Whenever there’s a news segment about a new adventure motorcycle being either developed or created, I love reading the comments. Mostly it’s because it’s usually yet another 1200cc bike, regardless of brand, and because usually people keep saying the same thing – “why not a mid-sized dual sport instead”. And mostly, I agree.
But what is a mid-sized dual sport?
My Suzuki DR650 is a giant adventure bike in Peru, but it’s kind of cute in Europe and especially the US where people rarely buy anything under 1000cc. Even out on the Trans America Trail or at enduro/off-road training events, the large-capacity GS’s and Africa Twins are the norm. Add events like the GS Trophy or the KTM rally, where 1200 cc motorcycle riders tackle terrain that would be much easier on a smaller dirt bike; or take a look at the large European rally races: almost every rally race from Hispania to Hellas has an adventure class where 800-1200 cc motorcycle riders can enjoy a rally setting at a more relaxed pace.
So if you can take a 1200cc machine round the world, to the GS Trophy, and even a rally race, why bother with mid-size? And what is mid-size in this context?
For me personally, my DR650 sounds like a medium sized bike, as does something like the KTM EXC 500, KTM690, and probably the Husky 701 or the new Tenere 700. For some people however, these bikes are “small”, which confuses me to no end because what’s a 250-350c bike then, an XS?
Probably more importantly, however, I’m not sure why we’re so obsessed with sizes in the first place. Horses for courses: while I love traveling and doing the “lite” rally race classes on my DR650, I wouldn’t dream of entering Romaniacs on it, or doing any hard enduro-ey stuff while on the road. Trashing and breaking your main traveling motorcycle, especially when I’m not an exceptionally talented rider or mechanic, just seems pointless to me. Equally, I wouldn’t want to do highways on a 250 cc (although frankly, I don’t do highways regardless of what bike I’m on).
What’s a mid-sized bike for you, and does the perfect motorcycle exist?