What better way to get out of the house and go on an adventure at a time when traveling is restricted than on your motorcycle? Riding is one of the best ways to escape while also keeping your distances.
Bike makers seem to agree as they introduced an interesting roster of entirely new and thoroughly upgraded big-size adventure bikes for 2021. Let’s take a look at all the goodies coming to the segment this year—there’s bound to be something in here that’ll inspire you to tackle your own adventures.
Ducati Multistrada V4
Ducati sure knows how to make us wait. The Italian maker confirmed the impending arrival of a new V4-based Multistrada in September, 2019, but it wasn’t until November, 2020, that we met the new adventurer.
Though V4 by name, Ducati went a little beyond cramming the Panigale and Streetfighter’s engine into a Multi chassis. The company modified the engine to better serve the model’s purpose in the lineup and introduced the V4 Granturismo the produces less peak power but provides more low- to mid-range grunt.
The new Multi V4 also became the first Ducati to feature the all-new radar system with adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Our colleague Luca’s first impressions of the bike were promising so it looks like Ducati did some good work and that it’s a bike we can definitely be excited about.
Harley-Davidson Pan America
Can you believe that the Harley-Davidson Pan America is finally going to launch this year? We’ve been talking about Harley’s first adventure bike ever since former CEO Matt Levatich unveiled the brand’s bold new strategy that included branching out into new segments, back in 2018.
Things have since dramatically changed for the company, and after over a year of teasing, announcements, and motorcycle show features, the Pan Am will officially be added to the lineup in 2021. The company is set to debut the bike on February 2021.
The first all-American adventurer is going to run on the bigger, 1,250cc version of the Revolution Max engine (the smaller, 975cc variant was expected to debut in the Bronx but the project is currently on the ice). Power figures are expected to hover around 145 horsepower and 90 lb-ft of torque. Everything else including weight, suspension and brake hardware, and pricing should be announced in February.
When Honda launched the all-new Forza 750 in October, 2020, powered by a new Euro 5-compliant parallel-twin, we knew we could expect the updated engine to make its way into the NC. Sure enough, a month later, Team Read introduced the refreshed NC750X equipped with the same new 754cc parallel-twin.
The updated engine now produces 58 horsepower (up from 54 hp) and 50.89 lb-ft of torque (up from 50 flat). The new NC also shed a few pounds in the process—13 to be specific—a received a lower seat for easier access. Thanks to a lower suspension setting, the saddle now reaches 31.5 inches down from 32.7.
The 2021 NC750X also features three riding modes, Honda’s Selectable Torque Control, and Smartphone Voice Control system.
KTM 890 Adventure
KTM has the habit of using its engines with different platforms so when it introduced the new 890 Duke R at the end of 2019, we suspected it would only be a matter of time before an Adventure version followed.
In October, 2020, Team Orange unveiled the all-new 890 Adventure R and R Rally, followed two weeks later by the entry-level 890 Adventure. All three bikes use the same 889cc parallel-twin that produces 105 horsepower and 73.7 lb-ft of torque.
The base 890 is tuned for the road and receives such features as a tall windscreen, a touring saddle with separate pillion seat, and road-ready tires. The 890 Adventure R and R Rally are a little more off-road-leaning and are equipped with enduro tires, an enduro saddle, high-set fenders, more suspension travel, and a taller saddler.
Moto Guzzi V85 TT update
Barely two years after its introduction to the market, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT received a few well-deserved upgrades for 2021. Though the maker didn’t disclose the power figures, it confirmed that the 853cc V-twin now produces more torque, up from the current mill’s 80 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to “optimized lifting of the pushrod and rockers timing cams and a consequent adapting of the engine control electronics”, the bike is now said to offer more low and mid-range torque.
Also new for 2021 is the V85’s pair of wire-spoke wheels now tubeless tire-friendly. In addition to making the bike more versatile (and simplifying tire changes), the new wheels also helped the bike shed a few pounds.
Finally, the updated V85 TT now features five riding modes thanks to the addition of the new Sport and Custom modes for 2021.
Triumph Tiger 850 Sport
Less than a year after introducing the brand-new Tiger 900, Triumph added a new entry-level, road-oriented variant. Sporting a detuned version of the Tiger’s 888cc inline-triple, the new Tiger 850 Sport makes the famous British adventure lineup more accessible.
To make this base Tiger more commuter-friendly, Triumph dropped the output from 94 horsepower and 64 lb-ft of torque to 84 hp and 60.5 lb-ft. The 850 features an adjustable seat height ranging from 31.88 to 32.67 inches and tips the scales at 423 pounds—four pounds less than the 900.
Despite its entry-level status, the model is equipped with high-end Brembo Stylema brakes and Marzocchi suspension. It also receives a 5.28-gallon fuel tank, a 5-inch TFT screen, and two riding modes (Road and Rain).