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ADV BikesTop 10 All-Time Lightest Adventure Bikes

Top 10 All-Time Lightest Adventure Bikes

 These Adventure Bikes all weigh less than 400 pounds and are born travelers.

Published on 04.14.2016

all-time lightest adventure bikes

Many off-road-loving adventure riders live by the mantra ‘Light is Right.’ Lighter bikes are easier to handle in rough stuff, more forgiving of mistakes and less tiring to pick up when you do take the inevitable tumble.

But in the era of the 500-pound, 100-plus horsepower adventure bike, it seems lighter options are lacking. So we did a little research to find the 10 lightest adventure bikes ever built. To make the list, bikes had to be Adventure Bikes from the factory (no Enduro Dual Sports) with at least 250cc, spoke wheels, some form of wind protection and reasonable fuel range. Because this is an “all-time” list, we included bikes that have long been out of production, and models that were never sold in the U.S.


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All listed weights are “wet,” meaning gassed up and ready to ride. Ready to shed some pounds? Read on.

10. KTM LC4 640 Adventure R

KTM 640 LC4 Adventure R

Wet Weight: 389 pounds (176 kg)
Years produced: 1999-2008

We start off our countdown of the Top 10 lightest adventure bikes with a modern classic in the lightweight category. With nearly 11 inches of front suspension travel and 13 inches in the rear, a massive 7.4 gallon fuel tank, off-road oriented 21″/18″ wheels, 50 horsepower on tap, high ground clearance and decent wind protection courtesy of a sleek dakar-style fairing, the KTM 640 LC4 Adventure was truly one of the all-time great lightweight adventure bikes. The original 640 LC4 Adventure arrived with a transparent windscreen and a high front fender. Some early models had engine problems and wheels that tended to crack easily. All years suffered from excessive vibration, but the 640 LC4 Adventures was the complete package.

9. CSC Cyclone RX-3 250

CSC RX3 250 lightest adventure bikes

Wet Weight: 385 pounds (175 kg)
Years produced: 2015-present

The Cyclone RX-3 is a recent offering in the adventure bike category and it’s available in the U.S. (also available outside of North America under the name Zongshen RX3 and M1nsk TRX 300i). The Chinese-made Cyclone 250cc adventure bike comes with many of the right specs: fuel injection, six gears, metal skid plate, locking luggage, good wind protection, 200-plus miles of range (4.2 gallon tank), modern electronic instruments and adjustable rear suspension. And it all comes with a price tag of just $3,895 for the 2016 model. That’s a lot of adventure bike for not much money.

8. Aprilia Pegaso 600

Aprilia Pegaso 600 lightest adventure bikes

Wet Weight: 379 pounds (172 kg)
Years produced: 1990-1993

Later on in its production life, the Pegaso got heavier and more street oriented. But the early versions were relatively lightweight, air cooled adventure bikes that could take you pretty much anywhere you wanted to, provided the road didn’t get too rough. The small fairing took a bite out of the wind, but it’s a stretch to call it weather protection. Pegasos featured a four-valve, 48-horsepower Rotax engine that liked to rev and a plush suspension that could get squirrely when pushed hard.

7. Shineray X5 XY400GY

Shineray X5 XY400GY lightest adventure bikes

Wet Weight: 362 pounds (164 kg)
Years produced: 2011-present

On paper, this bike looks to be a winner. The 29-horsepower engine is a clone of an air-cooled Honda XR400, it carries 4.5 gallons of gas, has a windscreen, skidplate and luggage rack, and even sports a proper 18/21-inch wheel set, the standard for dirt work.

Once again, you can’t buy this bike in the U.S. Online reviews of the X5 have raised questions about build quality and longevity, with some owners reporting no problems and others experiencing issues right from the start.

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Author: Bob Whitby
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23 thoughts on “Top 10 All-Time Lightest Adventure Bikes

  1. Glad to see the RX3 made the list. However, you should note that the bike’s weight stated in your article includes the weight of all the crash bars, sump guard, Top box, and panniers. Remove all those and she’s a svelte 335 lbs.

    • Hey RobG. No we didn’t miss it. As mentioned, it just doesn’t meet the requirements set forth to be included in this story. The DR650 is classified as a “Dual Sport” by Suzuki, not an “Adventure Bike.” There is a long list of other lightweight Enduro-Style dual sport bikes (WR250R, 690 Enduro, XR650L,G650X, etc.) that didn’t make the list for the same reason. It doesn’t mean these bikes can’t be made into great adventure bikes with a few mods though. But to keep this a manageable list and to compare apples to apples, we included only bikes that had an “Adventure Bike” design from the factory.

  2. Very interesting and telling of how heavy ADV bikes are nowadays. Hopefully we will start seeing a trend in the opposite direction. The CCM GP and SMW superdual are definitely exciting new offers in the right direction!

  3. Non-current bikes allowed (4 out of 10)? Foreign-only bikes allowed (5 out of 10)? BUT NO ENDURO DUAL-SPORT BIKES ALLOWED?? That’s like making a list of great NFL quarterbacks but not listing any who happen to be the father of another great quarterback (Archie Manning). WHERE DO YOU THINK ADVENTURE BIKES CAME FROM??? AND WHAT DO YOU THINK SO MANY OF US ARE STILL USING AS ADVENTURE BIKES BECAUSE THEY HAVE REALISTIC SEAT HEIGHTS and good parts availability?

    With ONLY 1 BIKE listed that is available ion the US as a current factory offering, WHY EVEN DO THIS LIST?

    Don’t get me wrong, some of these bikes are great, but you said “to keep things apples to apples.” There’s only one apple on this list.

    • Hi Lordchang. While we may be based out of the US, we serve a worldwide audience. But it is discouraging that many of the lightest adventure bikes aren’t available here. The good news is that trend seems to be changing. We wouldn’t be surprised if some of the foreign bikes on this list become available here in the next few years. However, bikes like the NX250 and 640 Adventure are still readily available on the used market, so they are definitely worth considering if you are open to buying a used bike. As far as not including enduro dual sport bikes, if we had included those bikes, we’d probably end up with a list that doesn’t have a single adventure bike on it. Better if we save those bikes for another story. Stay tuned!

  4. Not sure I follow the logic with your list? The 640 is a dirtbike with a fairing……and basically the same for the CCM? Not to say it’s not a great list but a bit scattered?

    I’m sure the KTM people would add the 690. I’ll add the Husky 610/630 to the list and say…….the WR250R beats them all! 😉

  5. Outstanding list!!! Maybe you should include more technical information about the bikes, but I’m surprised to see bikes that do not exist in US. Congrets

    • OK, I get it. Must be designated an adventure bike by manf ?? Riding those anywhere off road except on hard pack dirt is quite the adventure, walk it or look for a hospital at the finish.

    • You are right Bill, the DRZ’s a great “Dual Sport” that can be inexpensively converted into an “Adventure Bike” with aftermarket parts. But for this list we are only including bikes that had an “Adventure Bike” design from the factory.

  6. not getting the point of this article except to fill space, showing bikes that are out dated, bad manufacturers, know turds by their respective companies…why not do a similar list that shows what people really want? A sub 400 pound bike that is or can be converted into a RTW worthy bike and bikes that you actually see out there. The only bike i have seen outside its home area is the KTM…the rest are just a risk.

  7. Hi.
    I was very surprised that you left three of the most popular light adventure bikes out of your list. No matter where you go in the world you will find people ridding these in similar numbers as the also popular Kawa 650 KLR but 100lb-150 lbs lighter.

    A) Suzuki DRZ 400S
    B) Suzuki DR 650
    C) Yamaha TW 200