Adventure bikes are currently a big deal , and a still-growing market segment that ’ s incredibly important for most manufacturers . In 2022 , seemingly every manufacturer is jumping on the bandwagon with brand new machines from Ducati , Benelli , MV Agusta and Aprilia to name just a few . Naturally , it ’ s the alfa male , silverback bigbores that capture the hearts and minds ... not the ‘ tiny ’, ‘ wee ’ sub-1000cc variants . BMW is acknowledged as the grand-daddy of adventure riding with the introduction of its GS Boxer-engined machines in the late 80s . Success in long distance adventure races like the Paris-Dakar cemented BMW ’ s adventure reputation in modern history . However , prior to the Paris-Dakar Rally many riders simply toured the world on road bikes , long before the adventure bike niche was even a thing . Lately KTM seems to have taken the mantle from BMW for extreme style adventure riding , but the reality of extreme riding on bikes well over 200kg and 150hp is not for everyone . High skill and fitness levels are a pre-requisite for any sort of success in difficult terrain . Yes , it ’ s all very cool watching a superstar , such as our own Chris Birch , do the business on YouTube and imagining living the dream , but it ’ s not quite that simple for most riders . If you don ’ t already have significant dirt experience , a large adventure bike off-road is not going to be your friend . The fact remains that 90 percent of 1200cc-plus adventure machines will see little use beyond a gravel road – which is probably no bad thing . Gravel riding alone is enough of a challenge for many .
TOP DOG All of which brings me to the 2022 BMW GS 1250 Rallye and why I think it ’ s still the top dog . I mean , let ’ s face facts here , large adventure machines make fabulous all day , all-roads touring / exploring bikes – and this is probably their greatest strength and suited to all but the very short of leg . This is especially true for New Zealand conditions – we have a lot of rough tarmac and a huge amount of wonderful gravel roads , making adventure bikes the obvious choice . Now , full disclosure ... this particular bike has been purchased by yours truly – not that I make any silverback claims , although there ’ s certainly some grey hair . Perhaps I ’ m the victim of longterm KR trend setting and some indoctrination from our incomparable publisher ‘ Vege ’, being