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Andreas Riedmann

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Picture gallery comparison test, power-speed touring bikes: BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki ZZR 1400, KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

Picture gallery comparison test, power-speed touring bikes: BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki ZZR 1400, KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

The Super Duke in GT outfit now also has an electronic – and very sporty – chassis.

The analog tachometer is pushed between the information monitors. Unfortunately, the personal settings have to be reprogrammed after the ignition is switched off.

The WP chassis electronics sit in the unadorned plastic box.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

Look here, valued testers from the Piefke plain, this is the official approach to the farmer’s feast and curd strudel.

Something technically challenging helps to compensate for the dull testing.

But where was the Panigale??

After an embarrassing fall and an unworthy bus ride, the wrecked Panigale was offended on the pick-up before the test began.

Real lightness can only be achieved with great effort. The only one who can enjoy it is firmly in the saddle

Kawasaki ZZR 1400.

Fully adjustable does not automatically make you sporty.

Three at the food bowl: Zonko invited the PS testers to his favorite test completion establishment for the final test meeting.

The first thing we did was take a close look at the BMW S 1000 XR.

The semi-active chassis of the long-legged S 1000 XR (the fork in the picture) works extremely well on country roads.

Sporty, analog tachometer and information-packed digital cinema in the slimline cockpit of the BMW.

The automatic switch of the street sweeper from Munich even has a flawless blipper function.

BMW S 1000 XR.

We were on the road with a total of 542 hp.

The Kawasaki ZZR 1400 contributed 173 hp.

The ZZR shock absorber has a user-friendly handwheel for pre-tensioning and thus reveals its real purpose: quickly beam half of the household items to the holiday region with a Kawasaki bomber.

This is what the full range of cockpits looks like: thick analog clocks, small digital info cells.

"The four-way test turned into a threesome in a flash – but it was still fun".

BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki ZZR 1400 and KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Power touring bikes put to the test

Content of

With the BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki ZZR 1400 and KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, we attacked on mountain roads around the "Cold kuchl" and looked for the truth at the pannonia ring. But where was the Panigale??

Sir Tobi, the young wild guy from the PS editorial team, got a strangely pale complexion and stammered: “What, how, no, really now? You killed the Panigale ?! ”I nodded. Unfortunately no joke. The Ducati 1299 Panigale had already collapsed before the test during a loose break-in (see Panigale Knock-Out) and was no longer available. For Jo “Hollywood” Bauer, the terrible Sven and myself, the comparison was between the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, the BMW S 1000 XR and Kawasaki ZZR 1400 is still extremely attractive, but Münchinger’s Tobi was raging: “On the racetrack, the Panigale would have shown everyone what Casalla means. And on the mountain she would also have been a force. Arrrrgh! I like this Italian icon of power and glory. I miss her very much. "

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BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki ZZR 1400 and KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
Power touring bikes put to the test

Kawasaki ZZR 1400 and KTM 1290 Super Duke GT in the border area, the next day enjoyed the mountain roads in the region around the famous and notorious motorcycle inn “Kalte Kuchl” in eastern Austria and threw in the one menu: farmer’s feast and curd strudel.

Speed ​​surfing with the Kawasaki ZZR 1400

It wasn’t easy for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 with the killer engine in this test. On the test bench, it horribly degraded the two rivals (203 hp and an unimaginable 161 Nm on the clutch), but in practice not much was left of this dominance. 267 kilos with a full tank is not a flyweight. That pushes you into the braking zone so briskly that you get very big eyes. Wow! When I dropped anchor after the start / finish for the first time, a brief panic attack seized me. Switching to the right-hand bend went well, but relaxed and relaxed was different. The turning behavior was not bad. The combination of 1480 mm wheelbase and 67 degrees steering head angle clearly pointed in the good-natured direction, and the seating position was anyway the most front-wheel-oriented in this comparison.

However, the pannonia ring performance of the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 required a high degree of nerve strength. On the one hand, because you couldn’t clearly feel the incredibly powerful engine with the insane torque, and on the other hand, because the transparency of the chassis, which was very softly tuned in series production, was very modest. Oh là là, that was quite a blind flight with brute speed!

To make matters worse, the tires (Bridgestone S20R with special identification) did not work brilliantly when fighting the elemental forces on the racetrack, but rather slipped diffusely. You could say "extreme speed surfing". The insane Jo, who I consider a driving genius, recognized my difficulties and said: “Let’s turn the chassis in the harder direction. If you scrap another machine before the test is done, Count Seitzmo will kick it out like after the earthquake in Oschersleben. Jo turned the fork and shock absorber (fiddling with the adjustment of the rebound and compression stage on the central Öhlins damper can be observed like a spy through a peephole in the frame) in the taut direction and sent me out again.

"Jo judged me like a schoolboy"

In the first braking zone, I was still happy about the directness I had gained, but when firing out the machine bucked over a small wave, lost contact with the asphalt at the rear and kicked out badly. Of course, I would now like to be able to say whether the traction control of the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 or my reflex-trained wrist saved me from Seitzmo’s anger. But I can not. No idea. Really not. I don’t have the coolness to focus on observation in such a delicate situation. Sorry But after two laps I asked Jo to soften the chassis a bit: “It’s definitely too hard for me. It jumps now. At the back and the front. That doesn’t go well for long. "

With the second change in attitude I got along very well. A track day with the gigantic Kawasaki ZZR 1400 is already fun. But of course you have no chance of winning. The boom is not only too powerful for that, but also the brakes too blunt. A 19 chief would be better than the standard 16.

In any case, Jo prepared me like a schoolboy with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. And even the terrible Sven with the BMW S 1000 XR sagged me. It was noticeable that I just had to let Jo go with the cleanly executing GT and lost sight of after three corners, while I was able to stick to Sven and the BMW, which one or the other time stuck behind, for two laps.

BMW S 1000 XR is not for the race

The next day the BMW S 1000 XR was a real shell in the mountains, but it didn’t shine on the racetrack. When I fired it in Pannonia, I immediately understood why I could stick with the fat Kawasaki ZZR 1400. The long suspension travel and the tour-oriented seating position, which makes the hang-off more difficult and generally leaves little room for maneuver, are poison on the racetrack.

If you switch from the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 to the BMW S 1000 XR, you briefly have the feeling of sitting on a chopper. Low saddle, high, very wide handlebars, long fork. On the one hand, you are “miles away” from the front wheel and you then have to compensate for the long suspension travel that becomes more important due to the weight transfer to the front when you turn into the brakes. Supersport is different. Of course, the original tires (T30 from Bridgestone), which worked wonderfully on the road, were really overwhelmed at the Pannoniaring.

A four-cylinder superbike with 170 hp (!) And 118 Nm (according to the hp test bench) works in the Bavarian stilted athlete. In Moto2 they have 30 HP less. You really can’t blame the BT30 for that. In any case, the BMW electronics had a lot to do. Sven: “Due to the long spring travel and the correspondingly large leverage, it’s a wild chuckle on the racetrack. The electronics of the BMW S 1000 XR are constantly on the control. "

No stability, just fumbling around

It was remarkable that the BMW S 1000 XR climbed right in my face while accelerating hard in Dynamic Pro mode. Brute wheelies. And I’m really scared of the brutal slide in third gear. Traction control allowed a lot here. In dynamic mode, the slides were significantly fewer because the electronics intervened earlier. I felt more comfortable with that. For someone who is really angry at the cable, I would recommend Dynamic on the racetrack.

Jo looked similar to the BMW S 1000 XR: “It was just fooling around. No stability on the track. The electronics had to regulate a lot because the machine was always stirring. But there was a certain amount of trust. ”Backflipper Tobi added:“ It’s a dangerous mix on the racetrack. You have a very powerful motor with a lot of power in the upper area, which really overwhelms the BT30, and at the same time you have little freedom of movement in the seat recess and limited freedom of inclination due to the deep seated notches and the main stand. But the automatic gearshift with blipper function was absolutely great. I really missed the latter on the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. "

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT veni, vidi, vici

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT came, saw and won. In the first few laps in street mode, the turning in took some getting used to for me, because the semi-active fork like a Bavarian telelever barely plunged into the anchoring at the front and the geometry was only slightly changed. But despite this strange peculiarity, the GT quickly got a real racing feeling. The huge motor (168 PS, 137 Nm) was always clearly noticeable, the Quickshifter worked well, the chassis and the Pirelli Angel GT provided a lot of feedback, the brakes were great and so I wanted to let it crack more and more.

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT achieved something that the other two machines couldn’t deliver when fired harshly at the Pannoniaring: trust. It is an incredibly liberating and motivating feeling when playful conviction takes the place of diffuse hope. The seating position on the GT is certainly not super sporty, but rather between the BMW S 1000 XR and the Kawasaki ZZR 1400. You’re kind of sitting on the first floor, but still have a direct line to what’s happening on the asphalt. Anyone who has ever raced a Super Duke – regardless of whether it is a 990 or 1290 – knows what we are talking about.

When the fork dipped in while anchoring in sport mode, the entrance to the curve was a real sensation. You shouldn’t forget that the expansive KTM 1290 Super Duke GT weighs a serious 232 kilos with a full 23-liter tank. It’s tough on a racetrack. Nevertheless, the GT was playfully moved very quickly. Some super athletes were harshly demoted. You don’t allow anyone to do that, but you’re still happy when you can do it on a huge touring oven.

Hairpin bends, ravines, tractors

Jo saw it like this: “Of the three test machines on the racetrack, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT clearly works best. It doesn’t provide quite as much feedback from the front wheel as the Super Duke R, because the handlebars on the GT are positioned a little further back, but when the semi-active front is submerged in sport mode, the turning behavior is absolutely worthy of sport. The engine is a real blast anyway, which puts a lot of pressure on. The only thing that really annoys me about the KTM is the fact that after every break you have to reset the extensive electronics according to your personal preferences, because it automatically jumps back to its original state. "Sir Tobi:" Without the Ducati 1299 Panigale it had KTM no longer has an opponent here on the racetrack. For me, the GT is a slightly less uncompromising Super Duke R, but with the long-awaited Quickshifter and with more freedom from lean angles. The brake is great. You need a little more hand strength than on the BMW S 1000 XR, but the KTM anchor is progressively very easy to use. The engine is extremely good. If it turned up another 2,000 rpm, I would probably never be able to fall asleep again. "

Since none of the test machines were built for use on the racetrack, but instead focused on the road in the open country, we eagerly awaited the day of reckoning in the Lower Austrian Alps. If the humiliated BMW S 1000 XR can strike back, the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 will angrily tear up the asphalt with its killer torque, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT will go to its knees?

No question about it, on the race the limits and weaknesses of motorcycles are relentlessly revealed, but the demands in the mountains are more complex. Low-grip turns, deep gorges, sturdy trees, bobbing tractors behind blind corners, cow dung on the asphalt … If you fire up there as well as on the track, you won’t get far. You need reserves. And suddenly the BMW S 1000 XR was in its element. Screeching greedily, she ate the intermediate straight, let herself be thrown into the radii with a good overview and celebrated the exits of the curve so engagingly that one often forgot to breathe. What a killer queen!

Automatic switch with blipper is addicting

In the mountains, electronics, semi-active chassis, tires and lean angle were perfect. Perhaps one of the Bavarian engineers, whose heart and soul has flowed into the stilt ram, will hit the table with his fist and bark: “That’s exactly what we made the BMW S 1000 XR for – zefix. We have others for the racetrack! ”Sure, but we are horsepower. Whenever the racetrack beckons, we strike. Especially if the machine has a superbike engine.

"The BMW saved its honor here in the mountains", stated Sir Tobi. “The automatic switch with blipper is really addicting. Everything flows into one another and looks smooth and very harmonious. The BMW S 1000 XR works well on the country road. Only the brake didn’t appeal to me. The initial bite is sharp, but then there is little that follows. Almost a bit degressive. "

For Jo, too, the performance of the BMW S 1000 XR in the mountain classification was difficult: “You can drive really fast with it. The electronics work at a high level and the menu navigation is also great. What is great is that you can do endless wheelies with traction control. What hinders me on the BMW but also on the country road is the restricted freedom of movement in the saddle. "

Tobinger verbally destroys

When I asked Münch Tobinger about the slaughter on the mountain for the Kawasaki ZZR 1400, such a source of dislike gushed out of him that I had to laugh to tears. The ZZR 1400 was really good for me. No question, it is heavy and clumsy and visually does not necessarily remind you of the third millennium, but with the suspension setting found in Pannonia I was able to attack the mountains wonderfully.

The de facto terribly powerful engine pushed me through the world in every gear and at every speed without showing any particular propensity for violence. The somewhat blunt brake was not that important, since I never anchor on the last groove in the open country anyway. I was very satisfied with the steering behavior and feedback. Yes, I just felt good on the Kawasaki ZZR 1400.

Jo could understand that to a certain extent: “The new setting fits – not too tight, just at the limit. Now gives good feedback. The brakes are blunt, but the ABS doesn’t come too early. The engine is actually a stunner, but the traction control is bold. Sometimes she regulates, sometimes not. You can’t trust that. "

Sir Tobi nodded and started: “Exactly, you don’t know what traction control does. For me, the Kawasaki ZZR 1400 is a very old motorcycle that was made modern in an emergency. Akrapovic and Öhlins are of little help. Gnarled gearbox, no gearshift. The machine is incredibly heavy and goes wide. I also find it bad that this gigantic achievement unfolds in a completely unspectacular manner. You don’t feel any of it. And with the brakes you have to grab like a blacksmith. For me, the ZZR makes no sense on the racetrack or on the country road. "And then there was the terrible Sven:" I’m a visual type: I don’t like the ZZR. "

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT stays in front

After the distillery on the Ring, it was actually foreseeable that the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT will also excite us the most in the mountain classification. A machine designed for road use that can cope with the tough loads on the racetrack and shows impeccable performance there will also be ahead in the mountains. And so it was. The spectrum of the semi-active chassis left nothing to be desired, from comfort to sport, the engine with the automatic gearshift fired the KTM excitingly out of the radius and the anchor bit when it had to bite.

Jo said it in the “Kalten Kuchl” shortly before the farmer’s feast was thrown in: “The brake fits the engine. The more I pull the lever, the more it brakes, and the more I accelerate, the more it accelerates. Works very well on country roads and racetracks. ”Münch Tobinger summed up: “The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT is the sportiest motorcycle, so the winner of the test. Great feeling for the front wheel, unlimited lean angle. I just find it terrible that the traction control prevents long wheelies. This is better with the BMW S 1000 XR. If only the Ducati were … ”But then the famous curd cheese strudel came.


1. KTM 1290 Super Duke GT: With a surprisingly large margin of respect, the brand new Austrian sports touring machine secured the top spot on the podium. In terms of the chassis, the quality of which was particularly impressive on the Pannoniaring, the GT set itself apart from the BMW S 1000 XR. “Ready to race” is not just an empty phrase. A very successful debut!

2. BMW S 1000 XR: The Bavarian Superbike engine performed at eye level with the Austrian V2, but the race track was clearly not the territory of the BMW S 1000 XR: too little freedom of movement and lean angle, too little feedback from the chassis, too little cornering stability. On the country road, the XR was able to fight back and show how good it actually is.

3. Kawasaki ZZR 1400: The fact that the rocket accelerates from zero to 200 km / h in 7.5 seconds and presses 203 hp and 161 Nm on the test bench did little help in this test. With the blunt brakes, the diffuse traction control, the use of which remained a mystery to the end, and the weak feedback from the chassis, there was nothing to be gained here.

The complete evaluation table is available in the booklet or as a PDF in the article download.

Knock-out Ducati 1299 Panigale

After an embarrassing fall and an unworthy bus ride, the wrecked Panigale was offended on the pick-up before the test began.

Knock-outs in the first round are spectacular and not that rare. But a knock-out in the cabin before the fight? This is exactly what happened to the Ducati 1299 Panigale, which was the only real super sports car that should have competed in the wild crossover comparison test in the Lower Austrian Alps and at the Pannoniaring. Well, one day before the unlocked horsepower colleagues hit Austria with the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, the BMW S 1000 XR and the Kawasaki ZZR 1400, I wanted to run in the brand new Panigale gently and prepare for the madness to come. The plan was very good, but there was still room for improvement when it came to execution, as the saying goes if you don’t want to use the awkward word “potential for improvement”.

Hell, when I let the uredle, strong Ducati 1299 Panigale roar through the romantic wine village of Grinzing, the world was still fine and I was really looking forward to the wide bend, but the joy didn’t last long. Because shortly after turning into the longed-for curve, I lost the front. Boom! Scrapping in the local break area.

My bright mind worked at full speed while sledding and delivered three razor-sharp insights until it came to a standstill. First: “The Panigale is over.” Second: “The test quartet has just become a trio.” Third: “I’m a terrible egg-bear.” And that at my age.

Worse than garlic for a vampire

As I then walked the few meters that the slim Ducati 1299 Panigale had slipped further than my body with the surface of a potato sack, I cursed hard because I had to realize that the left handlebar had broken off. Continuing the journey was out of the question. I felt despair choke me. Public transport is worse to me than garlic is to a vampire. And when I whimpered with fate, the Duc barked: "Old fool, get on the smelly bus now, come back with the pick-up and take me to the motorcycle center to Doctor Poljanc, so he can inject me fit!"

An hour later, I had the badly battered Panigale lashed to the loading area and, as a reconciliation, full of love and sympathy, I read her a prancing poem that I had written during the unspeakable bus ride:

“Oh beauty, you noble one,
I am so sorry,
I only slipped briefly,
but you far.
Oh beauty, you noble one,
I am so sorry,
your tank is dented,
your dress is torn.
Oh beauty, you noble one,
maybe it comforts you:
You’re still like that too
much nicer than me. "

Technical specifications

Tester and stunt driver Jo Bauer, stunt and photo driver Sven Loll and the incomparable PS tester and lyricist Triendl, Fritz "Zonko".

Here you can see an extract of the technical data. If you would like the complete measurement values ​​determined by us, including all consumption, torque and acceleration values, you can buy the article as a PDF for download.

Technical data BMW S 1000 XR

Technical data Kawasaki ZZR 1400

Technical data KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

Technical data Ducati 1299 Panigale

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