Tiger 1200 Explorer - Other new Adventure Bikes
Since I purchased my Tiger Explorer in October 2012 a number of new Adventure bikes have appeared. The Explorer quickly
overtook the BMW GS1200 as the best selling bike in the UK however the competition is hotting up.
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I was in Italy in July 2014 when I saw my first KTM1190 Adventure R and I got to sit
on it. It is very tall in the saddle, light and nicely built, I think it looks better in real life
than in photos. The KTM comes with a 24 Litre tank and the owner assured me he
could better 60 mpg cruising at 70mph which gave over 300 miles per tank. At
higher speeds he reckoned to get 50 + which is much better than the old KTM 990.
I test road the regular KTM1190 Adventure in August 2014. It does feel light and at
5'8" I found it slim and manageable. The seat is hard but it is well shaped. I
thought the bars were a little too narrow and the standard screen is small. I like the
clocks and all the buttons on the left hand bar which allow the rider to modify the
settings. Clear instrumentation really helps as well. At 220kg + fuel the KTM feels
good to ride, the tyres are wide but the steering still felt quick enough. The engine
produces 150bhp which is more than the Explorer. On my ride a Hayabusa came
past and I followed, accelerating hard out of a round about I hung on to his number
plate up to 130 when he backed off (That is Millimeters Per Hectare officer). The
fuelling is well sorted for a V twin. I could hold 5th gear at 30 mph with no chain
snatch. I found it easy to speed on the KTM and the lack of cruise control would
worry my licence. Brakes, handling, gearbox, tyre feedback were all good. When I
got back on the Tiger Explorer my bike felt turbine smooth and much more refined, a
better tourer but the KTM is the better Adventure bike. The normal version is over
£14,500 on the road which is £3,000 more than my Triumph, The Adventure R is
£4,500 more than the Explorer. I don't think I need 150 bhp on a bike, everything
happens so fast and the traction control is very active keeping the front end down. I
like the Street and Rain settings which offer sensible power curves. Mine had the
electronic suspension package and I really don't know if I like them. I prefer to set
my bike up to suit me and keep it there. I do not want a computer to try and analyse
if I want to go quick, slow or steady round the next corner.
The photo left shows the new KTM1050 which is a lower level entry Adventure bike
for £10,900. It could be a good buy if KTM have sorted out the fuel economy. Still a
big bike, it has street orientated suspension, wheels and tyres but it can be ridden
off road. A 1050 KTM that offers the same power as an 800 Tiger, Hmmmm.
In August 2014 I test rode the Aprillia Caponord 1200. An interesting bike and well
priced at £12,000 with luggage. The ground clearance is low and the Caponord is
more a dressed up Dorsoduro. However I could get my feet down OK. The engine
was smooth and with 120bhp the Caponord performed well. Lots of mid range and
perhaps a bit flat at the top of the rev range. The fuelling is typical V no snatching
and smooth acceleration. The handling, ride and brakes were all good. This bike
is a serious contender as a tourer but not a real Adventure bike. Mine came with
cruise control but I could not figure out how it worked, partly because the
instrumentation is too small, hard to read in sunlight and hard to understand. My
main beef is all the wires and cables running under the right side of the engine,
being vulnerable and untidy. Still a nice bike overall and much better than the
Aprillia deserve special praise for keeping the exhaust low to ensure the luggage is
nice and slim and it does not have to lose space to occupy an enormous silencer.
The Caponord is another bike with all electronic, self adjusting, it knows how you
want to take the next bend, suspension. Hmmmm, see comments on the KTM.
Adventure bike. There were several of these in the Alps and they all seem to be
mint and ridden by riders who don't do rain or off road or use the edge of their tyres.
Our UK bikes had covered 3,000 miles in some appalling weather to get to the
same place and just looked shabby in comparison. The 1200 engine produces 150
bhp and the Multistrada is nice and light. Big power seems to lurk above 6,000 revs
so on the road it needs to be revved to produce the goods. I might get to ride one,
but I doubt I will own one just yet. I will wait to see if high mileage examples appear
to prove they can be ridden 15,000 miles per year.
I have ridden the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, it is low, light and has a fabulous engine, a
real sports bike. However the seat is hard and the suspension is awfully cheap.
Back to back with a 2015 Tiger 800XCX the Tracer is too uncomfortable. Also the
Tracer was showing rust in places where Triumphs never rust e.g Rear Shock,
exhaust, fittings. I think Yamaha have pulled off a masterstroke for £8,200. Around
210 kg fully fuelled and 113bhp blimey. However it is built to match the price.
The new Kawasaki Versys 650 below left and the super light (Super slow) CCM450
below are interesting options.
The KTM1050 (Below right) is also a great bike at a good price, power is down on
the old 990 and 1190 but it should be torquey. If they have sorted the fuelling and
massively improved economy it would be a sensible choice however no cruise
control. KTM are rumoured to be building an 800cc middleweight adventure due out
in 3 years, let us wait and see.
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