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Most cars do not even come close to the raw experience that motorcycles have to offer, as they are completely exposed to the elements. The feeling of being free and not locked in a cage, unlike in cars, is unbeatable and becomes the reason for many motorcycle enthusiasts for their love of motorcycles.
Not all motorcycles can be taken out of the city, you need a special one for the open road and great travel stories. Most adventurers end up getting hefty and beefed up touring motorcycles that weigh upwards of 800 to even 1000 pounds with their huge engines and high tech features like ABS and traction control.
But some who come across the somewhat underrated lightweight touring motorcycles, usually have great thoughts about their experience mainly due to the high maintainability, availability of most high tech features that are important, fuel economy, and the fact they are more manageable as a whole.
To spread a bit of awareness regarding these trusty steeds, we’ve gathered up several great machines that fall into this category.
The lineup of motorcycles that we’ll be talking about is from the top manufacturers in the game. So let’s dive right in.
Top 8 Lightweight Touring Motorcycles
Honda CB 500X
Engine Type: Parallel Twin Cylinder; 4-Stroke, DOHC Engine, Liquid Cooled
Engine Displacement: 471cc
Weight: 430 pounds. All standard equipment, fluids and full tank of fuel, ready to ride.
Fuel Capacity: 4.6 gallons
The Honda CB 500X was first launched in 2013, since then it has received updates in 2016 and 2019 that has given it an even more aggressive adventure style.
The biggest change after the 2019 version was a bump in suspension travel by 10mm and wheel size from 17 to 19 inches at the front and this opens up more options for off-road tires that aren’t available for 17-inch wheels.
The suspension is great especially at the rear with a 9 stage spring preload adjustment for adaptability according to your terrain.
You will get decent pops and burbles from the factory exhaust system, and this time around, it has a little extra boost of acceleration in that low to mid-rev-range through valve timing adjustments that add more adrenaline to the overall ride.
The seat is very comfortable and ergonomics for this motorcycle are quite good for even the longer journeys.
View specs and more info on Honda
Royal Enfield Himalayan
Engine Type: Single Cylinder, 4-Stroke; Air Cooled, SOHC, Fuel injection
Engine Displacement: 411cc
Weight: 438.72 pounds. With 90% fuel & oil.
Fuel Capacity: 3.96 gallons
This is a motorcycle with decent suspension travel, a wide low seat, and a classic Italian utilitarian styling which is gorgeous. Even though it has a 411cc engine, the power figures are a bit low, producing about only 24 HP.
But the 25 lb. ft. of torque sort of makes up for it because it is what gets you going, keep you going, through the nasty and sticky stuff & over the steep sections. It translates to low, predictable traction at a lower rpm. And this is what puts this one at a very good spot.
View specs and more info on RoyalEnfield
Kawasaki Versys 650
Engine Type: 4-Stroke, DOHC
Engine Displacement: 649cc
Weight: 476.3 pounds. Includes all necessary materials and fluids to operate correctly with a full tank of fuel and tool kit.
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gallons
If we were to compare what this machine has to offer against the big guns like BMW and KTM, you might be surprised that it offers a decent bang for the buck.
Although you get only a 17-inch rim on the Versys 650, it still manages to prove itself if you are a skilled rider with just the right set up.
View specs and more info on Kawasaki
BMW G310 GS
Engine Type: Single Cylinder; 4-Valve, 4-Stroke, Liquid Cooled DOHC
Engine Displacement: 313cc
Weight: 374 pounds. Road ready fully fueled.
Fuel Capacity: 2.9 gallons
BMW has always been one of the more dominant manufacturers. Their quality of design, performance, and practicality needs no introduction. This motorcycle has all the standards that made BMW famous in the biking world at the same time keeping things pretty affordable.
This has been made possible because it gets manufactured in India after it initially got designed and conceptualized in Germany. Due to this, the costs have reduced greatly.
Dubbed as an entry-level adventure motorcycle, it constantly exceeds expectations of whoever gets the chance to ride the BMW G310 GS, by having amazing handling and dynamics.
Veteran adventure riders see this quickly and enjoy it because it’s such a compact package filled with heaps of potential, practical and fun.
View specs and more info on BMW MotorRad
Suzuki V-Strom 650
Engine Type: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin.
Engine Displacement: 645cc
Weight: 469 pounds curb weight.
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gallons
Suzuki has a long history of Japanese engineering that rivals the likes of Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki. One slight glance at the V Strom, and it straight away tells you what it’s meant for, classic adventures.
But taking a closer look reveals much more, like the factory hand and engine guards, high ground clearance, low seating position, and a long wheelbase for that low center of gravity, giving it superior balance.
Riding smoothly at three-digit speeds on long highway sections of the road and completely feeling at home on rugged and rough trails. If you are a traveler by nature, this is the right companion for you.
Triumph Tiger 800
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line 3-cylinder
Engine Displacement: 800cc
Weight: 439 pounds of dry weight.
Fuel Capacity: 5 gallons
Overcoming anything and everything that comes it’s way, this motorcycle will deliver superior reliability on all-terrain, whether it’s in the urban concrete jungles or rowdy old mountains. This British beast delivers solid power that makes its rider feel confident and dominant.
Though this is based on the same chassis from the older generation, according to Triumph it still has more than 200 completely new components that make it technologically and performance-wise, up to date.
View specs and more info on Triumph Motorcycles
KTM 790 adventure
Engine Type: In-line twin-engine, 8-valve DOHC
Engine Displacement: 799c
Weight: 416 pounds.
Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gallons
The 790 Adventure is one of the most well-balanced motorcycles in the list because of its unique fuel tank that extends down to the belly, wrapped around its heart aka the engine.
This makes sure that you can corner at high speeds while possessing off-road capabilities as well. Being finely tuned and churning out a massive 95 horsepower and 88-pound feet of torque makes this motorcycle a complete riot (in a good way of course) for memorable adventurous trips.
View specs and more info on KTM
Yamaha Tenere 700
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke with 8 valves
Engine Displacement: 689cc
Weight: 452 pounds wet weight.
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gallons
As far as engine size, power delivery, and overall performance are concerned, this is one of those motorcycles that hits the right spot. You haven’t got all that weight and difficulty associated with the higher end adventure motorcycles.
It is often considered as much more simple as compared to its competitors because it’s just straight forward, no hugely complicated electronics, just a proper honest motorcycle.
The seating position also considered to be enough for a normal height guy, and even if you’re a bit on the taller side, you will not feel cramped at all.
View specs and more info on Yamaha
These bikes are almost neck and neck with highly capable components such as disc brakes, heavy-duty suspensions, significant ground clearance, tech features like ABS & traction control and overall reliability, practicality, and solid engines.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the personal taste and preferences related to fuel consumption, weight, and overall ergonomics, according to the rider’s body type.