KTM 1190 Adventure R

If you are going to test out the big boys when it comes to the adventure bike market, you can guarantee that the ride is going to cover some pretty tough terrain and you will need a tyre to match. In their August 2014 edition the lucky people at Motorcyclist Magazine in the USA have got their hands on four of the biggest players in the market:

  • BMW R1200 GS Adventure
  • KTM 1190 Adventure R
  • Triumph Tiger Explorer XC
  • Yamaha Super Tenere ES

Their tyre of choice for this clash of the titan test? The “excellent” Continental TKC80 Twinduro tyre designed for both on and off-road use. The test saw the bikes being hammered through a wide range of terrain in rain, sleet and sunshine as it was primarily about how the bikes faired off-road, and after getting back to the office and comparing notes this is how the bikes faired:

4th Place – Triumph Tiger Explorer XC

The British designed Tiger Explorer XC is the current choice of Continental sponsored Rhys Lawrey of 2moro Rider who is at the time of writing on a record breaking around the world trip on two wheels. The Triumph was described as “a graceful and enjoyable machine” on the road with the riders going on to comment that “steering effort is moderate and response is linear, even on knobblies” however the riders felt that they had to treat it a little more gently off-road.

3rd Place – Yamaha Super Tenere ES

The choice of around the world legend and long-time Continental user Nick Sanders, the Yamaha Super Tenere ES received a few tweaks in 2014 which the riders were very keen to test out. On the road handling on the TKC80 was described as “great – plush and controlled, just what ADV buyers seem to want”. The street biased Traction Control again made the bike an ideal “relaxed touring model that works well enough off-road” but left it a little behind the final two bikes in terms of the riders opinions.

2nd Place – BMW R1200 GS Adventure

The BMW has been one of the biggest selling bikes in the UK in recent months, and the Continental TKC80 comes as original equipment on a number of the BMW models. The likes of Continental sponsored GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions take these sturdy machines to some of the most rugged corners of our planet, and although it may look a little foreboding the“steering is ultra-light” and the “ride quality is superb no matter the terrain”. Thanks to its in depth range of modes, settings and on-board gadgets the BMW scores highly both on an off-road, but loses the number one spot on two counts.

1st Place – KTM 1190 Adventure R

The release of the KTM 1190 Adventure R saw the release of a tubeless version of the TKC80 which comes as an original equipment fitment on the bike, and it was voted as “Bike of the Year” in Australia in 2013. The KTM takes the top spot thanks to its “front end feel” which “transmits more feedback from the front tyre, folds over slower, and is easier to recover” with a big 21″ front wheel that easily copes with rocks, roots and other obstacles and is the right size for some serious off-road rubber. It also wins on price, although the testers did admit that if the gap between the KTM and the BMW had been around the $2,000 mark they would have placed the BMW first overall.