Lets talk bikes.
If money was not a question. What would it be?
You want power and good looks and … Power.
No. What you want for your money is ridability. You want to be able to go places with the bike and not not worry about fuel range, suspension travel, few scratches and sore bum.
What does that leave You with? Sensible choices. The choice I made was subjective and calculated by the needs and possibilities I can bring to the table. I will share now all the reasons, why none of the others were chosen. It was a process of elimination from the start.
First eliminee – Ducati multistrada 950 enduro. Very comfortable, very nimble onroad and the sound is classic italian – loud and in-your-face right from the start. Reasons why I would have to walk away from her – first the wheels and tyre choice. No, it is not an offroad solution. It looks cool and gives the bike the ability to go gravel riding, but not offroad. She is heavy. Travel ready weight in my trim would be around 235-240kg. That is too much in book. The engine needs a bit too much service and the clutch is underrated for the torque and weight. Autonomy of an adventure bike for me needs to be @ min 350km and happy I would be with 400-450km. The desmo engine is not a very economical solution. It is fun though. Suspension would not be up to what I have in mind. The sachs suspension on the bike is a quality product, but built for road use and broken road use in mind. With 160mm of usable travel it would be uncomfortable offroad and not up to the task we like to provide.
Second – BMW F850gs/adventure. Lots of electronics available. Also a lot of added weight and less mm of suspension travel in comparison to the old model. Totally different weight distribution (old had a tank in the rear) and the new and very cool looking wheels. For 60/40 action, this bike is good/great/superb. Also the adventure model. The new 270 deg pumping parallel twin engine has a lot better manners than the old. The bike is technologically more advanced and rides better. On The Road. These wheels can take 1 hit and then You need to replace the rim and spokes, that are very expensive. The suspension is nonadjustable and quite limited in tuning possibilities (there would be big upgrades needed). The normal version has a 15l tank with a range of about 300-350 km of spirited riding – so added fuel would be needed or the adventure model instead. The weight of the adventure model – yes out the garage door is 250kg. I can lift that in sand or on a hill maybe twice and then no more. It is an alternative to the big Twelwe. And one would perhaps consider the bigger sister instead.
Third – The Tiger 800 xc. On paper a very similar solution to the BMW. In real life something totally different. Different engine, different ergo, different part quality and one would even say different crowd of buyers/riders/taste it is for. It has a more conservative look and feel to it. Perhaps the new update will be different but this seems/looks/feels a bit outdated – even for me. The R3 engine is lovely on highway and fast flowing trafic. The bike is smooth and comfortable to ride on tarmac – but everything sort of falls apart off the road. There is plastic rattling, harsh suspension setup and steeper headstem angle with a lot of weight up front means, that for me riding in tough conditons is too stressfull. Apart from some bits and the plastics – the bike can actually take quite some beating. But with the travel weight of 240kg and a fuel range of barely 320-350km – this is not the bike for us.
Fourth – The africa twin and the new africa twin. Let us make it short. Too tall, too heavy, too soft, too weak abs plastics, the sceen is unreadable in sunlight and it has not suitable ergo for me and very difficult workshop manners.
Fifth – Yamaha T7 – or the “baby” Tenere. A very competitive bike for the group. By far the lightest. Most capable offroad and on technical track. The least of plastics and very good engine gb combo. Very little electronics. In fact – too little. The Abs on the front should be possible to keep on during off-road riding. That is not possible on the Tenere though. The suspension can be upgraded and serviced properly but the brakes components have been taken off of a very cheap chinese motorcycle (not really – but the rubber lines and bendy levers etc feel like that). It is a tall bike – narrow and tall. Good for filtering, not so good for long highway runs and sidewind. The engine lacks power in higher rpm range and would hinder the bike´s performance when two up on bigger roads. The fuel tank is tiny – but the range is acceptable 350km. And it sounds gooood right out the box. The dash is not comprehensive nor easy to read and the many materials used show signs of cutting development corners and cost.
Sixth – The notsostelvio motoguzzi V85tt. It is a “soft” adventure bike. We like the look and the style of it, the colorful and totally different nature of the transverse V2. It is a bit underpowered for the weight and shaft drive – but for all it´s intended for – a beautiful bike with low seat and good riding manners. We would just brake it, doing what we do – so we will stay away.
Seventh – KTM 1090adventure R. We had the 950 and the 990. We know what a tall bike means. Try 990S with 265mm suspension with stiffer springs and You´ll know too. This is similar. But more power and better road manners. One of the best low grunt V-twin engines ktm has made. With 23 litres of fuel and low consumption it could go places. But it was removed from the range. We found it more difficult to ride than the 990. The front of the bike is very covered with plastics that shake around on bad roads and if sided/collided with mother earth – she weighs almost 240kg fully fueled and that is too much for us. That weight is up high and the bike is narrow down low. The vibration is same/bigger in comparison to the 990 and apart from road riding we see no upgrade from that.
Eighth – KTM 1290 – Super Adventure R. Just like the name suggests, everything is Super about it. From the torque to the suspension to the brakes and to the weight. It is a superbike on the road and a bit of the same off-road. But if you fall then there will be a very tall and very heavy girl to be picked up. In fact – when setup we measured 910mm seat height and 247kg out the door. Every bit of technology on it, is there trying to keep You tamed (read: alive) and hinder any sudden death situation. For as expensive as it is and worthy of it – the plastics feel a bit brittle and keyless-go has left many bikers stranded numerous times. The 100+KW engine You are sitting on, emits heat like a nuclear bomb and there is no end to speeding tickets. It is just too much of everything. If somebody wants the “off the reservation” bike – of adventure world, this is it. It is just not for us.
So who is Sandy???