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Adventure Tourer reader feedback

10707 Views 42 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  chas
It's good to see some attention in this direction. I enjoyed this article, and have thought for some time that what people often call dual-sporting has really evolved more into what the Europeans call adventure touring. There are a lot of forest and fire roads in between all the blacktop and Interstates, that offer a lot of fun riding and great scenery.

These bikes all look nice and fun, but with the BMW at $16k and the Tiger (and now the Capo) with a sparse dealer base and unproven reliability, a fair number of us are doing what these bikes were designed for on KLR650's.
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As someone who has owned two of these bikes (The Tiger and currently the GS) I can say that these are great bikes. The engine in the Tiger almost feels like a sportsbike with the top end rush and the handling on the latest one felt greatly improved when I test rode one. Also, if you shop around there are deals to be had.

As for the GS.. It is very expensive, but it's the best bike I've every owned. Yes the engine's about 5hp down on the other two, but the torque is there across the whole rev range. However, it's only when I'm playing 'straight racing' that I notice it. (The Tiger IS better at this). I might end up taking off the cat and claiming back those 10 odd horses.

On the other hand the comments about 6th gear are wrong. It's a freeway gear and is great for covering distance. It really smooths things out.

Going onto suspension, this type of bike dives a lot under braking. It's the weakest point about them. The GS doesn't. At all. If you're going to carry a passenger, this is the only bike to get. Otherwise you'll be playing helmet bats with your passenger every time you touch the brakes.

When I first test rode the GS, it was the suspension that got to me immediately. It's so planted and secure. This bike loves the twisties. It even stays planted through sweepers, within reason. (It'll wallow some going through 100mph+ sweepers, but that's not why you buy the bike)

Cutting to the chase. I want a bike that CAN:

1. do 500+ mile days easily.

2. canyon carve up the twisties when I get there or even better - on the way there..

3. can go offroad enough to get me there: a. and won't break when I crash it. b. and I can pick it up myself

4. can be loaded up without noticing.

5. can have a passenger along without killing the fun: a. for me. b. or her.

6. doesn't need any maintenance while I'm doing it. a. no chains to oil every day b. see a.

The GS does all of this easily except 3b, and I've recently found out how to do that one too.. even works in mud.

As for the Aprilia.. I've never ridden one but it looks like a touring bike rather than an adventure touring bike to me. I wouldn't take that off road 'cos I don't think it would bounce. All that plastic and underdamped suspension would be a liability on a bike weighing over 200kgs.

From experience, the Tiger bounces okay-ish. It got me home every time, but needed repairing. Nothing expensive , but I never threw it down the path at more than 20mph.

The GS, however, has currently been dumped 5 times. (once on tarmac - brand new - did'nt put the side stand down - jerk. Twice on mud - my advice is don't ride any of these bikes in the mud unless you really have to. Twice dropped on forrest roads, getting thrown by quad ruts, both times above 40mph) No problem getting home - there is no damage, except a slight roughness to the lower edge of the plastic cylinder head protectors.

These are great bikes. You'll love any one of them if you want to travel at speed and in comfort, anywhere you want to go. My advice. The Aprilia if you want a more stylish touring bike. The Triumph if you want more go over shorter distances. The BMW if you're going to keep the bike for more than two years and if you want to really go anywhere..

PS. For other GS riders. "How to pick it up in the mud on your own": Turn the handlebars away from you so the front is pointing skywards. Grab the lower handlebar with both hands and heave. (Yes, mom. From the knees.) The bars won't bend and the bike won't roll away from you until it's up, (or at all, depending on how deep the mud is) The first time I dumped the GS into the sticky, I didn't know this and it took an hour and a sore back to get it out.....
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So, what WAS the fuel consumption of the three? If these are touring bikes, adventure type or otherwise, then fuel consumption and fuel capacity are important, and I would expect it to be reported....especially when the topic is referenced. I am interested in these bikes, and I paid my subscription to read this comparison. On the whole, I got some useful information, but if you could throw in that last item, I would consider the job complete (enough).
We'll post that info for you tomorrow. Along with the videos.

Bada bing?
What can you afford?

Pretty cool comparo. It was informative for those of us who use and depend on a motorcycle as opposed to those who "play" on a motorcycle. I do wish you published a complete article with all the stat's in a table. How much does the BMW weigh over the others to be called "heavy", 20 lbs? 50 lbs? Or what is the range of each bike on the highway? On the street? On the trail? I think you get the picture. Oh, and I doubt if wheelies are a deciding factor for buyers of this type of motorcycle. It would have been really interesting if a KLR650 and BMW F650 G/S were there for a really broad comparison. Keep up the good work.
Lots of good info. Too bad you guys couldn't wait for the Suzuki V-Strom. I like to see how the new kid on the block stacks up.
Clean up that dyno chart

That thing is almost illegible on half the screens I have available to me.

Yes, I'm nitpicking, but that's what my $12 bought me. ;)
Do a test with smaller bikes. A lot of people would like to read about the street legal KTM, 610E, etc.
It will be interesting to see how Suzukis VStrom compares to the CapoNord. You will have to buy some Givi luggage for the Strom but it will still be cheaper than the Capo. You could upgrade the Stroms suspenders too and still spend less than the Capo or GS. I'm gonna check out the Strom this spring.
I think the bike that's gonna blow them all away will be KTM's Adventure LC8! 950 vtwin, WP suspension, 415lbs. It's kinda ugly looking but in about ten years it's styling might not look to weird.
desertbilly wrote:
a fair number of us are doing what these bikes were designed for on KLR650's.
I think that the KLR gets listed as a dual sport instead of an adventure tourer, though I've read stories about people doing pretty long treks on them. There are lots of accessories for them, including some decent luggage options.

It seems an adventure tourer is a larger bike that's meant to let riders tackle any road that comes their way, like five hundred mile of slab with fifty miles of gravel and a hundred miles of twisties, for days on end. A KLR650 can do all that, sure, and take you deeper into the woods to boot, but I don't know if I'd want to cross the country on one.

While the article gave good feel for the bikes, they left out some rather important numbers, like mileage, fuel capacity, seat height, weight, ground clearance, maximum load, and alternator output (so you can add lots of lights and still use a heated vest). Seat hight's an interesting one-I test rode an R1150GS once, and even with the seat in the lower position, with my 30 inch inseam I could barely get more than a tiptoe on the ground at stop lights.
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The funny thing is these bike are broadly modelled on the Paris-Dakar desert racers. Although the GS is raced, the desert version looks nothing like the road version (or vice versa). The KTM is going to be the only one that looks like it should!!
Killer KTM

I would like to see KTM build a bike to fit the sports touring mold a la VFR800/ST4S/Futura or R1100S. And if they could sell it for less than the competition, I would buy it. Heck, if the ergos on the Adventure LC8 were good I might just buy that.
Re: Killer KTM

MCN ran some pics of a bike KTM is developing. More like a Ducati Monster though.
Re: Killer KTM

that's a different bike

same engine though..
I can't find the mileage stats. Have they been posted?

Grappelli said:

"3. can go offroad enough to get me there: a. and won't break when I crash it. "

All these bikes are far too fragile to be considered "off road" in any sence of the phrase.

I wouldn't take any one of these bikes on any road that I wouldn't take my CBR1000 on, so what's the use of them? They can only go where road bikes can go, and on sealed roads they're badly compromised. It's a useless trade off. You don't benefit from expanded capability off road, but you do lose out in onroad ability...

Cheers Jason =:) (Australia)

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Keebler wrote:

"It seems an adventure tourer is a larger bike that's meant to let riders tackle any road that comes their way, like five hundred mile of slab with fifty miles of gravel and a hundred miles of twisties"

With the exception of the five hundred miles of slab (which I hate) this is more or less exactly what I did with my CBR1000 a couple of days ago. Couldn't sleep, so I got out at dawn, and did about 100 miles of "slab", about 200 miles of twisties and 100 miles of gravel... Just as I said, anything you can do with these "adventure tourers" you can do with an ordinary tourer except that an ordinary tourer is more comfortable on the "slab", while also being faster and more stable through the twisties. I don't think an adventure tourer would be any better on the gravel roads so there's no gain on that side for the adventure bikes.

Cheers Jason =:)

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I don't know what happened. The videos were delivered as promised, but there are still no stats. I can't claim to be an expert on electronic journalism (or journalism of any kind), but I don't know why they don't provide the full report all at the same time, or at least provide a RELIABLE timetable. Bada Bing?
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