It’s no secret that the adventure motorcycling segment is one of the fastest growing in the motorcycle industry. It seems that ever since we’ve watched Ewen McGregor and Charley Boorman ride a pair of BMW GS’s around the world, that every motorcycle manufacturer has built an adventure motorcycle in one form or another. While some manufacturers were in the segment from the very beginning such as BMW and KTM others have slowly decided to jump in such as Harley Davidson. As the adventure segment has evolved, one thing has become obvious and that’s the overall cost to get into adventure motorcycling. Larger displacement motorcycles such as the KTM 1290 Adventure and the Honda Africa Twin command a fairly high price point ranging from $14,000 dollars all the way up to $22,000 dollars and even their smaller displacement siblings can be quite expensive. Since most of us really can’t afford to go to a dealership and drop a significant amount of money on a brand new bike I’ve decided to show case three motorcycles that can be purchased brand new for less then $8,000 dollars.
The first motorcycle that I’ll showcase is the Kawasaki KLR 650. Originally released in 1987 the Kawasaki KLR has become one of the most iconic motorcycles in adventure motorcycling. The KLR has earned an amazing reputation for bullet proof reliability, simplicity, and it’s very easy to outfit and to get parts for. After a brief hiatus the KLR returned for its 3rd generation in 2021 with a new body style and new technology such as ABS and fuel injection along with some minor updates. Starting at $6,700 dollars for a non-ABS model the Kawasaki KLR doesn’t break the bank and can give you a very reliable and capable motorcycle that will take you anywhere. Kawasaki’s top trim level of the KLR comes in at $8,000 dollars and is fully equipped and adventure ready with crash bars, panniers, a skid plate, and auxiliary lights. For the price it’s a great entry into the adventure motorcycling segment and can do everything from weekend moto camping trips to long distance rides such as riding from Alaska to Argentina.
In what is the most road-oriented motorcycle on my list but still very capable and affordable is the Honda CB500X. Starting in 2013, Honda created a motorcycle that was built around the company’s trademark reliability as an adventure-based commuter. Over the years the CB500X has rapidly developed a reputation for being a lot of motorcycle in a small package. With a 471cc engine the little CB can handle its own with no issues on pavement and with the help of companies such as Rally Raid and Showa it’s been able to handle quite bit off pavement. For 2022 the Honda CB500X is ready for rugged riding with a Showa inverted fork and new dual disk front brakes along with a lighter swing arm and front wheel. With a price tag of $7,200 dollars the CB500X can get you out in the mountains or wherever you want to go without hitting your wallet to hard.
The last motorcycle that I’ll discuss is the cheapest and smallest of the bunch is the Royal Enfield Himalayan. With a 411cc engine the Himalayan won’t win any power or speed contests but what it does bring the table is a simple design with a low 32-inch seat height and a low price point of $5,300 dollars. In terms of technology Royal Enfield is a name that many think hasn’t evolved over the years but the Himalayan was the companies first big push towards features such as electronic fuel injection and switchable ABS. Despite being a basic and simple motorcycle, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is the perfect adventure bike for those on a budget. It comes equipped with crash bars and a rear luggage rack and really all you have to do is throw your gear on the bike and go.
Wrapping up, to get into adventure motorcycling these three motorcycles show that you don’t need to spend a large amount of money and go after an expensive motorcycle such as a BMW or KTM. These three motorcycles are easy on the wallet and even used ones that are a year or two old are a little cheaper. While these motorcycles don’t have a lot of the technology and fancy features that more expensive models do they are just as capable of taking a rider on an off the beaten path adventure.