Enough already with travel to far-off places on crazy comfortable bikes!
Among the great things about attending the winter motorcycle shows across Canada is being able to see and sit on the new bikes. Photos are useful but actually sitting on the bike gives the machine perspective. Do the lines work in reality? Is the bike as long or as tall as it appears in pictures? Is the finish really that good? If a bike can look as good in the metal under the bright lights and glare of an exhibit hall as it does on paper, then it just might be a winner.
Another good thing about the shows is the opportunity to speak in person with CB readers. I am happy to report that the vast majority of you seem to enjoy the magazine, even those who have suggestions as to how we could do some things differently. One of the more interesting comments we’ve heard in a while was made at the show in Edmonton, where I was told we feature too many adventure touring stories in the magazine. That’s the first time I’ve heard that complaint, so I asked the gentleman if he meant touring stories or road tests of new touring models. “Everything,” he said.
Over the years we have heard from some quarters that there’s too much cruiser content in CB, while others have complained there’s too much sportbike content. Most enthusiasts though have balanced interests and will read about anything motorcycle related, from a ZX-10R to a Heritage Softail.
But the perspective of the gentleman in Edmonton was different. Being where the buck stops, I told him I would consider the comment. Although his definition of adventure touring seemed to cross the boundaries of sport touring and ADV bikes, he asserted, and it is undeniably true, that when you are out touring the majority of bikes you will see on the road are touring cruisers.
He says this is because they are more comfortable and more applicable to the task at hand.
That point is open to debate. Yes, the benefits of a broad, comfortable seat and compliant suspension are beyond approach when you are logging thousands of kilometres. But the upright, neutral, comfortable seating of the ADV class is one of the primary reasons for their popularity.
ADV touring bikes offer a compromise between comfort, performance and versatility. But, truth be told, the occasional gravel road is becoming less of a factor in the choice of ride than comfort and performance on the pavement. For this year, Ducati has released an enduro version of their Multistrada to provide a more robust option in a motorcycle that has always been far more pavement oriented. KTM’s 1290 Adventure is biased toward pavement, as is the Moto Guzzi Stelvio and Suzuki V-Strom.
Arguably, Honda has the best examples of the divergent and flourishing ADV segment in two models that are new to the Canadian market this year: the Africa Twin and VFR1200X. The Africa Twin being the most dirt oriented large bore ADV bike on the market today.
The VFR1200X has been available elsewhere in the world for several years, and is at other end of the ADV spectrum. Based on the VFR1200, it’s certainly at home on the pavement. These two Hondas illustrate the breadth of the ADV segment. ADV riding has the upright seating position and command of the road that are its hallmark but beyond that the segment is probably as diverse as any other segment of motorcycling.
Do we have too much ADV content in the magazine? Well, that is up to our readers to decide but ADV is the segment that is getting much attention these days due to the many new models in the category. We do feature many touring stories and it does seem as though the rider is often aboard an ADV bike but the nod would still go to the cruiser as it is unlikely the ADV segment will surpass cruisers in popularity any time soon. When someone at a show tells me they love the magazine but wish we wouldn’t have so much electric bike coverage, then I will know that we truly are in a challenging spot.