I have to ask, what’s the point? Seriously, what’s the point of buying a great adventure bike if you’re never going to go on an adventure with it? 

I just got back from the launch of BMW’s new 2024 F900 GS and that’s the question I kept asking myself throughout the trip and the week or so since I was there. Here I was presented with a motorcycle that BMW’s thrown the kitchen sink at in terms of off-road prowess, and I get the distinct feeling from my talks with the company’s team, as well as my own experience within the riding community, that this bike will get bought en masse with road-going tires. Tires meant for carving corners, not dirt banks. 

But why?

I mean, I sorta get why, in that I’ve been told why in the past. Dirt is scary to a lot of people. There are rocks and trees and wildlife and open spaces and no cell reception and beautiful views and no people and…have I convinced you yet? Because I’ve sort of convinced myself to go for a ride later or at the very least wish I’d had more time with that new F900 GS and Nevada’s open backcountry. 

Seriously, after all the trails I’ve run both on this trip and throughout my life with adventure bikes, what’s the point of getting something as good as the F900 GS is on dirt if you’re just going to ride pavement? If that’s the plan, there are other bikes. 

Like there are just sooooo many other motorcycles available.

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Each time I get to ride a BMW ADV, I come away mightily impressed. The Motorrad’s engineers know exactly how to build an off-roader that’ll tackle just about anything you throw at it. Even the older, less beloved F800 GS platform from a generation ago was great and helped me through a particularly dark time of my life. And the new F900 GS is no different, though everything has been bettered to the point where you ask the question above. 

Why buy this if you’re never going to touch dirt?

To me, the F900 GS is for riders who plan on doing a Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR) trip or a Long Way Round. You’ve got near infinitely adjustable suspension Showa with nine inches of travel, off-road wheels and tires, an available high-set riser, bash plate, and 105 horsepower with 68 pound-feet of torque, which is all you’d ever want for whether bashing hard-pack gravel or plowing through river beds. That’s a spec sheet made for getting dirty. 


But a spec sheet is only half the battle with making a good adventure motorcycle, as if you’re not confident behind the bars, it makes more sense to eschew the trails. A bike could have the very best-of-the-best everything, but if it’s wiggly and wobbly, and you know shit will go sideways, why bother taking the risk? 

BMW knows what it’s doing, though.

The trails we rode were made up of silty sand and baby-head-sized rocks, with patches of loose gravel and hard-pack. The F900 GS ate, no crumbs. And that made me go faster, push the bike harder, and air on the side of flair, i.e. big ole roosts and brake slides throughout. There was just no stopping it, nor did I feel like I had to slow down. Even when it came to jumping, something that’s generally not up a middle-weight adventure bike’s alley compared to a dirt bike or enduro, it just asked, “Is that all you got?” 


And I’ll be honest. I’m not the best dirt rider. I love dirt, it’s far more fun than pavement at this point, as there are fewer cars and pieces of tech trying to kill you. But this feels like a bike that’ll make you yearn for more dirt no matter what your skill level. I want more. More time, more dirt, fewer people. That all comes down to BMW’s engineering. 

So again I ask, why would you buy this if you’re never going to use it as designed? BMW has plenty of touring bikes you can choose from. There are also plenty of road bikes that you could conceivably use to commute in its lineup. And even a few bikes you can use to terrorize your HOA. But this isn’t that.

The new BMW F900 GS is meant to take you on adventures. To see unseen terrain. To experience the backcountry beauty that only a few are privy to. To go out, explore, get dirty, have fun, and come home with a story that’ll make you smile for years to come. 

Why then would you throw down $14,000 on something designed for all that when you’ll never do it? Honestly, even after all the explanations from folks who use these bikes all but their intended use, it still just doesn’t make sense to me. 

What’s the point of an adventure motorcycle if you’re never going to go on an adventure with it?

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