Nine bikes and riders, six days and 2,000 miles are the key ingredients going into our 2015 Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure Shootout. Sprinkle in some off-road trekking and garnish with a few nights of camping, and our shootout souffle will be complete. Special sauce will be provided by the unforeseen occurrences that accompany any ride of this nature.

The adventure begins Monday, August 31 with a sunrise gathering at the famous Rock Store. From there we travel North to Big Sur, Gualala, Redwood National Park and back. We’re sure you’re aware that California is hot, bone dry and burning down, so our route will be a coastal one in both directions.

We invite you to follow our progress with daily updates on the MO website and our social networks, as well as GPS mapping provided by the SPOT Gen 3 tracking device.

MO’s Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure – Day 1
MO’s Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure – Day 2
MO’s Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure – Day 3
MO’s Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure – Day 4
MO’s Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure – Day 5
MO’s Ultimate Sport-Touring Adventure – Day 6

We’ve tested many versions of the bikes involved here in solo reviews or in shootout fashion, pitting two or three against one another, but never before have we gathered nine bikes at one time to determine the king of Sporty Adventure-Tourers.

Look for the story and accompanying video to be published on Thursday, September 17.

Don’t forget to enter our Pick a Winner contest. Just click on this link and tell us who you think will win the shootout. If you’re right, you will be entered into a draw to win a new Arai XD-4 helmet.

Here are our competitors:

Aprilia Caponord Rally
083115-adventure-shootout-aprilia-caponord-1200-rally
BMW R1200GS
083115-adventure-shootout-bmw-r1200gs
BMW S1000XR
083115-adventure-shootout-bmw-s1000xr
Ducati Multistrada S
083115-adventure-shootout-ducati-multistrada-1200s
Kawasaki Versys 1000LT
083115-adventure-shootout-kawasaki-versys-1000lt
KTM 1190 Adventure
083115-adventure-shootout-ktm-1190-adventure
KTM 1290 Super Adventure
083115-adventure-shootout-ktm-1190-super-adventure
Suzuki V-Strom 1000
083115-adventure-shootout-suzuki-v-strom-1000
Triumph Tiger Explorer
083115-adventure-shootout-triumph-tiger-explorer
  • Old MOron

    Taking a page out of the OEM playbook and pre-hyping your stories now, is that it?

    Well, it’s working. I can’t wait to read your comparo on Thursday. In the mean time, I’ll look for updates, and I’ll follow the SPOT trail. I see some interesting things already.

    Somebody forgot to turn on the SPOT device at the Rock store. Looks like you guys rendezvoused at the intersection of Mulholland and Westlake, then somebody said, “Hey, you turned on the SPOT. Didn’t you?”

    I really dig that descent to Lake Eleanor. But it looks like it’s been pure slabbing since then. Looks like you guys wicked it up after Sta Barbara because the SPOT signals get much farther apart. Ha ha.

    I know that you guys are following a sound plan. But I wish you had covered more of my favorite roads. That way your comments on Thursday would resonate more. According to weather.com, Los Olivos was 85 today, but Taft was only 87! You might as well have taken 33 and 58. If you had to take 101, you could’ve at least detoured on Foxen Canyon and Tepusquet. Sheesh.

    Oh well, never mind my peanut gallery gassiness. On with the ride – and the reports!

  • Old MOron

    Let’s see, you MOrons are just leaving Ragged Point, and you have about an hour and a half (maybe two) of day light left. Are you stopping in Monterey? Watsonville? Santa Cruz?

  • JerryMander

    Wow hostile early posters. Super Ten man. New 2014 ES’s are 10k on cycletrader

  • GS1100GK

    Wow! Looks like fun. No Yamaha Super Tenere??? No Moto Guzzi Stelvia 1200 NTX???

    • Auphliam

      Yeah, I agree. A little odd to include multiples of two brands and leave out the Stelvia and the Super Ten.

      • Old MOron

        I agree, too. But it probably was a simple matter of which bikes they could get their MOronic hands on. With multiple versions of some brands, it will still be interesting. I’m curious to see how BMW’s I4 stacks up to its boxer. And perhaps the MOrons can tell us whether the Super Adventure is worth the extra money.

        • Kevin Duke

          You’re an astute man, OlMO. Guzzi and Yamaha were unable to supply their bikes in time for this shootout. It’s possible they didn’t think their bikes could win. But, really, are we now getting complaints for having only nine bikes in a comparison test?

          • Steven Taylor

            Most likely Yamaha didn’t want to embarass the high priced competittion with the awesome Super Tenny…….. just sayin’.

    • Gabriel Owens

      dude the super tenere t-shirts overlooked A LOT

      • GS1100GK

        Maybe. I rode one last summer and was surprised how comfortable it was with lots of torque and surprising handling. I am a power junkie and It doesn’t have the huge power of my C-14, but unless you ride 100 mph+ frequently it has enought power for the street and off road (IMHO).
        It doesn’t have the big power of the KTM’s, Multistrada, Triumph or even the revised GS. But with a big tank, shaft drive, and cruise control it can certainly eat up the miles. When I replace my C-14 an ADV bike may be in my future and the Yamaha would be a solid choice.

  • Old MOron

    Well, it’s about the end of my work day, and I’m having fun imagining the ride. I wonder who the pilots are. Let’s see:

    Fearless leader Cholla
    Resident Moto GP Lookalike Sean
    Hallowed veteran JB
    Multi-culti Trizzle
    Transcendentalist T-rod
    Defender of Cruisers Evans

    Hmm, I think that’s the usual gang of MOrons, but you need three more riders.

    Fonzie packs a lot of glass
    Dennis prolly wants to get away from the patent books for a change
    Buzz is always up for a good time
    Gabe is, too
    Scott, your resident dirt biker, prolly likes sport touring
    Hatch deserves a good ride for helping JB with the garage floor

    Oh well, walk the dogs, eat some dinner, check in with the MOrons.
    Are you guys going to post an update tonight?

    • TroySiahaan

      You’re on the right path, but unfortunately I had to stay behind and hold down the fort while the boys are having fun. And as far as your guest tester guesses… you only got one right. :)

    • TroySiahaan

      You’re on the right path, but unfortunately I had to stay behind and hold down the fort while the boys are having fun. And as far as your guest tester guesses… you only got one right. :)

      • Old MOron

        Since Evans posted a couple of new articles yesterday, I thought maybe he was holding the fort. Oh well, what do I know.

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          The crew pre-loaded the stories to cover our week on the road. This “new” MO runs like a Swiss watch I tell ya!

  • Branson

    Just an awesome comparison with tons of bikes — can’t wait to read it!

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Me personally can’t wait for it, but are you sure that these mastodon multi-part stories are the way to go? Where is the point when it is a bit too much?
    This one could be easily split in half: one for hardcore offroad-adv-touring comparo, another for kinda sporty-adv-touring.

    • panthalassa

      they’ll be sure to account for the somewhat disparate intents of these bikes, as well as the huge msrp range, in their discussions and conclusion. they’re actually quite conscientious about pointing out the ways that bikes in the lower tier of a comparison test might still appeal strongly to riders who favor one surface, or are budget-conscious, or are outliers on the stature curve, etc.
      but when they’re done, if you’re disatisfied, you could “cut & paste” to create for yourself two separate comparisons, five and four, based on wheel type in the photos. different spokes for different folks …

  • GS1100GK

    While the riders are still on the road and haven’t penned a single word that we know of yet….here is my prediction of how they will shake out:

    1. BMW R1200GS

    2. KTM 1290 Super Adventure

    3. Ducati Multistrada S

    4. KTM 1190 Adventure

    5. BMW S1000XR

    6. Ducati Multistrada S

    7. Triumph Explorer

    8. Kawasaki Versys 1000LT

    9. Suzuki V-Strom 1000

    Any other guesses???

    • Old MOron

      My guess is that you like the Multistrada S.
      http://youtu.be/wYp6n9CVKG4

      • Alexander Pityuk

        My god this is really funny. Best comment ever :)

    • DickRuble

      Ducati Multi S in positions 3 AND 6? Must be its dual purpose character showing.. I am going to guess 1) KTM 1290 2) Ducati Multi S 3) BMW 1200 GS tied with BMW S1000XR 4) KTM 1190 .. the rest is anyone’s guess

      • GS1100GK

        Fixed! Copy and paste error! Aprilia comes in 6th.

      • GS1100GK

        These guys are usually smitten by big power with a few notable exceptions and the GS falls into that group. One other time I saw where they were surprised at the off road prowess of the Stelvio and it’s long legs on the highway with an 8 gallon tank. But, they still ranked it last in the comparison (BMW GS, KTM 990, Multistrada, Yamaha Super Tenere, Triumph Explorer, Stelvio) in 2012.
        I am sure there are other exceptions, but I cannot remember any other examples. :)

    • Gary

      Super adventure
      S1000XR
      Ducati
      R1200GS
      Kawasaki
      Aprilia
      1190
      Explorer
      V-Strom

    • MdoubleP

      I think this is spot-on, but I would be pleasantly surprised to see the Versys higher on the list given it’s relatively low price.

  • DickRuble

    If the Indian Scout (or any other Victory/Polaris product) were included in this comparison, it would win hands down. However, in its absence I can root for my favorite: the BMW S1000XR.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      If it is not Scout, then it is some BMW for sure.

      • DickRuble

        Don’t be so cynical :D.

  • Old MOron

    Hmm, that SPOT transmitter is kind of wacky.
    It looks like yesterday they made it to Big Sur right around sunset – perfect timing.
    But at 09:01 this morning they were back at Ragged Point. Huh?

    And yesterday it looked like the first transmission took place a little after the Rock Store, but now I see the signal goes all the way back to Torrance.

    Oh well, if these MOrons could put up the daily summaries that T-rod promised, maybe I wouldn’t be so lost.

  • Gary

    EXCELLENT! An ambitious comparo, and one I’ll be looking forward to reading/viewing.

  • DesertHawk

    Super bummed at the lack of Super Tenere.

    • devidev

      yeah 2 KTMs and no tenere …

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      So are we. Yamaha did not have one and we were unable to obtain through other channels.

      • DesertHawk

        Hopefully they rectify that situation next time around.

      • GS1100GK

        Got one sitting at my local dealer. Not the full monte one with the electronic suspension though, just the standard one. The ES model seem to be the hottest seller between the two and harder to get.

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          Unfortunately, the parent corporation nixed the idea of actually buying a whole motorcycle for one test.

          • GS1100GK

            NP. I would have bought it for you…I need a new bike anyway…:)

  • Old MOron

    Well, if the SPOT transmitter is accurate, the sport-touring MOrons haven’t crossed San Francisco yet. If they’re heading to Gualala, they won’t get there til after dark. Good, they can tell us about how the headlights work on the various bikes.

  • Andy Buchta

    I can’t wait for the article. I would like to purchase an adventure bike in the near future, but have been undecided so far. These bikes have grown in price. So I would like to hear their take on a budget friendly one. I hope they are enjoying the “work”. Wish I was there, it sounds like a good ride.

  • Old MOron

    According to SPOT they got to Gualala just before 9 PM. Looks like for the last half hour they’ve been carefully discussing the bikes while taking nourishment at the Bones Road House Restaurant. http://www.bonesroadhouse.com/ This place must have an atmosphere that is conducive to both careful contemplation and genial conversation.

    • moneyshot

      Bones rocks and is a normal stopping point for us on the North Coast. Another nice stop is The Zen House moto shop in Point Arena – especially if it’s a MotoGP or WSB race weekend (Sundays); bikes (many quite interesting), geezers and sometimes some good and free chile verde. There is also a tiny, hole in the wall bar in Fort Bragg called the Milano that tends to be a destination spot when there are big ADV group rides stopping up here; normal days it’s populated by old (seriously old – like 70-90 year old loggers). It’s really hard watching videos of these guys tearing it up on “my” roads whilst I have a busted motorcycle. I better get to wrenching.

  • toni796

    well if we don’t get 30min video on this than its like nothing happend :)

  • Fred Meier

    crosstourer..look it up

    • Kevin Duke

      Not available in America.

  • ADB

    No STELVIO 1200 NTX?

    • Kevin Duke

      Guzzi was unable to get us one for this shootout,

  • JMDonald

    I like all the bikes in this comparo.

  • Old MOron

    I’m sorry, MOronic editors, but on behalf of your MOronic readers, I call bullshit. T-rod said there would be daily updates. Well, day Four of the MOronic Tour has come and gone, and so far we’ve had only two updates. You MOrons are half assing it.

  • John B.

    Prediction: KTM 1290 and BMW S1000XR first and second (not sure about order). BMW 1200 GS third. Adventure touring bikes are better for everyday riding than heavyweight sport tourers. I wonder whether the heavyweights will eventually disappear.

    • denchung

      UPDATE: Seeing as how a couple of you have already started picking who you think will win, why not enter our new contest. Pick the winner and you will be entered into a draw to win an Arai XD-4 helmet.

      Here’s the contest page:
      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T32VQJV

      • GS1100GK

        Done! Shall I give you my shipping address now??? :)

      • John B.

        Done! KTM 1290!!!

    • spiff

      I think you’re on point, but my choices (no I have not ridden any of them) would be KTM1290, S1000XR, and Multistrada. If you guys let me ride them I could choose a favorite out of these.

  • Old MOron

    Crap, Thursday the 17th? I thought it was tomorrow. Oh well, we do have the Misano Moto GP race to keep things interesting. Where is Bruce’s preview?

  • Pat Banta

    The sweet spot of 70mph and vibrates badly it sounds, you guys nuts “number one bike” Your all crazy. There were bikes in the 80s that didn’t vibrate. The vibe of this “story” is suspicious.