The iconic adventure motorcycle is the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure (256 kg). I have the 2012 model with the DOHC engine. I just love this bike. It is the best I have ever had. The perfect combination between comfort, punch, power, travel and off-road abilities.
Of course, there is an endless debate with the fans of lighter machines, that are less comfortable but easier to ride on difficult terrain like sand or mud. There are the endless discussions on whether the bike should have a chain or a shaft etc.
BMW has just come out with its new F 800 GS Adventure (230 kg) with a larger tank and longer suspension travel, electronic suspension and other « Schnick-Schnack » as the germans say. But I am used to mine and find the Boxer engine more adapted to this kind of exercise, slower in revs, ready to pick up from lower down and with more torque. Besides, the F 800 is rather uncomfortable on the long run. It is essential to change its seat.
Some advised me to take the road with the KTM 690 Enduro R, which is so much lighter (142 kg). With the extended aftermarket tank and the protections that are pre-installed on the other bikes, one would easily add another 20 kg extra, which would make it 160 kg.
Of course, the new KTM 1190 Adventure makes one drewl. I tried it recently at Jean-Pierre Goy’s.
I expected a wow effect. Strangely, I was not at all swept off my feet. A lot of heat coming up between the legs.
Are 150 HP really useful for travel? Some have found in her their new dream.
I have thought it over thoroughly and hesitated but the really difficult conditions that make a lighter bike important make out – according to seasons, routes, countries – about 10% of the journey – which is already a lot! Meanwhile, during the remaining 90%, one needs to live with one’s bike and give the body a minimum of comfort on the long haul. Besides, I have followed numerous off-road training sessions, so I guess it should be fine.
Of course, the great unknown remains the omnipresent electronic management and the risk of breakdown of a sophisticated bike in the middle of nowhere. I will need an electronic diagnostic tool. But also to cross my fingers. Since some years these bikes have become reliable – which was absolutely not the case with the first series with the new 2004 engine. On this adventure, I am going alone without assistance or spare bike. I am consoling myself with the idea that I will not be the first to be left to my own devices…