When it comes to specifying the perfect motorcycle for a round-the-world journey, does size matter?

Given the growing trend towards a preference for smaller, lighter machines, Overland Junction’s third brand-independent QUEST research survey aimed to answer that and other questions. The survey ran from February 2016 to January 2017. It consisted of 29 simple multiple-choice questions and all responses were completely anonymous. 416 riders from around the world took part.

The Perfect RTW Motorcycle

Based on the most popular preferences expressed in the survey, the research suggests that the perfect motorcycle for going around the world would be a single cylinder, water cooled adventure-style bike, with a fuel-injected engine not larger than 800cc. It would have ABS and electronic engine management, cable operated throttle, a 6-speed manual gearbox, and chain and sprocket final drive. Built around a steel chassis, it would run 21′ spoked rims on the front and 18′ on the rear with tubeless, multi-purpose tyres. The seat height would be in the range 30-34′ (762-864 mm) and it would weight no more than 200 kg (443 lbs) with a full 26 L (6.9 gallon) tank, which would deliver a range of up to 300 miles (482 km).

The full survey results are summarised below.

About The Survey Participants

Where Participating Riders Are From

EUROPE 46%
NORTH AMERICA 32%
AUSTRALASIA 8%
AFRICA 6%
ASIA 4%
SOUTH AMERICA 3%
 

Height of Participating Riders

6’4 (193cm) or over 4%
Between 6’0 and 6’4 (183 – 193cm) 34%
Between 5’6 and 6’0 (168 – 183cm) 55%
Between 5’2 and 5’6 (157 – 168cm) 7%
 

Age of Participating Riders

70 or over 1%
60 – 69 8%
50 – 59 33%
40 – 49 35%
30 – 39 16%
20 – 29 6%
19 or under 1%
 

Gender of Participating Riders

Male 93%
Female 6%
Other 1%
 

How Long Participants Have Been Riding

30 years or more 35%
20 – 29 years 16%
10 – 19 years 23%
5 – 9 years 14%
1 – 4 years 10%
Less than a year 2%
 

Current Motorcycle Brand Ridden

BMW 33%
HONDA 14%
KTM 14%
SUZUKI 10%
KAWASAKI 8%
TRIUMPH 4%
YAMAHA 9%
OTHERS 6%
 

Typical Style of Riding

Only ever on the road 6%
Mostly on the road, but occasionally off-road 60%
As much off-road as on 29%
Mostly off-road 5%
 

Longest Time on a Motorcycle Journey

5 years or more 2%
Between 1 and 5 years 7%
Between 6 and 12 months 9%
Between 3 and 6 months 12%
Between 1 and 3 months 26%
Less than 1 month 44%
 

Ideal RTW Motorcycle Preferences

Engine Type

Single Cylinder 26%
Parallel Twin 19%
V-Twin 15%
Boxer Twin 11%
Other (multi cylinder) 5%
No preference or don’t know 24%
 

Style of Bike

Tourer/Sports Tourer 3%
Cruiser 1%
Naked 1%
Trail/Enduro 22%
Adventure 72%
No preference or don’t know 1%
 

Cooling System

Air 20%
Oil/Liquid 15%
Water 35%
Combination 13%
No preference or don’t know 17%
 

Engine Capacity

1200 cc or more 5%
1000 to 1199 cc 14%
800 to 999 cc 18%
600 to 799 cc 39%
400 to 599 cc 20%
399 cc or less 4%
 

Fuel Mixture Control

Carburetor 25%
Fuel Injection 61%
No preference or don’t know 14%
 

Electronic Engine Management

Yes 46%
No 33%
No preference or don’t know 21%
 

Throttle Control Type

Cable 62%
Fly-by-Wire 17%
No preference or don’t know 21%
 

Final Drive Type

Chain and Sprocket 58%
Belt 2%
Shaft 32%
No preference or don’t know 8%
 

Gearing

4-speed manual 1%
5-speed manual 18%
6-speed manual 71%
Automatic 3%
No preference or don’t know 7%
 

Primary Chassis Material

Steel 56%
Aluminium 22%
Other 2%
No preference or don’t know 20%
 

Front Wheel Rim Diameter

17′ 3%
18′ 2%
19′ 22%
20′ 4%
21′ 60%
No preference or don’t know 9%
 

Rear Wheel Rim Diameter

16′ 1%
17′ 36%
18′ 50%
No preference or don’t know 13%
 

Wheel Construction

Spokes 86%
Alloys 7%
No preference or don’t know 7%
 

Tyre Type

Tubed 40%
Tubeless 51%
No preference or don’t know 9%
 

Tyre Tread Type

Heavily-treaded knobblies 8%
Multi-purpose 88%
Pure road 1%
No preference or don’t know 3%
 

ABS

Yes 56%
No 34%
No preference or don’t know 10%
 

Ideal Seat Height

34 to 36’ (864 to 914 mm) 12%
32 to 34’ (813 to 864 mm) 29%
30 to 32’ (762 to 813 mm) 25%
28 to 30’ (711 to 762 mm) 10%
26 to 28’ (660 to 711 mm) 3%
24 to 26’ (610 to 660 mm) 0%
22 to 24’ (559 to 610 mm) 0%
No preference or don’t know 21%
 

Maximum Weight (with full tank, without luggage)

Over 240 kg (530 lbs) 5%
221 to 240 kg (487 to 530 lbs) 11%
201 to 220 kg (443 to 487 lbs) 15%
181 to 200 kg (399 to 443 lbs) 22%
161 to 180 kg (355 to 399 lbs) 21%
141 to 160 kg (310 to 355 lbs) 13%
121 to 140 kg (267 to 310 lbs) 7%
120 kg or less (265 lbs) 1%
No preference or don’t know 5%
 

Fuel Tank Capacity

Over 30 L (7.9 gallons) 12%
26 to 30 L (6.9 to 7.9 gallons) 24%
22 to 26 L (5.8 to 6.9 gallons) 32%
18 to 22 L (4.8 to 5.8 gallons) 18%
14 to 18 L (3.7 to 4.8 gallons) 9%
Less than 14 L (2.6 gallons) 1%
No preference or don’t know 4%
 

Average Fuel Tank Range

300 miles or more (482 km) 37%
200 to 299 miles (322 to 481 km) 55%
Less than 200 miles (322 km) 6%
No preference or don’t know 2%
 

Luggage Type

Hard panniers and topbox 21%
Hard panniers and soft bag 29%
Soft panniers and bag 33%
Soft panniers and hard topbox 13%
None 0%
No preference or don’t know 4%
 

Iain Harper