Street adventure bikes trend on the rise

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The Ewan MacGregor documentary "Long Way Round" brought widespread attention to the sport of motorcycle adventure touring and to the bikes used for it. (KABC)

The Ewan MacGregor documentary "Long Way Round" brought widespread attention to the sport of motorcycle adventure touring and to the bikes used for it.

They're tall, capable, and able to negotiate a tough environment. Now, for less-adventurous riders, their pavement-bound counterparts have become a hot new trend. Street adventure bikes are springing up left and right.

BMW has been synonymous with off-road adventure touring for many years, and now it's ready to tackle adventures on asphalt.

The S1000 XR is essentially BMW's 1-liter sport bike engine, bolted into a lanky, upright frame. The base price is $16,350, which includes ABS. Need to carry gear on your urban adventure? Huge optional saddlebags can swallow up all kinds of stuff, they are lockable and can be removed in a snap.

Kawasaki's done the sport bike transformation too, with its Versys 1000, a street adventure ride with some Ninja sport bike attitude and power. Standard hard luggage makes your travels more accessorized, and the bike has a suggested retail price of $12,799.

Riders can also check out Yamaha's FJ09, which is also getting in on the new design trend. Again, it has a sport bike engine - three cylinders in this case - but with a riding position that's suited for comfort and great visibility in traffic.

You can get onto one starting at a base price of $10,490. There are optional hard saddlebags available through dealers.

Due to the way they're built, riders who aren't very tall might not be comfortable on a big street adventure bike. On the other hand, if you are on the tall side, you might find them a very nice fit.

But the street adventure trend is going more widespread to include smaller bikes.

Honda has gone full force with its CB500 series and the 500X model has the street adventure stance and vibe. There's good news for those on a budget: it's a base price of around $6,300 and fuel economy that can go into the 60 mpg range.

Not everyone's cut out for a trip around the globe in rough terrain. But if your adventures include combinations of commuting, sport riding and a weekend tour now and then, these street adventure bikes can tackle them all.

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