Picking The Right Motorcycle For The Road

if you’re looking for adventure, motorcycling is a great way to scratch your itch. Still, there is “adventure” and then there is “adventure.” Riding over rough mountain passes on a dual-sport bike like Yamaha’s WR250X is a great way to spend your day. But try that on Yamaha’s FJR1300A sport-tourer and you’ll come to fully appreciate the multiple layers of truth in the saying, “Adventure is taking inappropriate equipment to out-of-the-way places.”

On the other hand, if adventure for you is a 10-state tour on two wheels, that FJR is going to serve you a whole lot better than the WR. There’s a reason why Yamaha and the other manufacturers offer extensive lines of different motorcycles. Not all riders are the same and not all adventures are the same.

Let’s stick with Yamaha. On their website they break their models into two main categories, street motorcycles and off-road motorcycles. The street category is then broken down further into super sport (5 models), super-sport touring (1), adventure (1), and dual purpose (4). Off-road breaks down to motocross (5) and off-road (8). That’s 24 different models. Sure, you could take that FJR over that rocky, rutted pass, but why in the world would you? Pick the right machine for the job.

Yamaha’s five super sport models are all sportbikes meant for aggressive riding on the street or on the track. They range in price from the FZ6R at $7,490 to the YZF-R1 at $13,590. The super-sport touring category consists solely of the FJR1300A, at $15,490. If you like to do day rides with your buddies, go with the former; if you want to hit the road for extended periods, the latter.

If your ambitions are off-road and you want to cover serious distances, Yamaha’s adventure bike, the Super Tenere ($13,900) is the one for you. This is a bike you might ride around the world. Or, for just kicking up some dirt and having a ball, while having the ability to get to that dirt without having to load the bike on a trailer, the dual-purpose models run from the TW200 ($4,490) to the WR250X ($6,509).

Shifting to the more seriously dirt-oriented models, Yamaha’s motocross bikes range from the YZ85 ($3,850) to the YZ450F ($8,150). These are the bikes you’re going to want if catching air and hitting the ground hard is your thing. You’ll be spending most of your time at tracks or motocross parks. And you’ll be hauling the bike there rather than riding it there.

Or maybe you’re the type who likes to load up the trailer with bikes for every member of the family and go camping for the weekend. You’re going to be following trails through the woods, maybe picking your way over some logs or boulders, and you need knobby tires and deep suspension to do that. Yamaha’s largest category, the off-road bikes, starts at the low end with the PW50 ($1,290) and goes up to the WR450F ($7,650). You’re bound to find the right bike for each of you in that group.

Once again, it all comes down to your definition of adventure. You can make of it whatever suits you. Maybe you’re hard core, and the quote that works best for you is “Adventure is trouble in the past tense.” Fine. Go ahead and have a ball working that FJR over the boulders. But if you don’t buy into the line that, “Adventure is just bad planning,” you really should choose the right bike for the road you’ll be on. Or won’t be on. It’s your choice.


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