on it.
How long was the video?
I don’t know.
It felt like 30.
All right, we’re trying this attempt up to Margarita Peak. Oh god.
I didn’t make it.
Well, I didn’t make it very far. Next time I’m making it to the top. I was over heating in my jacket. I dropped a bike off to the left side of the trail. And then I realized that the camera had flown off. I took that as an omen that I probably should stop and save that for another day. So, we’re heading back down the mountain now. There’s one bike that I wanted to talk about that I didn’t talk about last year. That is the Royal Infield Himalayan. That one just launched here in the United States. I know it’s been out in India for a while and probably some other countries. So far the reviews have been pretty good.
I was actually excited about today’s ride because Jesse actually got a Himalayan for himself and I thought he would be riding it today but he’s riding his KLR, so I didn’t get to see the Himalayan today. But he seems to really like it. He’s put quite a bit of miles on it already. Given it some off road treatment. We’ll get to see how that one holds up here on the channel as we ride with Jesse on these Flying Monkey adventure rides.
But the Himalayan is kind of of unique. It’s a 400CC but it’s not a dirt bike like the DRZ is. It’s more of an off road cruiser I get. It’s got a very luggy engine. If you’ve ever heard it it’s just like, glug, glug, glug. It’s pretty cool. It doesn’t have that high of a top speed though. I know it will top out probably somewhere between 70 and 80 miles an hour. It’s only got somewhere in the mid 20s for horsepower. I think 25 or 26 horsepower. But for an adventure bike, that’s all you really need. Yeah, it definitely helps to be able to get 80, 85 miles an hour on the highway, but it’s not something that you need.
Even though its a 400, it’s top speed is right around those of the higher revving 300s and 250s. Time will kind of tell. [inaudible 00:12:57] is not known for having the best quality, but then again, neither were Chinese bikes and we’ve kind of seen how reliable the C bikes have come to be. It’s kind of a cool time for small displacement bikes. What I’m hoping for is that A, they do well and we’ll continue to see other manufacturers push the markets with small displacement bikes. But hopefully they’ll improve on the designs as the years go on. And sort of address some of the shortcomings that some of these bikes have.
You really can’t go wrong with bikes that are right around $5,500 and below. People target them as being beginner bikes but they’re not. They’re more practical motorcycles than like a 1200GS which is awesome. Don’t get me wrong. But at a third of the cost, maybe more than that, it’s definitely more practical for not only the long adventures but for everyday adventures like we do here on this channel.
Those are my thoughts. What do you guys think? Have any of you guys … I know the audience is a lot bigger than last year. Have any of you guys had a chance to ride any of these bikes and what do you think of them so far? What I’d like to do hopefully by the end of the year is get a chance to ride each one. I had signed up to do a test ride for the BMW but the dealer never called me back. Kind of a bummer.
Anyways guys, that’s all I have for today. If you like this video please leave a like down below. And if you’re new here, please subscribe. We like to do adventures like this on a weekly basis. And would love to have you along for the ride. So, until next time guys, be sure to have fun, take care, and ride safe. And I will see you guys in the next video. Until then, make sure you get out there and have adventures of your own. And I will see you guys next time. Later. Whoa. Almost lost it.