The rise of adventure motorcycles
Is it just me or does everyone else notice the popularity of dual-purpose adventure motorcycles?
These are rugged motorcycles that can do it all - well almost - while allowing you to lug all you need for faraway expeditions.
It seems like after the hugely popular 2004 Long Way Round TV series by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, motorcycle manufacturers have been trying to exploit this segment.
Thanks to BMW's support for the two celebrity riders, the marque gained brand recognition and sealed the popularity of the R1150 GS as a continent-eating motorcycle.
But rival brands have not been sitting idle. Almost all major brands like Yamaha, Honda, KTM, Triumph, Ducati and now Moto Guzzi, have some form of dual-purpose machinery in their arsenal.
So what is the lure of adventure motorcycles?
Mah Pte Ltd managing director Eugene Mah said that adventure bikes are a trend that is also functional.
Mr Mah told The New Paper: "You kind of get the mix of performance with comfort and handling... They're really a jack-of-all-trades kind of motorcycle."
Mr Rex Tan from Ban Hock Hin added that the taller posture on an adventure bike makes the motorcycle "bigger and grander".
He told The New Paper: "It's like a Swiss army knife... one motorbike to do everything - road riding, touring and offroad."
Overseas, a study by The Bike Insurer in the UK showed adventure bike insurance quotes for larger motorcycles increased by 118 per cent between 2008 and 2018.
This increase is supported by official UK motorcycle registration figures, with an increase in new registrations in the Adventure Sport class of around 70 per cent in the same 10-year period.
The study also showed the era of the adventure bike has "seriously accelerated over the past 10 years" while previously strong classes like the 600cc supersport class has dipped in popularity with UK buyers.
Aside from being stylish and tough, these bikes have the latest technology including traction control, electronic suspension, different ride modes and infotainment connectivity.
But at the centre of the adventure riding fraternity are the riders themselves.
Said Ducati Singapore general manager Tiffany Pan: "There has been a rise of touring enthusiasts and they're getting more adventurous, travelling further to remote areas."
She added there has also been a rise in travel companies organising adventure trips for bikers.
Locally, BMW Motorrad Singapore keeps the adventure spirit alive by organising rides for its clients, flying participants to overseas destinations to ride there.
Already, there appears to be a push towards the next wave of adventure motorcycles.
Motorcycles like Yamaha's Tenere 700 or KTM's 790 Adventure R will take some limelight away from bigger dual-purpose machines.
The lighter dual-purpose motorcycles feature mid-sized engines, enough electronic smarts and more palatable price tags.
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