2018 Adventure Bike Shootout Primer

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.
 2016 Wire-Wheel Adventure Shootout

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. 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, but the previous borrower gave it a good whacking, leaving Ducati with the repair bill and MO high and dry. It was either Multi 1260 S or nothing, so we bent our self-imposed rule. Rest assured, once the Enduro gets fixed, 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

Price
(as-tested)
$24,090.00
$22,595.00
$16,703.80
$19,648.97
$15,145.83
$23,050.00
$18,133.95

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

Compression Ratio
12.5:1
13.0:1
10.0:1
13.1:1
11.3:1
11.0:1
11.0:1

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

Final Drive
Shaft
Chain
Chain
Chain
Chain
Shaft
Shaft

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

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Source: All Bikes news one

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