Thinking about buying a new bike? You might want to wait a few weeks before you start looking. It looks like fall of 2023 will be a big year for the adventure bike scene, with at least two major new announcements and a few other interesting possibilities on the horizon.
This is no speculation; BMW has confirmed the R1300 GS is coming this year. It’s going to have a completely water-cooled engine, unlike the current R1250 GS, which relies on liquid cooling for the heads alone. We know it makes about 143 hp, a gain of roughly 9 hp over the current model, and just under 110 lb-ft of torque, which is a gain of roughly 4 lb-ft. It also looks like the bike sheds a few pounds from the current R1250.
It’s also possible there will be an electronics package overhaul, but we don’t expect any revolutionary, all-new tech. That doesn’t mean it’s not coming. There have been rumors of an M-series GS for years now. We very well could see a high-spec, high-performance take on the big-bore GS series announced in coming weeks.
Honda Africa Twin
The Honda Africa Twin is already in its second generation since the CRF1000L debuted as a 2016 model, years after the original AT run was canceled. Well, the CRF1100L is now three years old (it came out as a 2020 model), and the word on the street is that we are going to see a new version this fall.
Honda hasn’t given any info away here, and certainly hasn’t confirmed any new technology. However, there is considerable suspicion that we’re about to see Big Red add adaptive cruise control, including a blind spot detection system, as seen on almost all the rest of the big-dollar competition.
Variable valve timing also seems likely; some hopefuls predict the Africa Twin will get some sort of forced induction, but that seems highly unlikely to debut on an adventure bike.
KTM 790 Adventure
This isn’t an if, but a when. KTM discontinued the 790 Duke and Adventure models when it brought the same-but-better 890 out to the public. But then, KTM brought both 790 series back, made by CFMoto in China.
From the spec sheets we’ve seen, it looks like the new 790 Adventure is pretty much the same as the well-liked model that was discontinued in 2020—but we can’t tell you for sure, because we haven’t had a chance to ride it. For now, KTM imports the CFMoto-built 790 Duke into North America, but still doesn’t list the 790 Adventure. If that changes? We’ll probably see some people slamming the idea of a made-in-China machine, but other riders will appreciate the chance to purchase KTM’s tech at a lower price. There’s also paperwork floating around online for R and Rally versions of the 790 Adventure, so maybe those will also appear in North America or elsewhere.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure
Spy shots of an updated 1290 can be seen in the Euro mags. Supposedly, it’s light on technical updates, but has a new headlight assembly that almost certainly hides a latest-generation adaptive cruise control system. Expect the engine to be tweaked for emissions regulators…
Moto Guzzi V100 Stelvio
We’ve seen spy shots of this, photos that basically look like factory snaps meant to whet our appetites. Mission successful—the original V100 Mandello sport tourer was a big step into the future for Moto Guzzi, with liquid-cooled transverse V-twin engine and active aeros; we look forward to seeing an all-roads version of the bike. It seems unlikely that the revived Stelvio would also get active aeros. It does seem likely it will get adaptive cruise control and other trick electronics, though.
Triumph Scrambler 400x
This bike is already for sale in India, and is going to come to North America in the next few months. Is it an adventure bike, exactly? No. But we do expect a lot of interest in this machine from younger overlanders. Triumph’s PR promised long range from the fuel tank, and along with factory accessories, you can bet the third-party manufacturers of Asia are already gearing up to make luggage racks, hand guards and other travel-friendly parts for the Scrambler. If pricing is right in western markets, maybe this will take some of the Honda CRF300L’s market as cheap travel bike in the EU?
Royal Enfield Himalayan 450/650
Both of these bikes have been teased for years now, and we’ve seen many spy shots of both of them. The 450 is supposed to be an all-new machine that owes nothing to the current Himalayan/Scram models. Spy shots show liquid cooling, a trellis frame and superior suspension. As for the 650, it appears to be the same parallel twin engine as used elsewhere by RE, but put into an all-roads-capable chassis.
Royal Enfield has gone a long way towards improving its image and reputation for reliability in recent years. Like the Street 400x, these bikes could fill a niche for capable-yet-affordable travel bikes that the existing OEMs are basically ignoring.