Over the last few years I have ridden more and more dirt and have really started to gravitate to those types of rides over the concrete twisties I generally chose. So naturally I had kicked around the idea of an adventure bike. The ability to jump off the paved roads and blast down a trail instead of hauling my dirtbike somewhere was very appealing to me. But I had almost zero time on an adventure bike, so I wasn't exactly sure if it was my cup of tea. As luck would have it I had the chance to get a on a new BMW F 850 GS and ride it from TX up through CO and on home to the Black Hills of SD. In a lot of ways it was what I expected the capable Beemer to be, but a few things stood out.

1) It's a bitchen road bike

When I left Dallas I had 800 miles or so of concrete in front of me before I got to any of the "good stuff." I wasn't exactly looking forward to the trek across Texas flatland so I just put my head down and decided to get all the boring super slab out of the way on day one. As I got into the 715 miles I put in that day it quickly became apparent that F 850G S adventure bike was a a more than capable touring machine on the highway. The wind protection was great. I even rode for stretches with my visor up with no wind buffeting or vision issues. The fairly neutral seating position is comfy and being able to stand up on the bike allows you to stretch out quick while still moving. The luggage capacity is stellar! With the GIVI bags and Kriega dry pack I had a ton of room. I carried my usual gear along with camping gear and camera equipment, no problem. The tactical style of the bike provides a ton of strapping points, that combined with the GIVI bags made unloading and loading a snap. And to top it off it had cruise control.

2) The versatility really is awesome (dirt might be the most fun on two wheels)

Probably the thing I had looked forward to the most was getting it off-road and into the dirt. And as soon as I hit Colorado I found some trails and did just so. It was glorious. The ability to randomly cruise up a dirt road to a trail and and venture down the path is incredible. It opens up so many more route possibilities and off the beaten path camping options it literally puts the "adventure" in adventure bike. Even fully loaded the bike was more than at home on the OHV trails of CO. It's no dirt bike off-road but it will get you down the trail safely and with a ton more gear than a 450 dirt bike.

3) Looks like a Tonka truck, gadgets like a Tesla

I'm not sure why I was surprised by this but the bike (and most late model ADV bikes) have a ton of tech built into them. Cruise control makes the highway sections semi-enjoyable, the heated grips are a god-send on cold mornings in the mountains and I began to get spoiled by all the info and feedback from the dash. But the ABS, traction control and specific ride modes were something that I hadn't expected to use so much, especially off-road. Not that I couldn't have ridden the trails without the fancy stuff but having the ride modes dialed into a dirt setting makes your life a little easier. Having the bike do some of the work for you with traction control and ABS is pretty sweet but did have me feeling a little lazy.

4) Wanderlust breeds more wanderlust

Having traveled so much I was aware of the phenomenon of wanting to see what's around every corner after you've looked around one corner. But now that I had a bike that could easily go from concrete to dirt it compounded the feeling of wanderlust and basically opened Pandora's box of constantly wanting to venture down a random road or go deeper into the mountains. It's a great problem to have and keeps riding fresh. It's opened up a whole new world of motorcycling and constantly has me scanning maps to see where I could possibly go in the future. Pro tip: Butler Maps Backcountry map series is awesome and will be keeping me busy for the foreseeable future.

5) Moto-camping rules

Camping off a bike is one of favorite things to do.

No surprise here, I've made it no secret that I love camping off a motorcycle. But on the adventure bike I felt like I had leveled up. It was like going from camping out of your mom's station wagon to upgrading to an overland rig. The bike basically increases your camping range a ton. You can get into backcountry campsites no problem. Instead of a potentially crowded campground buzzing with kids and dogs, you can be next to a crystal clear stream with nary a soul in site watching the sun come over a mountain while your Jetboil brews up some Joe. And it packs gear with no problem. ADV bikes are built to carry gear and even in the dirt you won't even know it's there. Definite upgrade for moto-camping

If you're on the fence about potentially adding an adventure bike in your stable I'd say go ahead and pull the trigger. The drawbacks are likely to be using up all your vacation time, not seeing another human for three to four days, experiencing ridiculous sunsets and bathing in a creek.