Autumn exit 2004
Sometimes it just happens. Continuous rain. Land under. Knee deep. And you have no choice but to keep your eyes open. The story about an involuntary extreme test that was actually planned as a leisurely autumn trip.
October 2004: The MOTORRAD plan is an autumn ride with five of the most prominent bikes from different categories.
Bad Dürrheim parking lot, A 81. 150 kilometers have already been unwound, around 550 are still ahead of us. It is pouring from buckets. In addition: storm. The cast comes horizontally. Droplets like liquid lead. The dreary gray of the rain blurs the line with the low-hanging clouds. Scary. Depressive. Expansive. True to the motto »suffering shared is suffering halved«, we don’t let our driving pleasure spoil. Overtaking us alternately on the autobahn. Waving, gesturing. Wring currents of water out of the leather gloves while driving. Legitimate questions: Will Rainer get as thick on the fully wired 1200 LT as Michael on the Buell? Don’t Georg’s arms go to sleep in his fetal position? Are Gerd’s small V-Strom suitcases tight? Will the KTM bring me home again? It rattles so strange. No matter. The weather can only get better. Finally it goes to Italy.
A1, exit Lodi, around 45 kilometers southeast of Milan. It is dark. We are soaking wet ?? and in the middle of a downpour. 38 liters per square meter fall within an hour. From one
The road is barely recognizable. Driving in a lake is the order of the day. Curbs, turf and manhole covers are hidden at the bottom. Absolute confidence in the front wheel is now more important than any extra horsepower.
A misfortune seldom comes alone: only one hotel is ready to accept five Wassermanns. Rudimentary painted concrete, crumbling tiles, tattered door frames, cold shower, view of the motorway. A mere 85 euros. Without breakfast. The best tips for drying are given before going to bed: stuffing boots with newspaper, blow-drying gloves, hanging jacket and trousers in the shower, heating full bottle ?? uh, wait a minute, Rainer?
Rainer is the only one who is dry. BMW? No, simple rain suit! Despite all the membrane gimmicks: There’s nothing better for such a show of violence.
The next morning welcomes us with timid rays of sunshine. Departure from Fidenza. A quick lunch pizza, then into the fray. Because we have reached our destination: the road no. 359 between Salsomaggiore and Borgo Val di Taro. Around 85 kilometers, made up of the finest Italian gourmet curves and turns. It’s like eating. If you are hungry for animals, it tastes twice as good.
Coupling, switching. Targeted braking. Flirt with grip. Casual force of acceleration. The lullaby of the sloping position. In addition, traffic like the final of the soccer World Cup? we are alone. However, last winter was not idle and its frost claws struck the asphalt. The cracked track, peppered with depressions and elevations, resembles a bombed-out roller coaster and transfers every undercarriage. While the KTM suspension elements repel all ground attacks, I think of Michael and the ultra-short suspension travel of the Buell. And to Rainer, who has to keep his 400-kilo steamer on course.
All just kid stuff against what awaits us on the third day of driving. The small road to Paso di Brattello is sunk in the sea of leaves. Although autumn has unpacked its most beautiful colors, unfortunately it has also shaken tons of leaves and chestnuts from the trees. Rain and tires have turned it into a thick, highly slippery mass that covers the entire road. Driving is like a tightrope act without a network. We feel our way cautiously.
All circumstances come together on this tour. If you, dear reader, have always wanted to know how many liters of oil a KTM loses from the hairline crack of the oil pressure switch or whether an extremely lean Buell can handle high altitude, ZX-10R drivers scream for help on black ice, people there who find a V-Strom 650 attractive or whether one of the seat heating of the BMW K 1200 LT gets blistering, then turn the page. At the end of this adventure all questions will be answered.
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Autumn exit 2004
"The first whale with an electronic immobilizer ??
At home there is an early shovel to be kickstarted, built in 1966, a 99 Speed Triple, a W 650 and a 900 Martin Honda. Kruder mix, right? What I mean by that: while biking
for me it’s about the wow factor. I take a seat and wait what the engine-
rad tells me. Because every machine knows a story.
Even if a strange one at times. When the motorcycles are distributed, got ?? I, so my first thought, the happiness of the century. Rain, storm, snow line 700 meters. All the data speak for the K 1200 LT. Heated seats, heated handles, electrically adjustable disc, what-
watertight case plus topcase and one
huge fairing behind which even the boots should stay dry.
They stay too. For one thing, because
they are one hundred percent waterproof, and partly because the cladding is actually
offers exorbitantly good wind and weather protection. With my 1.80 meters, I can just look over the fully extended window. Their turbulence ensures that the helmet visor always remains drip-free. Shortcoming: Even in the lowest position of the window, the view of what is happening in front of the front wheel is restricted.
The dark side of all the electrical magic reveals itself in the first break. When the remote control for the central locking locks itself away in the tank compartment or you simply forget it in your trouser pocket under the rain suit. You can still laugh about that.
Not about other things. The Metzeler ME 880 Marathon prefer dry roads. Wetness makes the driver sweat from all pores. When changing lanes, bitumen strips or changing road surfaces, the whale wriggles like one
Trout. You also work up a sweat when parking and turning. The Bavarian noble tourer weighs 392 kilograms. And, due to the top case, trim frills, case and tank, it has a very high center of gravity. Combined with a bad feeling for the front wheel, the hundred maneuvers under the cloudburst in Lodi soaked my clothes more inside than outside.
There are also positive surprises. Despite the lean spring travel of 102 millimeters at the front and 130 at the rear, it floats
Immensely comfortable over the waviest
Asphalt. Even the tough stretch between Pellegrino and Bardi, with its depressions and upheavals, is easily handled by the chassis. The machine stays on target, hardly stands up when braking, but the lean angle could be a bit bigger. Just like the pressure from the cellar. Only from 5000 rpm does the balancing hum really pick up. Unsuitable for a leisurely tourer.
I experience the ultimate nightmare on the third day of driving beyond the Alps. Rain. Mashed chestnuts. Leaves. Soft soap offers more grip. Suddenly I mutate into a foreign body on this bolide. Go at walking pace. Send quick prayers not to have to brake. Because of the brake booster, the 1200 LT hits you
all of a sudden the anchor so strongly in the
Floor that even the ABS does not provide back cover. When half a ton on two matchbox big
If the rubber surface is balanced over soft soap, a hint of a wrong movement is enough, and whoops…
So what did the BMW K 1200 LT tell me? It comforts you in wet and cold weather
with CD changer, heated grips, heated seats and weather protection. In the sunshine anyway. Then the 0.4-tonner surprises with an astonishingly dynamic motorcycle feeling despite its mass.
Technical data: BMW K 1200 LT
BMW K 1200 LT: four-cylinder, four-stroke in-line engine, water-cooled, 116 hp, 1171 cm3,
Cardan, weight with a full tank * 392 kg, tank capacity 23 liters, price of the test motorcycle including ancillary costs 22,461 euros
"Does the beat of the burn drum into the seat cushion?
A warning in advance: All those who have unconditionally submitted to the ethos of the achievement society should stop reading here. All those on
To rush through life on the highway of reason and for whom inconspicuous functioning has become a path and destination at the same time, should turn the page immediately.
Because the Buell XB12S doesn’t go along with that. She leaves the dictation of inconspicuous functioning behind and raises
just the conspicuousness of the function. You can like it or not. But the fact is: what is noticeable stimulates and excites. In a word: it entertains.
A long stretch of the motorway, for example, driven in the most disgusting weather imaginable, offers heartwarming moments on the Buell. If the speed drops below a hundred, the tachometer reads anything between 2000 and 2500 revs and then the gas
is raised. When the long-stroke rumbles off, growls fed up from this cannon barrel of the exhaust and gently drums the beat of the combustion into the seat cushion in ever faster succession, then it brings a feeling of »my motorcycle and me ?? me and my motorcycle «, which no full fairing, no heated seats and no 160 hp peak power are ever able to produce. Maybe it’s because of the Buell ?? rock hard
Suspension strut or not? 300, 500 and
even sit down 700 kilometers completely painlessly. Or maybe it’s because the bench is simply comfortable, even though it doesn’t look like it.
But because nobody buys an XB12S just to have their buttocks massaged by their engine, another example, one from city traffic. Where the incredibly compact Buell can find its way through a scooter
Directing traffic. Where it hurts after a short time, to the cup-
lengthening the lever and dragging it to the handlebars. But where immediately afterwards
every pain is forgotten when this log, standing idle at the traffic light, hums the promise of brawny power, trembling. And this promise keeps as soon as the clutch engages.
It would be even nicer if the thumping didn’t always add another
Noise mixed, not that at all
wants to fit this motorcycle. A buzz, something like that of a hood dryer or a hairdryer? the fan for the rear cylinder. Runs and runs and
running ?? and annoying. Annoying more, much more than the constant jerking in the meantime or the sometimes unwilling throttle response due to the poor engine setting in the lower range.
Which, meanwhile, brings you to the apex
closer turns one or the other about-
surprise with itself. First or second gear, hand on the clutch, foot on the brake taming the flywheel ?? and then instead of pulling out onto the straight line, the heap wants to bluntly inward
fall. So it’s not a bad thing that the Buell is curvy
Landstraße already exhibits handling that was absolutely not to be expected after considering the chassis data. In theory: handy, nimble, effortless. Practical: compulsion, toil, work, hands full. The XB12S finds a thousand reasons to run in a direction that has little to do with the ideal line. But that also means: It offers a thousand chances to experience the wonderfully satisfying feeling of having finally forced your own will on it. Other motorcycles may be faster, easier to handle, easier to use, and the devil knows what. You could even say that other engine-
wheels are better than the Buell XB12S. They are certainly not more entertaining.
Technical data: Buell XB12S
BUELL XB12S: two-cylinder four-stroke 45 degree V engine, air-cooled, 101 hp, 1203 cm3,
Toothed belt, weight with a full tank * 209 kg, tank capacity 14 liters, price including ancillary costs 11809 euros
"A storm that ends in a screaming hurricane?
Serious question: Do you get off the extremely sporty posture after four days and walk like a chimpanzee? After all, I hardly have to move until now, could easily
rust. With 120 km / h it goes through the rain cover. In the case of the Kawa, this corresponds to 3500 rpm in sixth gear. And the insane 175 hp makes it feel as if you were on the idle gas nozzle. Overtake? Even in the last gear, an ultra-short turn of the throttle is enough.
Our destination is around 700 kilometers
away from Stuttgart. Actually … if
you ignore the signs … just slow down a little speed at the motorway bends … toll booths … two Swiss customs stations … I could be there in about four hours. But we
drive together. In terms of sound, the ZX-10R has the highest entertainment value. There is a bass hum from the airbox, the song of power growls from the silencer. Again and again I let myself fall back and pull myself open, enjoying the enormous
Acceleration and the aggressive sound. In the middle speed range as a storm that ends in a screaming hurricane at 13,000 rpm. By the way: it is enough to open the gas tap halfway and the rear wheel will spin on the over-humid motorway. Can only get better.
But it won’t. Only one thing counts during the downpour in Lodi: trust in
Motorcycle. Turning maneuvers, starting up, accelerating ?? I’m glad to be on the
ZX-10R to sit. 198 kilograms with a full tank, 820 millimeters seat height, legs and frame are as if welded together, very good feedback from the fork, wonderfully adjustable clutch and throttle response, ultra-compact dimensions like a petite 600 ?? the tens becomes part of me. Only the small steering angle is annoying from time to time.
The next morning: ZX-10R weather. Dry, slightly cloudy, 20 degrees. The
Emilia Romagna welcomes us with erotic curves. The gag at the Hyper-Kawa: In theory, I could do the entire tour in first gear. The
namely goes up to 150 km / h. But that
The easy-to-shift six-speed gearbox is seductive.
Just like the curves of Landstrasse 359. I try to punch the super sports car along the ideal line. But it doesn’t work. Course corrections are necessary again and again. With the pointed contoured Dunlop D 207 RR front tire, the Kawa tends to suddenly tip into a curve from a certain lean angle. That happens even on slippery roads. Here on the roller coaster with all of them
Bumps and depressions add another factor that makes hitting the ideal line to win the lottery. The
extremely tight basic coordination of the
Suspension extends every depression, every edge, every bump in the form of unrest in the course of movement. On third-order country roads, the ZX-10R has nothing to laugh about.
The same applies to extremely slippery surfaces. Because the brake can be dosed very well, but it is poisonous. And the performance? Simply three courses
drive higher than normal. Then the rear wheel will not slide or break out. If I
would exchange? Seen objectively, the super sports car is suitable for everyday use. Has well thought-out luggage hooks, perfect starting behavior and optimal throttle response, is extremely light and handy. Still, I would have loved to ride a KTM. Theirs
The chassis can handle any situation with ease, and the seating position is more relaxed. Or so it looked. By the way: after around 40 hours in the saddle of the Kawa you don’t walk like a chimpanzee.
Technical data: Kawasaki ZX-10R
KAWASAKI ZX-10R: four-cylinder, four-stroke in-line engine, water-cooled, 175 hp, 998 cm3,
O-ring chain, weight with a full tank * 198 kg, tank capacity 17 liters, price 13,115 euros
"Fill up to the brim and off to the next pharaoh rally?
You can’t fool yourself. The Adventure is a sport bike. Ultra-firm seat, sports suspension, sports engine, sporty seat height. 880 millimeters to be precise. To put it even more clearly: You go into the shop, leaf through the pages
13 giants on the counter, shoots the 22-liter tank full to the brim and drives to the next Pharaoh rally. Tuning not required. Although, with the meager range of 360 kilometers with a cautious driving style … but let’s leave that. There is
Rule number one when riding a KTM 950: Close your ears and go for it. Somebody in Mattighofen found timing chain tension via oil pressure and built it into the 75-degree V engine. Every time the bike is parked, when the hot oil is floating somewhere in the hull and reservoirs of the dry sump lubrication and is not waiting in the tensioner ready for pressure, the 950 engine rattles for five to fifteen seconds, as if the gearbox were kneading two sacks of carpenter’s nails. You should also overhear cracking, hard metallic noises. Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to bother the petite V2 in its class in the least. Let’s wait and see. Another 13,000 kilometers, then our long-term test motorcycle will have 50,000 down and will be completely dismantled.
Such banalities can be compensated for. With earplugs, for example. Others don’t. On the one hand, there was the poor throttle response for the first 500 kilometers of rain. Or the oil loss of 1.2 liters. According to the workshop, a broken copper sealing ring under the oil pressure switch. Boy, must there be pressure in there? By the way … she oiled again afterwards. It was the switch, it is now called. Or
the clutching clutch. Was renewed barely 5000 kilometers ago, then only driven by introverted interns and still leaves the impression that Fabrizio Meoni had to dig his way out of the deep sand a hundred times with her help. How insignificant do non-functioning indicators, tank walls, which are so obscure shaped that the liquid at the pump always in high
Arch spurts out, poor cold start behavior or, ultimately, a turning circle that one expects from the K 1200 LT?
Only a bright sun can give so much shade. Rule number two when riding a KTM: trust. Trust because you can rely unconditionally on Alm-Öli in any situation-
can leave. 950 Adventure is driving
hot. Rain? Pirelli MT 90 with sufficient negative profile and incredible feedback. Sixth order country roads? 230 millimeters of spring travel are available at the front and rear. Sensitive in response, puncture-proof, extremely stable. Turning in deep sea, gasping over
slippery plains? The front wheel appears to be directly connected to the hands. You never have the feeling of losing control of this motorcycle. The chassis of the KTM conveys ultimate safety. The same applies to the brakes, which can be optimally adjusted under any circumstances. Everyone who loves to deal with the dynamics
Can arrange the seat height, find a greedy engine sexy and want to be sporty on the road will have a smile on your face after a test drive for weeks. It is then completely irrelevant whether it rains dogs or cats. At least for me. The KTM may be for crazy people. Or exotic ones. It will never convince someone who wears the propeller glasses or sets the condition that the engine must run 100,000 kilometers without a breakdown. But it is guaranteed to make all those happy who never want to grow up, who see motorcycles not just as a way of getting around, but as a dynamic pastime.
Technical data: KTM 950 Adventure
KTM 950 Adventure: two-cylinder four-stroke 75-degree V-engine, water-cooled, 98 hp, 942 cm3,
O-ring chain, weight with a full tank * 226 kg, tank capacity 22 liters, price including ancillary costs 13,039 euros
"Like a Swiss Army knife on two wheels?
There are motorbikes that are forgiven for everything. You are so beautiful that
Your heart begins to leap for joy as soon as you open the garage door. Who cares that the engine has a torque hole, according to the seating position
a few kilometers it becomes uncomfortable
starts to tweak or the transmission gets stuck? It’s the same with the Suzuki V-Strom 650. Just the other way around.
She is ugly. Somehow the proportions are wrong. At the front with a futuristic-looking cladding and a giant fuel barrel, the rear appears too low, buckled. You could almost think that thieves stole the strut overnight. The case system from the Suzuki shelf completely defaces the line. In addition, the containers are so wide that bustling through city traffic becomes a nerve-wracking target exercise. The plastic nose for locking the case, which already blesses the time on the third day of the test, doesn’t make things any more pleasant.
Once you have taken a seat on the V-Strom, it all fades. It is surprisingly easy to move, and it easily does all the tasks that are expected of it. Regardless of whether it is a matter of speeding up meters on long stretches of the motorway or ambitiously robbing curves of all radii on mountain passes.
Its very stiff chassis even masters third-order roads without the seals being shaken out of their teeth. It even has reserves ready,
the occasional trips on gravel
allow. Also when looking for a hotel, in nighttime city traffic and for long periods-
rain, you can blindly rely on the V-Strom. Would the sitting position still be
more front-wheel oriented ?? i could on
turn a beer mat.
The paths paved with wet leaves, which require a great deal of sensitivity, are mastered
V-Strom with flying colors. She is supported by her Bridgestone TW 101/152, which has a lot of negative profile. they offer
good grip without going through a
to highlight the annoying righting moment when braking in an inclined position. The braking system, in turn, impresses with a lot of transparency. The pressure point of the front double-pane system could be for fans of the
The last groove should be more clearly defined, but it increases braking power nicely and does not capitulate even on long descents. The rear brake supports the whole thing effectively.
As a piece of cream turns out to be
the two-cylinder. It offers a lot of pressure even from low speeds without that
He would run out of steam from above. Choosing the right pair of wheels in the six-speed gearbox, which can be shifted precisely, is often a question of personal taste. Only the somewhat unplaned load changes disturb in tight turns. But with skillful use of the smooth-running clutch, the clean line can be saved, which is otherwise thwarted by the jerky use of power.
Certainly takes getting used to, but the running culture and motivation of the
Suzuki units make up for this in an impressive way.
Thanks to its uncomplicated driving, the V-Strom is becoming a multitool for almost all journeys, for being Swiss
Pocket knife on two wheels. You ge-
falls through their well protective, adjustable-
Bare fairing, confidence-inspiring handling, its lively and low-emission engine and low price. And the look? Are you tricking them? if you drive the V-Strom, you cannot see it. Joyful heartbeat when opening the garage or not.
Technical data: SUZUKI V-Strom 650
SUZUKI V-Strom 650: two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, water-cooled, 67 hp, 645 cm3, O-ring chain, weight with a full tank * 214 kg, tank capacity 22 liters, price including ancillary costs 7120 euros
"the hell of everyday life ??
Buckets of rain, around 40 driving hours in four days ?? nevertheless, no one complained of the worst. Although the one of the KTM rider showed a slight reddening. And the ZX-10R driver whined about wrist pain and neck problems ?? the super sporty seating position takes its toll. Knee problems occurred on the, so
you’d think hypercomfortable BMW K 1200 LT on. The driver’s comment: »The K saddle cemented the sitting position. It gets uncomfortable at some point. ”The V-Strom driver found the knee angle uncomfortable in the long run. And the Buell-
The pilot was wetter in the back than in the front.
Back to the core question of the story: which of the five bikes is the best for surviving the hell of everyday life? Under
the least extreme proves itself in extreme circumstances. An easy-to-handle motorcycle with no peculiarities with sufficient weather protection, the engine of which does not overwhelm anyone, but which does justice to all needs. And that is the Suzuki V-Strom 650 in this field. Of course, one can argue about its appearance.
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