Everybody’s talking weight-loss, yet most, considering themselves “adventure riders”, keep forking over their cash for pear-shaped, bloated machines. Is it the promise of endless power or the perceived globetrotter image that tugs on your credit card, or do you honestly need the 100+ horsepower bolted to a 250-kilogram travel platform.
I am guilty of not asking myself this question while following the trend—if not blindly, then seriously nearsighted. After two decades riding loud Italian street bikes, I started my role stradling one of the absolute heavyweights of the adventure segment, a BMW boxer.
Stubborn, Stubborn Man
At 189 cm and 100 kilos, I am not a featherweight rider by any stretch of the imagination, so I felt pretty comfortable and well matched behind the speedo of the big lump. But all comfort ended when I encountered a dead-end trail with the the bike´s nose pointing south. Turning 250 kilos of dead weight embedded in wet moss does not make for my kind of adventure.
Resistant to waking up, I’ve continued to trade my way through other heavy bikes until this summer, when I faced the unanswered question: What’s keeping you from choosing a different route and riding a lighter bike?
Fit For Adenture
To help me answer this question, I got help from trusted friends at AJP Nordic in Stockholm, who made a 2023 PR7 Adventure available for a few days stint along the ribbon of gravel roads, part of the Trans European Trail.
Throwing my leg over the tall sadle, the AJP felt unfamiliar yet comfortable. The riding position was nearly perfect, with all critical controls right where I wanted them, from foot lever angles to the thumb-operated remote for the impressive multi-functional Android tablet.
The light weight and narrow profile served up a real eureka moment, even before I pressed the start button. Hello, brave new world!
When ordering a PR7, you’re presented with a number of options. In my case, “somebody” had opted for the race-mapped edition with 65 horsepower on tap rather than the standard model’s 46. Still a sucker for extra power on anything, the promise of extra “go” was welcome.
In preparation for a week on the road, I used a MoskoMoto Rackless 40 and a small duffle from the same brand. MoskoMoto also sent me a couple of their new tank bags to review: the cavernous “hat box” Hood tank bag and the minimalistic Gnome. I chose the ladder, which proved a tad too minimalistic, but more on that in a separate review.
Fitting bags and miscellaneous gear to the PR7 is a piece of cake. Not only does the no-nonsense bike design allow for easy access to critical components for service, but it is also super convenient for customizing your bike. Modern bikes all wrapped in plastic panels may look chic, but in most cases, the bikes are designed by industrial designers driving Alfa Romeos.
The AJP is a dream in this regard. The thoughtful way this bike is designed and built should be the gold standard of adventure bikes. Great job!
Hokus Pokus Free
Before rolling off, I kept note of the fact that the PR7 has no ABS, traction control, or programable riding modes. Maneuvering past new EU regulations, the PR7 is classified as a motorcycle for one person, the rider. The absence of passenger footpegs proves the point. (There are no back- and armrests available in the ordering form; this is a motorcycle.)
Another common detail with “pain in the ass” potential, the side stand sensor, has also been dropped. As soon as you take the weight off the stand, it folds up.
The guys at AJP have built a motorcycle around riders with enough confidence in their own basic abilities, rather than trusting dongles and button-pushing sequences to activate the desired level of hokus pokus. Having owned and loved an early cult bike from KTM, I just love this approach.
Power Is Nothing Without Control
The 65 horsepower from the 600 cc single is plenty to move the PR7 along, even with the combined tonnage of myself and my gear. For the bike alone, the scale stops at a mere 165 kg with all fluids in. For an adventure bike, this low weight is hugely important.
A 6-speed gearbox provides excellent ratios for all kinds of technical riding. The fuel delivery system forks power out in a rather snatchy fashion, but it is not at all problematic once you get used to it. Riding this bike up and over obstacles is easy. Even when your trust in your own abilities wears thin, support from this easy-to-control bike never fails. The generous ground clearance left me stunned, riding boulders on an old forest machine track. The 17-liter fuel tank gave in excess of a 300-kilometer range without the risk of running out.
I found the secure handling of the PR7 gave me room to push my limits and increase confidence as the miles racked up. I figure the main reasons for this are the agility of the geometry and the lack of bulk. Even with luggage, the bike handles like a smaller bike—well balanced and planted.
A couple of spirited evening runs without the weight of the panniers revealed another positive characteristic under heavy acceleration and breaking: the bike steers and tracks like a true enduro bike. It´s fun and forgiving. The adjustable Sachs suspension allows for 300 mm of travel at the front and 280 mm at the rear.
Brembo brakes efficiently bring everything to a standstill in the typical composed manner. A single disk, both front and rear. The front disk has a dual piston caliper.
The couple of issues that plagued me during the week can be attributed to my own physical frame and my lifelong allergy to the Android platform. As an Apple fan, I never made friends with the anti-Christ-like behavior of the foreign operating system. For this, I take full responsibility.
In the couple of days I succeeded in operating the tablet without issues, I found it brilliant for route tracking, bike stats, and map information. With this fully functioning unit, you can check email, surf the internet, find the nearest restaurant, and order a pizza. Amazing convenience and a standard feature from AJP.
The other unfortunate detail was my inability to find a comfortable standing position on the bike in its standard configuration. The distance between the sadle and footpegs was too short, and the handle bar too low. Standing up resulted in a curled up, cramped, and painful posture—not at all conducive to bike control. Luckily, this is easily remedied with lowered pegs and a bar riser.
So, is the AJP PR7 Adventure 650 a real adventure bike? If your definition of adventure riding is the same as mine, the answer is a resounding yes. During my week of riding the PR7, it more than satisfied my expectations. Its predictable and competent handling over different surfaces and at different speeds is a testament to what weight loss brings to an adventure bike. I would be happy riding this bike for a spirited evening stint or for weeks and months on adventures anywhere. In my estimation, the AJP PR7 should be an obvious choice for adventuring the Scandinavian outback.
Recommending this bike comes easy and with but a single exception: If your idea of adventure riding is a four-day highway run to North Cape and back, I would choose another bike. As much of a joy the PR7 is on winding B-roads, it is ill-fitting as an asphalt burner. That´s where 250 kg, 150 hp, and the optional backrest should be considered.
Warranty & Dealer Network
So you´re intrigued. I don´t blame you. The PR7 is a bloody good bike and you owe it to yourself to ride the bike before you put your money down for your next purchase. If you don´t like it you are richer by an experience. If it crawls in under your skin like it did mine, you´re in for a new chapter as an adventure rider. If you come from one of the heavy weights the AJP will show you down paths you never would dare on your old locomotive. And it will gift you the skill and confidence that comes naturally with it´s weight class.
AJP is a small brand compared to the giants, but that can work at your advantage. If the service and commitment we´ve experience after working with AJP Nordic for the last couple of years is an indicator for how AJP treats fellow motorcycle riders, you will be in the best hands. Find your distributor and start the dialogue there. https://ajpmotos.com/pages/dealermap
All AJP products are covered under the standard EU 2 year warranty rule. Service and warranty procedures are governed by your national distributor. Availability and delivery times may vary.
Basecamp North / Bibow
Review made by Basecamp North