2011 Expedition Portal Overland Awards
Overland motorcycles are one of the only growing markets in
the motorcycle industry. The reason for
this is best compared to the popularity of SUVs, where a single vehicle can serve
many purposes. Much like the SUV, the
adventure motorcycle market is beginning to fracture and segment, some bikes
serving more as highway cruisers than anything worthy of the Road of Bones. For the team at Expedition Portal, we like to use the following
list for minimum requirements of an adventure motorcycle:
mile cruising range (minimum)
Travel in developing countries or on remote
tracks requires a sufficient fuel range. 200 mile improved road range (300 preferred) and 150 mile dirt track range (200 preferred) minimum.
minimum front wheel diameter
The front wheel of a motorcycle (typical)
is not driven. As a result, leverage and
ability to roll-over a rock, ledge or pothole is critical. Consider a 21” front
wheel in the really rough stuff.
mile minimum service interval
Changing your oil every 1,000 miles just
isn’t practical on a long trip.
to run on 87 octane fuel
Many parts of the world still have fuel
served from crusty drums and plastic containers. Finding premium fuel, even in Mexico can be a
challenge at times. The bike needs to be able to run on low octane fuel, if
even for a few tanks.
Suspension travel (minimum)
Suspension travel helps cushion the bike
and occupants from impact and assist in maintaining traction and control in the
dirt. Look for 8”+ for any prolonged
watt power supply (minimum)
Travel often includes gadgets like GPS
units and important comfort items like heated vests, etc. If traveling in
really cold conditions, consider 500 watts a minimum with a solo rider.
designed for luggage fitment and payload
A proper adventure motorcycle is designed
to support equipment loads. As a result, the frame needs to be strong enough to
handle panniers, water, dry bags and other equipment.
that allow for standing riding position
Riding on corrugated roads, in sand and mud
and on remote tracks requires a standing position for visibility and
control. A cramped cockpit or low bars
makes standing impossible for extended periods.