I needed a dry bag for an adventure motorcycle camping trip I was taking, and really liked a few bags from Twisted Throttle, Giant Loop and few others, but they all seemed pretty expensive for what they were– waterproof dry bag. So while picking up some camping supplies at Cabela’s I ran across a perfect bag that works well and was super inexpensive so I decided to share this info. It is not a motorcycle dry bag per se, it is actually a boat bag, but serves the same purpose, waterproof, easy to access, has outside mesh pocket that came in handy on my trips. I am able to strap it through the handles so that worked well. It also has a reflective logo on it, which is always a bonus when riding.
I have used it on a few trips and one trip in particular it saw a ton of rain and kept my clothes nice and dry. Overall it is a great bag and at a very reasonable price and worth consideration. If this bag had a few more straps or handles for additonals options of securing to my bike, that would have been great, but wasn’t a deal breaker and a coule bungees hold in nice and secure.
The bag I am talking about is Mustad Dry Carryall bag, they have them in a few different sizes too. I am sure they sell them in many places as they are fishing hook company that distributes to many reatilers, but overall this bag may make a great dry bag packing solution for your riding adventures.
Here is link to the “ADV” dry bag at Cabelas.
Let me know what you would like to see in an affordable dry bag for your bike. Feedback
Kawasaki KLR 650 – A Fan favorite!
A small dual-sport bike like a 200 or 250cc would will make an all around great learning bike. They are light, nimble and easy to ride, as well as, the smaller displacement bikes are great for riding single track trails and/or rough terrain where a light nimble bike is key. Read more here about some great adventure bikes to learn on. But it appears most ADV riders are looking for an “Adventure” bike that is a little bigger than a 200cc and have plans for more dual purpose exploration in mind, not simply a bike to learn to ride on, but a bike tthat can handle the asphalt and the dirt roads well, a adv bike they can grow into and enjoy for many years to come.
After watching Long Way Down or being slapped by big manufacturers marketing departments, many people conjure up and an image of a big adventure bike, like a BMW GS1200 Adventure motorcycle with hard panniers and a bunch of luggage strapped to it, traversing the jungle or world as an image of what they want in their mind. Now these are incredible machines that have a place, but budget and practicality usually kick in and some realize a 600 pound beast is not the best all around bike, nor the cheapest for them. Again, the big adventure bikes have their place, don’t get me wrong, they are not always the best bet for the masses, especially when first getting into adventure riding and looking for entry level adventure bike.
Riding a 250cc on and extended long tarmac stretch is not ideal and riders will quickly require a little more power and getting your feet wet with a big 600 pound 1200cc expensive bike is not always practical either. But don’t worry there are many bikes right in that sweet spot, that will let you ride trails, dirt roads and also cruise some asphalt comfortably. So that leaves us with the masses, Mid-sized Adventure Bikes and Dual-Sport motorcycles that are relatively affordable and are also are great bikes to learn how to adventure ride and travel on. So that’s what we are looking for in this Entry Level Adventure Motorcycle post, a versatile all-around entry level adventure bike, something in between the light 250 and the heavy 1200 and also reasonably priced.
Here is a list of bikes we feel are great choices for the entry level beginner adventure rider, who have been bitten by the adventure motorcycle bug. So in short, we are leaving our 250cc and 1200cc class adventure bikes out of this post. We will evaluate those classes of ADV bikes down the road.
The best ADV or dual sport bike for you may be different than for another person, depending on your size, type of riding you want to do, as well as price, comfort and other personal variable. It is best to throw a leg over one you think fits your needs and test ride it and see what feels right for you.
Prices stated are MSRP “starting at” price for a new bike.
So without further ado:
Honda CB500x Adventure – Starting at $6299
The CB500x Adventure is new but he CB500 has been around since the 70’s, a 500 is a good size bike, the seat height is a good for new riders.
Here are specs for CB500X Adventure.
Suzuki DR-Z400S – Starting at $6599
Suzuki DRZ 400
Another great Suzuki, a little lighter and more dirt oriented then the DR650, it is a little taller, so higher center of gravity, but a great bike that is light and fun and easy to ride.
Here are specs for DR400.
Kawasaki KLR 650 – Starting at $6149
The KLR has one of the biggest fan-followings and there is a reason why, it is an overall great bike. it doesn’t do any one thing spectacular, but what is does do – it is a lot of everything very very well. It is a a bit of a tank and an overall great bike in general and perfect for new adventure riders.
Here are specs for KLR650.
Honda NC700X – Starting at $7499
This bike is more geared toward the asphalt and it is a Honda so you know it will be a great reliable scoot. It is simple to ride – it comes as an automatic or Honda calls it DCT – (dual clutch transmission) It is a great all around motorcycle and you will be happy to throw a leg over this Honda.
Here are specs for NC700X.
BMW G650GS or BMW Sertão – Starting at $7895
We really couldn’t discuss Adventure bikes without having BMW in the mix, these are both great beginner bikes, they have a low center of gravity and just ride very smooth and make riding seam so comfortable. Although you do pay a little extra for the BMW bragging rights. Here are specs for BMW 650.
Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT – Starting at $10399
Suzuki V-Strom 650
Suzuki really makes a great bikes for a great prices and their bikes are great mechanically as well. The V-strom is no different – it is geared more toward asphalt and gravel roads, compared to it’s DR650 cousin, this bike also has low seat height and ride really really nice. Here are specs for V-Strom 650.
Kawasaki Versys 650 – Starting at $7,999
Kawasaki Versys 650
This Kawasaki is often overlooked and not given enough credit, it is an all around great entry level bike and I highly recommend it, take one for a test ride and you will realize a great bike. Easy to ride and lot of band for the buck.
Here are specs for Versys 650.
Honda XR650L – Starting at $6690
This Honda XR650 has not changed in close to 20 years, but it is a simple but good motorcycle, it will do well in the dirt on gravel roads and even some dirt riding. It is more dirt oriented than the Suzuki DR650. Simply great entry level Adventure/ dual sport motorcycle, especially for taller riders.
Here are specs for XR650L
Suzuki DR650SE – Starting at $6499
This is one of my favorite motorcycles, it is reliable, good power, rides well, does great on dual sport rides and also can cruise down the road at a good speed. If you are doing more asphalt put a windscreen on it, it doing more dirt put some knobbies on it. This bike has a relatively low seat height and is easy to ride and a great affordable place to start adventure riding.
Here are specs for DR650.
Well there you have it a good list of 9 entry level dual-sport / adventure bikes for the newer dual-sport adventure rider to consider. I recommend hitting your local dealer and throwing a leg over some of these bikes and see for yourself what feels most comfortable for your unique height, weight, comfort and posture. And remember it is very important to be comfortable on your new bike. Here is few thing you can do to get the optimal fit.
- Adjust your handlebars. You can get bar risers that not only move the bars up so better for when you are standing on your footpegs, but also they move bars forward for better comfort as well.
- Possibly lower your bike dropping the center of gravity (which makes riding easier) keeps smaller riders comfortable.
- Comfortable seat, many rider swap out standard seat for something a little more comfy.
Remember, new riders, please ride within your comfort level when you are getting used to your new adventure or dual sport motorcycle, don’t take chances, be safe and, of course, have fun!!!
The Sedici “HotWired” heated vest from CycleGear is an affordable heated motorcycle vest that is worth consideration.
My experience is fair with this vest, I tried on the XL size and it seemed very short in the front. I realize when I am riding my legs will be bent bring the vest lower to abdomin, but it looked short. I am 6’1 and around 200 pounds. I then tried on the 2XL and that fit much better in length. So I bought it on sale for $99, normally $139, and it came with a “free” controller, which I think it should, but they sell it separately for $60!
Installing the connector to the bike’s battery and then plugging in the controller, was a simple task. Now it was time for testing out this baby, I used it couple times, and it worked fair but not overly impressed with the heat output, I must say. After some investigation, I realized the issue was that the vest was not tight enough up against me so I was not real snuggly and warm when it got cold late at night. There is a draw string on it to tighten bottom to stop air from getting under the vest, so I did that but it still wasn’t tight to my body and was below my expectations.
After a week or so, I went back to the CycleGear store and figured I am not a 2XL guy and would try the shorter length XL size hoping it would be a little tighter or more snug on my torso, but it seemed to be the exact same diameter or snugness, just shorter in length. So I ended up keeping the XXL size. The salesperson suggested I take it to a tailor and get the elastic sides hemmed in. Which would probably work, but I am a busy person and haven’t had the drive to investigate that yet and I wouldn’t want an internal wire in the vest to get sewed over and cut in the process rendering my new vest unusable, which would just be my luck. ; )
Don’t get me wrong, the vest is not horrible, it does the job but it definitely has room for improvement and could do the job better with better design or some straps or something to keep it snug
Also there are a few setting for temp on the controller, but I have never taken off high, as it never felt too warm for me, probably because it is not snug as I mentioned. It is on high or off for me. Maybe once I get it snug on my torso the levels of heat may come into play and I’ll update this post, but for now the heat settings are useless.
The big benefit is the vest is priced fairly, especially if you get it on sale, but all in all the Sedici Heated Vest leaves me wanting more from it.
Thanks for reading and ride safe and warm!
Adventure bikes have a low cost alternative thanks to China and the California Scooter Company (CSC). CSC’s RX3 is a 250cc adventure motorcycle that looks similar to ADV bikes that cost 3 times the amount! But it is also 3 times less the engine displacement as well and I’d have to assume the quality would be a little cheaper, but I do not know and just making some assumptions. The RX3 is water cooled, Delphi fuel injection (which is US based company – FYI), adjustable suspension, hard luggage/panniers, skid plate, crash bars and much more. Now since is a 250 it only goes atop speed of 84mph, to some that may be a problem to others it may be fine. Remember though what it lacks in speed it makes up for with it light weight. Check out their site there have already been some people taking these on some decent adventures, so don’t disregard this bike so fast. The RX3 comes standard with a lot of accessories or farkles already, for example– crash bars, adjustable suspension, panniers and top case, dual sport tires, engine guards, and even a skid plate. As well as, they offer and number of add-ons and upgrades you can add to the bike, like a centerstand, handguards to name a few. So take a look!
Check out some more specs on their website.
And check our ADV motorcycle specs sheet here too.