All Comparisons – Comparo Trails 1200: the R1200GS threatened by the Multistrada and the Super Tenere – Great motorcycle tours!

Comparo Trails 1200: the R1200GS threatened by the Multistrada and the Super Tenere

All Comparisons - Comparo Trails 1200: the R1200GS threatened by the Multistrada and the Super Tenere - Great motorcycle tours!

2010, year of big trails: Ducati and Yamaha have relaunched their Multistrada and Super Tenere to attack the benchmark of the segment, the BMW R1200GS. The Japanese and the Italian will they manage to dislodge the German from its pedestal ? Comparative test.

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Of the three motorcycles, the Super Tenere is the heaviest but the easiest to ride. Its saddle is 5 mm lower compared to those of its competitors and its suspensions sink copiously under the weight of the pilot, which allows him to put both feet on the ground.

The Multistrada 1200 is the tallest, but its very low weight and finesse make it much easier to maneuver with the engine off. Between the two, the GS always impresses with its large engine – ouch the shins … – and its high and curved handlebars.

At start-up, the Ducati instantly stands out. First of all because the lack of a key and the small manipulation of the ignition switch shakes up habits. Then because we always complain as much about the battery and the starter responsible for launching the two large pistons !

Once awake, the Testratetta reminds those who have forgotten its sporting ancestry: the soundtrack is almost worthy of an 848! The R1200GS nevertheless defends itself very well on this point, its new Boxer and its new pot offering it a welcome supplement of soul. On this point, the Super Tenere will pass for the most timid of the bunch.

The maid…

In town, the Yamaha is also a little more borrowed than the reference GS: less agile, its perfectible injection and its engine jolting below 2500 rpm require frequent use of the selector. Fortunately, the clutch and the gearbox of the Yamaha are pleasant to use..

However, the same does not apply to the brake pedal, which is too high to go with the right boot. We therefore prefer to use the front brake – coupled with the rear brake -, progressive and very soft on the attack: a good point for enduro tours … or on the cobbles of Paris. !

Out of town, the "Super T" remains penalized by its superfluous kilos: the bets on the angle and changes of course are less easy – therefore less rapid – than on its two rivals and the exits of turns are less hairy. Even in "Sport" mode, where the in-line twin is more valiant than in "Touring" mode past 6000 rpm, the Yam ‘is systematically dropped by its competitors.

The difference in the pure performance of the engines is particularly obvious on the last report: the Yamaha fails to keep up with the pace imposed by the other two trails and has to go down one, or even two gears to join the battle. !

On the other hand, in the bends, the tuning fork machine makes you forget its tasteless engine and comes back to contact. The new Yamaha has an incredibly balanced cycle part: once registered on its trajectory, the Super Tenere devours the curve without flinching, whatever the pace or the state of the road !

The brakes and the go-around – always jerky – in no way modify the route planned by the pilot. A real treat to roll up in all serenity in absolute comfort: saddle, suspensions, driving position, protection of the fairing and the screen (enhanced), everything contributes to the well-being of the driver.

In case of more frank arsouille, the "païlote" of the Super T will have to put his own to stay in contact with his comrades on GS or Multistrada, in acceleration as in braking: do not hesitate to pull the right lever to benefit from all the power of the two 310 mm front discs and the 285 single rear.

We then notice that the Metzeler Tourance Exp tires of the Japanese give it excellent grip, and that its ABS does not activate until very late and in an almost undetectable way..

The bully…

By taking the controls of the Ducati, the atmosphere changes completely: explosive engine, lively and agile cycle part, biting braking … The Multistrada may be the most comfortable Ducati currently in the catalog, it retains a sacred temperament !

The position of the feet further back, the straight handlebars and the saddle a little harder warn from the start that the program may be more sporty than on the other two bikes. In traffic jams, the Italian is a little reluctant…

Its engine always knocks under 3000 rpm, it does not have a warning to be spotted, the heat which emanates from the engine ends up annoying and without warning, the engine can even stall when stationary in neutral !

Despite everything, its turning radius combined with its featherweight allow you to brave crowded traffic without too much trouble and to leave it quickly and well. !

In addition, it is the only one to offer a glove box and something to slip a lock under the saddle. In its Touring version (€ 18,900 with electronically adjustable Ohlins), two suitcases substantially increase its loading capacity and allow the pilot to go on vacation with the knife between his teeth. !

On the road, the Multistrada shows the full extent of its talent. We take full advantage of the 150 100 horsepower of the engine, which makes the beast rear up to 3rd … on condition of being in "Sport" mode, where the DTC intervenes only very late..

In "Touring" mode, the acceleration is still so thunderous but the wheelies are quickly aborted while in "Urban" and "Enduro", antics are simply impossible, the Ducati twin becoming almost soft as a Cub. In this, the best compromise between efficiency and smoothness is undoubtedly the Touring mode..

Once the bikes are head-to-head in front of a beautiful straight line perfectly clear, the test of the times is final: the Multistrada walks much harder than the Super Tenere and takes off earlier than the GS. But the BMW benefits from an unsuspected vigor in the turns, which allows it to remain stuck to the red ball despite its aerodynamics of Norman cabinet !

On the edge of bends, the last to take the brakes is always the Ducatiste: the calipers – with their pretty radial mounting -, their double pads and the 320 mm discs are right over the competition. Incisive, the front of the "Multi" (well helped it is true by its front wheel of 17 inches against 19 for the Yam ‘and the BM which do not forget the basics of a trail) makes the bike dive in the bends with a really disconcerting speed, especially when getting off the Yamaha !

On bumpy roads, the Ducati is even too lively and does not erase the imperfections enough to put the driver in confidence. The reactions of the bike are not transparent either when you have to take the brakes in a curve: the Ducati steers and stands up. Watch out for excess !

Finally, at high speed, the Multistrada offers good head protection but does not completely relieve the shoulders. Too bad, because its large saddle – yet harder than those of its competitors – allows you to scroll the kilometers relaxed and without pain in the heart….

The injection of Bolognese sometimes lacks regularity at constant speed, but that is not enough to tarnish an excellent record: to cut the road quickly – very quickly – without getting tired, the Multistrada is undoubtedly the best Ducati. On the long run, it competes widely with the Yamaha and the BMW.

and the Boss !

These two tested outsiders, we get on the R1200GS while watching for the slightest flaw in order to find which, the Ducati or the Yamaha, can beat the reference … Except that in the majority of tables, the BMW manages to counter its new rivals !

Motorization point of view, the Boxer shows both extreme flexibility – what the Italian block lacks – and a colossal extension – where the Japanese twin sins. Perfectly docile, this latest version of the Flat twin accepts to be jostled and backfires even happily when the gas is cut: with its HP2 Sport-inspired cylinder heads, the GS has gained an appreciable "scoundrel" side that it was sorely lacking..

Less easy to handle when stationary than the Multistrada, the R1200GS is however more neutral in direction when launched. Almost falling on the Multi, a little reluctant on the Super T, the front axle responds to the finger and the eye on the GS, so that we enter harder in the curves without asking any questions.

Still on the BMW, the weight transfers are less sensitive than on the Yamaha and its behavior in curves – brakes or throttle requested – is almost as excellent. The suspensions set in "Comfort" mode (via the ESA Enduro option), you can swallow the twisty portions in peace, much more than at the controls of the wild Multi.

With its 19-inch front wheel, the Behème cannot cover tires as sporty as the Ducati. On the other hand, its 150 mm rear tire – like the Yam ‘, against 190 mm on the Ducat’ -, less incentive to attack. And yet, the GS does not balk at taking the angle! More than the Super Tenere by the way: loaded and smoothly driven, the Yam ‘can make its footrest lugs squeak.

On expressways, the goddess "Geesse" offers the best protection of the upper part but also of the lower body. Sixth gear engaged, tachometer needle on 5000 rpm, the Bavarian trots at 140 km / h counter and only slight tingling in the hands – non-existent on the other two mounts – can upset the most sensitive.

In the end, it must be admitted, the BMW R1200GS imposes itself thanks to its incomparable versatility. The Ducati Multistrada 1200 is however not devoid of charm, far from it … But better to try it before signing the check because the Multi is not an Italian GS !

Comfortable, devilishly sexy and efficient, the Multistrada 1200 requires deep self-control so as not to end up in prison, dive into a ravine or land on top of a tree. !

On the other hand, the Yamaha can be bought with eyes closed: it is certainly heavy and its engine does not enchant the ears – nor the guts – as much as the other two twin cylinders, but its formidably well-balanced cycle part, its complete equipment and its price – the lowest for equal services – can be convincing.

Finally, let us note that these three motorcycles have trail only the name since they require the arms of a lumberjack and a serious dose of control – or unconsciousness – to dare to venture into bumpy roads. Yamaha, Ducati and BMW have certainly thought of equipping their Super Tenere, Multistrada and R1200GS with disengageable driving aids, but these three road vehicles disguised as trails are far too bulky and heavy to convince in off-road.

In this little game, the Ducat ‘acts as a red lantern – normal! – with its twin that balks at low revs, its 17-inch stick front rim and its violent and too sharp brake grip on gravel. Not to mention that with its pistarde genes (magnesium front frame buckle, Marzocchi fork, Brembo brake calipers, etc.), your banker has not finished rubbing his hands if by chance the beautiful Italian ended up embedded in an embankment…

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