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