Adventure Riding NZ

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  • Bike: R1200GS, DL650, DRZ250, DRZ400S,
  • Rank: 1200cc Rider

Hi Brook and welcome aboard. Might be handy to know generally whereabouts in NZ you are based….

Some thoughts from a not very experienced “adventure” rider.

1. Whatever bike you have now is an adventure bike if you take it on an adventure – see the vid someone just posted on the Nevis road – ridden on a bog standard VStrom, sold as an adventure bike but really a road bike and on road tyres to boot. Also many examples of people riding postie bikes across the desert etc etc. However, if you want an excuse to buy another or different bike, well then we can all relate to that.
2. What do you consider to be an adventure? Do you want to ride really off road stuff with lots of boggy puddles, axle deep in mud, steep up and down hills on slippery surfaces, sand dunes etc? Or do you just want get off the beaten track and ride some cool gravel roads and maybe do a little bike camping? I would choose a different bike depending on what I wanted do. For the former, I would choose something I can pick up easily – DrZ400 or smaller. Suzuki are known for their reliability and are cheap to buy, work on and repair (disclaimer – I am a bit biased, just onto my 5th Suzi.) For the latter, pretty much anything will be fine, provided you are not trying to actually win the Dakar race, i.e. happy to take your time.
3. The bikes you mention would in the right hands be perfectly capable of either type of riding as has been proven by many you tube vids but, if you are a relative newbie (no offence intended) then you might find them a bit heavy if you intend to go properly off road. Maybe try something lighter like a 250 to begin with and see if that kind of riding is really your cup of tea.
4.If you cant bear the thought of anything smaller than a 650 then I would add the Suzi dr650 to your list. You can pick up very well specced examples for that money. Its by far the most common choice of riders on this forum. Somewhere on here there’s a list of what bikes people ride, I think more than half are DR650s and the all the other bikes make up the rest. Same probably goes for the KLR650 – cheap, ubiquitous, reliable and fairly bullet proof. If you still intend to take these bikes off road a gym membership might be handy.

Bottom line for me is that the decision is not too critical because buying and selling second hand motor bikes is relatively easy in NZ (provided you are prepared to be realistic about your pricing) thanks to Trademe. IF you dont like it, flog and get something else. You are probably going to end up doing that anyway as you work out what kind of riding you want to be doing. And with the kind of bikes we are talking about even if there is something drastically wrong, they are generally not too bad to fix. (Although BMW and KTM owners might disagree with that statement)

Good luck and post pictures when you get one!