The Best Motorcycles To Storm Area 51
BMW R 1250 GS Adventure
Built like a tank and used to tour the world over, this Bavarian Clydesdale would be a fair choice to storm the gates. The range afforded by the fuel tank would allow any rider additional options when approaching Area 51. At a hefty 591 pounds fully fueled crashing through the main gate is possible but not advised. However, power is going to be the GSA’s saving grace.
The 1,254cc boxer engine with ShiftCam technology produces 136-hp and 105 pound-feet of torque and will keep you north of 120 mph as you scream across the dry lake bed. Be sure to stop by a Starbucks before you make your run, we hear the aliens like Pike Place Roast.
Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
While the Triumph Tiger 800 XCx might be the more logical choice, the Scrambler 1200 XE has proven itself in arid lands. Recently, Ernie Vigil and the Scrambler 1200 XE conquered the infamous NORRA 1000 rally, so it’s got the chops for this mission. Its retro looks might fool the military into believing you to be a harmless hipster but with 9.4 inches of suspension travel, a 1,200cc high-torque engine putting down 81 pound-feet of torque and 88 hp, you’ll be able to fly over the desert floor in the triple digits. The Achilles’ heel of the Scrambler 1200 XE might be its 4.2-gallon fuel tank. If you make it into Area 51, you’ll nervously be staring at the low fuel light well into your exit from the base.
KTM 790 Adventure R
From the Morrocan sand dunes to the desolate and dangerous Nevada desert, the KTM 790 R might be the strongest contender of the bunch. Featuring exceptional off-road handling, almost 100 hp, gobs of low-end torque, bulletproof low-slung fuel tanks that provide protection, and more than 280 miles of range, the KTM 790 R might just exceed it’s “Ready to Race” slogan. It’s also possible the angular design of the 790 R will reflect radar, but if the US military is using alien technology, it’s pretty much game over and you’ll be bleeding orange in the middle of the salt flats.
Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L
Big Red made a big ol’ dirt bike in 2015 that’s been recognized as one of the best adventure bikes for the money, especially when the ground under you gets shifty. Honda’s renowned reliability will be put to the test when raiding Area 51, but with its 998cc producing 94 hp and 73 pound-feet of torque the Africa Twin has just enough power to evade capture. With more than 9 inches of suspension travel and a fuel capacity of 5.9 gallons, it meets all our criteria to get you a meet-and-greet with ET and return home in one piece. Maybe.
The Rev’It #95
Built off a KTM 950 Super Enduro Erzberg Edition the Rev’It #95 was built to conquer the apocalypse. The massive 12-gallon custom fuel tank will enable any rider to approach Area 51 from any direction and lead the military on the most epic of desert chases around the Groom Lake salt flats. The Christini all-wheel-drive system will guarantee traction no matter where you are, whether it’s on the desert floor riding through sand or climbing the surrounding mountains. The 942cc 75-degree V-twin puts down a roadrunner-paced 98 hp and 70 pound-feet of torque. However, the Rev’It #95’s biggest weakness is its custom-made exhaust. It is louder than an SR-71 at takeoff so the US Air Force will hear you coming from 20 miles away. Gotta keep those flyboys on their toes. Why make it easy on them? They won’t make it easy on you.
KTM 450 Rally Factory Edition
It’s fair to say that storming Area 51 is going to be harder than winning the Dakar Rally. So to do the impossible, you’ll need the bike that can tackle the impossible. Enter the KTM 450 Rally Factory that Toby Price used to win the 2019 Dakar Rally. This 449cc, four-valve single puts out 70 hp and 38.5 pound-feet of torque while weighing in at under 300 pounds; it’s an absolute beast designed to accelerate quickly and go fast over unpredictable terrain for long periods of time. Boasting an 8.7-gallon fuel tank, manually adjustable WP factory-tuned suspension, steel trellis frame that provides stability at high speed, and a handmade Akrapovič titanium exhaust system, the KTM 450 Rally Factory is the one bike to rule them all. Now, if we can get KTM to produce them for the masses, we might just have a chance.
Triumph Tiger 800 XCx
Take the triple cylinder Triumph Tiger 800 XCx on your way to storm Area 51 if you want a nice-sized bike that will take just about anything you throw at it. The four-stroke three-cylinder engine is liquid-cooled, so make sure you don’t have any leaks before you head through the area. You’ll have plenty of power to make it through since the Tiger 800 makes 95 horses and 58 pound-feet of torque. And, you’ll be able to take advantage of excellent off-road ABS and traction control systems to help you with the rough terrain—and in the event that you have to stop rather quickly.
Ducati Desert Sled
Scramble in Ducati style to the distant Nevada lands. The 19-inch wire-spoked wheel and Pirelli Scorpion dual sport rubber lend off-road competence as do the 7.9-inches suspension travel, dirt-bike handlebar bend, skid plate, and motocross-style fenders. The Desert Sled looks fantastically funky with styling cues inspired from the off-road bikes of the ‘60s and ‘70s, so you will be riding in style across the desert. The long and slightly bowed seat is at 33.9 inches (claimed) with a wet weight of 456 pounds. The Sled is closely related to its street brethren with the 803cc, four-valve, air-cooled V-twin engine and steel-trellis frame, so you know it is ready for both on and off the street.
Royal Enfield Himalayan
The affordable, 411cc dual sport machine from Royal Enfield may look dainty, but it comes equipped with some features that even some higher-priced ADV bikes don’t have, such as a centerstand, front and rear luggage racks, and an aluminum skid plate. While it only has a top speed of 85 mph, you will be able to ride smoothly for hours thanks to a counterbalanced engine limiting the amount of rattle to the machine. The Himalayan is capable of taking on jagged rocks and gravel-strewn dirt roads with its telescopic 41mm fork (7.9 inches of travel) and monoshock rear suspension (7 inches of travel). Wet weight (with 90% fuel and oil) is at a manufacturer-claimed 428 pounds. This first dual-purpose offering from Royal Enfield should be considered if you are planning on heading out to the desolate desert lands.
With adventure in its blood, the BMW F 850 GS is an appropriate raid ride. The four-stroke parallel twin engine produces a claimed 90 hp at 8,000 rpm with 63 pound-feet of torque which is more than enough boost for the on- and off-road challenges you’ll encounter. The standard 33.9-inch seat height (with different seat height options available, ranging from 32.1-35 inches) will make it reasonably easy to climb aboard in case you need to quickly escape after you Naruto run away from the guards. Tubeless tires and spoked wheels also make it off-road ready, and optional off-road tires are available at no cost.
The Kawasaki KLR650’s 651cc engine runs on a carburetor so you may want to bring some tools to make adjustments if needed. As configured, the engine makes 37 horsepower and 33.4 pound-feet of torque, but there are tons of mods you could make to squeak out a bit more power. If you do that, be sure you have enough gas to make it all the way to Area 51—the tank holds 6.1 gallons (23.09 l). While this bike has been around for years and its looks are rarely updated, you can ride knowing that Kawasaki has had many years to create the perfect-running bike. And, because it doesn’t have a lot of the newer technology like ABS or fuel injection, it’s pretty much bulletproof. It’s also very light and includes a windscreen, making it great for riding on and off-road. And, you’ll get about 300 miles (482.8 km) between fill-ups — unless you jet the carb.
Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro
Ducati is breaking into the adventure/enduro bike craze and is doing it with gusto. The Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro will handle most off-road trails easily, which makes it a great bike to use for storming Area 51. The 1200 makes 158 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque and features cornering ABS. Even though the Multistrada is a powerhouse, it is still able to handle slow-speed turns on rough off-road surfaces. Ducati took the original Multistrada and did some work on the suspension, tweaked the engine and changed the frame geometry to make this into one of the best adventure bikes out there.
The Suzuki DR650SE gives you a ton of suspension travel in the front and rear with 10.2 inches (25.91 cm). It makes 43 horses and 39.8 pound-feet of torque to get you over some of the rougher terrain you might find on your way to Area 51. But, the tank holds just 3.4 gallons (12.87 l), so if you’re going to do some extra riding in the area, you’ll want to make sure you bring some extra gas—you’ll be able to go about 150 miles (241.4 km) on a tank since this is technically a dual sport bike. Adding some modifications, such as luggage or cargo racks, will make it a great adventure bike, especially since it’s good on gas. And, it’s bulletproof, so if you take care of it, it’s not as likely to break down on you at the most inopportune time.
The Honda XR650L has a single cylinder that is fed by a carburetor, but don’t let this bike fool you. It makes 43.6 horses and 38.2 pound-feet of torque, but it’s also light, at 346 pounds (ca. 157 kg). This means that it can scoot when you need it to. It doesn’t have a windscreen, but you can put one on it if you want. The only issue with this is that you’ll have to watch your fuel level, because it has a smaller gas tank. That is rectified easily enough, though—add the larger tank and you’ll be set. But, with its 21-inch front wheel, skid plate and long suspension travel, it’s a great bike for heading out to Area 51. The dirt bike ergonomics make the XR650L very stable on the trail. However, it does have a tall seat, so if you’re vertically challenged, you may want to look at a different bike.
The Suzuki DR-Z400S also runs on a single cylinder and features a carburetor, which means it gets great gas mileage. And that’s probably a good thing, since it has a very small 2.6-gallon gas tank. But, you can change out the tank and add some luggage to the bike to make it a true adventure bike. This bike is excellent for a trip to Area 51 because of the long 11.3-inch front and 11.6-inch rear suspension travel. It will take you anywhere you have the guts to ride. The engine could have a little more torque, though—it has 40 horses and just 28.7 pound-feet of torque. But, it’s light enough at 317 pounds (ca. 144 kg) so that you can still get up some speed where you need it.
Moto Guzzi V85TT
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Moto Guzzi on it. The V85TT is a middleweight adventure bike with an air-cooled 853cc V-twin engine, and even features some titanium parts. It serves up a great ride on paved roads, and it will let you push it hard off-road when you head out to Area 51.The V85TT also features a steel tubular frame, shaft drive and wheel travel of 170 mm — and even ABS. For long-haul convenience, you’ll appreciate the cruise control and 23 liter fuel tank, as well as the 4.3 inch digital display that keeps you informed about the bike’s crucial mechanical data and even lets you listen to music. The V85TT is relatively new, having come on the market in 2014, but Guzzi has tons of accessories designed for its bikes, so you can customize the V85TT into a traveling rig that’s completely your own.
Yamaha Super Ténéré ES
With a huge 6.1-gallon tank and an estimated 43 mpg, Yamaha’s flagship adventure tourer will help you go the desert distance when you head out to the mysterious federal lands of Area 51. Electronic suspension will allow you to adjust your settings on the fly with just a push of a button. Have extra cargo or even a passenger for your quest? That adjustable feature will come in handy when you have to tweak it to accommodate the added weight.Traction control is also a helpful feature and will instill confidence if you find yourself in less-than-ideal riding conditions. You may need to stop quickly in case there’s an, I don’t know, alien in your way, so ABS is another welcome feature, as is the Unified Braking System (this works by engaging some rear-wheel braking when the front brake lever is squeezed). The 1199cc parallel twin engine provides torque and traction which is perfect for when you’re looking to go off-road riding. The seat height and windscreen are also adjustable, giving you even more flexibility for ergonomic comfort. Even the footpegs are designed for adventure with rubber cushions to provide extra padding when you’re cranking out the miles, which then compresses to the metal should you have to stand up to take on the rugged landscape, giving a better boot-to-peg feel.
Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT Adventure
Suzuki’s V-Strom 1000XT Adventure is also an option that is up for the ride. The 1,037cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine can spread power nicely across the powerband with smoothness to carry through to the ride as well. How embarrassing would it be if you stalled in front of the Area 51 guards? Low RPM assist is featured on this machine, which will decrease the chance of stalling by adjusting engine speed at low-speed riding or takeoff. The 1000XT also comes with ABS and traction control, and you can increase aerodynamic comfort by adjusting the windscreen to your desired height and angle. A 43mm KYB inverted front fork (with adjustable spring preload) and single-shock, link-style rear suspension (with rebound-damping force adjustment and spring preload adjuster) work to increase riding comfort and soak up the bumps, while spoke wheels and dual-purpose tires lend a hand at making this ride dirt ready. Need to store camping supplies and food for your raid? The 1000XT Adventure comes with the ADV-style 37-liter aluminum panniers that attach to the steel carriers.
Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally
Push the boundaries with Aprilia’s Caponord 1200 Rally. This V-twin-powered machine produces a claimed 125 hp at the crankshaft, which is more than enough ponies for your jaunt. The Rally receives quite a bit of tech, such as ride-by-wire, ABS, ATC (Aprilia Traction Control), ACC (Aprilia Cruise Control), and ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping). Cruise control will be a super-handy addition for when you turn onto those long, straight Nevada highways and the ADD will be great for when you get off of those stretches of pavement. The ADD works by measuring the bumps you soak up and adjusts the hydraulic fork calibration and shock absorber to maximize comfort and improve rideability and safety. 6.3 gallons of gas can be held in the tank with an additional 1.3 gallons for reserve.
KTM 1090 Adventure R
Using decades of rally raid victories as inspiration, the Austrian company built this Adventure into a raid-ready machine with wire-spoke wheels, WP suspension, and a 1050 cc engine with a claimed 125 hp. Designed with a light steel trellis frame and swingarm, the 1090 Adventure R tips the KTM scales at 456 pounds. No matter where you wander, you can increase your ergonomic comfort with the adjustable handlebar. It has two clamping positions that allow you to move it 10mm forward or backward. Stay up on how much fuel you have remaining and any idiot lights that may blink on while you are flying down the rocky landscape by taking a quick look at the LCD display. And if you don’t catch that your blinkers are still on when you ride toward the gated entrance, no worries. This ride is equipped with ATIR (Automatic Turn Indicator Reset) that automatically stops the turn indicators after 10 seconds of movement and 150 meters (approximately 492 feet) of riding distance. Traction control and ABS are other handy rider aids you’ll get on the 1090 Adventure R.