Top 5 Adventure Bikes With Shaft Final Drive

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List of adventure motorcycles with upright sitting position and decent suspension to ride all types of roads including gravel, mud and sand that are also equipped with shaft final drive.

Yamaha XTZ1200 Super Tenere

Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere


  • Engine: 1,199 cc liquid-cooled, parallel 2-cylinder,  4-valve , 270-degree crankshaft
  • Compression ratio: 11.0:1
  • Power:  108 hp @ 7250 rpm / 114 N⋅m @ 6000 rpm
  • Front Suspension:  43 mm upside-down telescopic fork,  191 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: Monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound damping, 191 mm travel
  • Wet Weight:  261 kg (575 lb)
  • Fuel Consumption (According to Fuelly): 5.2 l/100km /  45 MPG (US)

Unique Features

Yamaha moved the radiator to the left side making more room for the engine to be moved forward. This allowed the installation of a longer rear swingarm, as a result, the rear shock has an easy job pushing the rear wheel to the ground.

With the added advantage of a 270-degree engine firing order, the rear wheel has ample time to regain traction with the road surface between engine firings. As a result, the Super Tenere has become exceedingly predictable and effortless to handle on gravel and sand roads, despite weighing 261 kg.

BMW R 1250 GS

BMS GS1250


  • Engine: 1254 cc liquid-cooled, boxer 2-cylinder, 4-valve, variable valve timing
  • Compression ratio: 12.5:1
  • Power:  134 hp @ 7750 rpm / 143 N⋅m @ 6250 rpm
  • Front Suspension:  37 mm Telelever, central spring strut, 190 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: single-sided swingarm, Paralever, adjustable preload and rebound damping, 200 mm travel, Dynamic ESA available as an option
  • Wet Weight: 249 kg (549 lb)
  • Fuel Consumption (According to Fuelly): 5.0 l/100km / 47 MPG (US)

Unique Features

Among this group of motorcycles, only the GS1250 boasts variable valve timing technology, which translates to an engine that delivers exceptional low-end torque and impressive top-end power.

Another standout feature exclusive to BMW’s GS model is its Telelever front suspension system, comprising both traditional forks and a central spring strut. This results in unparalleled braking performance and a chassis that excels both on rough terrain and in aggressive cornering.

Triumph Tiger 1200


  • Engine: 1215 cc liquid-cooled, parallel 3-cylinder, 4-valve
  • Compression ratio: 11.0:1
  • Power:  141 hp @ 9350 rpm / 122 N⋅m @ 7,600 rpm
  • Front Suspension: 48 mm upside-down forks, adjustable preload and rebound damping, 190 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: single-sided swingarm, adjustable rebound damping, hydraulic preload adjustment, 193 mm travel
  • Wet Weight:  242 kg / (534 lb)
  • Fuel Consumption (According to Fuelly): 5.5 l/100km / 43 MPG (US)

Unique Features

Boasting the lightest weight-to-power ratio, the Tiger 1200 is the optimal choice for a road-adventure bike in its category. Its 19-inch front wheel further adds to its appeal. With 1 horsepower per 1.71 kg of wet weight, this motorcycle is a remarkable performer.

Thanks to its three-cylinder inline engine, Triumph is also the most sporty shaft-driven motorcycle for on-road riding among its counterparts.

Moto Guzzi V85TT



  • Engine: 853cc air-cooled, V-twin 2-cylinder, 2-valves
  • Compression ratio: 10.5: 1
  • Power:  80 hp @ 7750 rpm / 80 N⋅m @ 5,000 rpm
  • Front Suspension: 41 mm upside-down telescopic  fork, adjustable spring preload and hydraulic rebound, 170 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: Double-sided swingarm, single shock on the right side, adjustable spring preload and hydraulic rebound, 170 mm travel.
  • Wet Weight:  229 kg / (505 lb)
  • Fuel Consumption (According to Fuelly): 4.5 l/100km / 52 MPG (US)

Unique Features

The V85TT is the sole adventure bike in its category that employs a shaft drive and features an engine capacity of under 1000 cc. Notably, Guzzi offers the most cost-effective option in this category, both in terms of purchase and maintenance costs. Its decent fuel efficiency and lightweight design make it a perfect choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Guzzi’s V85TT seamlessly combines classic features such as a dry-clutch and air-cooled engine with modern technologies like ride-by-wire, cruise control, full LED lights, and a TFT instrument panel. While embracing modern advancements, this motorcycle remains uncomplicated and efficient in carrying out its intended purpose. Learn more about the Guzzi V85TT.

Honda Crosstourer VFR1200X


  • Engine: 1237 cc liquid-cooled, V-4, 4-cylinder, 4 valves
  • Compression ratio: 12.0:1
  • Power: 127 hp @ 7750 rpm / 126 N⋅m @ 6500 rpm
  • Front Suspension: 43 mm upside-down telescopic forks, adjustable spring preload and hydraulic rebound,  145 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: single-sided swingarm, Pro-Link with gas-charged damper, preload and rebound damping adjustment,  146 mm travel
  • Wet Weight:  275.0 kg / (606 lb)
  • Fuel Consumption (According to Fuelly): 5.7 l/100km /41 MPG (US)

Unique Features

VFR was the first Honda motorcycle that was available with automatic DCT (dual-clutch transmission). Today Honda still remains the only motorcycle manufacturer that offers DCT as an option. DCT has 5 riding modes that include drive, 3 sport modes, and a manual mode where the rider chooses the gear with “plus” and “minus” buttons under the left hand.

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