Comparison test BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and KTM 1290 Super Adventure

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46 Pictures

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure and BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in a comparison test.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure and BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in a comparison test.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW: Compact, clear and informative: cockpit with two analog displays.

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KTM: The KTM’s three-stage cornering light is even better than rigid auxiliary lights.

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BMW: When it gets dark, a big help: adjustable auxiliary headlights.

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KTM: The WP fork is rather reluctant to respond to small waves.

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BMW: The Dynamic ESA with Sachs components works almost perfectly.

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The term "curve loop" does not include a trace of exaggeration. Such roads are common in the south of France.

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Adventure search: back there, just over the horizon, the desert begins. Three or four tanks full and you’d be there.

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As this photo shows, the mighty BMW is taller than the stretched KTM. The GS clearly offers more ground clearance for rough slopes.

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More is not possible: These motorcycles are more than simple travel enduros, they are comfortable luxury tourers and high-tech machines.

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KTM: The left field of the KTM cockpit display offers a lot to read.

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BMW: The BMW switch unit looks unsorted, but is almost intuitive to use.

KTM

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KTM: The logic of the KTM switches is easy to understand, but still a lot of pushing around.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and KTM 1290 Super Adventure in a comparison test.

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A similar number of points, but a lot cheaper in terms of price, that results in a better rating for the KTM.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure and BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in a comparison test.

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Large travel enduros in a comparison test

More is not possible: The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure are more than simple travel enduros, they are comfortable luxury tourers and high-tech machines that can transport you to the end of the world – or to the wonderful south of France.

Forget the Alps! The south of France is the real motorcycle paradise. Its grandiose landscapes are not as crowded as the attractions of the high mountains, often blessed with friendly weather and covered by countless roads that consist of countless curves. Traveling around the triangle between Montélimar, Nîmes and Cannes on a motorcycle is a great experience. The MOTORRAD testers did it; this is how this story came about. Long-distance motorcycle travelers may object that the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure are overqualified for this region and with their 30 liter tanks, long suspension travel, case systems, crash bars and all their pampering packages actually belong in the deserts of this world. Not even close.

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BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and KTM 1290 Super Adventure
Large travel enduros in a comparison test

Both bikes develop impressive driving dynamics

Despite lavish equipment and the associated high weight, the two mighty motorcycles develop impressive driving dynamics – each in its own unique way. The KTM 1290 Super Adventure has been trimmed for stability with a longer wheelbase, flatter steering head angle and plenty of caster. It combines this with a torsion-resistant steering head section, the stiff upside-down fork with a thick wheel axle. This gives it a high degree of steering precision, even in fast corners or when changing lean angles. The driver has to exert a lot of steering effort, but feels very well what the front tire is doing. In this respect, the KTM is practically a super athlete among the travel enduros.

The change to the handy BMW R 1200 GS Aventure demonstrates the big difference between the two machines. The changeover has to curb his effort on the handlebars, otherwise he will slap the machine much faster than desired. It takes a few kilometers to get used to it and the pleasant aspects of this design come to the fore: nimble, almost effortless cornering up to high speed regions. Because the handlebars are mounted in softer rubber and the front suspension is less stiff, the BMW doesn’t feel quite as precise. And in long curves downhill, the weight of the full tank is always present as a slight wobble.

Enduro


BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in the driving report


Dynamism that leaves you spit away


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Enduro


BMW R 1200 GS and BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in a comparison test


Is the Adventure the better GS?


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All tests and articles about the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

Both create a lot of driving pleasure in different ways

But that is whining on a high level. With the constant change, the one who switched from the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure to the KTM 1290 Super Adventure complained about the Austrian’s sluggish turn. Only to praise their sportiness and precision a little later. Conversely, the BMW felt wobbly after switching from the KTM until the joy of playful handiness emerged. Both give you a lot of driving pleasure in different ways: the KTM a little more in the fast corners, the BMW more in the narrower ones.

If you really fire the KTM 1290 Super Adventure on a grippy mountain pass, you understand why its chassis is designed like this – its engine pushes like a catapult in the medium speed range. Maybe that’s why the chassis is designed to be so stable that it doesn’t pull the engine out of its seat itself. The 1.3-liter V2 easily puts the mighty motorcycle in third gear on the rear wheel, with the slight nudge of a bump even in fourth gear before the wheelie control brings the front wheel down again. A tip for acrobatics enthusiasts: In the Sport driving mode, the electronics allow discreet acceleration wheelies, usually initiated in a slightly inclined position.

Enduro


KTM 1290 Super Adventure in the driving report


Does that still make any sense?


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Enduro


KTM 1290 Super Adventure in the top test


The strongest travel enduro


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All tests and articles about the KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Engine comes from the Super Duke

But the KTM 1290 Super Adventure can also do something completely different. The engine from the Super Duke was further cultivated with modified heads and an increased flywheel mass, and now controls a very wide speed range. It goes smoothly and cleanly on the accelerator well below 3000 rpm, past the rough heel and chain whips of earlier LC8 engines. In terms of travel qualities, the 1290 has improved even more than the grass qualities.

Speaking of racing: it is reduced to those rare moments when you don’t think the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure that its 125 hp would be sufficient. You do it of course. But when the KTM rider has his wild minute, there is little they can do to counter the irresistibly flickering KTM 1290 Super Adventure. BMW drivers should then not try to squeeze their boxers. At high speeds, his temperament is not nearly as pronounced as in the middle.


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The term "curve loop" does not include a trace of exaggeration. Such roads are common in the south of France.

It is better to stay calm. The next loop in the bend is sure to come, and there the engine and chassis of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure harmonize at least as well as on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure in faster terrain. The boxer is even easier to accelerate in the middle of the curve and pulls ahead with a high level of smoothness and pulling power. Quiet and efficient. The boxer also exudes more serenity with a steady pulse and gentle character in the partial load range. This is complemented by his frugality in fuel consumption, on the country road the BMW driver saves 0.7 liters per 100 km.

The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure benefits greatly from its gear shift assistant on winding roads. In the latest version, it allows downshifting without the clutch, and at first it’s hard to believe how well this works. You just have to keep your fingers off the clutch lever in a disciplined manner and keep the gas closed. Then simply push the gear lever down, once, twice as often as you want to shift down. With each time the throttle bursts to initiate the shift process and reduce the braking torque cheer higher, but you actually find your way into the curve without lurching the rear wheel and without clutch acrobatics.

Configuration of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure well done

So much for the basic characteristics of the two machines. Thanks to the various driving modes and the semi-active damping systems, they can be emphasized or softened in a certain area. "Semi" because the spring forces are applied "passively" by steel springs, "active" because the damping is constantly readjusted depending on the driving situation. This takes place in fractions of a second and is based on virtually all of the information that the motorcycle’s sensors provide. The damping forces are not only adapted when accelerating or braking, but also according to different compression speeds on light or violent bumps. The systems even react to the force component that compresses the spring elements in an inclined position with increased pressure damping at the front and rear. When the vehicle is stationary and because of the high power consumption when the engine is running, the rear suspension can be more strongly preloaded for higher loads. The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure can be adjusted in three stages, and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure in four stages.

In order to offer the best damping setting for as many riding situations as possible, both motorcycles have several damping modes available. In the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, they are linked to the Rain and Road driving modes; The Pro Dynamic, Enduro and Enduro Pro riding modes, which are available as special equipment, also intervene in the semi-active damping. In addition, the normal, hard and soft variants can be set in each mode. That may sound confusing, but in practice the BMW configuration deserves the shorts, praiseworthy predicate “clear and well-made”. The driver quickly understands why the Road or Dynamic mode is called that, and after a short period of getting used to it, he can accurately switch between the modes. As wild as the switch barriers on the left end of the BMW handlebars may look, the switches are easy to find and the menu structure is so flat that you can get what you want with just a few switch operations.

Adjustment of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure more difficult to understand

The coordination of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure is more difficult to understand and not so unerringly succeeded, the operation more complicated and ergonomically less favorable, although the switch unit appears to be in good order. Here the wild growth takes place inside in the form of a branched menu structure. As an unavoidable side effect of the semi-active damping, a constant clacking and chirping of the valves in the fork can be heard. What the testers also noticed: Even in the comfort damping mode, the fork responds insensitively to small waves, and in many corners the front shows constant slight bobbing. In contrast, the hindquarters appear rather underdamped in comfort mode. The testers liked this best in the tighter sport mode, in which, however, the fork is heavily overdamped. It hardly reacts to a change of lean angle, the handling remains hip-stiff.

Since a combination of fork in comfort mode and rear suspension in – slightly softened – sport mode is not possible, street mode is recommended. In order to save the honor of the KTM 1290 Super Adventure, the testers were able to determine that the suspension worked perfectly on an extremely bumpy track.

The cornering lights of the KTM are perfectly successful

The KTM 1290 Super Adventure is equipped with two side cornering lights. The unit on the inside of the curve automatically lights up in three stages at ten, 20 and 30 degrees inclination and further and further into the curve. This innovation is a perfect success, but not the weak and spotty headlight. In contrast, the light unit of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure provides bright, evenly powerful light and, together with the additional headlights, which are subject to a surcharge, turns the night in front of the front wheel almost into day.

The test results in the areas of engine, semi-active suspension and light show a tendency that continues in the areas of brakes / ABS and straight-line stability: The KTM 1290 Super Adventure goes to extremes, the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, on the other hand, is in Perfected detail. Although 16 kilograms heavier than the KTM when fully equipped, the BMW brakes better in an emergency. On the average of several measurements, it achieves an average deceleration of 9.4 m / s² in the ABS control range from 100 km / h, the KTM only achieves 8.8 m / s² in road mode. When the BMW is stationary, the KTM is still traveling at 25.3 km / h. In off-road braking mode, the KTM reaches 9.6 m / s², but with the rear wheel lifted and locked. Apparently the KTM developers have chosen a defensive design because of the large tank and the associated shift in front wheel load and center of gravity.

BMW almost 2000 euros more expensive

If you drive the two hums with luggage over the autobahn, paradoxical situations arise: The stable KTM 1290 Super Adventure oscillates so much at high speed that you should stick to the recommendation to load a maximum of ten kilograms per suitcase and not faster than To drive 150 km / h. The handy BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, on the other hand, runs safely and straight ahead when loaded, even at a top speed of 213 km / h.

Having said so much about the convenience of the optional extras, the prices also need to be mentioned. With the KTM 1290 Super Adventure, almost everything is standard, with the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure almost everything is subject to a surcharge, and in the end, at 21,115 euros, it is almost 2000 euros more expensive than the KTM. But – as the determination of the price in the jungle of equipment has shown – the adventure with it begins in the configurator.

Video of the big travel enduro comparison test

The test for the video is available in 3 parts here:

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Technical specifications


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Adventure search: back there, just over the horizon, the desert begins. Three or four tanks full and you’d be there.

MOTORCYCLE test result


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More is not possible: These motorcycles are more than simple travel enduros, they are comfortable luxury tourers and high-tech machines.

1. BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
Who would have thought that considering the brilliant KTM engine. But because the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure is better thought out in many details and looks more homogeneous, it is catching up point by point. That is just enough to win.

2. KTM 1290 Super Adventure
Three points behind, not much is missing. But there are clear points of criticism: fork, ABS, consumption, light, straight-line stability. In these areas, the KTM 1290 Great Adventure would still need optimization in detail, then it would be clearly ahead.

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