2018 Adventure Bike Shootout Primer
7 Adventure bikes, 1 winner
This week you might notice Motorcycle.com being a little quieter than usual. The reason is because most of the MO staff are out riding in our Sorta Annual Big Adventure Bike Shootout. For 2018, we’ve gathered seven of the biggest and baddest adventure machines out there. The plan? To put them through their paces on both the pavement and the dirt. To prove we’re serious about the dirt part, each of the contenders here comes to us with wire wheels, except for one, which we’ll get to in a moment.
So who are the contenders? In (mostly) alphabetical order, we’ve got the BMW R1200GS Adventure, Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT, Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa, and Yamaha Super Tenere ES. All of them are designed to explore both the beaten and unbeaten paths no matter where you are in the world. They’ve got big engines, bigger gas tanks, tall seats, loads of technology, and in this case, a lot of MOrons piloting them.
The outlier in the group (except for the MOron part) is the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Tour. Its cast wheels won’t do it any favors in the dirt portion of our test, but it was the only Multistrada Ducati had available – we had requested the smaller-engined but properly-wheeled Multistrada Enduro. It was either Multi 1260 S or nothing, so we bent our self-imposed rule. Rest assured, once we get our hands on the Enduro, it’ll get its proper shake against whoever wins this shootout.
For your bench racing pleasure, we’ve included a spec chart below so you can see how our contenders stack up on paper. Keep in mind we asked the manufacturers to equip their machines with whatever off-road accessories they wanted from their own catalogs and this is reflected in the “as-tested” prices listed for each machine. You’ll see there’s a wide price variation between the bunch, with the $15,145.83 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT the least expensive, and the $24,090.00 BMW R1200GS Adventure almost 10 grand more.
All seven motorcycles are packed with technology, with tech like Hill Start Assist, Cornering-ABS, and electronic suspension sprinkled across the lot. In this regard, the tech we’re most intrigued by, especially in this adventure setting, is the Dual Clutch Transmission fitted to the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports. Can it really perform just as well – or better – than a traditional transmission off-road? Honda seems to think so, since we gave them the option to submit either traditional or DCT model for this test. Honda clearly stands behind the technology, and it appears riders feel the same way – Honda reps tell us that DCT sales are nearly 50% between models available in either DCT or regular variants.
Of course there’s a lot more one can glean by studying these specs, but we want to leave the rest of our words for the main story. In the meantime, Dennis and Burns will be manning the MO ship while the rest of the crew are out this week. If you have questions about any of the bikes, leave them in the comments and we’ll address them once we return to civilization.
BMW R1200GS Adventure
Ducati Multistrada 1260 S
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT
Triumph Tiger 1200 XCa
Yamaha Super Tenere ES
|Engine Type||1170cc air/liquid-cooled flat Twin||1262cc liquid-cooled, 90º V-Twin||998cc liquid-cooled 22.5º parallel-Twin||1301cc liquid-cooled, 75º V-Twin||1037cc liquid-cooled V-Twin||1215cc, liquid-cooled inline Triple||1199cc liquid-cooled parallel-Twin|
|Rear wheel horsepower||103.5 @ 8300 rpm||140.5 @ 9300 rpm||85.7 @ 8300 rpm (from 2016 test)||121.6 @ 9500 rpm||91.8 @ 8300 rpm||114.6 @ 8600 rpm||97.6 @ 7400 rpm|
|Rear wheel torque||76.1 @ 6600 rpm||86.2 @ 7600 rpm||67.0 @ 5900 rpm (from 2016 test)||74.9 @ 7000 rpm||67.0 @ 4000 rpm||73.4 @ 8000 rpm||76.1 @ 6200 rpm|
|Bore and Stroke||101 mm x 73 mm||106mm x 71.5mm||92mm x 75mm||108mm x 71mm||100.0mm x 66.0mm||85mm x 71.4mm||98.0mm x 79.5mm|
|Fuel System||Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle system||Bosch electronic fuel injection system, elliptical throttle bodies (equivalent diameter 56mm), ride-by-wire, dual spark||PGM-FI electronic fuel injection (Throttle By Wire)||Keihin EFI, 52mm throttle bodies||Fuel injection||Ride by wire, fuel injection||Fuel injection with YCC-T|
|Valve Train||DOHC, 8 valves||DOHC, 8 valves, with Desmodromic variable valve timing||SOHC, 8 valves||DOHC, 8 valves||DOHC, 8 valves||DOHC, 12 valves||DOHC, 8 valves|
|Transmission||6-speed||6-speed, DQS (Ducati Quick Shift) up and down||6-speed Automatic DCT||6-speed, PASC slipper clutch||6-speed||6-speed w/torque assist||6-speed|
|Front Suspension||37mm Telelever fork with central spring strut; 8.3 in travel||Sachs 48-mm inverted semi-active fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound; 6.7 in travel||45mm inverted telescopic fork; 9.9 in. travel||WP 48mm inverted fork, fully adjustable; 8.7 in travel||43mm inverted fork, adjustable for rebound and compression; 6.3 in travel||WP 48mm inverted fork, electronically adjustable damping; 7.48 in travel||43mm inverted fork; electronically adjustable compression and rebound damping; 7.5-in travel|
|Rear Suspension||Monoshock, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping; 8.7 in travel||Sachs monoshock, semi-active, adjustable for preload, rebound, and compression; 6.7 in travel||Pro-Link system w/ single shock; 9.4 in. travel||WP monoshock, fully adjustable; 8.7 in travel||Monoshock, adjustable for rebound and preload; 6.3 in travel||WP monoshock, electronically adjustable semi-active damping with automatic preload adjustment; 7.6 in travel||Monoshock; electronically adjustable preload and rebound damping; 7.5-in travel|
|Front Brake||Dual 305mm floating discs, 4-piston calipers w/switchable ABS||Dual 330mm semi-floating discs, radial-mount Brembo M50 4-piston calipers w/cornering ABS||Dual 310mm discs, four-piston calipers, ABS||Dual 320mm discs, radial-mount, Brembo 4 piston cailpers, cornering ABS w/off-road mode, disengageable||Dual disc, radial-mount Tokico 4-piston calipers, with IMU for lean angle ABS||Dual 305mm floating discs, radial-mount Brembo 4-piston calipers, switchable ABS||Dual 310mm discs, Unified Brake System, ABS|
|Rear Brake||Single 276mm disc, 2-piston caliper w/switchable ABS||Single 265mm disc, 2-piston caliper w/cornering ABS||Single 256mm disc, one-piston caliper, ABS||Single 267mm disc, Brembo two-piston caliper, cornering ABS w/off-road mode, disengageable||Single disc, Nissin 2-piston caliper, with IMU for lean angle ABS||Single 282mm disc, Nissin 2-piston sliding caliper, switchable ABS||Single 282mm disc, Unified Brake System, ABS|
|Front Tire||120/70-19||Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 120/70-17||90/90-21||90/90-21||110/80-19||120/70-19||110/80-19|
|Rear Tire||170/60-17||Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 190/55-17||150/70R-18||150/70-18||150/70-17||170/60-17||150/70-17|
|Rake/Trail||24.5º / 95mm (3.7 in.)||25º / 111mm (4.37 in.)||27.3º / 111mm (4.37 in.)||26º / 123mm (4.84 in)||25º / 109mm (4.29 in)||23.2º / 99.9mm (3.93 in)||28.0º / n/a|
|Wheelbase||58.9 in.||62.4 in.||62.2 in||62.2 in||61.2 in||59.84 in||60.6 in.|
|Seat Height||34.3 in – 35 in||32.5 in – 33.3 in||35.4 in – 36.2 in||35.0 in||33.5 in||32.9 in – 33.7 in||33.3 or 34.3 in.|
|Curb Weight||642 lbs||573 lbs||585 lbs||587 lbs||554 lbs||632 lbs||579 lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||7.9 gal||5.3 gal.||6.4 gal||6.1 gal||5.3 gal||5.2 gal||6.1 gal|
|Ground Clearance||12.9 in.||12.7 in.||10.7 in||n/a||6.5 in||n/a||n/a|
|Available Colors||White/Blue/Red||Glass Sparkle Black & Champion Yellow||Team Yamaha Blue|
More by Troy Siahaan