All Comparisons – Test drive: the BMW R1200GS against the Honda Crosstourer, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph Explorer – On the road, happy troop!

Test: the BMW R1200GS against the 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 - On the way, happy troop!

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.

On the way, merry troop !

Cut to knock down the bollard in big slices, the BMW, Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph offer an obvious grip and astonishing driving pleasure: each competes in good manners to make the pilot forget his extra pounds and his template "XXL".

Their secrets? Intelligently distributed masses and a handlebar that grazes a meter wide (962 mm for the Explorer), offering an excellent leverage! Installed in height, the upright bust and the base well supported, the pilot experiences this pleasant feeling of dominating the traffic.

Couplers even in "horse-less" version (96 Nm of torque for the Kawa, 120 for the BMW and the Triumph and 125 for the Honda), these four motorcycles fit into traffic with disarming ease given their size. . On their handlebars, even your grandmother would play "jumpers" without sweating a single drop !

In this little game, it is clear that the R1200GS retains a certain advantage over its rivals: thanks to its extremely low center of gravity (thank you for the twin installed flat!), The German has a simply diabolical handling on which openly drool the heavy Honda and Triumph…

Versys 1000: the angry detail

Like its three rivals, the Kawasaki has a particularly extensive instrumentation, which just lacks a gear indicator engaged. Practical equipment that neither BMW, Honda, nor Triumph forgot to integrate on the dashboard. Instead, the Greens preferred to install an "Eco" driving light that comes on when the engine is in the rev range where it consumes the least..

More clumsy at very low speeds, the Japanese and the English require a little more effort to turn in small corners. In contrast, the direction of the Kawasaki offers sporty behavior almost worthy of a roadster: the Versys 1000 twirls with a flick and is placed with formidable precision – not to say enjoyable. On his handlebars, the desire to arouse is irrepressible !

On the other hand, Akashi’s trail is the worst "robber", far behind the BMW which turns around a one euro coin under the nose of the Honda and the Triumph! The Crosstourer tries well to assert the smoothness offered by its DCT to show this damn "Gehesse", but the city is not necessarily the favorite playground of the Honda device…

Still quite noisy on the first reports, this second generation of double clutch is nevertheless more reactive – almost more "intelligent", one would be tempted to write – when the electronics manage only the passage of the gears (in mode "D", the coolest, or "S", the sportiest).

But the D mode strikes the times too much for urban use (at 50 km / h on a net of gas, the DCT stacks the six reports!), While the S mode is shown to be the opposite, almost too "punchy". In addition, the gear change does not take into account the inclination of the motorcycle: the system can shift a gear in the middle of a roundabout or a turn if it considers it necessary. Surprise effect guaranteed !

In a congested town or a series of tight bends, moving up and down gears "manually" using the "+/-" flicks is therefore more natural. Which is rather good, insofar as it is now possible to take back "control" of the system at any time: this is what will put everyone in agreement !

Motor: action !

On big roads, the DCT does wonders. The S mode may be a little too dry when downshifting, but the D mode has something to appeal to most users..

Designed for "peaceful" driving, this function is equipped with an adaptive program allowing it to match its reactions as closely as possible to the pilot’s wishes. For example at 90 km / h, the device will switch from sixth to fourth gear in the blink of an eye when turning the right handle to overtake.

For those who are resistant to automation, Triumph offers another alternative to rest the left foot: an ultra-available 1215 cc three-cylinder and a very soft selection! On second or sixth gear, the Hinckley block pulls almost with the same force, but in a very linear fashion. Perhaps too much for those who expected this pinch of character specific to the English production.

The Triumph, on the other hand, perfectly interprets the sound score typical of the "3-legs": hoarse and punctuated by delicious cracklings when the gas is cut, it evokes old rally cars and delights the senses! The slight vibrations perceptible on the handlebars from 6000 rpm, then in the feet 2000 rpm later, are on the other hand much less flattering …

Almost completely free from vibrations (except at high speeds), the Boxer of the BMW offers this characteristic "hum" which seduces or repels. More discreet than the two Europeans at idle, the two Japanese 4-cylinders hiss in a more metallic way. The Honda V4 advantageously differs from the "4-in-line" Kawa, because its sound is more muffled, more "thrilling".

If in unbridled version the Triumph delivers 100 Nm of torque from 2000 to 9500 rpm (!), It loses a little of its splendor in France: the 31 horses sacrificed on the altar of the clamping would sometimes not be too much to move its almost 260 kg! Suddenly, while one would swear that his "3-legged" will punish his rivals with each acceleration as he shows himself present, the BMW and the Kawa in reality oppose him a sacred resistance …

First to set off during our tests in the first third of the tachometer, the R1200GS benefits from its 30 kg less than the Triumph (and 56 kg less than the Honda!) And the pleasing health of its twin 1170 cc to dictate the law.

The German is followed by its British rival and the Kawasaki Versys 1000, which plays the surprise outsiders with its block of "only" 1043 cc (the smallest displacement of this comparison). Less demonstrative than its two adversaries under 4000 rpm, the Kawasaki nevertheless remains easily in contact … before irremediably widening the gap in the turns !

After 6000 rev / min, the Japanese indeed balances this "kick in the ass" specific to in-line four-cylinders and makes use of its extension (10,500 rev / m at the breaker against 8500 rev / min for the GS) to humiliate his comrades: what health, this mill! The icing on the cake: it is the most sober of this comparison with an average consumption maintained under 6l / 100 km (5.9 liters exactly), against 6.2 l / 100 for the BMW and the Triumph and 6.6 l / 100 for the Honda.

Crosstourer: the annoying detail

In the rain, the Crosstourer’s flap is too short: the Honda is the only one of the four motorcycles to "repaint" the back of a passenger or the back of the seat solo. Like the Explorer, the Crosstourer also does not have a wheel washer. The BMW stands out with its original offset element on the rear, while the Kawasaki displays a "classic" hugger.

And it is not its performance that will excuse the relative "gluttony" of the Honda‘s 1237 cc V4: if it allows very vigorous revivals at mid-range, the Crosstourer is sorely lacking in the trunk under 4000 rpm to hold head to the other three. It is true that the 285 kg of the machine does not really facilitate the task of its 4-cylinder, especially in this French version amputated of 17 ch (112 ch instead of 129 ch in Full).

It should be noted that the very present wind during our driving days had an impact on the increase in gasoline consumption: with their Norman cabinet size, these four motorcycles are naturally sensitive to the whims of Aeolus. !

Yet despite their generous stature, not all of them provide the same degree of protection against the elements. Red lantern in this comparison, the Crosstourer is the one that protects the least: its short windshield (the only one that can be adjusted with tools) leaves a significant part of the helmet and shoulders exposed..

The same goes for the lower body: while the knees are almost completely sheltered behind the fairings of the Triumph, BMW and Kawasaki, this is not the case on the Crosstourer. Equipped with adjustable windshields (without tools) aesthetically very similar, the R1200GS and the Explorer make equal fire: the bust, shoulders and head of a 1.75m pilot are well protected.

The BMW marks the decisive point thanks to its engine architecture: hidden behind its large breasts, the lower extremities of the body remain dry in the event of rain. Sehr gut! What about the Versys 1000? It surprises once again: despite its narrowness, its manually adjustable windshield provides a surprisingly effective barrier against bad weather. !

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