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Elevate Your Commute With These Adventure Motorcycles

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You only get 1,440 minutes in a day and it’s a shame when any of them are wasted. Especially stuck in your car in traffic on the way to work. You instantly turn those minutes (or hours for some) into quality time when you hop on a motorcycle. You can still get in your morning podcast, or rock out to your favorite tunes if you’re dialed with a Bluetooth headset, but you also get the satisfaction that’s only provided by covering some miles on two wheels.

There are a lot of motorcycle types out there that can do the trick, but one of the best you might not have considered is an adventure bike. Comfortable and capable, adventure motorcycles can easily weave through congested traffic, carry cargo, and deliver you to the office without a sore back. Plus, if you decide to play hookey instead of clocking in, an adventure bike will allow you to get some off-road miles far from where anyone might spot you. It’s a win-win all around. So we picked seven adventure bikes that are also ideal commuters for those of you looking to shake the dust off your daily routine.

BMW R 1250 GS

The R 1250 GS is a great commuter despite its size.
The R 1250 GS is a great commuter despite its size. (BMW/)

The BMW R 1250 GS is the latest iteration of a line of top-spec GS motorcycles that over the years have become many riders’ go-to, do-anything machine. For 2019 it made the jump to 1,254cc and added ShiftCam technology, so performs even better throughout the rev range. More pull down low, better power up top. The mill is silky smooth, the chassis is refined, and the amount of creature comforts are plenty. Even though it looks a little bulky at a standstill, the bike goes exactly where you want it in nearly any environment. There’s also a GS riders club somewhere near you, so you’ll be able to join and have a brand-new group of friends to get together with after the workday ends.

Honda Africa Twin

If you really want to have the option to explore off-road terrain after work, get an Africa Twin.
If you really want to have the option to explore off-road terrain after work, get an Africa Twin. (Honda/)

It may look like its sole purpose is tackling a transcontinental rally, but the Honda Africa Twin is also a remarkably adept machine on the asphalt. It’s even garnered the endorsement of the Redondo Beach Police Department as a steed for its motorcycle force. The 2020 model is more powerful and more comfortable than previous iterations, making an already capable all-round machine even better. It feels light and slim while riding, has responsive handling, and plenty of usable power, so dodging traffic or blasting ahead of the masses when the light turns green is no sweat for the AT. Perfect for turning the drudgery of morning rush hour into something to look forward to.

Honda NC750X

The NC750X is a practical commuter with some notable creature comforts.
The NC750X is a practical commuter with some notable creature comforts. (Honda/)

The Honda NC750X is an awesome addition to the list because it is far more amenable to the demands of commuting than it is to heavy adventuring. The 745cc parallel-twin-powered bike has decent low- and midrange pull so you can easily weave ahead and through traffic, its ergos are neutral, there’s a bit of wind protection, and the underseat fuel tank means there’s a big ol’ storage compartment where the fuel tank typically sits. It’s also available with an automatic Dual Clutch Transmission, which means you don’t have to shift gears, which might be nice if the morning coffee hasn’t quite kicked in yet. The DCT model also features ABS and Honda Selectable Traction Control for additional safety coverage.

Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+

The recent upgrade to the electronics suite make the Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+ more attractive than ever.
The recent upgrade to the electronics suite make the Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+ more attractive than ever. (Kawasaki/)

If you want a little more punch and sophistication than the NC, roll up to the company parking lot on a Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+. This 1,043cc inline-four has fully adjustable suspension, a raft of electronic amenities like cruise control, cornering management, a quickshifter, traction control, and engine power modes. It’s a really comfortable bike too, with plenty of wind protection and a well-appointed seat. Plus, for a little bit extra money Kawasaki will include saddlebags designed to incorporate seamlessly into the lines and color scheme of the bike. This will let your coworkers know that you really care about the details.

KTM 790 Adventure R

It may not have the brawn of its 1290 or 1090 V-twin engine equipped brothers, but when it comes to practicality, or off-road, the 790 Adventure is one of our favorites. Its ultra-compact parallel-twin-powered engine makes for a slim motorcycle, yet with the engine’s purposeful firing order it has the punch and feel of a larger-displacement twin. Equipped with modern electronics, a big windscreen and fuel tank, not to mention the ability to fit factory-installed hard cases, the 790 Adventure is certainly a bike that would fit the bill for commuting to work, while still being a motorcycle we’d choose to play on during the weekend.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R has power and performance in excess, and is a bike that will turn heads.
The KTM 1290 Super Adventure R has power and performance in excess, and is a bike that will turn heads. (KTM/)

If you want to command respect when you pull into the parking lot in the morning, roll up on a KTM 1290 Super Adventure R. Non-riders will be piqued by the look and sound of the thing, while those in the know will understand you appreciate a machine that impressively balances high-performance and versatile capability. The 1,301cc twin is a monster of an engine and the chassis was designed to excel in off-road situations. But it’s also a fantastic machine on the asphalt, and even got one of our long-term testers asking whether this was the ultimate commuting machine back in 2015. No matter how long or short your commute, on a 1290 Super Adventure R you will be comfortable. You will be capable. You will be able to take that shortcut over the mountain to be home in time for dinner.

Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure

Stand out from the crowd with a Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure.
Stand out from the crowd with a Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure. (Moto Guzzi/)

Being seen when you’re on a bike is a huge part of getting to work and back home safe, and no one is going to miss you on the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure. But it’s also well-designed, particularly in terms of comfort and engine performance. The 853cc engine was updated for 2020 and is noticeably more responsive than previous iterations, and its chassis contributes to intuitive handling characteristics that make the bike go where you want without any fuss. It also has a range of more than 200 miles thanks to its 6.1-gallon fuel tank. Even though it’s not the highest-performance machine on this list, it has arguably the most character and that combined with its on-road prowess makes it a great option if you’re looking to get an ADV machine for your commute.

Suzuki V-Strom 650

The V-Strom 650 is reliable and approachable.
The V-Strom 650 is reliable and approachable. (Suzuki/)

If the KTM and BMW leave your coworkers with the impression you’re a person of fine taste, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 will convey the message that you are infinitely practical. The long-popular machine provides a comfortable ride, handles well, and keeps up with traffic easily. It’s 645cc twin engine isn’t going to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, but it will provide enough snap to leave dawdlers on the highway far behind. It’s got some practical amenities like easy start, low-rpm assist, traction control, and ABS, plus there is a huge aftermarket for storage and other bits of farkle that will allow you to really proclaim the nature of your identity.

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