Can th­ese big bikes re­ally tackle trails?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

Even on road tyres all four bikes were able to com­fort­ably deal with twisty, hilly and some­times wet tracks we tack­led as we weaved across the peak dis­trict. The Du­cati and BMW defy their huge weight and specs and per­form above ex­pec­ta­tion. The KTM is ul­ti­mately the most ca­pa­ble off-road bike here, but it needs an ex­pe­ri­enced rider to ex­ploit that po­ten­tial. The Honda is the cheap­est, sim­plest and low­est spec bike, but as a pack­age it in­spires con­fi­dence and was the bike all four testers felt the most com­fort­able on. The man­ual geared ver­sion would be bet­ter still.

1 Africa Twin DCT

Al­though it weighs a chunky 242kg, the Africa Twin is the most user­friendly off-road thanks to its rel­a­tive lack of bulk and 21in front wheel. There are no off-road maps or elec­tron­ics, just a beau­ti­ful lin­ear power and torque curve that might feel dull on the road but en­able the rider to feel ex­actly what the rear of the bike is do­ing off road.

2 Mul­tistrada 1200 En­duro

With its 30-litre fuel tank and 150bhp the Mul­tistrada En­duro should be a night­mare off-road, but it isn’t. Thanks to its so­phis­ti­cated elec­tron­ics, which dras­ti­cally re­duce power in En­duro mode and in­cred­i­ble elec­tronic sus­pen­sion, the Du­cati is an im­pres­sive pack­age when things get dirty.

3 R1200GS Ad­ven­ture

It’s hard not to be in­tim­i­dated by the sheer size of the GS, with its big­ger-ca­pac­ity fuel tank and crash bars mak­ing it sig­nif­i­cantly wider than a stan­dard GS. But it holds its weight low and has a sub­lime throt­tle con­nec­tion which means it will track up hills on min­i­mal throt­tle and has an un­canny abil­ity to find grip.

4 1290 Su­per Ad­ven­ture R

High, nar­row and stiff are the char­ac­ter­is­tics that defy the ag­gres­sive 1290R. With fully ad­justable WP sus­pen­sion con­trol­ling its 21in front and 18in rear wheels the KTM is es­sen­tially a huge, pow­er­ful 160bhp off road com­pe­ti­tion bike! At slow speeds it feels too taut and stiff, but the faster you go the bet­ter it gets.

All four of th­ese ma­chines mean busi­ness off road

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