All Comparisons – Test drive: the BMW R1200GS against the Honda Crosstourer, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph Explorer – Maxi trails: the new eldorado of motorcycles?

Test: BMW R1200GS against Honda Crosstourer, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph Explorer

All Comparisons - Test drive: the BMW R1200GS against the Honda Crosstourer, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph Explorer - Maxi trails: the new eldorado of motorcycles?

Ras the helmet of the R1200GS? That’s good news: the range of maxi trails has never been so rich as in 2012 ! Excluded on the web, Site compared the BMW to the Honda Crosstourer, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph Explorer. Comparative test.

Maxi trails: the new eldorado of motorcycles ?

More than the benchmark for big trail type motorcycles, the is outright the ambassador of this mixed category, between trail and road motorcycles. Building on its global success, the descendant of the R 80 G / S – pioneer of the saga Gelande Strasse ("off-road / road") – has become an icon whose notoriety even exceeds the borders of the motorcycle planet.

Take the test around you: if for the "general public", the image of the sports motorcycle is regularly associated with Ducati and that of customs with Harley-Davidson, BMW is the brand most often assimilated to motorcycles cut to cross the continents.

This reputation, BMW Motorrad owes it in large part to its "Gehesse". Not only because it is about its best sale (more than 18,000 registrations in the world in 2010), but also because it casts a wide net: from the motorcyclist "always on the road" to the quadra dreaming of escape, via an unexpected proportion of urban users, the R1200 GS appeals to bikers with very different profiles.

Incidentally, the BMW is also a star of the small screen: it appears in Ewan McGregor’s "documentary tours", in several TV series and even in the last clip of Flo Rida (Wild one), an American rapper "ki-tear-grave-cousin". Result: we see a little more each year at the top of mountain passes, on small roads and in town centers. !

2, 3 or 4 cylinders, flat, in line or in V: the choice is yours !

So inevitably, such a success ended up attracting the envy of other manufacturers, in search of "safe havens" in a declining motorcycle market. "The biker wants maxi trail, let’s give him maxi trail", concluded – 32 years after the release of the first GS! – the brand’s competitors with the propeller…

Two years after Ducati and Yamaha (read our), it’s Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph’s turn to roll three new products on BMW’s flower beds: the, the and .

But if these three new motorcycles hunt on the same lands and hunt the same "game", they do not use similar weapons. On the Japanese side for example, the approach is intended to be less frontal than that adopted by the English: more typical "road", the Crosstourer and especially the Versys 1000 do not take exactly the same "track" as that traced by the R1200GS.

A choice as deliberate as it is interested: unlike Triumph, which started with a blank sheet in 2006 to design the Explorer (yes, the childbirth was a bit long!), Honda and Kawasaki have drawn heavily from their bank of ‘respective bodies to develop the Crosstourer and the Versys 1000.

The trail of the winged blazon takes on its account a "deflated" version of the VFR1200 4-cylinder and its perimeter aluminum frame. And like the sport-road, the Crosstourer is available with the famous dual-clutch gearbox Dual Clutch Transmission. It is also this heavier (+10 kg) and more expensive (+1000 €) DCT version that was invited to our test..

For its part, the Kawasaki is neither more nor less than a Z1000 mounted on stilts: copiously reworked on its low and medium speeds, its in-line 4-cylinder derived from the late ZX-9R and the "fart it -fire "ZX-10R also takes place between two large aluminum beams.

At Triumph, no recycling or small savings: the Explorer introduces a completely new tubular steel trellis frame and a brand new in-line 3-cylinder. Modern, this engine with an electronic Ride-By-Wire accelerator (like the Honda) shares hardly any room with the current "three-legged" of the Speed ​​Triple, the Sprint GT or the Tiger 1050..

Consequently, no protagonist of this "maxi-comparison MNC" has the same engine architecture since the R1200GS still uses its good "old" air / oil-cooled flat twin while waiting for its liquid-cooled evolution planned for 2013 (read).

More efficient and more melodious since it snatched the cylinder heads with double camshafts of the HP2 Sport in 2010, the BMW engine connects between them two tubular steel structures which act as frame. The one who calls himself "Boxer" – and no longer "flat twin" – since the release of the R1100RS in 1993 therefore plays a prominent role..

Four motorcycles, four different engines: when we tell you that the maxi trail segment is booming !

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