It feels as if motorcycles are advancing every day. It’s not just about the brakes, throttle, and a few add-ons. The newest piece of tech is cruise control. While motorcyclists like to remain technologically conservative, you have to agree that there’s something good about cruise control
Cruise control can fulfill the same purpose as in a car: it lets you relax, keep fuel consumption lower, and stay within the speed limit. Since riding a bike is more intense, tiring, and riskier than driving, cruise control is more useful on a motorbike. It lets you shake off that numbness on the right wrist providing a safer ride.
Cruise control is often available in large touring bikes, but only recently have we seen factory cruise control on adventure bikes. We’ve done some research to find adventure bikes with cruise control.
Adventure Bikes with Cruise Control
1. 2023 Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200
According to Triumph, it rules the backcountry trails with a claim on the most maneuverable and agile large adventure bike. Electronic cruise control is one of the standard features of the Explorer.
This feature is the right-hand switch cube, which you reach awkwardly with the right thumb. You can only have active cruise control when riding at a speed of 19 to 100 mph in 3rd gear. When the cruise control is on, a light will appear on the instrument. You should use the clutch to disengage the cruise control. The +/- button allows you to increase or decrease the CC speed one mile at a time.
Explorer’s cruise control is intuitive as it lets you take your right hand off the bar to relax your muscles. Not to mention being able to ignore cop cars that would want to bait you into increasing your speed.
2. BMW R1250 GS Adventure
The BMW R1250 GS is one of the most premium adventure tourers in BMW’s line. This model’s cruise control is optional in a premium package that will cost you an additional $3,350. You can activate cruise control starting at 19 mph. Again, the telltale light for cruise control comes on. This feature maintains the current riding speed, and it saves that setting.
Nonetheless, you can open the throttle to increase the speed by approximately 0.6 mph. The bike accelerates steadily, but if you don’t push the button again, it will save that speed. However, if you release the throttle abruptly, the bike disengages cruise control. Additionally, it will disengage cruise control if you pull on the clutch or tap the brakes.
3. BMW F850 GS Adventure
The BMW F850 GS is made for rough terrain. Its endless list of optional equipment now includes cruise control. This feature comes in a premium package for an extra $3,245. Alongside cruise control, you also get gear shift assist pro, hand protection, dynamic engine brake control, keyless ride, and ride modes pro, among others.
4. Honda Africa Twin CRF 1100
Another motorbike with cruise control is the Honda Africa Twin CRF 1100. You can get it as a standard feature, meaning you won’t pay extra for this feature. You must be traveling at a speed of 31 to 100 mph and be in the 4th to 6th gear to activate cruise control. That’s with a manual transmission. For a dual-clutch transmission, you need to be in 3rd to 6th gear.
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You can reach the cruise control switch with the right thumb when riding. Cruise control will go into standby mode, and then you’ll need to accelerate to the speed you want and press down on the cruise control to SET/-. The SET icon alongside the cruise control light will be on to confirm it’s active.
5. KTM Adventure 1290 Super Adventure S
All KTM 1290 Super Adventure variants now have cruise control. However, on the Super Adventure S, KTM pushes the limits with adaptive cruise control. So, instead of maintaining the speed that you chose previously, adaptive cruise control can sync distance to the traffic ahead. A cruise control radar enables this function and comes with five distance settings. These include very short, short, middle, long, and very long in comfort and sports modes.
You can activate adaptive cruise control from speeds of 19 mph in second gear up to 93 mph. Once you engage adaptive cruise control, you can reduce the effort it takes to ride over long distances, making it a more enjoyable experience. What’s more, there are more subtleties such as ‘Overtake Assist,’ a short burst of acceleration to help during lane change, passing, and cornering. The MSRP is 19,499.
6. Ducati Multistrada 950 S and 1260 Enduro
Sport-touring riders always go for Ducati Multistrada when traveling over long distances, and it’s all in the comfort features. While these bikes are adventure-worthy, the 1260 Enduro is a bit scary and intimidating. So, Ducati saw it fit to include cruise control for greater ease when maneuvering. Among its other standard equipment are Evo Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS), hands-free, Up/Down Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), and backlit handlebars.
Still, if you find Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro too much of a beast, the 950 S is the appealing little brother, with cruise control as one of Ducati’s rider aides, this function is a factory feature. It comes as part of the Ducati safety pack, including traction control, power modes, cornering ABS, vehicle hold control, and cornering lights.
7. KTM 790 Adventure Rally
The KTM 790 Adventure Rally has cruise control as a standard feature. Nonetheless, you can opt for this feature in the KTM 790 R and S. You need to buy a combination switch. Additionally, the cruise-control function has to be activated at a fee by a KTM dealer
Cruise control on the KTM 790 Adventure Rally is designed to help with long highway stretches of travel. You set the speed on the left handlebar and monitor it on the TFT. With cruise control active, your KTM will use engine management and electronics to increase performance efficiency and save energy.
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8. Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE LT+
Versys 1000 SE LT+ is designed to make your ride safer and more comfortable. Its electronic cruise control feature allows you to maintain any desired speed by pressing a button. Once you activate cruise control, you don’t need to keep applying the throttle. It allows you to relax as you rest the right hand, making long journeys more bearable.
What Is Cruise Control
Cruise control is a technological advancement designed to improve security and comfort while minimizing human error on motorbikes. Before cruise control, bikers used throttle locks as a workaround. Throttle locks do just that, lock the throttle at a particular position. They do not control road speed or the engine. Nevertheless, you can still rest your hand.
Cruise control allows you to set a speed that the bike maintains without using the throttle. Since the bike maintains its speed, you can take your hand off the bar and give it a rest. The electric cruise control system reads the desired speed and matches it to the speedometer. It also manages the fuel supply to maintain the set speed.
Advantages of Cruise Control on Adventure Bikes
If you’re a long-distance blaster, it becomes exceedingly hard to keep the throttle open after the 200-mile mark. That said, cruise control exempts you from an achy wrist which is pretty important as far as physical limitations go.
Here are more advantages of having cruise control on your adventure bike.
Fewer Chances of a Speeding Ticket
Cruise control means you don’t have to keep an eye on your speed because of cops. Always maintaining your speed when you need to watch the road is a lot of mental work. With increasing speed cameras, it’s good to know you can keep your eyes up.
Cruise control means ignoring vehicles nudging you to speed in heavy traffic. Most drivers will drop back once they notice you’re maintaining speed, something that’s nearly impossible on most motorbikes.
Cool Down in Hot Weather
If your adventure suit has underarm vents, you can extend your hands to let the breeze in. It adds to the fun since you don’t have to sweat in 100°F degree weather.
While most adventure bikes are made like comfy sofas, you still need to adjust in your seat. Cruise control allows you to ride in a relaxed state such that you can adjust the gloves or wear earphones without letting go of the gas. In addition, it contributes to a safer and more defensive ride with little room for mishaps.
Saving on fuel is one of the reasons why bikers invest in motorcycles with cruise control. The further a gallon can take you, the better it is on your pocket.
The main point of having cruise control is comfort over long highway stints. So, if you’ve been wondering which adventure bikes offer this feature, the bikes on this list are the real deal. Some of these options provide the feature at an additional fee, so it’s something to keep in mind.
If you have an appetite for the highway, adding something for comfort can turn your rig into a glorified sled on wheels. It also trumps simplicity; something purists will cringe upon.
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Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.