So many top 10 lists out there and here is one more. Worth to mention that when we thought of this list, we had the feedback of our customers which some have a fair background on motorcycle riding. Some of them possess more than one motorbike in their garage and came down to Ecuador to try a specific model for a bit more than a normal test drive… let’s say three weeks on all sorts of roads. For some other models, we’ve tried them in Ecuador to find out what could be our best next purchase. Once again, the list is based on an overall score and criteria used on the field from us, our customers and for test drives all along.
10. Moto Gucci V85TT
I had the pleasure to test drive one of these bad boys in Europe and gotta tell you with those looks, its distinctive V-twin engine, and ergonomics, is coming as a serious contender for its midsize classmates the BMW F850 and the Triumph Tiger. Gucci aimed pretty well with this model. This motorcycle has 80 HPs and 80 Nm as output, way more than enough for what any common mortal would use while taking this motorbike where is meant to be: off-road. It was a normal test drive (about an hour) but fell in love with its characteristics and smoothness all around. To me on this model, maybe to have a 21″rim in front instead of a 19″ would have made it a bit more dynamic on demanding off-roads, but the actual tire size made it really enjoyable on asphalt.
9. HONDA XRE300
We have a bunch of these motorcycles in our fleet for one good reason, our customers are happy with it. They are lightweight, their fuel injection system is incredibly reliable at long timeframes under hardcore conditions and is such an enjoyable toy to play with. All of our customers that have used it, they always come back to the shop with a smile on their faces. 21 CVs are delivered by its 300cc engine, which makes it the opposite from intimidating, and fun on any skill level hands. Also, by being Honda, we have the support of one of the biggest motorcycle houses in Ecuador. So far, regardless of whatever mess we got ourselves into while opening routes (this intel taking the motorcycles to the unknown), it has been as easy as fetching the motorbike with our GPS tracking device mounted on them, take it to any dealer in the country, and it’s ready the day after.
8. KTM Super Adventure 1290R
Simply awesome. I rode on a long trip this motorcycle last year when I borrowed from a friend of mine. It’s a KTM, and for its size, you won’t believe it how well it handles. Its got all types of perks, including a water-resistant “glove compartment” for your mobile with a charger inside. Torky and powerful to say the least and mixed with a pretty smart suspension, it goes on cobblestone roads as if it was first class pavement. Not a motorcycle for rookies for sure but its dashboard and controls were so intuitive, that made it feel as if it were.
7. Suzuki Vstrom 650 XT
We’ve mentioned this motorcycle on previous blogs and I keep on bringing the subject because is just well thought how they took an already excellent two-wheeled vehicle and just made it better. Two riding modes, spike rims, and less weight made the perfect combination to go deeper in the jungle or higher in the mountains than its alloy-based wheels predecessors. Some of our clients just love the way it handles in a peaceful ride along the Spondylus route in the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast. For me, when it came to pushing it a bit more than usual it has proved to be really safe. It’s ABS reacts so precise to your situation, like when you are using brand new Continental TK70 on asphalt and you void to consider that fact and go a bit too loco.
6. Yamaha Tenere 660
This machine has its history and war medals, and now in 2019, we had the arrival of the new Tenere 700 with more stories to tell on its belt for sure. This is the first Yamaha that I get on and try it to be honest and boy it called my attention. A pretty easy to use, the machine well balanced and it feel way much lighter than what it looks. After a few hours of dirt roads, you can tell the significant difference that makes a 21-inch front wheel.
5. Triumph Tiger XCx
The first time we saw this machine was at the annual convention of Horizons Unlimited where the dealer had a model for test-driving. Since we were organizing an off-road for the participants around the Cotopaxi volcano, we had in our tour BMW 1200GS, BMW F800, and the triumph tiger and so it was easy from the rear to see with similar driver skills what the motorcycle can do. For starters, as the rider related later, its traction control makes so hard to do any wrong on the dirt, even when you want to for the sakes of fun. And of course, for a mid-size bike to output 95 CV from a three-cylinder engine is something you are tempted to test how many of those you can actually use it. When I got to ride it, it came to my surprise how stable the motorcycle is, and note that it doesn’t have the lowest center of gravity of all.
4. Multistrada Enduro 1260
Years back I had the chance to race at the Pamplona San Fermin’s party with dozens of bulls on my back. And for the first time, I felt how it feels to ride one of them. It’s simply a beast with the most impressive Italian design and tech touches. From the heavyweights, I would consider this one something out of this planet. To start with, it doesn’t matter how bad the road gets, you still have some room to play with a pretty intuitive dashboard. See who’s calling, change your music or play around with the riding modes thanks to its state of the art ride by wire technology while you are still airborne (time slows down Matrix style). I have been Ducatista my whole riding life and I’m so happy they designed this one with the capability that as soon as you hit the asphalt again, you could be reaching 260 km/h without a sweat in a matter of seconds. I simply love it. 3. BMW F850 Yes, this is the new model of a transcendental generation that from the beginning decided to challenge what has been established for years and change the rules of the game. This motorcycle is so versatile in many ways and cope with many tastes, is not too heavy and yet powerful (over 90 CV), its suspension seems to be developed for bigger motorcycles being robust the focus point. Its multi-point fuel injection system combined with the position of the in-line two cylinders allows smoothness at any RPM. The new dashboard has a generous 6,5 diagonal inches, needed to see your required data in one eye hit. Also includes new logics on its riding modes with the ASC system to aid the torque delivery and rear tire control.
2. HONDA Africa Twin DCT
Simply wow. Is not the fastest of all, nor the lightest but damn this thing blows your mind. To start with, we purchased the 30th-anniversary edition for our demanding customers. Since its a special version, HONDA was decided to throw a couple more inches of travel in the front fork and rear shock plus an oversized tank that makes it look even more badass, and even loaded and jumping like there is no tomorrow, I haven’t been able to bottom it. One of the coolest features on this touring motorcycle is that its command controls can go forward and reverse, as opposed to giving the whole dial another round in case you missed what you were looking for. Then, you have one button exclusively for reducing the traction control on the go, no need to let go of the gas. We took this baby for its first break-in 1000 km, so we had to go under “controlled parameters”. We got it into deep sands, crossed a river of close to a meter deep with it, and travel along the coast with such a pleasure, as its windshield was high enough to cover everything. Its DCT transmission is something you get used to in the first 30 minutes of riding, and at a risk that you won’t believe me, you don’t miss it off-road. Its engine break logic had a lot of thinking invested on.
1. Suzuki DR650
We’ve spoken so many times about this one and here it comes again. Basically, the most reliable and simplest piece engineered. Why? well, you break down and the only thing you would need is a flat screwdriver, a socket #10 and a hammer to put the whole bike apart. I might be exaggerating but is just to emphasize how easy is to fix it in case of trouble. Its dashboard is extremely basic, the odometer will tell you when to change the oil and a small light if the turning signals are on, that’s it. This is why on many specialized blogs like www.advrider.com you get to realize how popular this one is between serious people riding around the world. “Less is more”, and for a motorcycle that you won’t know when your final destination will be at, is so true. Hope you enjoyed the read. By no means we decided to go technical on it, just to give you an appreciation of what we have seen in the last 2 years of conducting the business. Not only our experiences but hundreds of customers now that ended their holidays pretty happy because they rode what they wanted and how they wanted.