Last year’s Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout – a six-day, nine-bike extravagasm – pitted some of the lesser dirtable models (Versys 1000 LT, Multistrada S, S1000XR) against some of the industry’s more formidable off-roaders (1290 Super Adventure, 1190 Adventure, R1200GS) as well as a few inbetweeners (Caponord, V-Strom, Tiger Explorer). With this year’s introduction of Honda’s Africa Twin, Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro, and Triumph’s Tiger Explorer XCx, three more off-roady models have emerged.
Two contributing factors to a bike’s dirt-appropriateness are its wheel sizes and the presence of rugged wire-spoke wheels. Of the 11 bikes in this spec sheet, seven run a 19-inch front, 17-inch rear wheel combo, two a 21-inch front, 18-inch rear combo and two a 21/17 combo. The 17-inch front/rear combo and cast aluminum wheels the Multistrada 1200S, Versys 1000 LT and S1000XR wear have disqualified them from this shootout. Almost all the bikes here have spoke wheels, but for some reason – or rather a mistake on Suzuki’s part – the Adventure version of the V-Strom 1000 is outfitted with cast aluminum wheels instead of spokes. However, it’s wheel sizes are 19/17, and because the Strom so closely matches the Africa Twin in price, weight, and horsepower, we’re gonna look the other way and include it here. It should be noted that getting the class icon, BMW’s R1200GS, outfitted with spokes is a $500 upgrade in addition to the bike’s $1,500 “Standard” package (accounted for in the spec sheet’s pricing).
Triumph has diversified its Tiger Explorer lineup, following the pattern established by its smaller Tiger 800 siblings. Triumph hasn’t released a complete spec sheet for the new Explorers, but we’ve extrapolated what information is available and presented it here.
The two 800s (BMW F800GS and Triumph Tiger 800XC) and the Strom are certainly outgunned by the likes of Ducati’s and KTM’s 160-horsepower monsters (Multistrada Enduro, Super Adventure) but are closest to the relatively underpowered Africa Twin in terms of horsepower, weight and price. Since the Honda’s introduction of the Africa Twin, there’s been grumblings from some enthusiasts about how it compares to KTM’s 1190 Adventure R. What’s obvious in the spec sheet is the KTM splits the claimed curb weight of the two Honda models, but produces considerably more horsepower and torque. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that, when we get around to riding these two bikes, the KTM will leave the Honda in its proverbial dust. The real question will be, is the KTM worth paying an extra $4000, or $3300 compared to the DCT Africa Twin?
The follow-up questions are, how does the DCT version of the Africa Twin measure up against all the non-DCT models? Is DCT a better technology to have compared to the technologies some of the other bikes boast, such as cruise control or electronic suspension? Traditionalists are going to ask if DCT is even a technology worth developing. These questions and many more are unanswerable by looking at a spec sheet, but ones we’ll certainly consider when it comes time for riding impressions in our 2016 Adventure Bike Shootout.
What a spec sheet encompassing this many models is really good for is cross-referencing claimed performance and available technologies. It’s easy to see how a $12,500 Tiger 800XC with a respectable assortment of technologies progresses into a $21,295 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro with nearly every technology known to motorcycling. There are also some easter eggs in there when you look hard enough, such as the two most powerful bikes here – the 160-horsepower Multi and SA – sharing the same power-to-weight ratios with the less powerful but equally less heavy 1190 Adventure R (3.5 lbs/hp, 5.6 lbs/lb-ft).
At $21,295, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro is the most expensive ADV bike on this list. It’s also the most technologically laden model here and just about anywhere.
Also apparent are the three shaft-driven bikes, the four bikes that come equipped with centerstands, and that the Aprilia Caponord and Super Adventure are the only bikes on which saddlebags and crashbars aren’t expensive options (the Explorer XCx also comes equipped with crashbars). For those with specific needs, such as visiting remote places or riding long distances, knowing that the Multi and SA are the only two bikes with 7.9 gallons of fuel is useful. Riders who dislike bikes with weight problems will certainly notice the Capo’s 604-pound claimed curb weight (keep in mind, that weight includes saddlebags and crashbars).
To keep things fair – because we have yet to weigh and dyno each new model – we used the manufacturer’s claimed weight and power figures, which were, in turn, used to determine power-to-weight ratios. Obviously, this data will change at a future date when the bikes are in our possession to conduct honest rear-wheel dyno measurements and a weigh-in on MO’s expensive scales. Until then, use this spec sheet to draw some of your own conclusions on how these bikes measure against one another.
If a bike’s ability to navigate a hollow tree is important to you, let us know.
As we enter the planning phase of this important shootout, we’d appreciate getting your feedback on what you’d like to see in it. Which bikes are the ones you’d like to see compared to one another? Is there a particular type of testing that’s of greater importance? There’s plenty of time for you to help us fashion a better shootout, so let us know your thoughts, ideas and opinions. We’re listening.
1190 Adventure R
1290 Super Adventure
V-Strom 1000 ABS
Tiger 800 XC
$12,999 / $13,699 (DCT)
15,090 / $16,190 (ES)
1197cc Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder
798cc liquid-cooled, parallel-Twin, DOHC, four valves per cylinder
1170cc Air/Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, flat Twin, 4 valves per cylinder
1198cc Liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, DVT V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder
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