What’s an ADV

I coined the term “multisurface” motorcycle back in the last century because there was no other term that described the type of motorcycle I built and rode or the kind of riding I did. I never expected the term “multisurface motorcycling” to catch on in an age of ever increasing silliness where two-wheelers are concerned.

Here at Top Gun, we have 85 years of off-road experience, and we believe the gross weight of a “dirtable” two-wheeler should not exceed 400 pounds. Additionally, unsprung weight should be as low as possible (read, no shaft drive) and should not steer like a sport bike.

The term that has given me the most trouble is “ADV.” What I saw in a local Honda shop recently proved to me that the ADV term is nearly meaningless. Sitting on the showroom floor was a Honda NC700X street bike. I could not help laughing when I saw the wheels. A salesman walked over and asked me if there was something wrong with the NC700. I replied, “Yes, it’s a 472 pound pavement bike shod with TKC-80 knobbies on 17 inch wheels. Who did that?” The salesman then said proudly, “That’s the ADV version of the NC700. It comes set up from the factory just as you see it.”

I have to admit that I still wonder if the salesman was pulling my leg. If not, then Honda has done something stupid and at the same time proved that ADV is a misleading and meaningless term. How so, you may ask. It’s pretty simple. The chances of “sliding out” while cornering aggressively on a tight and twisty paved mountain road are much greater if your 472 pound Honda NC700 is equipped with TKC-80 knobbies rather than the good sticky street rubber with which that model usually comes equipped.

Basically, I guess an ADV is any heavy street bike equipped with knobbies and luggage that is meant to go long distances. Put good street rubber on the same bike and we now have what we used to call a sport tourer.

Gets confusing, don’t it?