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ADV News7 Adventure Bike Concepts We Can’t Wait To Get Here

7 Adventure Bike Concepts We Can’t Wait To Get Here

Exciting adventure machines we hope bust out of prototype purgatory soon.

Published on 10.01.2020
Adventure Bike concepts
Photo courtesy of Ducati
Concept bikes are an endless tease, a glimpse into a future that probably won’t arrive exactly as hoped. It’s as if manufacturers say “dare us to build it,” then we do, and they often don’t.

Of course there’s a maze of rules and regulations between a concept bike and a production model, which means more weight, more complexity, more mass appeal. Sometimes the mission gets lost, other times the final version remains true to form.

Here are seven concepts (and a bonus!) that we hope to see on showroom floors soon in something close to concept form.

1. Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally Racer

Adventure Bike Concept Tenere 700 Rally Racer

If you got excited that Yamaha is offering a Rally Edition of its super popular Tenere 700, but were crushed by the news that it wouldn’t be coming to the U.S. as a whole bike, here’s something to celebrate: a Tenere 700 Rally Racer from Italian duo designer Oberdan Bezzi and builder Mauro Gessi set for production.


Unlike the factory rally special, which is largely cosmetic outside some beefed-up protective bits, the Rally Racer has the goods: increased suspension travel, bigger brakes and stronger wheels, a new swingarm and rear fuel tanks. To help offset the weight of the extra aluminum tanks, the duo is replacing bodywork and other components with carbon fiber or kevlar bits, indicating that this bike is for going, not just showing.

It shows well too, however, because Bezzi does not do ugly. The style is pure rally chic, flowing and muscular. Bezzi managed to maintain the Tenere’s lines, including the entire front fairing, while still coming up with a unique look. Illustrations show it in lovely shades of yellow, blue, silver and black-ivory, plus a stunning one-off that reportedly won’t be available to the public.

There’s no word on availability or pricing yet. Good things take time. 

READ MORE: Bezzi’s Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally Racer Concept Coming To Reality

2. Ducati Desert X

Adventure Bike concept Ducati Desert X

Here’s a concept that takes fuel capacity seriously. Four tanks, four gas caps, spread between front and rear to equalize the weight of nearly eight gallons of gas. Fuel stops may get a little confusing, but all those miles between them should be fun, particularly if the final specs are anything close to what we saw at the EICMA show.

Powered by Ducati’s tried-and-true 1079cc, air-cooled, two-valve, Desmodromic L-twin that produces 86 hp at 7,500 rpm, the Desert X is the modern incarnation of the Cagiva Elefant —rally race bike which won the Paris-Dakar rally in 1990. The dual headlights (now LEDs), high windscreen and muscular good looks of the concept all point back to the Elefant. The 21” front/18” rear wheel combo, along with 8.3 inches of suspension travel, point to the fact this bike is designed to be used off-road, not just look the part. Modern touches like a TFT screen and carbon fiber skid plate abound. The concept bike deleted the passenger seat for a rack and had no passenger pegs, but that will likely change if this bike ever goes on sale.

READ MORE: New Ducati Desert X Moves From Concept Sketch to Full-Size Bike

3. Husqvarna Norden 901

Adventure Bike Concept Husqvarna Norden 901

The Husqvarna Norden 901 went from a show concept to a planned production model in about a month, an eye blink in moto launch terms. The company said all the positive feedback the concept bike received at last year’s EICMA helped push it toward making it a reality. The fact that it’s extensively based on the KTM 790 Adventure platform also smooths the way to the showroom floor. But still we wait.

This one should be worth it. As teased, the Norden will combine the 790 Adventure’s chassis with the larger, parallel-twin engine found in the KTM 890 Duke. Styling for this adventure tourer is retro-futuristic, if that’s a thing, with a round LED headlight, integrated taillight and a really cool TFT dash display we hope makes it into production. The overall emphasis is on slim and light. Could that mean with a dry weight less than or equal to the 790 Adventure’s 417 pounds? That would be quite a feat with the larger engine, so fingers crossed. We do know it will have a 21/18 front/rear wheel combo and WP suspension components. No word yet on fuel capacity, but a tank larger than the 790 Adventure’s would help differentiate the Norden in the mid-sized adventure range . Look for it as a 2022 model.

READ MORE: Husqvarna Confirms Norden 901 Concept Will Go To Production

4. Honda CB125X

Adventure Bike Concept Honda CB125X

You know what we don’t have enough of? Mini-adventure bikes, as in sub-250cc models. That probably has to do with the fact that small-displacement is considered beginner’s territory in many markets, and beginners tend to want to keep the cash outlay low.

But Honda’s CB125X, which debuted at the 2018 EICMA show and hasn’t been seen since, could be a game changer. Honda did register the design with the European patent office in October 2019, though, so we haven’t given up hope.

It shares an engine and chassis with the “naked” CB125R that never made it to North America, a thoroughly modern, water-cooled, six-speed design that weighs in at 277 pounds wet. Adventurized, that figure would no doubt rise, but if it meant extra fuel capacity, wind protection and off-road capability, we’d be good with that.

Still, 125cc? Think of it as an alternative to a Grom, which adventurous riders have been taking places its tiny wheels were never meant to travel for years. Or consider it a more off-road capable alternative to a Trail 125, a bike that shows that Honda takes small-capacity adventure seriously. Maybe a CB125X isn’t far-fetched after all.

READ MORE: Honda’s CB125X Concept Bike One Step Closer to Production?

5. Husqvarna Norden 501

Husqvarna Norden 501 Adventure Bike concept

Here again, Husqvarna is taking advantage of parent company Pierer Mobility Group’s stable of existing and in-development hardware to carve out its own market niche. The Norden 501, which CEO Stefan Pierer confirmed as in development, will use KTM’s yet-to-be-revealed 490cc parallel-twin as the basis of an adventure bike one step down, and possibly stylish distinct, from the KTM 790 Adventures.

What little we know of this bike shows it borrows the saddle-type fuel tank of the 790 that keeps fuel weight low and centralized. It also sports an adventure “correct” 21”/18” front/rear wheelset. Since KTM’s 390 Adventure already has the budget end of the lineup sewn up, we expect the 501 (and probably the KTM version of the same) to be a premium, middleweight offering. Look for this one as a 2022 model, along with its bigger stablemate the 901.

READ MORE: Pierer Confirms 500cc Adventure Bikes for KTM & Husqvarna Coming

6. Honda CRF450L Rally

Honda CRF450L Rally Concept Bike

Honda isn’t known for rushing ideas to production, which perhaps explains why almost two years after teasing a rally version of its popular CRF450L there’s no evidence it will see daylight. Too bad, because what we did see was gorgeous.

If concept bikes are to be believed, and often they are not, this would be a street-legal version of Honda’s Dakar-winning 450 rally bike. It sported a clear windscreen, nav tower, dual fuel tanks that extended low down the sides of the bike and bump fuel capacity to 20 liters, a lovely low-slung exhaust system by Termignoni and a carbon-fiber skid plate, all wrapped up in factory-level fit and finish and HRC racing colors.

But it was the street-oriented bits that fooled us into thinking this bike was imminent: the TFT display where a roadbook would have been, a tool kit where rear fuel tanks would live on a rally machine, a standard CRF450L headlight, the use of plastic in places were the rally version used carbon fiber, etc. Maybe it was a tease, or maybe Honda has a big surprise in store for us. Christmas is coming.

READ MORE: Meet the Honda CRF450L Rally Concept

7. Aprilia Tuareg 660

Aprilia Tuareg 660 Adventure Bike Concept
Photo courtesy of Insella

Aprilia was sly with its “introduction” of the a new Tuareg at the EICMA show in 2018, hiding what was most likely an in-development Tuareg behind a sheet of glass that said simply, “coming soon” followed by a giant “T.”

The “display” was in close proximity to another new Aprilia, the RS 660 sportbike. Logically, this meant that the Italian brand was going to power its Tuareg reboot with the new 660cc parallel twin designed for the RS.

But after two years no news has been heard, until now. We recently published leaked shots of the Tuareg 660 pre-production bike out testing in the wild, but it’s dark and difficult to see details other than spoke wheels (probably a 21” front and 18”  combination), an upswept exhaust and a fairing that looks a lot like a Yamaha Tenere 700 in profile.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 spy shot
Photo by ApriliaCup

So it seems this one is coming, possibly soon, and it would be a significant addition to the adventure-bike market. Aprilia launched its Tuareg line in 1984 to grab a piece of the rally-replica bike market, and eventually expanded the line to include models from 50cc two-strokes to 600cc four strokes. This time around, the Italian builder wants a slice of the adventure-bike market, and we are anxiously waiting to see what they come up with. 

READ MORE: New Aprilia Tuareg 660 Adventure Bike Spotted Outside Its Box

Bonus: Africa Twin Enduro Sports

Honda Africa Twin Enduro Sports Concept Bike

Hard to believe it’s been four years since Honda taunted us with this street-legal “enduro” monster, a throwback to KTM’s anti-social 950 Super Enduro. The Africa Twin Enduro Sports concept, like the KTM before it, was a hefty adventure bike stripped to the essentials. Keep the big engine, lose the weight and bodywork and let the hooliganism commence.

Today, the KTM Super Enduro is a cult bike and Honda has yet to produce anything like the Enduro Sports. There have been rumors of a smaller Africa Twin, something in the 850cc range, but the reality is that Honda gave its latest Africa Twin a larger motor and made it more complex, not stripped down and snorty.

The Enduro Sports concept combined minimalist bodywork, lightweight parts from the single-cylinder racing CRF catalog and the 1,000cc parallel twin engine, and the result looked like it would ingest boulders and spit out sand. The tiny fairing would have been useless on the highway, the high dirt-bike fender would have caught the wind like a sail, the ample ground clearance would have put the seat out of reach of shorter riders, but none of that mattered to those who understood.

Eh, there probably isn’t much of a market for massive dirt bikes anyway; KTM killed the Super Enduro after a couple years. But perhaps the market is ready now.  

READ MORE: Honda Shows Off New Africa Twin Enduro Sports Concept

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby

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Douglas Graham
Douglas Graham
October 1, 2020 10:41 am

Wouldn’t it be good if they gave an estimated finish weight. Not some subjective amorphous statement, but a meaningful weight goal.

James Parker
James Parker
October 1, 2020 11:27 am

All of them, NOW!!

October 1, 2020 9:50 pm
Reply to  James Parker

Ha ha! That was my reaction. Really like the Aprilia Tuareg, Honda AT Enduro Sports and the Husky/KTM 501/490 twins.

November 19, 2021 5:22 am
Reply to  James Parker


October 1, 2020 2:45 pm

Norden 901 looks good for when I realize my 1290 SAR is way too big for me.

October 1, 2020 6:53 pm

A Norden 901 lighter as the current 790? Never! Look at the pic: more plastic, more metal (crashbars, lights) and a slightly bigger engine. And maybe an even bigger tank? The rest is 100% 790 hardware, most likely. Where could they shave off so much weight to overcompensate for the addons? My guess: 20kg heavier, at least!

October 1, 2020 10:27 pm

They all look great, but i have two on my radar; the Norden 501 and the Tuareg 660. Can’t understand the CB125X in a time when there’s a demand for mid-range bikes in Europe. Looks fantastic, but it should’ve been a 500 ~ 600cc twin in my opinion. It’s for the Asian market i presume?
Love the Tenere 700 Rally Racer, but sadly i have no use for it. The fuel tanks should’ve been made from plastic in my opinion (that goes for the original 700 too), much lighter and impact resistant.
Come on Honda, bring back the TransAlp (not based on the 700 please!)!

October 16, 2020 1:17 pm
Reply to  Sparrow

Could also be aimed at other third world countries other than Asia.
I was in Guatemala last February and in Antigua there were 10 bikes for every car all 125 and smaller.

December 12, 2020 1:21 pm

i’ll lineup for a Norden 701 parallel twin with a heavier flywheel – optimised for low rpm torque, not hp, similar to the T700 yamaha, with premium wp suspension and classic looks, fairing and crash bars std, like the 901 concept. I’ll never buy the ugly-orange-ktm-insect 790 nor the heavier uglier 890 MrGerald.Kiska

May 23, 2021 4:01 pm
Reply to  2Meerkats

Yes ☝️☝️☝️

George Jakarta
George Jakarta
November 6, 2021 9:19 pm

The perfect bike for would be the CB500 engine mounted in the Honda CRF450L Rally

Zeiry Yozeph
Zeiry Yozeph
November 22, 2021 9:37 am

Mann… I really want a new adventure bike… But.. My country rarely have adventure bike model.. Just watching you guys.. Be safe

February 13, 2022 4:40 pm

I’ve been searching WR250R replacement speculation site’s and found your ADV Concepts piece. Good article and interesting options.

I was surprised to find a 125 cc ADV from Honda included from an obviously NA perspective. However to my own astonishment, I have been following with interest the release of the WR155R built in Indonesia and released in some markets in SE Asia in 2021.

I realize it is much smaller than most might consider however I have been looking for a cheap, light, economical winter scoot that is road legal with a bit of off road pretence to compliment my XSR 700 (SCR) and Cota 348.

Yamaha may be considering a T 300++ as a WRR replacement and the 155cc with Variable Valve Actuation technology makes this motor a useful option for some purposes. Yamaha obviously thinks the same as it is utilized in many production models already.

How does a WR155R OR even a Tenere 1.5 sound to You ?


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