Big adventure bike brands add lightness to their line-ups

When the smaller bikes are too small, and the bigger ones too big — and heavy — what do you do? You get a middleweight, of course. Yet in recent years the mid-capacity adventure offerings have fallen behind the larger bikes, with very few fresh models. But this is about to change, writes Uzair Abdul-Karrim.

A BMW 850GS at sunset
Not just a name change: the F850GS is new from back to front.

BMW F750GS and F850GS

The last time BMW added a truly new middleweight adventure bike to their line-up was with the outgoing F800GS, which was a full decade ago. Now the arrival of the F750GS and F850GS are imminent. They are new from the ground up.

Both bikes share an all-new, 853cc parallel-twin motor, that produces 77hp / 57kW in the F750GS and 95hp / 71kW in the F850GS. That, coupled with wet weights of either 224kg (F750GS) or 229kg (F850GS), should make the bikes lively enough performers.

The instrument display of the F850GS
Like the BMW R1200GS and KTM 1290 Adventure the new 850 has fully digital instruments.

BMW took another big step forward in the electronics departments, with a full electronics suite, including ABS, ASC and different rider modes, all as standard equipment. A 6.5 inch (16.5cm) colour TFT display now shows the instruments and all other information to the rider. These features are accompanied by sharper styling, with ‘rallye’ and ‘exclusive’ being the style variants to choose from. We expect the new 750 and 850 to go on sale in South Africa in March 2018, possibly earlier.

KTM 790 Adventure R

While some manufacturers played it safe, with a sensible, practical middleweight, KTM did not. Not that sensibility is ever expected of the Austrian brand. And while it is still a concept, the 790 Duke R didn’t change too much from concept to production ready, and neither should this.

The KTM 790 Adventure R Prototype
If your heart aches for the long-retired 640 Adventure, the 790 AR will be a prayer answered.

So far, what is known is that it sports the new LC8 parallel twin from the 790 Duke. Which means it should produce around 105 hp (78kW), and judging by its looks, KTM will be keeping the bike as light as possible.

However, it is still an early prototype, and so there are no real details other than what can be seen. Release of the production bike is expected to be early 2019.

Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid

Last year Yamaha showed their T7 concept, and this Ténéré 700 is a further development of that bike. The styling is pure Dakar rally, with this looking like a more refined version of last year’s T7 concept.

Yamaha's new light adventure bike concept
Will Yamaha finally have the adventure firepower to match KTM’s? This concept suggests it will.

The motor powering the concept is a specially developed 698cc ‘CP2’ unit, related to the one in the Yamaha MT-07. While little else is known about the specification at this point, there is a host of visible carbon fibre, showing the lightweight intentions, and also the four LED projector headlight set up is just plain cool.

While no production or release date has yet been set, Yamaha will be taking the Ténéré 700 on world tour over the course of 2018. This will be for research as well as publicity, and fans all around the world will get to hear and see what this bike is all about. A senior staff member at Yamaha South Africa hinted that the T7 might spawn as many as four middleweight adventure bikes. Read more about the prototype on a Yamaha site here.