A sad but unfortunate truth about modern adventure motorcycles is their price tags can be just as high as the mountains they can climb. The new BMW R 1250 GS plays in the $18,000 range; the vintage-style Triumph Scrambler 1200 starts at $15,400; even the middleweight KTM 790 Adventure R will clock in at $13,499 when it hits dealership floors. Granted, modern adventure bikes come packed with performance and technology, but off-roading is an unforgiving pastime and if your new $14,000 investment takes a physical hit, throwing more money in to fix it up can be painful.
While a brand-new ADV can be enticing if you have the capital, the smarter buy might be parked over in the used section. Well-used off-road vehicles tend not to appreciate because, well, miles ridden in the dirt are rougher on bikes than smooth, relaxing pavement. But, well-maintained, affordable adventure bikes are still easy to come by, if you know where to look.
2010 BMW F 800 GS 30th Anniversary Special Edition
The F 800 GS can feel underpowered at times and feels like a vestige of BMW’s older adventure bikes, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. Even though the 800 is only 55 pounds lighter than the 1200 GS of the same vintage, it feels even lighter and more nimble when you’re in the saddle. This 30th Anniversary Edition comes with factory panniers, engine guards and a skid plate. It’s worth noting the seller points out scratches on the right side guards and pannier, a dead giveaway the bike has been down at least once.
Engine: 798cc twin-cylinder
Odmometer: 6,029 miles
Location: Farmers Branch, Texas
2016 Honda Africa Twin DCT ABS
The Honda Africa Twin DCT was a polarizing bike when it first came out in 2016. Its dual-clutch transmission was a big point of contention – traditionalists want to shift their own gears. The technology has its merits in an off-road environment, but working the clutch and gradually feeding power is a crucial tool in the dirt. The example here looks lightly used and with 13,500 miles on the odometer, is barely out of its break-in miles.
Engine: 998cc twin-cylinder
Location: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
2014 Honda XR650L
The Honda XR650L is a curious case. You can get a brand-new 2018 model fresh from the dealer for under $7,000. Honda introduced the middleweight enduro back in 1993 and hasn’t changed it since, quite literally. So, you can get the same bike, just older, with a few miles on it and maybe some extras like the long range fuel tank on this one, and save a heap of money. The XR650L isn’t a terrible bike by any means, it’s just woefully out of date. Think of it as the vintage overlander Honda never stopped making.
Engine: 644cc twin-cylinder
Odmometer: 10,800 Miles
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
2013 Triumph Tiger
It’s an epic task to find any motorcycle of this size engine, with this mileage and in this kind of condition for this price, let alone an adventure bike. Consider the current Triumph Tiger 1200 starts at $16,500. If you’re looking for more of an adventure touring bike with more on-road manners than off-road, as it sits, this Tiger is a deal at $7,250.
Engine: 1,215cc inline-three
Odmometer: 13,574 Miles
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
1988 Honda XRV650 Africa Twin RD03
This Africa Twin rocks a 64tcc V-Twin drinking fuel from a pair of CV carburetors. It’s also fully-faired and protected with engine guards and a massive skid plate. The bike is said to have clocked around 77,000 miles, which is incredibly high for any motorcycle. But to be fair, a slew of recent maintenance was performed to keep this ADV in showroom condition.