SEPTEMBER 2014 / DIRT BIKE 81
them over and see just exactly how different they are. Fuel stops will
have to be planned carefully. The BMW has the biggest tank at 7. 9 gallons. The KTM and Yamaha carry 6.1 gallons each, and the Suzuki has a
5.3-gallon tank. We also got the best mileage from the BMW, if only by
a slight margin. With the BMW, you can squeak out 48 or maybe even
50 mpg on the road (best-case scenario), whereas all three of the others get around 46 mpg. Likewise, the BMW is the heaviest at about 550
pounds without fuel, and the Suzuki is the lightest around 475 pounds.
The Yamaha and KTM teeter around the 500-pound mark, depending on
equipment, accessories and guards.
Protection is another big factor determining where these bikes can go
and whether or not they can go together. The BMW and KTM are well-armored with skid plates and crash bars. The Yamaha has only minimal
protection, but most parts are at least tucked in nicely. The Suzuki
V-Strom 1000 Adventure has a crash bar and skid plate, but is still very
vulnerable because of limited ground clearance and an unprotected
exhaust pipe. The standard edition doesn’t even have a skid plate, and
the oil filter sits alarmingly exposed.
Then there’s seat height, which tends to be very intimidating in the
adventure bike world. The Suzuki and KTM are at opposite ends of
the spectrum. Interestingly, they are the two that don’t have adjustable
seats. The KTM R has a 21-inch front wheel, while the others have 19s.
That makes it the tallest, although the standard version of the KTM has
a 19-inch front and a correspondingly lower saddle. The Suzuki’s low
saddle makes it feel like the minibike of the group, while the Yamaha,
in its low position, is only a half inch or so taller. The BMW also has an
adjustable saddle, but is tall even when dropped all the way down. Like
KTM, BMW offers a standard version of the bike with a lower seat. All
four bikes have six-speed gearboxes. The Yamaha and BMW have drive
shafts, and all except the Suzuki have cruise control. The Yamaha, BMW
and KTM have spoke wheels, while the Suzuki’s are cast aluminum,
straight from the street bike line. Same goes for the V-Strom’s spaghetti-thin handlebar.
PERFORMANCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Let’s get something out of the way immediately. In virtually every
quantifiable measure of performance, the KTM comes out on top. It has
a much more powerful motor; it’s light, and it has the most advanced
1190 ADVENTURE R
KTM has two versions
of the 1190 Adventure.
The R version here has a
21-inch front wheel and
more dirt accessories.