Heavy-Weight Adventure Touring Bikes

The thing about the heavy ADVs is that they’re the best long distance cruisers when the roads are garbage.

I was talking to a guy about bikes, and I mentioned how large some of the big adventure bikes are. The BMW GS 1200 is a surprisingly large machine, as is the Multistrata and even the Africa Twin. The guy gave the usual line about how absurd it is to strap two hundred pounds of luggage to one of these machines and try to ride it through deep sand.

But I don’t want to take one through deep sand. I want to take one up mountain roads, roads that are aspirationally paved. Roads get paved to within a rounding-error: 95% is paved and the rest is washed out. I don’t need to take a machine through deep sand, but I often look at cabins or campsites in the hills, sites that the paved road comes close to. A decent paved road might stop three miles away.

But three miles is three miles. Three miles of soft gravel is a nightmare on a cruiser. One moderate gully, a three foot washout, is a non-event to an ADV, even one of the overweight ones, but not-passable to my car. On a cruiser, a three-foot washout is a matter of approach angles and lines. How dry is the dirt? What’s the weather like? Could I pick this thing up if the tires go out from under me? What if there are five more little gullies between me and camp? Do I want to press ahead to this campsite if it might rain tomorrow and I could get stuck up here?

Meanwhile, for highway cruising, I want some weight. Westbound on 285, out of Denver and into the plains that follow Kenosha Pass, the winds can get insane. I want something heavier, bulkier, more resilient with an upright seating position.

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