More mid-rangers to choose from!
The adventure and dual-sport segment has thrived in recent years as more people discover the joys of venturing off the beaten path on their motorcycles. Thanks to this, an increasing number of manufacturers want their share of the growing market. 2021 will be no different, especially in the small and mid-size classes, where we’ll have even more choice of accessible and affordable adventure buddies than ever before.
Let’s have a look at all the small and mid-size models we’re getting (or that we should get) in 2021.
Aprilia Tuareg 660
Aprilia recently added a second 660 model to its lineup. This time, it went “naked” with the mid-size Tuono, or what happens when you replace the RS 660’s clip -ons with a taller handlebar. We already knew that the downsized Tuono was coming as the Italian firm introduced its concept a year earlier at EICMA 2019, alongside the production-ready RS. It wasn’t a matter of it, but rather a matter of when.
Another “not if, but when” is the returning Aprilia Tuareg. The brand hinted at the namesake’s return at EICMA as well, not with a concept, but rather with a bike enclosed in a glass box and hidden away behind thick tropical foliage. We have since seen the new Italian adventurer’s prototype in action, spotted on the road on several occasions.
Considering there was now show season this year and that Aprilia introduced the Tuono in January, there’s a possibility we won’t see the new Tuareg before 2022. That being said considering how seemingly advanced the project is, we could hope for the Tuareg to show up in the fall.
Benelli TRK502 and TRK502X
Benelli introduced its new TRK502 and TRK502X mid-size adventure bike in September, 2020, and confirmed a month later that the model would be available in the States. The bikes are built on a new platform, powered by a 500cc parallel-twin rated at 47 horsepower and 33.2 lb-ft of torque.
While the base 502 is more touring-friendly, the 502X adds a few adventure-ready features to make it more versatile. The 502 features a short, low-set exhaust, 17-inch cast wheels front and back, a 7.5-inch ground clearance, and a 31.5-inch saddle height. In comparison, the 502X is equipped with a longer, high-set muffler, a set of 19 and 17-inch wire-spoke wheels wrapped in Metzeler Tourance tires, 8.6 inches of ground clearance, and a 33-inch saddle height.
While Benellis haven’t built a reputation for their shining personalities, starting at only $5,999, it's hard to refute that they make for great entry-level bikes into the adventure segment.
BMW G 310 GS
BMW unveiled the modestly updated G 310 GS baby adventurer in October, 2020. Most changes were virtually invisible as they were meant to cater to the new European emissions standards and make the model legal for sale on the brand’s top market.
Some, however, were a little more noticeable, including the electric throttle and the self-boosting anti-hopping clutch designed to lighten the feel of the clutch lever. Four-stage adjustable levers, and LED lighting front to back.
Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally
The Honda CRF lineup doesn’t usually rank as adventure bikes. However, the new CRF300L (formerly the CRF250L) does register on the dual-sport scale and that’s good enough to deserve a place on this list.
Honda made some significant changes to its popular off-roader starting, of course, the upsized naming convention and displacement. Inside the update frame, the new 286cc single produces 27 horsepower and 19.6 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a new transmission with shorter gear ratios one through five and a longer sixth gear and with an assist and slipper clutch.
While the 300L gets a 2-gallon fuel tank, the Rally receives a bigger, 3.4-gallon tank, as well as a taller windscreen, and handguards.
To summarize what happened on January 26, 2021: Kawasaki made us wait three years to introduce a new KLR650 that's virtually the exact same bike as the previous generation. Granted, it did receive a few minor upgrades to keep it somewhat modern-ish. The updates included trading the Keihin carb for fuel injection, adding LED lighting all around, refreshing the look, and dual-purpose ABS.
Even better is the fact that despite the minute upgrades, the price point remains the same, which makes it one of the most affordable mid-size dual-sport bikes in the segment.
The model is listed as a 2022, however, we should expect it to land in the showrooms toward the end of 2021 which does make it a bike we can expect in 2021. Right? RIGHT?
Royal Enfield Himalayan with Tripper Navigation
Though the Royal Enfield Himalayan received few key updates in 2020, the brand ran its adventurer through yet another round of updates for 2021.
Based on spy shots of what looks like the Himalayan's new model-year, the bike is getting a new navigation system. Enfield first introduced its new Tripper navigation with the equally new Meteor 350. It didn’t take long for the feature to start making its way on the other models, starting with the Himalayan.
While the updated bike is expected to launch in the upcoming weeks in India, we will likely see it come stateside later in the year. We already know that the Meteor 350 is coming as well and received confirmation that Tripper would be an available feature here as well, so it only makes sense for the nav-equipped Himalayan to follow.