back to articles | December 01, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying Motorcycle

Adventure vs. Touring Motorcycle: Which is Best for You?

Motorcycles come in various types, the main distinguishing factor being the body styles. There are 13 types of motorcycles, though the most famous bikes are touring and adventure (ADV) motorcycles. These two motorcycles have registered tremendous sales growth, and the primary reason behind this is customer preference. 


Motorcycles come in various types, the main distinguishing factor being the body styles. There are 13 types of motorcycles, though the most famous bikes are touring and adventure (ADV) motorcycles. These two motorcycles have registered tremendous sales growth, and the primary reason behind this is customer preference.

Touring motorcycles are for the road-going tourers, while adventuring motorcycles are for the dirt-loving explorers. However, despite the differences, these bikes share many similarities, which can usually make it hard to differentiate one from the other. Both have relatively large two-wheeler body styles with relaxed ergonomics and touring capability.

Are you looking to buy one of these two-wheelers but are confused about which one to get? Don’t worry! Here is a simple guide to help you know which motorcycle type might suit you best.

What is a touring motorcycle?

A touring motorcycle is a type of two-wheeler explicitly designed for long-distance road trips. They generally come with big, powerful engines, upright riding position, and cargo space or carriers for luggage. Most touring motorcycles also have a spacious second seat to carry passengers for long distances comfortably. Depending on the model, the manufacturer can equip a touring bike with comfort features such as GPS capability, a heated seat, an airbag, and a stereo.

Most touring motorcycles are semi-naked, and their engine capacity is around 350cc or more. Examples of touring motorcycles include:

  • Triumph Tiger Sport 660
  • Hero Xpulse 200T 4V
  • Kawasaki Versys 650
  • BMW R 1250 GS

Pros of touring motorcycles

If you like riding for hundreds of miles at a stretch across state lines or through several cities on a long adventure, then a touring motorcycle might be just what you need. These two-wheelers have the features to boost comfort and ample space to store all the gear you require on your journey. Here are a few pros of a touring motorcycle.

  • Extra space for gear: This motorcycle comes with a hard-shell case or back compartment, meaning you can carry almost everything you require to enjoy your road trip. With a top-side box, pannier, and other forms of storage, you will have ample storage space for your riding gear, including your tools, helmet, first-aid kit, and other supplies.
  • Cozy, ergonomic riding position: Due to its neutral riding position, a touring motorcycle is more comfortable over long rides compared to other bike models.
  • Large fuel tank: A touring motorcycle has a fuel tank with a much bigger capacity, helping you avoid having to stop repeatedly to fill up. You can even explore more remote areas without worrying about running out of gas.
  • Passenger seating: Due to their large sizes, a touring motorcycle can comfortably accommodate a second rider, which may allow you to bring with you a passenger during your trip. Whoever they may be, spouse or friend, you can enjoy your adventure even more with a companion.

Cons of touring motorcycles

Touring motorcycles are some of the best bikes for long-distance travel, but they have drawbacks. Here are some potential cons of a touring motorcycle.

  • Heavy and less agile for off-road riding: The size of this motorcycle makes it much heavier than most other types of motorcycles.
  • Poor fuel efficiency: Due to their large size and heavy weight, touring motorcycles usually get fewer miles to the gallon than other bikes.
  • Higher cost: Motorcycle prices differ significantly based on the make and model. However, some models of touring motorcycles may cost as much or more than a car.
  • Less nimble: Since they are made for long rides with gentle turns instead of sporty riding, touring motorbikes might be less maneuverable than other motorcycles.

What is an adventure motorcycle?

Adventure motorcycles are simply bikes that take you on your adventure. They are tourer bikes with more suspension travel, off-road tires, and other features.

Also known as all-purpose, all-road, and dual sport, these motorcycles can handle any road and long-distance rides. The engine capacity of an adventure motorcycle is around 650cc or more. Here are a few examples of adventure motorcycles.

  • Royal Enfield Himalayan
  • Triumph Tiger 900 Rally
  • KTM 390 Adventure
  • BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
  • Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro

Pros of adventure motorcycles

Adventure motorcycles are the new kings of the two-wheeler jungle. Here are some pros of an adventure bike.

  • Versatile for on-road and off-road riding: Adventure motorcycles are specifically designed to handle a wide variety of terrain and conditions, usually in remote areas. Almost every adventure bike is built with a dual-sport philosophy, so you can rest assured your bike will handle any terrain regardless of where your adventure or commute takes you.
  • Safety: Although their size, height, and weight may suggest otherwise, adventure motorcycles are some of the safest bikes on the market. They are usually very stable, easy to ride, and are equipped with advanced suspension designed to sponge up rough terrains, such as potholes, bumps, and rocks. Most premium adventure bikes also have advanced ABS and traction control systems.
  • Resale value: Depending on some key aspects, most adventure motorcycles can offer good resale value. A well-maintained bike with fewer miles and a stellar service record can attract solid second-hand prices even at 5-10 years old.
  • Community: Going on an adventure is fun and exciting, but it’s often more fun with fellow riders. It’s also fun to share your experiences and to learn from like-minded individuals. There is a huge global community that has been built around adventure riding. There are many forums where riders share tips, tricks, stories, and events worldwide that allow riders to come together and share their passion. When you buy an adventure motorcycle, you acquire a direct membership to the Universal Adventure family.

Cons of adventure motorcycles

Adventure motorcycles are great companions, especially for people wishing to ride across the globe. However, there are a few reasons why people shy away from bringing them home. Here are some drawbacks of an adventure motorcycle.

  • Heavier weight: Most adventure motorcycles come with all the latest equipment and technologies that a rider can think of. However, most of them weigh a little more than touring motorcycles, lying in the same category of performance. While this is not a major deciding factor, it can influence your buying decision.
  • Aesthetics: The design of an adventure bike is optimized for the best traction, control, performance, and comfort. However, sometimes it fails to attract most riders, though this is about personal preference.
  • High frame: Adventure bikes offer unmatchable comfort to all riders. However, it may become challenging for short riders to ride these bikes without disturbance. This issue can be fixed by installing tires with smaller diameters and adjusting suspensions, but this might cost you a few more hundred dollars.

Should you buy an adventure or a touring motorcycle?

The type of motorcycle to buy will depend on the terrain you wish to ride on, the specs you want on your bike, and perhaps your personal riding preferences. If you want a two-wheeler that can handle a wide range of terrain, like smooth pavement and rough trails, or a bike that is more agile and versatile in every condition, you should go for an adventure motorcycle.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a comfortable, luxurious and fully-equipped two-wheeler for long road trips and a safe and relaxed riding experience, you should go for a touring motorcycle. That said, ensure you consider the pros and cons of each type of two-wheeler and pick one that best suits your needs and riding goals.

Are you looking to buy a new adventure or a touring motorcycle for your road trip? If yes, financing can be the best option to make the purchase more affordable. Apply for motorcycle financing now and get up to 4 offers in minutes.