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.

2016 Africa Twin Review

2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro + Video

2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer Lineup

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).

011516-2016-adventure-spec-shootout-2016-triumph-tiger-explorer

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?

2015 Epic Sport-Adventure Spec Sheet Shootout

Anyone willing to bet against this bike winning whatever adventure bike shootout it enters? 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure R Review.

Anyone willing to bet against this bike winning whatever adventure bike shootout it enters? 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure R Review.

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.

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.

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.

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  • Old MOron

    So I count twelve bikes in the spec sheet comparo. Wow! You MOrons are taking on a monumental endeavor. I can’t wait to (virtually) ride with you. Maybe this year you can use the SPOT’s competitor, or maybe both. You’ll have a comparo within a comparo.

  • PeteN95

    The Vstrom has a slipper clutch and fully adjustable fork!

  • spiff

    The new Ducati is going to win. Can i have a helmet.?

  • spiff

    The new Ducati is going to win. Can i have a helmet.?

  • Walter

    If you’re going to persist with such a large comparo, you should include a KTM950 or 950S as a baseline for off-pavement performance; since they’ll all be real good on pavement.

    I know these are good for talking points among brand fans; but it would probably be more useful to group them into likely “shopping/buying decision” groups and then put the category winners against each other.

    For example:

    1) The GSA, Duc 1200 Enduro, 1200 SA, S10, and Triumph Explorer as the heavyweight Super Tankers

    2) GS1200, VStrom, CapoNord, 1190 Standard, Tiger 800 Roadie as the more pavement-focused bikes

    3) GSA 800, Honda CRF, 1190R, Tiger 800XCx as the more dirt-focused bikes

    Then have the category winners go against each other to determine an overall “winner”. Yeah, yeah, we know know they’re all winners depending on your budget and what you want to do with it, etc.. And the best road bike may not be the best off-pavement bike, and vice versa: so determining the weighting is important (I think 70/30 on pavement/off pavement is probably pretty fair). But whatever you choose, there must be a winner to fuel fireside and internet arguments for the year: or at least until the next comparo lol

    So just decide if it’s the 1190 Standard or R.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      It is the 1190 R.

      • Walter

        I’d say that depends on the paved/unpaved mix. Anything more than 30-40% dirt (which is a lot more than most of these bikes are likely to see) and I’d agree on the R. Otherwise, the Standard (full disclosure- I bought a standard lol).

        • Sayyed Bashir

          I understand. The TKC80 tires on my bike are 60% dirt / 40% street. I already have a Harley Softail for my street/touring needs. Even the standard 1190 is better in the dirt than some of these bikes, depending on what tires you put on it. I think people buy adventure bikes with some intention of taking them off-road.

    • Ian Parkes

      Not sure why people keep trying to wedge road-biased bikes back in. This is test of dirt-biased bikes.

  • Old MOron

    Okay, now that I’ve thought about it a little bit, how about something along this angle:

    All of the bikes this year have bigger, spoked wheels, right? So this year’s comparo is going to be more dirt oriented, right? How about if you take all of the bikes to something like Jimmy Lewis’s training course? http://jimmylewisoffroad.com/

    You MOrons can ride out to Pahrump and back for the touring part of the shootout, then get dirty. What I’m most interested in is which bike is easiest to ride. Whenever I hear a racer, any racer, say good things about his bike, he includes “easy to ride” in his praise. If you MOrons put the bikes through non-trivial off-road exercises, maybe an easiest-to-ride bike will rise to the top.

    Just an idea.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Good idea! I was there in November taking the off-road training class. Jimmy rides a new KTM 1190 Adventure R and his wife Heather rides a KTM 1190. I think half of these bikes will not make it in the dirt, sand dunes, gravel, and steep hill climbs. The ‘Taste of Dakar’ by AltRider on March 11-13, 2016 in Pahrump, NV would be a good test.

      • Old MOron

        Thanks for the support. Although now that I think about it even further, it’s going to be a real tough sell with the OEM’s. Just imagine:

        “Yeah, we want to take your brand new bikes to Pahrump and ride them in the dirt, over ruts and rocks and stuff. Each bike will be ridden by several pilots, and they’ll probably drop the bikes a couple of times. But we’ll wash them before we bring them back. Okay?”

        • Ian Parkes

          Private owners, yeah it would be a tough sell. OEMs, however, should see the value of a real world test rather than a puff piece that avoids the conditions these bikes are supposedly built for. Readers can certainly tell the difference. Maybe to make it more palatable there could be more categories. Certainly picking one winner is quite artificial. I don’t always think the ‘winner’ is the best bike for me, or agree with all the rankings. It’s a magazine convention and it grabs readers, and gives great PR value to one OEM – but readers absorb the info choose their own winners. But the ‘winner’ takes all.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            You are right. The 2016 Africa Twin was introduced to the press by Honda in December in South Africa. The first day was a paved road. The second day was a smooth dirt farm road. Most journalists just rode the smooth dirt farm road. As far as I know, Ari Henning of Motorcyclist Online was the only one who took the bike off road into bushes and rocks and did some aggressive dirt riding, and as a result I have a better opinion of the bike (without DCT).

          • Old MOron

            “I don’t always think the ‘winner’ is the best bike for me, or agree with all the rankings. It’s a magazine convention and it grabs readers, and gives great PR value to one OEM – but readers go past that, absorb the info and choose their own favorites.”

            Exactly. That’s why all the OEM’s participate. They know that only one bike can “win,” but they also know that readers will pick their own favorites if they have the right info.

            And I think our MOronic editors do a great job of conveying strengths, weaknesses, and even nuance. Just have another look at last year’s Ultimate Sport Adventure Shootout: http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs/2015-ultimate-sports-adventure-touring-shootout/3

          • Ian Parkes

            Sorry, missed this reply before now. And I agree with you, mostly. Especially agree that the writers and editors here do a great job articulating nuances, which is why it’s one of my favorite reads – but if OEMS are smart enough to appreciate that over the group test ‘winner’ convention why would it be a hard sell to get them to agree to a tougher test? Surely the extra credibility would work for them too?

  • Nihal Kanbargi

    I think you should crown winners in two categories: Sub $15k motorcycles in one category and the rest in the other.

  • major tom

    Must be a typo with the torque of the 800 BMW!

    • Ducati Kid

      MT,

      Correct on the published Torque figure should be 61 Ft. Lbs.

      Even the ‘F900GSAM’ Concept with a 900cc ROTAX-Testarossa with AM Transmission outputs 73 Ft. Lbs.

      BMW ‘F900GSAM’? The ADV motorcycle Berlin should be offering U.S. riders.

  • major tom

    Where is the Moto Guzzi Stelvio fellas?

    • Dan Nibbelink

      The Stelvio is the best kept secret in the Adventure Tourer world. It comes with skidplate, engine guards, panniers and an eight gallon tank! It handles better than a 1200GS and has the fuel capacity of a GSA without being top heavy. And, as a bonus, it has the most character and best sound of the lot.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        What are the front and back wheel sizes and are they wire-spoke wheels?

        • Dan Nibbelink

          19 front and 17 rear, same sizes as 1200 GS pre-WC.
          Wire wheels are stronger; less likely to damage them off road than cast wheels. There are tubeless on the Stelvio.

      • Kevin Duke

        The Stelvio is cool, but to say it handles better than a GS and isn’t as top-heavy as a GS sounds like someone who owns a Guzzi.

    • RPJ

      When I complained about the lack of a Stelvio last year the reason given was that the bike was unchanged & therefore didn’t need to be tested. Except for the lack of cruise control, it is the best kept secret. Still love mine & still schlepping it around the country.

      • Kevin Duke

        Better yet, the V9…

        • David Viosca

          Agree, Stelvio V9 lighter, more capable

  • Vrooom

    Based pn the prices and information I’d be left with the Triumph or Suzuki (possibly Honday though DCT does nothing for me) if buying new. If I win the lottery the Ducati looks mighty nice.

  • Mike Johnson

    Winner: Honda with DCT though it should be noted that the torque peaks are way too high on these beasts for any serious lower speed work other than a genius level rider on any chancy surface. There are few who have the skills to run at 100 mph on a dirt road.
    Any of these would be great with lower suspensions and more pavement (quieter running) tires for light off road use. Of course with this much HP you could tow a trailer with a dirt bike on it in the 250 class and still do 80.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      There is room for all kinds of motorcycles for all kinds of riders. Some people like big powerful motorcycles to work off their testosterone. Extra power comes in handy when hill climbing with full luggage or a deep water crossing. There is nothing wrong with a little extra power except a little extra weight. Also works good on long distance freeway rides with luggage and passenger. Once you lower the suspension and take off the TKC80 knobby tires, you are back to a street motorcycle, and who wants that?.

      • Mike Johnson

        I will look into the gearing of the KTM. Personally I like dual purpose bikes for the riding position, wide bars, and control so if we look at a CRF 450 at 320 lbs just for an example that is a do-able project though 275 lbs would be even better. With the new Af Twin we see 534 and this is purely expert level weight and power.
        You may be an expert as I saw a video with someone claiming to do over 100 mph on a dirt road in S. Africa so I agree it can be done with an air ambulance close by.
        Torque multiplication is all about gears not engine power and people do not like to shift frequently so rely on engine power and the throttle. Many riders prefer this on and off the road.
        Now, people may buy these monster duallies on looks and romance but all will run at moderate speeds 90 % of the time on or off pavement. We know this from data logging so we understand that we do not require 125-150 hp to go 80 mph on the road or 8 mph on a gravel road so the CRF 450 will do this saving 220 lbs in the process.
        I have done this so you might try it. Pick out your favorite Duallie and cut the suspension to a little over street height for the limited off road use you will do BUT keep all the other control features like wide bars, upright posture, and reasonable windscreen.
        On a long trip I find the noisy lumpy running of the currently popular chunky tires causes too much vibration on pavement. You may find it stimulating but I do not like it.
        Find effective but quieter running rubber then head for the back roads and you will find a better handling package as a small increase in ride height will give you all the additional ground clearance you can possible use while keeping the center of mass reasonably low. Any gravel or fire type road will be fine saddlebags included especially without the engine way up in the air and 150 HP instantly available on the over rev. The rest of the time shift the thing.
        If there was a gauge on the dash that recorded how much power you were actually using it might be 25 hp to hold a steady 60 mph on a level road. This is the one and only reason your Softail has not melted the engine yet because most of the time is is 225 lbs of motor delivering a steady 25 hp providing PLENTY of time for your heat soaked engine to cool back down between blasts of speed
        This is why Buell #Failed as he tried to run an XL engine wide open around and around on a track and they just blew apart at 100-140 hp and 8000 rpm and Buell MUST have known this as he actually worked for HD. The XR 750s were the same but fans did not see the constant rebuilds and crank replacements
        It will not happen but it would be great to contract 20 top riders to run 10 baggers and 10 Softails around Daytona at the top speed the riders are not risking their lives at and see how many hours they last until they begin to come apart.
        Nothing wrong with favoring Harleys or the Ford Trimotor as long as they are not over promoted and buyers are not burned by excessive expectations.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          You are right. Most riders do not use their bikes to their full potential. Even though the KTM 1190 R produces 150 hp, it is only 100 hp in the dirt. The TKC80 tires are only rated to 100 mph so you cannot go the full 150 mph unless you switch to Conti Trail Attack 2s. Also as you said, the 92 ft-lbs of torque comes at 7500 rpm, so if you are not keeping the revs up, the engine will stall, making you go down. The Harley puts out 92 ft-lbs at 2500 rpm, so you have plenty of torque at low revs. Unfortunately 2″ of rear suspension is not conducive to dirt riding. You are comparing dual purpose bikes to adventure bikes. They are different beasts. The CRF 450 would not be suitable for riding hundreds of miles at freeway speeds with luggage and passenger.

          • Mike Johnson

            Thanks you are correct in much of what you say and I am looking for a low end type motor/bike for this purpose. Without buying people should try a light weight bike like an 800 Monster and see if they like it. They might not but these things are almost like bicycles compared to the bigger boats. If people prefer Ultraglides I do not mind. I was at the HD dealer ordering parts so I looked closely at the Ultras but this is just not for me. The torque curve on the other hand is perfect. So how to get this type of power delivery in a sub 400 pound package in terms of pounds of rolling weight for every ft-lb of torque. H-D says the Ultra is 880 ready to roll so if we propose a 400 lb bike that is a 55% weight reduction. A stock 103 might kick out 90 lbs at 3500 and quite a bit up from idle so if we only reduced torque by 40% to come out substantially harder than the Ultra we need 54 lbs at 3500 or about as much as a tuned 883 XL.
            Such a bike at 400 lbs delivering 54 lbs at 3500 will be a BLAST to ride on or off the pavement ASSUMING the induction, cams will support that kind of curve!
            Here is the best part as it might have only 55 hp at 5252 RPM but from experience on Ironhead XLs this is enough to clear 110 mph and we have not begun the tuning! If we use a 1200 kit and very conservative timing we might get 78 lbs at 3500 rpm. Weight, the weight has to come down.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I think that’s what attracted Eric Buell to the Harley V-Twin originally. He had exactly the same idea: High torque at low rpm, combined with low weight. Unfortunately everything else didn’t work out. The Rotax engines he used later were high revving with peak torque at a much higher rpm, more like a sport bike. Harley doesn’t put out hp figures for its bikes, only torque numbers.

          • Mike Johnson

            We will agree as I owned 2 Buells and light weight and high torque does work so what went wrong? The last racing XL based Buell used a 4.08 piston which is workable with modern dual plug ignition but the crank pin was only 1.50 inches and in a real power application that should have been about 2.25 inches or 50% larger in diameter. As a result of cheating on this dimension Buell was not able to keep crankshafts from failing. The other major problem was the valve gear as it was too crooked. The 4 cams idea is good but their location in the cam gear case was conserved from the side valve or flathead era as flatheads place the exhaust valve at the extremes of the bore for cooling purposes. This is very important to understanding what went wrong. I personally did all this measuring BTW. The 4 cams need to be moved higher in a new gear case to the correct position for OHV so modern rockers can be used and the base circle of the cam lobes can be increased. This would also permit a larger pinion bearing as the current one is too small in diameter as well. It also dates from the side valve era when pistons were 2.75 inches in diameter.
            All of this could be done with MINIMAL changes to the exterior appearance of the engine which most would never really notice without looking closely as the pushrod tubes would be parallel with the cylinders front to back viewed from the side and left to right when viewed from the front of the engine.
            For fun and entertainment check Cycle World online and look at the Dyno Charts. Check the 1600 Triumph twin and the eyes pop out of your head ;-).
            Key thing is that Harley management authorize these invisible engineering changes. That would be my core point.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Are you talking about the current Harley twin-cam engines or the original single-cam Sportster engines Buell used?

          • Mike Johnson

            The Twin Cam “B” engine is the best HD engine at the moment as it has a better bearing and crankshaft journal set-up. Truthfully, if people kept their bike stock and kept the rpm down to about 5000 the bikes will and do last a long time. If your bike is basically stock I would recommend that you consider a slipper clutch to assist in protecting your crank from excessive engine braking as in a panic stop. The same applies to dropping a gear to pass as this gives the crank a break. A very heavy two-up bike cannot break the tire loose, will not break the belt or primary chain so the load goes right to the crank. Since the crank pin is only a press fit it may twist or scissor as we say.
            Both the XLs and the TCs have undersized crank pins relative to the piston diameter. Example: a 1200 XL has a 3.5 piston and the last factory race Buell had a 4.0 piston both running on a 1.5 crank pin. In modern design practice the 3.5 piston would like a 1.925 crank pin and the 4.0 about a 2.2.
            If you have a 103 you are running a 3.87 piston on a 1.67 pin when 2.1 would be a lot better even with a forged one piece crankshaft.
            This is kind of okay but what happens when you begin to to boost the stock power, rev the engine as high as it will go, or insist on passing without downshifting? You risk twisting that under rated crank pin and this will wipe out your oil pump and cam drive pretty quickly. $$$. Even a little scissoring of the crank will increase vibration a lot.
            If you were going to hot rod your softail then getting the crank assembly trued and welded by Dark Horse or other crank specialist is very well advised. If we look at the new Indian Chief about 1800cc we see a 52 mm crank pin 2.04 inches but this is a forged crank on a piston slightly under 4.0 inches and running on plain bearings-far stronger, stiffer, and straighter than the HD crank.
            BTW XLs ran a 4 cam set up from the side valve era.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I have a 96 cu in Twin Cam “B” stock engine and I have not made any changes to the bike except added a oil cooler. I ride fast but not aggressively. No passenger or luggage. Mostly commuting on the freeway. As I mentioned elsewhere I have 141,000 miles on my 2007 Softail. It has been dealer maintained every 2500/5000 miles since I bought it. It was paid off in 2014 and now I am paying for my 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R which I love as much as the Harley.

    • Ian Parkes

      Suzi’s peak torque is at 4000 rpm and Honda’s NC700X also peaks below 5000.

      • Mike Johnson

        You are correct. Of those listed the Suzuki 1000 does look to be the best for low speed use and interests me the most. The *Real Winner* for this use is the NC 700 and 750X DCT. I think the 700cc tariff is finally over so the 700 will soon disappear and is improved in some ways at 750. Readers should examine the general layout of the NC bikes which is more consistent with bike life as it is actually lived. Actual Dyno charts are very revealing if you look at a lot of them and I will look for one for the Suzuki in a few minutes. Electronics provides tremendous control over torque bands and some are almost incredible if you are used to traditional engines and their outputs.
        You may be interested in the Rekluse or EFM clutches as well which can be usefully combined with many bikes for more fun, better results, and getting home. Thanks for noting the Suz 1000.

  • John B.

    I would like to see a True Cost to Own category which would include estimates for insurance, maintenance, repairs, market value pricing, and depreciation over a five (5) year term. In some cases, differences in MSRP become greatly exaggerated when taking these factors into account.

    For example, my friend, who commutes four (4) miles each way via motorcycle to a deli he owns and operates, wanted to replace his Kawasaki ZX-10 with a Ninja H2. This upgrade would cause his annual insurance premium to soar from around $2,000 to over $5,000 (a $15,000 difference over five (5) years). That’s more than a dollar per mile ridden for insurance, which he deemed prohibitive. (In contrast, I pay $370/annum to insure my 2012 Concours.)

    A 2016 ZX-10 has a $15,999 MSRP, while the H2 costs $26,000. Over 5 years, the $9,000 difference in MSRP becomes a $24,000 difference when taking insurance into consideration. Obviously, the H2 would also depreciate more than the ZX-10. In short, the H2 has a much higher True Cost to Own than the ZX-10, and many potential purchasers (like my friend) might deem the price difference too great compared with the difference between the bikes themselves.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    Corrections: The KTM 1190 R seat height is fixed at 35″. Only the regular KTM 1190 has an adjustable seat. The KTM 1190 R comes with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and comes with orange crash bars (engine guards) and a tough plastic bash plate. Also in your review of the Africa Twin you said “Also MIA (on the manual transmission model) is any type of selectable Ride Modes” yet the spec sheet here lists it has having them.

  • Stephen Bogert

    not a spec, but a significant detail as to why KTM twins excel offroad is that their engines are dry sump designs-that lowers the bulk of the engines weight a couple inches over an engine that has an oil sump at the bottom. When it is said KTM built the 950 for Dakar, a dry sump was a given, other bikes have engines that start as street oriented, raising the whole engine a lot is needed to get the same ground clearance.
    A dry sump design is more complicated, has more parts in general, like 2 oil pumps, and takes bit more effort to drain the oil if the crankcase and tank are each drained-and KTM also has you drain a 3rd low spot, in the gearbox area. Oh well, so what!
    The new KTM twins integrate the oil tank into the cases, but now in front, not below. Simpler to build and just as effective-no external oil lines to care about.

    The BMW flat twin is an awkward engine to package, the block needs to be high to have cornering clearance, so the wet sump on that model probably has no added ill effect. Other factories just raise up a street engine. Sometimes the skid plate is too close to the oil pan, a rock can bump the plate and still crack the sump-getting to the next concern, if the engines bottom is low and vulnerable, does it have a replaceable pan, like the BMW boxer twins, or does the engine case -seam get broken needing a new Block?

    In the past bike mags would point out these kind of details, now you need to know what to look for, I doubt the ‘kids’ writing the mags even think about this stuff.

    Regarding dry sump engines, most great dirt singles also are built that way too, for the same reason.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Good observations! You should be the one writing these reviews. I knew the KTM 1190 R was a dry sump design but I didn’t know the oil tank was in the front. Now I understand why the oil level viewing window is on the front left side. There is a tough plastic bash plate protecting the front and bottom of the engine but I wonder if it is enough to protect it against a direct hit on a rock.

      • Stephen Bogert

        Sayyeed, go look at a 950 or 990, see the completely separate oil tank and connecting hoses. Starting with the RC8, KTM integrated the tank with the engine cases, a cheaper and effective design, but not original either,in the ’60s Royal Enfield twins were also built with an integral dry sump. The earlier Adventure and Superduke models carried the battery forward and low where your oil now is, the battery weight was there for weight on the front wheel and to be low, but not everyone felt a battery down low was good if you were running thru deep water!-a plastic box covered it, but? A sign the bike was built for desert racing!
        The 950/990 Supermoto has a void down low there, the oil tank is attached a bit higher and the battery is under the seat.

        About your skid plate, several aftermarket companies and KTM themselves do a proper, thick alloy plate-plastic will not save the engine if it comes down on a hard point of rock. KTM Twins lists 4 versions, there are more too. My guess is factories figure the bikes will likely never get serious off road use or they would install better- the stylish plastic on the bottom of my 690 Enduro looked nice, but is now replaced with less attractive alloy that adds a bit weight too.

        Dakar bikes have a thick carbon fiber skid plate, rigid like steel but light, not the flimsy decorative carbon sold to decorate bikes-KTM sells some of that junk, I had that on my 950 ADV when new to ‘protect’ the lower fuel tank area, it would be destroyed if the bike fell over while standing still.

        And thanks for the compliment!

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Yes, I have seen all the skid plates offered for my bike but have not decided on one. Black Dog has the one with the most coverage but it requires relocating the side stand. I haven’t done hardcore off-road riding yet (at least not intentionally) so it hasn’t become a serious issue yet. Adding more weight to the bike is also a deterrent.

          • Stephen Bogert

            I forgot about Big Dog, probably the best one you can get., the weight that low you will never feel.

    • Chris Hutchens

      Yamaha Super Tenere also uses a dry sump engine.

      • Stephen Bogert

        Chris that would interest me if I were considering one of these-I already own a 950 ADV, -but notice in the engine description that no mention is made of this aspect of the design. Do we blame the writers or the audience for not demanding more?

        Why do I care? Aside from the lower CG enabled , I take satisfaction in knowing my KTM was designed to win in Dakar, and that they did win!
        I find that feels more authentic than an adventure bike that shares its heart with a sportbike, a touring bike or whatever. The Yamaha engine I guess was first intended for this application, not adapted from a more general model. If I owned or were considering the Super Tenere, that would please me.
        Consider the worst case in reverse- most of us did not view a Buell as a valid sportbike when it was powered by a ’50s design era lump!

  • Wonko_T_S

    I assume you will be publishing real mileage-range figures?
    Having an 8-gal tank is not much use if the bike only gets 30mpg (like some older KTMs).

    • Sayyed Bashir

      My 1190 R gets 37-40 mpg with a 6.1 gallon tank. That is 225 to 244 miles.

  • Biker Mike

    I would be particularly interested in a head to head between the R1200GS and the Multistrada. Being a short rider at 5’7″, I’d appreciate a small blurb about the ride-ability and lowering options (seat, suspension, etc) for all the bikes and what the lowest possible seat heat would be, to get me as close to flat-footed as possible. Perhaps one of your shorter stature test riders/columnists can do a special feature?

    • DeadArmadillo

      No thanks. The winner will be the one with the most ” fun factor”.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      No suspension, no “adventure”. Buy a street bike.

    • Mike Johnson

      Check out the motocrossers and offroad bikes of the 1950s an 1960s. Flat Trackers are also excellent dirt machines. You have to keep it short and very light and ride around obstacles on chosen paths rather than pound straight over everything.
      A Trials Bike should provide a lot of ideas as well and Trails videos on Youtube will prove this to you. These huge machines are the wrong idea other than for the taller people. Look for very short wheelbase. Below is a a couple of Ducatis and you could also build a street legal single on the 400 Duc or a KTM single. Until the extreme travel suspensions were invented all dirt bikes were low.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        You are talking about dirt bikes and trials bikes and he is asking about adventure bikes. Apples and oranges. Adventure bikes can go anywhere in the world without needing a pickup truck or trailer. So you don’t have to circle back to the truck or trailer. You can go on an open-ended adventure around the country, around the continent, or around the world. And that is why they are called adventure bikes, not dirt bikes.

        • Mike Johnson

          You are kind of fun in an offbeat sort of way 😉 in that you reflect your view of the World which is more strictly defined than needed at least in biking. As a *consultant* or *sales person* you search for ways to make the client happy as they are often unclear about what will do this for them. If they did know they would not ask questions or post on sites like this.
          If this rider is relatively young and less aware of history they may not know about early off road biking from the 1950s. They may think one HAS TO have a 34 inch saddle height and 150 hp when this is not correct especially for them. As long as the bike is the right size for the rider and provides power evenly and has decent tires they can have fun off road . If the bike is light they will be far more likely to be able to pick it up if dropped and FAR LESS likely to drop it to start with.
          There are a lot of bikes available that can be ridden on/off road new and used. A truly great bike is the Suzuki GS 500 and there is the KLR 650, DR 400s and 650s. In most states a 250 is fully legal so you can get a super light project going there. The rider above is 5’7″ and to enjoy off road riding you have to be fit so at 5’7″ and 145 fit pounds this person can storm on dirt roads. Great on/offroad is available for scooters too and people can take those around the world too!
          Grab a little bottle of enamel and paint *My Adventure Machine* on whatever you have and of you go. People should definitely go to http://www.motoped.com to see really light weight set ups. Just take your time and ride within your limits and you will probably be okay!

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Mike, my only point is that “Biker Mike” clearly said he is “particularly interested in a head to head between the BMW R1200GS and the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro” and he is also interested in lowering options and the lowest possible seat height for all adventure bikes included in this shootout. I responded by saying “no suspension, no adventure” which is true for real off-road riding. That is why the KTM 690, 990, 1190 and 1290 bikes do so well in dirt. Instead of answering his questions, you assumed “Biker Mike” is a newbie who doesn’t really need an adventure bike and started steering him toward 400cc dirt and trials bikes, which are by definition not adventure bikes. The KLR 650 could be called a psuedo adventure bike since it is so slow on the freeway, but you didn’t mention it in your original response. However it is not the R1200GS or the 1200 Enduro the commenter was asking about. I am not the one imposing my world view on others, you are. I understand you love dual-sport and dirt bikes, but they do not serve everyone’s needs. You focus on the off-road part of adventure bikes but forget the long distance part. How many DR 400s have you seen going around the world?

          • Mike Johnson

            Imagine we own a bike shop and a person comes in who we do not know and says that a 1200cc bike is what he needs to be happy I have to find out if he is of sound mind. We are not talking Harleys now. I do not care if he is 6’7″ and weighs 250 a 1200 Ducati or similar is suitable for a very experienced rider or expert class rider on dry pavement and perfect visibility. His survival will be due only to luck. When we are talking dirt roads or anything remotely like a trail the risk goes through the roof.
            I am not going to sell it to him or her. If he wants to trade in a ZX10 that he feels needs more power he is still wrong but at least he is qualified for the risk. At 5’7″ he will have to be incredibly talented as we might have to cut the ride height a huge amount to provide some margin of reasonable safety if conditions obligate him to put a foot down to avoid dropping the bike.
            The initial introductory sentence is just the START of the conversation in meeting the customer’s real needs. Fifty five horsepower is plenty for almost anyone and 400 lbs is plenty of weight for any one not very fit and strong.
            If he proves to be expert or nearly so, does not mind a lot of trouble with the law and has no dependents then winding up in a bloody ball wrapped around a tree trunk or utility pole might be no problem. I am not a member of Suicide Watch but the current state of the MC Industry is one of foolish excess where so called moto journalists have been egging the companies on since the first CB750 which had horsepower in the low 60s and blew everything else into the weeds and could cross California to Nevada at 100 mph all the way.
            Really where is the fun with 150-200 hp on a street or on/off road bike?
            People are being grossly oversold on the benefits of power and speed. I have ridden and owned bikes that would pull 85 in second gear easily with 3 more to go and this was years ago.
            Let riders prove to THEMSELVES not me that they are the caliber of rider who can really use the power and know how to set the suspension up so their bike will stay connected to the surface then trade up. I am not referring to you as you already ride 710 lb bikes so let us get a GS650 single BMW that has 48 hp and take people out on a mixed on/off/highway/town course and see who can keep that wide open all the way or for the longest amount of minutes and we data log all this electronically. Even if we had experts from Race tech setting up the suspension not 1% can wring out a 650 single. If they can then 75 hp gives the +50% power.
            All I am talking about is a dose of reality and if people start out correctly maybe they will stay with it, dealer networks can expand, and many more make it home.
            Naturally others may read these posts so I am not trying to convince you to trade for an 803 Duc Scrambler. Note that the new 400 Duc Scrambler makes 41 hp at under 400 wet but if I meet someone who can keep that 400 wide open everywhere I am very impressed. What I am saying to people thinking about bikes is avoid getting in miles over your head. Get a light machine that is narrow and short with 40 hp and try to ride the wheels off that. If you are not in jail for unpaid tickets or are parted out yourself in the Emergency Dept. then maybe the 800 will be good.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Well nobody rides bikes at full throttle, but it is good to have if you are trying to get out of the way of a speeding 18-wheeler. Riding in dirt is not that difficult or dangerous if the road is smooth and you are not going too fast. Note that usually adventure bikes are loaded up with luggage, tools, parts, cooking utensils, food and fuel if you are going on a multi-day cross country / cross continent trip. Some people are also carrying a passenger. That is why you would want a bigger bike, not for racing. People who have bought 1200cc bikes are happy with them, whether they have used them to their full potential or not. Most people who buy adventure bikes rarely go off-road. The guy wants a 1200cc bike. He is not looking for advice or for someone to change his mind. He just wants a lower seat height so he can reach the ground. Lowering kits are available, even though that defeats the purpose of having a adventure bike that can go off-road. One could just as well get a touring bike or even a Harley whose seat height is only 26″. Besides the guy made his request to the people running this comparo and is probably not even reading this argument.

          • Mike Johnson

            I do not care if this guy buys a 2200 cc bike. I object to the idea that these car size engines are *necessary* to enjoy any kind of motorcycling. This is incorrect in fact and Physics.
            What people really want is automatic transmission but refuse to admit it. The V-16s of the 1930s (Packard/maybe Cadillac) had a one speed trans as you just put them in gear and drove off, no automatics then,
            If you have an 1800 cc bike you can do the same thing- seldom or never shift though this will tend to twist the crankshaft in a Harley (see how all this works) or you can have an 800cc and shift it once in a while or run a DCT like on the NC750X type bikes.
            People who consider these matters one way or the other can find some dealer who will sell them a 1200 cc off road machine and maybe they kill themselves on it but they were informed about the risk.
            I do not care what anyone chooses to ride but I do care if people are systematically deceived and feel compelled by social pressure to buy way too much bike way too soon then push up medical and bike insurance rates.
            You and your like minded associates have won the discussion as most people enjoy purchasing monstrous machines they can barely control.
            Here is a great opportunity. Go to youtube and search RNickeyMouse who hangs out on Mulholland Drive and watch one person after another dump their bikes (and cars) day after day all day long. Watch the same exact mistakes made over and over and over year after year by bikers who cannot handle their overpowered, over weight machines on perfectly dry pavement in the middle of the day. Watch the cops, wreckers, and meat wagons roll to the same spot over and over again.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I can understand your concern about inexperienced kids killing themselves on overpowered sport bikes. Most people who buy adventure bikes are much older and have already owned many kinds of bikes. They are too old to ride sport bikes anymore. The large displacement in a adventure bike is not used for speed. It is used to carry the weight of luggage, extra gas and a passenger at a reasonable pace on the freeway and to tractor up steep hills off-road. A smaller bike would not be able to do either of those things. I know you don’t think too highly of moto journalists, but in MOs review of the 1000cc Honda Africa Twin, Tom Roderick says “What it also lacks is impressive horsepower. With only a claimed crank output of 94 hp at 7300 rpm and 72 lb-ft at 6000 rpm, the motor produces enough linear power to keep things exciting in the dirt but can only be considered sufficient for pavement riding – especially if you’re wanting to pile on hard saddlebags with clothing and a significant other. If that’s the case, maybe a BMW R1200GS, KTM Super Adventure or Honda’s new-for-the-US VFR1200X would be more appropriate considerations”.

          • Mike Johnson

            Thanks Sayyed for the quotation and I can only underline that these are exactly the type of articles moto writers have been putting out for about 45 years or shortly after the CB 750 appeared then the Z1 (900). The result has been that the bikes have been getting progressively more monstrous and over powered. What is wrong is the idea that 72 on torque and 94 on hp with shift points at 7300 is barely adequate. This is FALSE. Many people will know this of course and will ignore it but the new kid might believe it and fearing *inadequacy* might feel obligated to purchase a 125 or 140 hp bike when he or she will be in way over their head on the Africa Twin.
            I found a example for you and other readers that would like to outlive the warranty period.
            The original Army Jeep had a 134 inch engine (2200cc) and a kind of Harley stroke with a 3.125 bore and 4.375 stroke. This vehicle produced torque at 105 !! and 60 hp.
            The good part is that the Jeep weighed almost 2500 lbs empty, could carry 4 people or 700 lbs of cargo and though was a 4WD had a top speed of 65 mph.
            Interestingly enough the 2016 Honda Fit also weighs about 2500 lbs empty has a 1500 (91 cubes). It can take a total of 1000 lbs including fuel, people, cargo at the outer limit – let is make it 3250 lbs and this vehicle makes about 130 hp at 6600. The Fit is interesting because the NC 700/750 Honda bikes are roughly 2 cyl of a 1500 Fit engine.
            Nothing wrong with preferring 150 or 250 hp but it is evil to suggest that the Africa twin (503 lbs) is barely adequate with 94 hp on tap. What anyone can object to is journalists creating a market where the choices are limited to fantasy gargantuan machines that not one person in 100,000 can really control. A new bagger might weigh 835 fully gassed with an 1800 engine to go 85 once in a while? For adventure we have 125- 150 hp engines?
            The power, weight and cost of bikes has to come down, way down as what we are seeing now is not high technology but giant engines in giant, heavy machines and this can only mean the decline of the industry.
            Gears, it is ALL about gears. Torque moves that bike forward on pavement or dirt and that torque is multiplied by the transmission, the sprockets and the outer circumference of the tire. Horsepower is basically top speed so if you like to do 150 mph with a passenger and baggage maybe you do need 150 hp but not otherwise.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The industry is not declining. All European brands had a record 2015 and sold more bikes than ever. KTM sold 180,000 bikes and made 1 billion euros. BMW sold 137,000. Ducati 54,800. HD 300,000. People should learn everything they can about the capabilities of the bikes available in the market and their own needs and make an informed decision. There is a perfect bike out there for everyone.

          • Ian Parkes

            Sayyed, clearly, you’d be surprised. I think marketers will be well-pleased with how successful they have been in imprinting their concept of ‘adventure bike’ on your brain. “…by definition not an adventure bike”. Which definition? Does the bike have to have “Adventure” in its name (as well as wire wheels)? Where does it say you can’t go long distance and carry gear on bikes with less 700cc? Somehow you have missed or, more worryingly, are blocking out, all those stories about people travelling the world or through South America or Africa (surely big adventures) on sub-650cc bikes, including 400s, 250s. And by the definition of people actually choosing them for long-distance even world-circling adventures, this category has a long tail right through Ural sidecar outfits to Vespa scooters to a Honda Cub postie bike.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Ian, I am talking about adventure travel in the U.S. which has an excellent and vast interstate highway system on which the speeds are very high, not third world countries which have mostly dirt roads. If you want to do one of the Backcountry Discovery Routes (so far 10 states have them) with some of your friends and their significant others, you will need to do several hundred miles on the freeway at 80-85 mph with a passenger, luggage, food and water for 5 days, tools, spare parts, and enough extra gas to cover 500 miles in the wilderness. Remember, you will have to climb steep hills and mountains with all this equipment and passenger. So tell me what size bike will be the most suitable for going on this adventure?

          • Ian Parkes

            Oh. That world. The ‘World Series’ world. When you asked about 400s going around the world I thought you were talking about the world that included the rest of the world. Silly me.

  • QuestionMark

    I just do not get it. These are like the two-wheeled SUVs, Designed to conquer Alaska, ridden to bike night.
    I’ll pass.
    ’15 BMW R1200R owner

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Do you want to know how people use them? Go to Horizons Unlimited in Yosemite in September and you will find out. Or go to Overland Expo at Mormon Lake (20 miles south of Flagstaff, AZ) in May. No use sitting at your keyboard.

      • QuestionMark

        Oh after almost four decades in the motorcycle business, I know all about those events, I’m friends with the two of the most famous adventure tourers, Simon and Lisa Thomas, who have been on the road for 11 continuous years covering about 400,000 miles. And with plenty of in the field experience and as a member of BMW MOA for over 35 years I can tell you that the majority of the GSs purchased never see more dirt than maybe a gravel road.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          You are right. Only 10% of GS owners ever go off-road, but this article is about the real adventure bikes MO is going to compare this year. The only way they could add the GS to this list is by spending an extra $2000 to replace the cast wheels with spoke wheels . The GS is not designed for serious off-road use without modifications. Mostly you will see KTM 690, 990, 1190 or 1290 adventure bikes.

          • QuestionMark

            You must be on another planet, the BMW GS & GSA out sell the KTM literally by the thousands annually.

            GS, GSA KTM, Triumph Tigers, Yamahas, Hondas, all the big adventure bikes will seldom see dirt. But they are the most profitable units in the BMW line and see fewer discounts than the K bikes or the S1000 variants.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I meant off-road you will see mostly KTMs. BMW has given up on the off-road business after their Husqvarna debacle. Even previous GS owners who want better performance off-road are buying KTMs. If you go to any of the rallies I mentioned above, you will find lots of riders of all kinds of adventure bikes going off-road.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            By the way, BMW sold 23,681 R1200GS and 18,011 R1200GS Adventure bikes worldwide last year. KTM sold 180,000 bikes. Harley sold 300,000 bikes.

          • Ian Parkes

            Really? You wouldn’t consider it an adventure bike or take it off a gravel road unless it had spoked wheels? How many smashed wheels are there out there? Or smashed long travel suspension units due to the cast wheels ever-so-slightly less springyness? The biggest argument against taking those bikes offroad would be their size and weight.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Ian, it has nothing to do with me. That’s what MO had to do to include the GS in this list. Your comment shows how little you understand about riding heavy road bikes like the GS off-road. The cast wheels don’t break, and that is exactly the problem. Nothing happens to them, but they destroy the drive train, because they do not flex like a spoked wheel. For an example of $3000 worth of damage done to the drive train of the GS due to cast wheels, see the discussion I had with David G. Graham above. He is going to get spoke wheels for his GS.

          • Ian Parkes

            Actually I did see that bit of the thread and it was interesting to see what the flexibility actually gives you as well as style points. Sadly I lunged for the forks rather than drivetrain failures – my bad – but I stick by my point: just how many destroyed drive trains are there out there? And is it worth spending a definite $2000 on wheels on the extremely remote chance of avoiding a putative $3000 on a broken drivetrain? I take your point that’s the selection criteria for the test – and sorry for assuming it’s also your criteria. I’m just pointing out that all those people who had adventures both on and off the tarmac on cast-wheels aren’t necessarily wrong Sure, if you are going to do a lot of serious off-roading, you’d want a the right bike with set up to take the knocks, but you say yourself you avoid that stuff on your heavy bike.

            By the way, you are right, I don’t know much about riding heavy road bikes off-road. It really doesn’t appeal. I prefer middleweights. I ride and tour my VFR fast on the road, and I slow down a bit for gravel roads, but I don’t avoid them (Chinese fairings). But for a predominantly off-road trip, a DR650 with soft bags is my cheap and cheerful choice. I don’t worry about dropping it.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The problem with smaller bikes is that they are not true adventure bikes. An adventure is going thousands of miles both on and off road. Smaller bikes are not designed to go very far, or carry luggage and a passenger, or keep up with freeway traffic. If you enjoy getting to your far-away off-road destination quickly, a KLR 650 or anything smaller will be tedious. The KTM 1190 R goes fast on the freeway and also excels in the dirt. I am not avoiding serious off-roading. I am waiting to get more experienced at it, and don’t want to do it alone, since it is good to have someone else with you if something happens.

    • Ian Parkes

      You know what a real adventure rider ( around Australia and through 50 US states) hired for Alaska? A KLR 650. He passed a guy pottering along on a GS who was concentrating so hard he couldn’t stop to chat. Can’t help thinking that guy would have been happier on a smaller bike.

      • QuestionMark

        He has done “55 out of 57” states in America?
        Put down the GPS and grab a map.

        FYI, one state is not accessible by motorcycle unless you have the submarine option.

        • Ian Parkes

          Damn I’m now slightly embarrassed about that set-up, but I did say 50 US states and Australia, which has seven. He didn’t use the submarine option. Boringly conventional, I know, but he flew to Hawaii and hired a BM there. That was other state where his V-Strom wasn’t along for the ride.

  • info@wms-llc.com

    2016 MultiEnduro on order and school, trips and adventures are planned. A former Harley rider, I went to the Multi in 2012 and have never looked back. I will be biased, but will be riding with a guy in his GSA and will post differences I find as we trades rides on the trips.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You should compare it to a 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R (a current Harley and KTM rider who loves both).

      • info@wms-llc.com

        I will if we find someone riding one. I will be at Rawhyde next month and rent one to see.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          You are taking the Intro to Adventure Feb 19-21? I took the Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Riding Class in November. Learned a lot. I also took all the free RawHyde classes at Overland Expo in Arizona last May.

          • info@wms-llc.com

            Yes, the Feb class at RawHyde and I have already scheduled the Expro event outside of Flagstaff. Looks like I am not too original, but on a good path. See you there If you attend again. Look for the Ducati with a scull on the pannier.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            The RawHyde classes were too expensive for me. At least I sampled them at the Overland Expo. The Jimmy Lewis class in Pahrump, NV is good for serious dirt riding. Enjoyed it a lot. I rented one of their small dirt bikes instead of using my own. I am still too afraid of my tall and top heavy bike to try serious off-roading, even though I have done it unintentionally a few times and lived to tell about it. Also I do not want to ruin my beautiful bike. I have lots of protection on it front and back. I haven’t decided what I am going to do this year, apart from my non-bike volunteer vacation in Alaska in July. What adventures have you planned?

          • info@wms-llc.com

            Agreed, an expensive class for sure.
            Plan to hit the Expo in AZ mid May.
            Portland to Fairbanks or Ca to Co in June.
            WSBK at Laguna Seca in July
            BigSur to YellowStone in August

          • Sayyed Bashir

            It is not just the introductory class for $1400 ($1800/$2000 with rental). The intermediate class is the same price. Expedition CV for $2600 ($3600/$3800 with rental).

          • Ian Parkes

            “I am still too afraid of my tall and top heavy bike to try serious off-roading, even though I have done it unintentionally a few times and lived to tell about it.” I think you have just made Biker Mike’s point for him, about so-called adventure bikes having effectively become highway tourers. Their size and weight and power does make them suitable as two-up machines (just like ‘full-dress’ tourers of old) but, for solo riders (ad)venturing onto a track or rarely-maintained gravel road, something you could pick up easily – or avoid dropping – would be much better. Don’t know if you watched Ewan McGregor/Charlie Boorman’s ‘Long Way Round’ world-girdling adventure but Charlie was very disappointed KTM did not give them 650s (some people, eh?) and they had to go with heavy BMW GSs. If you did, you would have seen just how much they cursed them every time they fell over – which they did a lot as they were too heavy to save once they over-balanced. They were jealous when their photographer crashed his GS and they had to buy him a little Russian bike. He buzzed around them, happy as a puppy.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yes, I have seen LWR. If they had KTMs (I think they wanted 990s) they would have been much better off. I love my KTM 1190 R and have no problem riding off-road. I have dropped it several times and picked it up by myself each time (518 lbs). I was talking about serious off-roading where I could break a leg and destroy the bike. That’s where a small dirt bike would be better, but it would defeat the purpose of adventure riding which includes riding hundreds of miles on the freeway to get to your off-road destination, instead of carting your dirt bike everywhere in your pickup. Riding the 1190 R aggressively requires more experience, which I have not had a chance to acquire yet. Riding a KLR 650 long distance on the freeway would be absolutely unbearable for me. I like to go fast and the 1190 R is the perfect size for that.

  • David G Graham

    spoke wheels don’t necessarily an adventure bike make….I drove my 2012 1200 GS with cast wheels on the TLH which had about 500 miles of dirt and very potholed gravel, which I did in the rain at pretty high speed….very rough to the point that I needed 3,000 $ repairs to the drive train after the trip…but 0 damage to the rims which took the most punishment. that was at 26 psi front, 29 psi rear (tkc80 front, heidenau scout rear). I don’t think the rims matter as much as you think….

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Cast wheels can break if you hit large rocks at high speed. They also transfer all the shock directly to your drive train instead of wire wheels which flex and protect your drive train from shock. So even though nothing happened to the cast wheels, the drive train was damaged. Shaft drive is also more susceptible to failure from shock than chain drive and is a lot more expensive to repair. Next time stay on the pavement with the GS, and get a KTM 1190 R for off-road. The GS is more of a 90% street / 10% off-road bike.

      • David G Graham

        good insight into the cast wheel thing and makes sense what you are saying…I was able to get most of the repairs done just before the warranty expired so it kind of worked out for good. The only thing they wouldn’t replace was the rear fender thingy which basically vibrated right off the bike during the tlh trip.as for the gs’s inate abilities as an adventure bike, it is the best out there from my experience. it just does everything well, with very few major flaws…I have some conti trail attacks on her right now, and plan on getting a set of extra wires to mount some twinduros on them and switch them as needed. that seems to be the simplest way to get everything out of the bike…because it does like serious scratching as well, and that’s the flip side of this bike that makes it so bloody versatile. It’s also the best 2 up touring bike ive had….my wife likes riding on the back and we trip a lot…..and it pains me to say that because since buying this damn thing my other bikes have tended to sit around not doing much. might just have to sell my st3 even tho I love its sexy growl….

        • Sayyed Bashir

          You are correct: the GS is very versatile, a jack of all trades. I had a similar experience many years ago when I rode from Texas to Manitoba, a 5000 mile round trip, on my 1986 Harley Softail. I wanted to escape the oppressive summer heat by going as far north as possible. On the Rand McNally map, I saw that Hwy 6 went all the way north in Manitoba and then stopped. I wanted to know what was at the end of that road. When I reached Thompson, I found that Hwy 6 didn’t stop but turned into a gravel road that went another 100 miles to Churchill (the polar bear capital of the world) on the Hudson Bay. I didn’t go on the gravel road as I had heard that even four wheel drive vehicles get damaged and get many flats. I had to take Hwy 39 West across Manitoba to get to Hwy 10 to go back South. Hwy 39 was the worst road in the world I have ever been on. Huge pot holes everywhere. I was lucky I didn’t break anything on my Harley. Also I had belt drive which is very forgiving and lasts forever without any maintenance.

          • David G Graham

            ha ha ! I was born in Manitoba…what a coincidence! been to Thompson many times on business, but never on a bike…
            gs a better choice, no?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            If you mean the GS is a better choice than a Harley, no. I have 141,000 miles on my 2007 Harley Softail and ride it to work everyday on the freeway 70 miles round trip to work. It has presence. People get out of my way. I also have a 2015 KTM 1190 Adventure R which I take to work on Wednesdays and ride on the weekend. The KTM is far better off-road than a GS.

          • David G Graham

            never owned a Harley…just about everything else. but not a Harley…the only one I rode was a 90 road king. nice bike………not true, I’ve also ridden an xr1200 last year. my 2012 bonny t100 is a better bike than that one

          • Sayyed Bashir

            BMW sold 41,692 R1200GS and GSA bikes worldwide last year. Harley sold 300,000 bikes. KTM sold 180,000 bikes.

          • Kevin Duke

            And I grew up there!

          • https://goo.gl/sOFefX

            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.