Are Do-It-All Adventure Bikes Going to Disappear for Good?

True adventure bikes are almost a thing which belongs to the past, and whether we like this or not, it matters little. Motorcycle manufacturers have ceased to create and offer the wonderful all-rounder bikes of yore and replaced them with more nuanced, differentiated machinery which slots in more individual niches.
The reason is not necessarily the “evolution” of the market, but rather the fact that corporations are trying to make more money, and the all-rounder bikes which were tough as nails, exceptionally dependable and able to endure the most punishing conditions were not exactly good for business. In a way, they were in fact quite bad for business, just like Nokia’s tough, long-lasting and cheap phones sort of helped the brand’s decline.

That is, every manufacturer wants to make and sell more and more units. However, customers who went for the cheap (but very good) products are expected that they replace it in a rather short while. But, you see, this doesn’t happen, simply because the product is good, and despite getting older, people are not willing to part with it.

One of my friends has a 4-year-old Nokia whose battery still lasts 6 days on a full charge. Another friend of mine has an 80-something Honda Transalp with more than 200,000 km (124,000 miles) on it, and which still runs great. None of them is planning to get a new Lumia or god knows what modern adventure-ish bike, respectively. And this makes them the enemy of Nokia and Honda. I’ve chosen these two brands simply because they are exceedingly representative for the whole idea.

The world economy is based on mindless consumerism, a thing corporations simply love because they can manufacture and sell more, even though the existing products being replaced are sometimes far from being in a condition to be scraped, and this is old news. Unfortunately, this seems to apply to the motorcycle industry as well, especially with the do-it-all segment.

Some might ask why I keep on rambling about the adventure bikes. Well, you see, the change is much easier to see in this segment, especially because there were so many things such bikes were capable of doing… and now they’re not. And this grinds my gears, to avoid using 4-letter words.

The BS has become so obvious that I sometimes get unnerved meeting people so blind that they can’t see it. When someone markets an adventure bike but is offering adventure-essential features, such as wire spoke wheels or skid plates as optional items, something’s very, very fishy. After speaking with many fellow riders about this funny issue, some admitted that the possibility to choose adventure-ish upgrades for their bikes sounded appealing.

I was rather puzzled: so you mean you’d go to a bike dealer, to buy an adventure bike which is not an adventure bike, am I right? It was their time to be puzzled, and some tried to escape adding that they were okay with what the bike offered in the first place. Well, then, you’re getting more of a street bike, but which is advertised as a adv-compatible one. Isn’t that a bit off?

I also remember the very nasty mishap a fellow rider had with his brand new BMW R1200GS equipped with those stupid cast wheels and again, and again, the same question comes into my mind. Why are people so blind and willing to take so much BS when it comes to bikes which are supposed to do a certain thing (as advertised) but which obviously can’t? Is the power of marketing THAT big?

Unfortunately, the answer seems to be “yes.” People are more and more into spending money (they most of the time don’t have) to buy things whose real capabilities matter less, and are seduced by the advertising’s smoke and mirrors. And what I found rather disheartening – some of them are becoming genuinely “blind,” completely unable to see how things are and judge according to their own standards.
Yet, there is a (still) large group of riders who are really fond of a machine that can do pretty much anything, even though nothing is spectacular in any way. Unfortunately, a bike that’s swift, nimble and an economical urban commuter, which can haul a lot of luggage, which can travel great distances along the highway at decent speed and with decent comfort, and which can effortlessly venture past the asphalt edge into gravel, dirt and rocks without fear of a cracked rim at every other bend. Such a bike is also not going to break down easily and is also fairly affordable… well, it looks like I’ve just portrayed the arch enemy of today’s industry.

Few of my buddies also replied that people don’t ride this way nowadays… even though some of them also added that even they don’t do so (even if they used to) because they’ve changed their bikes and now they can’t seem to find fairly new ones to fit the bill. Some of them also bought bikes which can tackle a bit of slightly rougher asphalt, and started to avoid trail routes subsequently, just because their machines were no longer capable of doing that.

Really, are these do-it-all bikes going to disappear? There are not many of them left, anyway…
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