BMW K 1600 GT and Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere in comparison

BMW K 1600 GT and Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere test comparison

Travel enduro or sports tourer?

"Tea" Travel enduro – gold "tea" Supertourer: The article already makes it clear that this is a decision of a fundamental nature. Is the classic tourer in luxury format the better travel partner – or is it the big enduro, although it doesn’t go off-road or into the desert? An experience trip to the Isle of Man.

BMW K 1600 GT versus Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere

GIf it is according to the registration statistics, the matter is settled before we take the first few meters under the wheels: The motorcycle world wants to travel – and mostly on a large enduro. This is a tradition in Germany, where the BMW R 1200 GS has been at the top of the charts by a huge margin for years. But this trend continues unchecked in southern Europe as well, and even the superbike-mad Brits now climb onto a high bench more often than bend down on the handlebars of a super sports car. Travel enduros seem to have no alternative these days.

BMW K 1600 GT and Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere test comparison

Travel enduro or sports tourer?

The Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser, on the other hand, embodies exactly what has made travel enduros so popular, namely a reliable two-cylinder without high-end ambitions and awesome performance, a long-legged frame that can also handle light off-road passages, plenty of storage space (with 877 Accessory cases) and a fat 23-liter tank. In terms of price, it is in a completely different league, with suitcases at 16,587 euros. For many, the question should already be answered at this point.

The journey on the highway begins with plenty of luggage


Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere – travel enduro: (almost) every manufacturer now has it on offer, because the segment is booming. Everyone wants to swim in the wake of the BMW R 1200 GS. No wonder, because the potential customer base is growing. Regardless of whether you are a former sports driver or an active world traveler: the travel enduro with its wide range of facilities fulfills many requirements, is just as at home on the home route on Sundays as it is on the daily commute. And also we have vacation trip.

But it’s not just about the money, it’s about the concept. So let’s go on the first stage on our way to the small island in the middle of the Irish Sea. A good 600 kilometers of motorway from Stuttgart to the ferry port in Zeebrugge, Belgium, are on the agenda. Here it seems very clear who can gain advantages, the paper form clearly speaks in favor of the BMW K 1600 GT. But paper is patient. Especially when a mountain of luggage consisting of a tent, sleeping mat and camping chair builds up behind the driver. This can be easily lashed onto the massive luggage racks of the two travel giants, but it quickly cools the courage for any high-speed passages. On the BMW, because at a theoretically possible 250 km / h and fully attacking airflow, you no longer trust the tensioning belt and the durability of the packaging material – and on the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser, because it is fully loaded well before the theoretically possible 210 km / h top speed has certain fickleness arises. The Super Tenere oscillates a little beyond the 180 mark: not bad, but not nice either.

So the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser sets the speed of travel. 150, 160 km / h – that’s enough, in the long run you don’t want to go faster on the BMW either. Then her splendid six-cylinder purrs calmly in the middle speed range, while the sham V2 of the Yamaha (a row twin with 270 degree crank pin offset) has to counter the driving resistance noticeably more engagement. The BMW K 1600 GT drives up anyway. If only because their cleverly integrated and removable Garmin navigation system (870 euros extra), the most important functions of which can be conveniently operated from the rotary pushbutton switch on the left end of the handlebar, reliably shows the way through Saarland and Luxembourg. We want to travel, not race. Not least because the anticipation of this grandiose island and exciting races goes with every meter. Coffee breaks become popular chats with other TT fans, full of anecdotes from the island. Fortunately, we have planned generously and will definitely be at the ferry in time for check-in.


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The autobahn is the BMW K 1600 GT domain

During the journey, the on-board entertainment program is quite different. On the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser, it is above all the violent turbulence behind the small, distant window that demands a large part of the attention and which does not at all add to the relaxed seating position with its generous amount of space (even for very long legs) want to fit. The helmet is thrown back and forth, there is a hell of a noise that can only be endured with earplugs. So one more stop, put the Yamaha disc in the higher position. Four screws have to be loosened to knock four rubber stoppers into the holes. This is annoying, especially when the buddy on the BMW K 1600 GT describes with relish how he adjusts the height of the windshield to the currently preferred seating position using a rocker switch and simply leaves the visor open when the mood takes you to land largely draft -free and enjoy the scenery. After all: With a high windshield, the XT is less turbulent and quiet than before.

Of course, it cannot offer the good wind protection of the BMW by far. Just as little as the well-functioning handle and seat heating or the flood of information from the on-board computer. Regardless of whether GPS, chassis tuning, heated grips, seat heating or driver information on all travel data or physical conditions – everything can be controlled from the left handlebar end, only the three different engine mappings (rain, road, dynamics) are operated from the right. All of this is staged on a modern color display – you are guaranteed not to get bored, while the XT driver has to make do with the flat Belgian landscape and has to suck his sparse information on the outside temperature and average speed from the rather barren cockpit at the push of a button. So the bottom line is that there is no question at all: the autobahn is the BMW K 1600 GT domain. But, and this is very important: the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser is not bad on the highway either. The bottom line is that both drivers arrive at the North Sea in a similarly relaxed manner.


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The massive BMW K 1600 GT doesn’t have it easy on the ferry


BMW K 1600 GT – luxury tourer: Ever stronger, ever more luxurious, ever more technical: The all-inclusive faction has long since said goodbye to the sluggishness of bygone days, is always striving for new heights in terms of driving dynamics and delivers a volume of equipment that has washed itself. Purpose: A trip does not only consist of the motorway and infotainment. How does the mighty K 1600 GT fare when things get tight? Or on unknown, bad terrain.

In Zeebrugge we and many other bikers soak up the ferry, only to spit us out the next morning in Hull. Slippery, wet metal planks, floor sills, narrow driveways in the dense motorcycle crowd deep in the belly of the steamer – here on the BMW K 1600 GT you can look forward to ABS and traction control for the first time. But above all, you cursed the high center of gravity, the sweeping cladding. And over 342 kilograms of weight. Without luggage, mind you.

How much easier the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser makes it. Around 80 kilograms lighter, wider handlebars, a much better overview – and an engine that doesn’t greedily start screaming every time you pull away, but instead stomps off calmly. You don’t worry about traction control and ABS here, but scurry around with the others on the assigned parking space. Tighten, done. And then you realize that the Yamaha cases won’t open after minutes of fiddling with the lock. Top loader, the baggage roll, which is strapped across, blocks access. The BMW cases have long been emptied (even if they take up a lot of space because of the wide-opening lid), take on both helmets and close together with the other storage compartments by pressing a button on the key remotely.

The Yamaha XT 1200 Z always has the right answer ready

This is what real luggage comfort looks like. But still: Here as well as later on the narrow and narrowest streets of the Man, the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser collects a lot of points because of its much better maneuverability. In addition to the express train surcharge for the purchase price, the laborious handling of the Bayern-Kurier is the second knockout criterion, especially for petite people or not-so-experienced motorcyclists, against which the Yamaha’s enormous seat height of 845 to 870 millimeters almost stands out Trifle. If you want to go to different viewpoints during the race (which is definitely recommended), you can only reach them via small and very small distances (and sometimes only after several attempts). Then you are happy when you sit on the Yamaha.

So that no misunderstandings arise: The BMW K 1600 GT is doing well – for a motorcycle of its size. But even if the ESA is set for comfort and the six in "road mapping" is no longer quite as motivated to accelerate, the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser offers more. More comfort, because its large wheels fall into far fewer potholes and their really well-tuned chassis cushions even the very rough heels and waves, while the rear of the BMW in particular starts to trample the cardan more often (in contrast to the almost reactive Yamaha Solution) hacking heavily on the transmission. And more serenity, because its two-cylinder, despite small weaknesses (a little too little steam in the lower speed range) has an answer to every situation and its pulse rate fits so well with the calm and deceleration of this island – this applies, surprisingly, even during the TT.


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The BMW shows its strengths on the Mountain Course


Creg-Ny-Baa at the end of the fast mountain passage and TT Mecca: The K 1600 made a good leap against the XT on the Mountain Course – but left behind on the narrow streets.

Stop, stop, there is one exception: the Mountain Course, the brutally fast section of the TT course between Ramsey and Douglas that turns into a one-way street on non-race days. So no oncoming traffic, no speed limit – and with it the invitation to everyone to let it fly a little. A horde of super athletes rushes past us with a roar, and the BMW K 1600 GT wants to join us like a riding horse with a herd of wild mustangs. So, at lightning speed, the window was lowered, the chassis on “Sport" set the engine to “dynamics", and off the racing giant goes. Measured 159 PS, an exemplary throttle response, a creamy torque curve, with the Metzeler Z8 Interact a well-functioning touring tire as well as brakes that compress this dream again in a perfectly dosed manner – the Munich native feels really good on the many fast passages of this course.

The Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser cannot keep up with this speed. Her engine lacks not only power, but also liveliness, her suspension, which is terrific at normal speed, and the brakes, which are quite convincing in travel enduro circles, clearly bite compared to the BMW. If you try anyway, you will reap a deeply submerged XT front and a light hindquarters when braking, while the engine is struggling at the limit of its performance and the driver can still only follow the black lines that the BMW K 1600 GT pulls out of the curve.

The BMW K 1600 GT cannot switch silently

There is no question: if the TT not only had a lightweight class (650 twin-cylinder such as Kawasaki ER-6 and Suzuki SV 650), but also a "heavyweight" (motorcycles with a minimum weight of 340 kilograms) – the BMW K 1600 GT would be the motorcycle to be beaten.

But there isn’t. There is a beautiful promenade in Douglas, the island’s capital, which becomes a promenade for bikers during the TT. And a nightmare for K 1600 GT drivers, because the expert audience acknowledges every blow from the BMW switch box with pitying looks. Engage first gear without a bloodcurdling crash? Impossible. Surf silently through the six speed levels? As well. And if you then park carelessly bow first on the derogatory roadside, the laughs will definitely be on your side. The BMW K 1600 cannot get away from there without help.

DVD with Guy Martin "Isle of Man – TT – Hard at the limit"

Return trip, unfortunately the time has come at some point. Once again across England, another 650 kilometers on the continent. Taking stock: the 1600 six-cylinder with 6.1 liters only needed slightly more fuel than the 1200 Yamaha twin (5.8 liters). And later had to refuel because the light of the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser lights up too early and there is no remaining range indicator. Is that the bottom line perhaps the decisive touring criterion??



BMW K 1600 GT and Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere test comparison.

One could make it easy for oneself now with a decided “As well as”, because of course both have their qualities. And of course, anyone who has to cover long distances on the motorway quickly and frequently is better served with a BMW K 1600 GT. On a journey like this, however, with very different requirements, the bottom line is the Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser that covers the larger spectrum. Especially where the GT driver with the 340 kilo range reaches his limits, on narrow streets, poor terrain, when turning or in narrow city traffic, the Yamaha always remains in control of the situation, while the BMW challenges the whole man.

Technical specifications


This is Isle of Man, too: the interior of the island has the smallest streets and dense greenery.

Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser

Two-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, 1199 cm³, 81 kW (110 PS) at 7250 / min, 114 Nm at 6000 / min, tubular steel bridge frame, telescopic fork, double disc brake at the front, disc brake at the rear, Ø 310/282 mm, wheelbase 1540 mm, steering head angle 62 degrees, spring travel front / rear 190/190 mm, seat height 845/870 mm, weight with a full tank of 269 kg, payload 210 kg, tank capacity / reserve 22.6 / 4.2 liters, top speed 210 km / h, acceleration 0-100 km / h 3.7 seconds, draft 60-100 km / h 4.6 seconds, test consumption 5.8 liters, basic price without additional costs 15,495 euros, price of the test motorcycle including case and additional costs 16,587 euros.

BMW K 1600 GT

Six-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, 1649 cm³, 118 kW (161 hp) at 7750 / min, 175 Nm at 5250 / min, aluminum bridge frame, aluminum double longitudinal control arm, double disc brake at the front, disc brake at the rear, Ø 320/265 mm, seat height 800/830 mm, weight with a full tank of 342 kg, payload 198 kg, tank capacity / reserve 24 liters. Top speed 250 km / h, acceleration 0-100 km / h 2.9 seconds, pulling 60-100 km / h 3.7 seconds, test consumption 6.1 liters, basic price without additional costs 20,500 euros, price test motorcycle including safety package (870 euros), Comfort package (1140 euros), LED auxiliary headlights (325 euros), audio system (1120 euros), navigation system (870 euros) 25 215 euros.


Rolf Henniges (48) is more drawn to the travel enduro.

Rolf Henniges (48) feels more drawn to the travel enduro:

Sure, the wind and weather protection is better on the thick BMW K 1600 GT. And the six-cylinder also has more bangs. But if I want to ride the ICE, I take the train. I’m excited about the chassis setup and the feedback from the Yamaha chassis. The seating position is also great. The Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Tenere World Crosser feels at home everywhere. On gravel roads, the smallest of roads and the bumpiest paths, as well as on top asphalt. I love their wide range of uses, which makes travel so easy.


Stefan Kaschel (47) likes the mighty BMW K 1600 GT and its super six.

Stefan Kaschel (47) likes the mighty K 1600 GT and its super six:

You don’t have to be a world traveler to flirt with a BMW K 1600 GT. And not a luxury freak either. You just have to love this engine. And this chassis. And this logical menu structure. In any box, I am always enthusiastic about the technology of the 1600s – with the exception of the transmission. And I can look forward to the fact that such a dream of motorcycles “can be moved relatively lightly. But as always, Rolf sees it very differently.

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