The story of how adventure motorcycling came to be is a fascinating chapter in motorcycle history, and one that is dear to us at Nomad.
The BikeBandit’s excellent article on the birth of adventure biking gives the necessary background on how the bikes we love to take on adventures came about.
The concept of purpose-building bikes for certain types of riding has only been around for the last several decades, which has given us some marvelous pieces of machinery optimized for any kind of adventure - but the first ever round-the-world journey took place as far back as the 1930s, on a bike not unlike the heavy, suspension-less ones seen around towns all over the U.S., long before the idea of even dedicated off-road bikes existed.
In 1952, Ernesto Guevara embarked on a 9 month long motorcycle trek all over South America on a beat-up old Norton, an adventure that inspired the 2004 movie “The Motorcycle Diaries.” (Ernesto was transformed by his trip, and later became a revolutionary, changing his name to “Che.”) Then in the 1970s, Ted Simon journeyed all over the entire globe by motorcycle, covering 78,000 miles in 45 countries over the course of 4 years in a small 500cc Triumph Tiger 100. His story became known in his book Jupiter’s Travels, widely regarded as the best motorcycle travel book there is, and the inspiration for many world adventurers that would follow.
Another decade later, in 1985, a burnt-out pharmaceutical salesman named Emilio Scotto would quit his job and take off on his 1980 Honda Gold Wing, which he dubbed the Black Princess, on a trip around his native South America. Once done touring the continent, he continued onto the next, and the next...until he eventually covered a staggering 500,000 miles in 279 countries over the course of ten years. That achievement that is chronicled in his book The Longest Ride, and it earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But all of these trips had one thing in common - they weren’t done on “adventure bikes,” a motorcycle purpose built for that type of riding. This was because, for the most part, such bikes did not exist. For over 80 years of their history, motorcycles were ill-suited to long-distance overland travel, and as a result were either modified extensively by their owners, or simply powered through the obstacles they encountered, terrain be damned.
That was until 1980, however, when the first “adventure bike” was introduced to the world. That bike was the R80 G/S, which BMW cleverly introduced as the first bike truly capable of long-distance travel over both paved roads and off-road terrain (the nomenclature G/S, in fact, stands for Gelände/Straße, German for “terrain/road,” indicating the on-and-off road nature of the motorcycle.) Clearly, motorcycles had travelled far and wide over varied terrain before, and rally bikes and dual sports already existed on the market, but there had never been a motorcycle purpose-built for long-distance overland travel. It wasn’t obvious at the time, but the first G/S would end up creating an entirely new market segment - Adventure riding - and an explosion in the market would soon follow.
At Nomad Moto we strive to keep the legendary adventures of the brave biking nomads alive by providing them with the tools that they need. Trustworthy steeds that will carry them across any terrain they may encounter for the next jaw-dropping campfire story.
We select adventure ready motorcycles for our clients, and whether you’re a novice or a pro, we will find the bike you need at a price that you can afford.
We specialize in gently used bikes that need a new home, from beginners that are moving on to more advanced bikes, and then to pro’s upgrading to the newest and latest. Our dedicated team scours the market for these elusive steeds that deserve a new nomad adventurer in the saddle.
Some of the brands and models we prefer are the Honda Africa Twin, BMW 800gs, BMW 1200GS ADV, KTM 690 R Enduro KTM 790 R, KTM 1090 R, Triumph Tiger 800, Husqvarna 701 to just name a few.
With a wealth of adventure bike experience our team will point you in the right direction and provide you with all you need to start your adventures. From GPS tracks like the BDR route (back country dirt roads) to guided rides through the mountains of Pennsylvania, Hudson valley NY to New Hampshire and Vermont.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your adventure biking needs.