BMW v HONDA, KTM DU­CATI

They’re tall, fast and none-too shabby off road. We find this year’s ul­ti­mate hard­core ad­ven­ture bike

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page -

BMW

We have to start with the BMW. The big GS Ad­ven­ture vir­tu­ally cre­ated this class and for many still de­fines the blend of mile-crunch­ing ef­fi­ciency and off-road abil­ity re­quired to take on the world.

And even in this com­pany it is Huge with a cap­i­tal H. Tall, long and very wide. The gar­gan­tuan 30-litre fuel tank and enor­mous girth are am­pli­fied by the prom­i­nent crash bars, and are a con­stant re­minder that this is not a

bike for slot­ting through gaps in traf­fic.

Clev­erly, the GS car­ries its weight low down in the chas­sis, and like all boxer-pro­pelled Beemers, is a lot eas­ier to ma­noeu­vre than you an­tic­i­pate. How­ever, it’s still hard work at low speeds and isn’t easy to man­age dayto-day, es­pe­cially for any­one un­der un­der 5ft 8in tall.

That 1170cc boxer is more re­fined, with the re­vised shaft drive and gear­box for 2017 now in­cred­i­bly smooth. While it can no longer match the Du­cati and KTM’S V-twins in terms of out­right per­for­mance, ev­ery ride is an ef­fort­less jour­ney on the GS; there’s no ur­gency and it is the most re­lax­ing bike to ride.

The GS re­mains the king of com­fort, too. With big miles to chew, the BMW was ev­ery tester’s first choice. That 30-litre fuel tank and fru­gal en­gine means 250 miles be­tween stops is easy. Flick on the cruise con­trol, man­u­ally ad­just the large screen, sit back and en­joy the ride.

The old-school ana­logue clocks don’t have the mod­ern bling of the new KTM but are easy to nav­i­gate and in­for­ma­tive. The only se­ri­ous com­plaint about the GS is its phys­i­cal size and lack of mod­ern-day grunt.

All of th­ese ma­chines laugh at small ob­sta­cles, such at cat­tle grids

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