KTM and Du­cati try to knock BMW off the top of the ad­ven­ture bike ta­ble

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Michael Guy SPORTS ED­I­TOR

With the ad­ven­ture bike class still dom­i­nat­ing the new-bike mar­ket, there has been no let up in the push by man­u­fac­tur­ers to be top dog. BMW’S R1200GS is the num­ber one seller year on year and af­ter decades of play­ing sec­ond fid­dle to the Ger­mans, KTM and Du­cati have clearly had enough.

To main­tain the brag­ging rights of BMW’S flag­ship, which is the UK’S best-sell­ing bike over 125cc, the GS TE Ex­clu­sive has un­der­gone a mi­nor rev­o­lu­tion – think Bake­off mov­ing to Chan­nel 4 rather than Fidel Cas­tro over­haul­ing the Cuban gov­ern­ment –while the Du­cati Multistrada 1200 S is sim­i­lar with tweaks to an al­ready highly com­pe­tent pack­age. The KTM 1290 Su­per Ad­ven­ture S, mean­while, has had the big­gest up­grades with the ad­di­tion of semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion, cor­ner­ing ABS and a game-chang­ing new dash.

The ethos of th­ese road-bi­ased flag­ship ad­ven­ture bikes is that they can be all things to all men and women – en­gag­ing to ride, with real world per­for­mance, while re­tain­ing some off-road cre­den­tials and pro­vid­ing se­ri­ous lev­els of com­fort even af­ter mon­ster mileage days in the sad­dle.

To find out which one de­liv­ers the most, we took them on a 600-mile ride through Wales, tak­ing in mo­tor­ways, fire tracks and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. Du­cati’s road-bi­ased Mut­listrada has a dif­fer­ent take on ad­ven­ture com­pared to the KTM or BMW. The most ob­vi­ous and sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence is the 17in wheels, which bring pros and cons to the over­all pack­age.

Like the KTM, Du­cati also claims big horse­power – 160bhp to be pre­cise – but its L-twin con­fig­u­ra­tion de­liv­ers the bulk of its power at higher revs, mean­ing that it has to be worked harder to run at the same pace. It’s still a great mo­tor, of­fer­ing an en­gag­ing ride with su­perb per­for­mance, but

A 20-litre tank means reg­u­lar fill-ups

DU­CATI MULTISTRADA 1200 S £17,750 BMW R1200GS TE EX­CLU­SIVE £15,565 Now Euro4 com­pli­ant without los­ing any power or torque. New ESA self-lev­el­ling elec­tronic sus­pen­sion and lean an­gle sen­si­tive trac­tion control and cor­ner­ing ABS. Fea­tur­ing Du­cati’s Sky­hook elec­tronic sus­pen­sion and proven Des­mod­romic vari­able valve tim­ing mo­tor. Multi-stage trac­tion control, ABS and many up­dates.

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