The BMW R1200GSA has a new challenger this year for the top spot at the pinnacle of the adventure motorcycle market, in the form of the new KTM 1290 Super Adventure.
Both boasting big tech, big potential, and a price tag to match, US based Motorcyclist Magazine were keen to put the two head to head to see how the new challenger compared.
In their August 2015 edition, editor Marc Cook, and Associate Editor Zack Courts take the two bikes out of Los Angeles and into the remote Californian countryside.
Now, KTM have some serious off-road credibility – the 1190 Adventure R topping numerous tests in 2014, pitted against it’s German rival and bikes from many other major manufacturers. However, having been at the official launch of the big 1290, Marc was let in on a little secret – the new KTM was built to establish on-road dominance over the BMW, given that most big adventure bikes spend most of their time on the tarmac.
This logic kind of makes sense when you think about the fact that the ‘little’ brother, the KTM 1190 Adventure R, has been touted as the best full sized adventure bike on the market for off-road riding – backed up with a number of comparison test wins. However, what this actually threw up was a big debate about the purpose of an adventure bike.
Both riders were in agreement that the 1290 Super Adventure, from it’s engine to it’s suspension, was better on the road, whilst the BMW really came into its element off-road thanks to it’s tech, linked brakes and a level of balance and composure that just shouldn’t be possible on a 600lb motorcycle.
So which was the better bike?
Now there comes the difficult bit. It all comes down to how you define adventure. On road? Off-road? A combination of the two? Or is it all about the destination, and the sites, sounds and experiences you have along the way, irregardless of which route you take? To that end, Marc preferred the KTM as the better bike, whilst Zack said it was all about the ability to head for the dirt on a whim, and opted for the BMW.
One thing they could both agree on was tyre choice, stating that “the KTM’s Continental TrailAttack 2 tyres (standard fitment) are much better than the BMW’s Michelin Anakee III rubber.”
Who knew that simply testing two motorcycles could spark such a debate?
Well, whatever “adventure” means to you, Continental have a range of class-leading road and off-road oriented tyres to suit every journey – now that’s something we can all agree on!
View our adventure sport tyre range including the ContiTrailAttack 2 here.