SEPTEMBER 2014 / DIRT BIKE 79
RC8, although in that configuration the V-twin is said to produce 170
horsepower. Gasp. It has ABS, traction control and power settings, and
gives the rider a lot of control over the machine’s behavior. You could
write a book just listing all the menus, submenus and adjustments
available from the cockpit. The off-road setting, for example, has limited traction control, limited ABS and limited power, whereas the road
setting has all of those items at full strength. You can also change the
features one by one. KTM has two versions of the 1190, but unlike the
Suzuki and Yamaha, the premium version (the “R”) is a completely different machine, not the same thing with a few extras. The R, which we
test here, has more suspension, more dirt-oriented accessories and is
the only bike in the group with a 21-inch front wheel. You can opt to
get the bike from the dealer with knobbies or full-street tires.
On the price ladder, the KTM sits another rung higher. The R version
sells for just over $18,000 before you start adding bags.
BMW R1200GS ADVENTURE
BMW is still the high-status name in adventure bike riding. This
model is the one that sits on top—and it’s priced accordingly. The
version here sells for over $23,000 as equipped. A stripped-out base
model can be had for around $16,000 if you’re very determined.
Versions like that are not imported except by special order.
At the core is the liquid-cooled 1170cc motor that BMW released
last year. It resembles the traditional boxer-opposed twin, but only
superficially. Inside it’s a very modern, eight-valve, DOHC powerplant
that produces a claimed 125 horsepower. The chassis is new, too, but
retains iconic BMW designs like the Telelever front suspension, which
has a single shock and linkage. The “Adventure” suffix, in BMW’s case,
means it’s the premium version and has more of everything—more fuel
capacity, more suspension, more flywheel and more off-road accessories. Most of the electronic revolution started at BMW, and this one
has it all, including ABS, traction control, electronic suspension control
and cruise control. You can adjust all these features simultaneously by
selecting one of five “ride modes”—Road, Enduro, Dynamic, Rain or
Enduro Pro—or you can tailor them one at a time. The BMW still has
shaft final drive and can be ordered with Continental knobbies.
Before taking these four bikes on the same trip, it’s important to look
SUPER TENERE 1200
Yamaha just came
out with Electronic
on the premium
version of the Super
Tenere. This is the
which got more
power and wind
protection for 2014.