All new 2022 TRAVEL ENDUROS FROM BMW, DUCATI AND KTM IN COMPARISONR 1250 GS, Multistrada V4 and Adventure put to the test

All new 2022 TRAVEL ENDUROS FROM BMW, DUCATI AND KTM IN COMPARISONR 1250 GS, Multistrada V4 and Adventure put to the test.

In this comparison test, the BMW R 1250 GS, Ducati Multistrada V4 S and KTM 1290 Super Adventure S show what they can do off-road. One mud for everyone. Damn it, does that feel weird. On the rims of BMW's R 1250 GS, Ducati's Multistrada V4 S and KTM's 1290 Super Adventure S, Pirelli's Scorpion Rally fights for grip and stability. The roughly profiled tire provides good off-road traction, but before it and the riders get there on the motorcycles, it has to master several kilometers of asphalt. 

Previously all three bikes were still flying on their standard street tires - see issue 9/2021- Giving joy around every corner, they turn with the coarse stollers as smoothly as a fully loaded 40-ton truck circumnavigates a single-lane roundabout. And then inclined position comes into play, lacks cornering stability, the rough profile rubs gummy around the curves. Strange driving behavior at first, but after a few kilometers you get used to it. Also because there is a good reason why the bumpy tire adorns the rims of the bikes for this test: He should go off-road with them, after all, all three of them are praising themselves as adventure vehicles, suitable for on-road and off-road use. Let's see how well the two-wheelers, which weigh five hundred pounds or more, keep this promise.

Cozy BMW R 1250 GS

The desolate destination for the adventure excursion that lies ahead of us turns out to be an almost dry river bed. Its base is shaped by stones in every clothing size and their ancestors - meanwhile in many places through erosion and other influences they have been ground to deep sand. As if seized by the youthful instinct to play, the three travel enduros and their drivers fly through the almost dry river bed in the next moment. The BMW almost automatically follows the wishes of its pilot. With a lot of space behind the high and wide handlebars, it allows almost effortless, relaxed driving while standing. In addition, your boxer pulsed his power just above idle so casually towards the rear wheel that a lot of concentration remains for the way, as if the GS is secretly whispering to you: "Enjoy the trip, relax, I'll take care of the rest." Dealing with the BMW is not really casual, because its 259 kilograms with a full tank - determined for all motorcycles with spoked wheels and standard tires - require a hands-on approach in order not to lose balance. Nevertheless: It is always astonishing how easy a 1250 GS is when it comes to enduro hiking.

Harmonious Ducati Multistrada V4 S

Almost a touch more harmoniously, the Multistrada V4 S advertises the favor of its driver. Your engine lacks the calming, perfectly usable torque pressure of the BMW right at the bottom, but the V4 is great on the gas, and the propulsion can be finely dosed for professionals and novices alike in the gravel of the riverbed. The successful interplay of engine, clutch and brakes gives you a lot of confidence when dealing with the 258 kilogram Ducati on this terrain. Only when driving in a standing position, it has to be slightly behind the GS. Their driver integration turns out to be too assembled and compact. Nothing that cannot be remedied with simple aids such as a different handlebar or a handlebar riser - but in series production the GS is slightly ahead in this regard.

Fordende KTM 1290 Super Adventure S.

It's similar with the KTMout. Their relatively narrow handlebars do not necessarily make it easier to ride while standing, and they also require more attention when you are leisurely drifting through the curved, fine gravel bed. Your V2 hangs rougher on the accelerator, its smoothness in this speed range simply demands more care and attention from the driver when calling up the power. Therefore, it proves to be more strenuous, especially at low speeds. It doesn't run as completely automatically with her as with the Ducati and BMW. With every ignition of its two cylinders, which are spread by 75 degrees, it makes it clear that it was made for more. The 1290 willingly endures sliding over the unpaved, but conveys with every fiber of its athlete's body, which weighs 246 kilograms, that it only swims with a resting heart rate and that there has to be something else. When it is allowed to do more, speed and engine power increase, it impressively marks its territory with a meter-long cloud of dust, the KTM is in its element. However, you have to have a lot of willingness and ability to let the Super Adventure S fly like this.

Electronic helpers

In order for this to work at all, all motorcycles have a large number of riding modes and setting options for the electronic helpers - from semi-active chassis to traction control. Equipped with the dynamic package, among other things, the GS rocks and rolls with the Enduro setting for the semi-active chassis and in the Enduro Pro riding mode, which can be freely configured (ABS only active at the front, TC off). Extra packages for off-road driving fun are not necessary with the Ducati, as the Offroad driving mode offers a sensible set-up for off-road excursions ex works. 

This can be fine-tuned (ABS off-road, high performance, TC off) to adapt it to personal preferences - which we accept with gratitude. With the KTM, as with the BMW, you need extras for a completely individual configuration. The 1290 Super Adventure S test motorcycle was refined with the Tech Pack, which also includes the Rally Pack as a feature. In addition to the off-road driving mode (reduced power), the KTM also has the rally driving mode (open power), which can be freely programmed again (ABS and off-road responsiveness, traction control off). The package also includes the semi-active off-road chassis mode, which is also used here.

The river bed narrows, from now on it's steeper and more rocky upwards. A small off-road lane winds its way up into the sky in tight bends, more or less large boulders stand in the way of the three motorcycles. The KTM tears through the vertical meters under its tires with pomp, using every small wave to deliberately lose traction. The rear wheel is locked in position and straight into the corner, with the aft tire spinning out again: Anyone who wants to and can let it rip in this way is well served with the Austria Enduro. There is no more reserves for brisk plowing here.

But that cannot hide the fact that your chassis - especially the fork - does not respond well when the chain is less pulled. BMW shows how it can be done better. Mainly because it climbs over stones and turns at low speed, which is convenient for inexperienced adventurers. When the oats sting, the cow still flies almost as briskly off-road as the orange. Only those who are in a hurry have to live with less undercarriage reserves than with the KTM.

Everyone rightly carries the term "Enduro"

The Ducati goes a third way, which is partly due to its chassis. While the BMW ironed the floor flat with 190 millimeters of travel at the front and 200 millimeters at the rear - the KTM has 200 millimeters each - the Multistrada V4 S has to make do with 170 millimeters of travel on the fork and 180 on the damper. As a result, the Ducati touches down gently at a brisk gallop, does not protect its static and unloaded ground clearance of 210 millimeters from the touchdown. With the BMW (210 millimeters ground clearance) and the KTM (220 millimeters ground clearance) this happens less often, longer and closer to the end of the spring travel also more tightly tuned chassis tend to prevent scratches on the "vibrating plate" under the engine.

The Ducati cannot always follow the BMW and especially the KTM with the really brisk dance up the mountain. Their good-natured character and the sensitively appealing chassis, on the other hand, rob rough edges and some furrows of the horror. The Ducati doesn't give stress a chance. Splash the gravel or master tricky cross-country passages in a relaxed manner: the Ducati can do both. Only when the tendency is more towards airtime, the speed requires an expert on the handlebars and throttle, will she be the first to drop the sails.

But that doesn't matter. At the end of the stage, everyone is on top of the mountain, they have completed the ascent easily, but in different ways, and have shown that they legitimately use the term enduro. Three happy, steamy, red-faced riders are resting next to the crackling bikes. The weight: Despite all the technology and driving aids, it remains the greatest, most challenging handicap that unites them when off-roading.

1st place: KTM 1290 Super Adventure S.  Offroad nobody can fool the KTM that easily. She comes through and up everywhere. In order to unleash your potential, you need an expert. She doesn't like to climb slowly. So a great motorcycle - especially for off-road experts.

2nd place: BMW R 1250 GS.  The BMW lets the stones fly if necessary, but also handles slow passages just as casually. In their saddle, the rider sets the pace. She conforms to him, avoids extremes. With her, well-being is hip for everyone.

3rd place: Ducati Multistrada V4 S. With its shorter suspension travel and the not quite as powerful engine start, the Ducati falls slightly behind. In return, the fork and shock absorber respond well, they shine with the best of manners. A great bike for ambitious off-road hikers.

All new 2022 TRAVEL ENDUROS FROM BMW, DUCATI AND KTM IN COMPARISONR 1250 GS, Multistrada V4 and Adventure put to the test.

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