Do BMW riders travel further than everyone else? How many countries has a typical adventure biker ridden through? How many miles do they cover and over what period of time?

Answering these and other questions was the aim of Overland Junction’s first brand-independent QUEST research survey, which ran from the beginning of February to the end of June 2016. It consisted of 8 simple multiple-choice questions and all responses were completely anonymous.

274 riders from around the world started the survey and 209 completed it. Incomplete survey responses haven’t been included in the following analysis and most of the percentages shown have been rounded. In question #7 of the survey, 50 motorcycle brands were listed. Only 17 brands featured in all the completed responses.

It’s important to bear in mind that the findings below come with the caveat that, technically-speaking, they aren’t ‘statistically significant’. This is because the overall sample size was small compared to the number of adventure motorcyclists worldwide. However, the results do fall within the scope of what might be called ‘reasonable’ according to common-sense and anecdotal experience.

Geographical Context

Where Riders Are From


Motorcycle Travel Experience

Other Than Their Home Continent, In How Many Populated Continents Had Riders Motorcycled?

0 29%
1 21%
2 23%
3 15%
4 6%
5 6%

Other Than Their Home Country, In How Many Countries Had Riders Motorcycled?

0 13%
1 to 5 28%
6 to 10 11%
11 to 20 22%
21 to 30 11%
31 to 40 7%
41 to 50 5%
51 to 80 2%
81 to 110 (1 rider) 0%

Longest Motorcycle Journey

Longest Time Period Spent Undertaking A Motorcycle Journey

Less than 1 month 38%
Between 1 and 3 months 26%
Between 3 and 6 months 14%
Between 6 and 12 months 10%
Between 1 and 5 years 11%
Between 5 and 8 years (1 rider) 0%

Distance Travelled On Longest Single Motorcycle Journey

Under 1,000 miles 9%
1,000 to 4,999 miles 40%
5,000 to 9,999 miles 17%
10,000 to 19,999 miles 16%
20,000 to 39,999 miles 14%
40,000 to 80,000 miles 4%

How That Longest Journey Was Undertaken

Solo 60%
Solo as part of a group (including couples on separate bikes) 22%
With a pillion 16%
With a pillion as part of a group 2%

Brand Of Motorcycle Ridden On That Longest Journey

BMW 39.7%
Honda 12.9%
Yamaha 10%
Kawasaki 9.6%
Suzuki 9.6%
KTM 7.7%
Triumph 1.9%
Aprilia 1.9%
Bajaj 1.4%
Harley-Davidson 1.4%
MZ 1%
AJP 0.5%
CCM 0.5%
Ducati 0.5%
Indian 0.5%
Royal Enfield 0.5%
Sym 0.5%

Organized Motorcycle Tours

Had Riders Ever Taken Part In A Multi-Day Or Multi-Week Organized Motorcycle Tour?

Yes 35%
No 65%

Digging Deeper Into The Data

Proportion Of Riders From Different Continents Who Had Taken Part In An Organized Motorcycle Tour

Africa 25%
South America 17%
Europe 34%
Australasia 50%
Asia 67%
North America 33%

Proportion Of BMW vs Other Riders From Europe vs North America Who Had Taken Part In An Organized Motorcycle Tour

Europe : BMW 41%
Europe : Other Bike Brands 59%
North America : BMW 48%
North America : Other Bike Brands 52%

Proportion Of Riders From Different Continents Who Had Motorcycled In 11+ Countries (Other Than Their Own)

Africa 75%
South America 67%
Europe 61%
Australasia 56%
Asia 33%
North America 25%
While the data provides more accurate averages for Europe and North America compared to the other continents (because more European and North American riders took part in the research), the overall picture is consistent with the anecdotal evidence of countless debates online and around many a campfire – i.e. that North Americans tend to venture beyond their own borders much less than people from elsewhere.

The data tells a similar, though subtly different, story when looking at the time spent on riders’ single longest journeys…

Proportion Of Riders From Different Continents Who Had Spent Less Than 3 Months On Their Longest Single Motorcycle Journey

Africa 38%
South America 17%
Europe 67%
Australasia 44%
Asia 89%
North America 69%

Proportion Of Riders From Different Continents Whose Longest Single Motorcycle Journey Covered More Than 10,000 Miles

Africa 63%
South America 50%
Europe 26%
Australasia 56%
Asia 0%
North America 40%

I thought it might be interesting to slice that data a different way and compare journey distances between different brands of motorcycle. Since the sample size is small, and BMW so prominent within it, I’ve simply grouped all the other 16 brands together…

Proportion Of BMW vs Other Riders Whose Longest Single Motorcycle Journey Covered More Than 10,000 Miles

BMW 42%
16 Other Brands Combined 29%

Although it’s reasonable to assume that a larger survey response would balance out those numbers a little, it seems that adventure motorcyclists riding BMWs really do go further.



Overland Junction is running an on-going series of QUEST Research projects related to adventure motorcycling. The more people take part, the more useful the data will be for the whole community – so do please spare a couple of minutes to complete all the current surveys.


Iain Harper