Comparison test KTM 620 LC4 EGS-E against MuZ Baghira against Suzuki DR 650 SE against Yamaha TT 600 E
Will the KTM LC 4 fly away from the competition thanks to the electric starter? Is the new MuZ Baghira also good for big jumps? The well-tried Suzuki DR 650 SE and Yamaha TT 600 E just lag behind?
The air becomes thinner in the terrain. Less and less unpaved earth may be rummaged through with coarse rubber. Local hobby pilots often go straight to France or Italy. The moderate enduro riders, on the other hand – and this applies to most of them – only move their pedals on the road. In order to do justice to both camps, this year‘s comparative test will separate road and terrain assessments.
The 1997 Sport Enduro vintage is particularly interesting due to its mix of the tried and tested and the new. The Suzuki DR 650 SE and the Yamaha TT 600 E are still in the starting blocks. The KTM 620 LC 4 has recently been presented with a power and nerve-saving electric starter. And completely new and independent, MuZ Baghira is hungry for buyers’ favor.
She stands there, colorful and funny, the Saxon. And for a real competitive price of 10,240 marks, it has a lot to offer: a 45 mm Marzocchi telescopic fork and a White Power shock absorber, both fully adjustable and with a respectable 280 millimeters of spring travel. Or the angular rear silencer made of stainless steel, which was carefully designed to accommodate a catalytic converter, but which, according to MuZ, will only be available from autumn. Whether the pedals, the fat aluminum swingarm, the aluminum rims – the Baghira is simply well equipped. In addition, the comfortable, upright sitting position and the successful handlebar offset are pleasing.
The Suzuki is much more modest. Not that it doesn’t have all the attributes of a modern enduro. It also offers aluminum rims and proper suspension elements, each with a suspension travel of 260 millimeters. But compared to the MuZ or even the KTM, it looks red pencil. This is a bit due to the inconspicuous appearance of the DR. And in contrast to the MuZ, the driver on the Suzuki always feels a bit folded up. The footrests are far forward and prevent a relaxed leg posture in the long term. After all, the DR offers the lowest seat height, which can be lowered by a further 40 millimeters if necessary. Good arguments for little people. At 9990 marks, the DR is hardly cheaper than the more elaborately made MuZ.
The Yamaha TT 600 E, which also costs 9,990 marks, seems to come from another era. The short suspension strut with a suspension travel of just 209 millimeters doesn’t really fit the long-legged fork. The TT’s butt hangs down like a German shepherd dog with hip problems. The seating position behind the high and wide handlebars is correspondingly slightly chopper-like. The TT gives you the feeling of driving uphill even when you are stationary. Their simple, air-cooled 600 stew is a bit old-fashioned, and its modern successor is at the MuZ.
The KTM tops the MuZ in terms of equipment. Every part is an eye-catcher. Be it the forged pedals, the spring elements with a huge 320 millimeters of spring travel or the stainless steel exhaust system (with an uncontrolled catalytic converter and additional secondary air system) – the list of beautiful details is almost endless. In addition, the long-legged alpine lady shows off the largest tank in the field. Optionally, it can also be delivered with a sporty 11.5 liter keg. Regardless of this, the driver sits enthroned on the tight, high seat with a relaxed leg posture. The handlebar cranking also fits exactly, this is where the long off-road experience of the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer is evident.
And the best: After years of desperation from tortured enduro riders, KTM grants the LC 4 the long-awaited electric jump starter. And lo and behold, even inveterate trample stealthily lower their gaze when they defend their Kickstarter with “Everything was better in the past” tirades. Hand on heart: Do you miss the miserable, sweaty foosball? Does the two ridiculous extra pounds hurt anyone? The 390 additional marks are superfluous, because with almost thirteen big ones, the price of the KTM is already quite high.
The single cylinders start to boom in a quartet, but financial aspects quickly take a back seat. Of the four comparison singles, the KTM stew offers the most sausage. With the highest compression, the shortest stroke and the lowest centrifugal masses, the water-cooled four-valve engine is ideally suited to the competition. A real athlete’s heart that reacts spontaneously and extremely easily to every twitch of the gas hand. Great, if it weren’t for the vibrations, which after a short time cause a numbing tingling sensation in hands and feet despite the balance shaft. The LC 4 still doesn’t like low speeds either, reluctantly it shakes and shakes its drive train as it slowly rolls along.
The Japanese noodle pots, which take low-speed driving much more relaxed, are much more cultured. The air / oil-cooled Suzuki drift, with its measured 41 hp, does not reach the end performance of the MuZ and KTM by far (see diagram on page 16), but it shines with uninhibited revving. In addition, the low-vibration DR motor surprises with great pulling power and spontaneously depends on the gas.
The air-cooled oldie from Yamaha has the same performance on the dyno as the Suzuki engine, but in direct comparison it looks pretty tired. After all, it hides this weakness with a robust sound. The MuZ engine is much less spectacular, although its engine housing is essentially identical to the TT-Single. At the top, however, the MuZ carries the water-cooled cylinder with a larger bore on which the elaborate five-valve head sits, and thus shakes eight more horses into the gearbox. Unfortunately, the five-valve engine is a bit weak and lacks liveliness over the entire speed range. The MuZ loses part of its 49 horses due to its relatively high weight of 176 kilograms.
The Suzuki transmission offers long shift travel and precise shiftability, the KTM is sporty and bony. The Yamaha gear trains from TT and MuZ suffer from a spongy detent of the individual gear steps. This is especially true for the Baghira, which dilutes gear changes even more with its shift linkage. The claws like to disengage, especially in extreme driving situations.
In city traffic, all four high-legged people are making good progress. They waggle agile through the traffic, the view from the high seat is excellent. The KTM tamer is enthroned at the highest, but he has his hands and feet full to keep his piston oscillating. When things get really tight, MuZ and KTM find it a little difficult. The high center of gravity of the LC 4 needs to be balanced, and the Baghira’s chubby cheeks are the most significant here. Yamaha and Suzuki get the handling price thanks to their low centers of gravity.
“Speed stabilized,” says Gscheidhaferl – and wrong, at least in the case of our flight students. The notable exception is the stable MuZ, the others lurch more and more over the motorway with increasing speed. With Suzuki and Yamaha, the pronounced oscillation can be brought under control if the driver makes himself small and guides the handlebars with a light hand. The KTM’s egg dance at high speed, on the other hand, sways just past the edge of what is reasonable. That would not have to be the case if the Austrians did not mount coarse-tread Michelin T 63 tires as standard in the interests of their “tough men” image. They screw up every line on the road, dilute the feeling of turning in and offer little grip. In addition, after a few hundred kilometers of country roads, the tunnels are so worn that the pelts are no longer really suitable for the terrain. Equipped with Pirelli MT 70, the suspension elements, which are very softly tuned for this test, can finally show what they can do, how sensitively they respond, how many reserves there are in the damping. The KTM is still not as handy as the Yamaha and the Suzuki, but in connection with the high-speed engine it drives the competition over the ears.
Get off the freeway, up on the country road. The Yamaha is most agile through tight turns. But sweeping needs to be slowed down. And that is particularly difficult for the TT. Your braking system is difficult to control, and descents are acknowledged after a short time with severe fading and acrid smell of the brakes. Unloaded and solo, mind you. The suspension elements of the TT also reach their limits quite early on. Driving stability suffers on fast bumpy roads, especially the rear of the vehicle pumps and punches.
The Suzuki rolls smoothly and extremely comfortably over the pitfalls of the back road asphalt. The soft spring elements reliably iron any unevenness smoothly, easily and precisely, and the nimble DR bends all kinds of bends.
The street panther is called MuZ Baghira. Instability is completely alien to the things bike. The sporty, firm suspension elements provide precise feedback at all times about the driving condition and ensure a secure connection between the standard Pirelli MT 70 tires and the road surface. The MuZ flies casually through the asphalt jungle, drifting through alternating curves using the broad handlebars with pinpoint accuracy and without annoying rocking movements. Your Grimeca stoppers decelerate precisely, they are the best in comparison. Unfortunately, the front brake disc squeaks improperly when the braking force is low. The Saxons want to solve this problem with small rubber buffers between the brake disc and the wheel hub.
What would an enduro comparison test be that doesn’t stir up a lot of dust. It is clear that all four candidates are good gravel surfers. The fact that Suzuki and Yamaha, with their low seats and centers of gravity, are ideally suited as beginner devices is also no great surprise. Their chassis reserves are easily sufficient in easy terrain. Their soft, easy-to-manage use of power in the lower speed range creates trust. In rough terrain, however, the hour of the long-legged KTM strikes, which flies the hopelessly penetrating Japanese up and away. Especially the Yamaha, whose fork is sensitive and can handle a few jumps, suffers from its short shock absorber. The MuZ is better equipped for rough terrain and high-altitude flights, it is stable, tightly tuned and has long spring travel. The distance to the LC 4 is not too great on dry off-road slopes.
If things get extreme, i.e. sandy or even muddy, the Austrian naturally benefits from her coarsely treaded tires. As an experiment, the opponents were also equipped with rubber cleats. Lo and behold, the Baghira is the only one able to follow the KTM, flies happily through the air and panting through residents. Hats off, even if it’s not quite enough for the KTM.
D.The MuZ Baghira can still be called a real high-flyer in this test, as it offers the best compromise between sportiness and suitability for everyday use, convincing on the road and off-road.
3rd place street
The fascinating Rauhbein benefits enormously from the new electric starter, but still remains an uncompromising athlete. The KTM actually offers all the requirements for a fast street sweeper. But with the series tires there is no line to be found on asphalt. In addition, the rough engine and above all the unrivaled high price bothers
1st place terrain This is my world, this is my home! No one can fool the KTM off-road. Everything fits, nothing bothers you, origin and tradition are unmistakable
1st place street
She came, saw and won. The people of Zschopau have thought about it. A very good chassis, the best brakes and a good-natured engine make up the best overall package. On top of that, the MuZ is superbly equipped and has its own design. It offers by far the most bang for the buck. It can continue like this in Sachsenland!
2nd place Terrain The MuZ also cuts a fine figure in the dirt. The great suspension elements and the stable chassis offer enough reserves even for rough terrain
2nd place street
The Suzuki DR 650 SE is a good friend that doesn’t really have any weaknesses. It is easy to handle, it is comfortable, it is very nimble and, thanks to the height adjustment, can also be trained by little people. What more could you want? Maybe a touch more performance, sportiness and a smarter design.
3rd place off-road gravel, trial: yes. Difficult terrain: no. The DR is too soft for rough hits. It still makes casual endurists and beginners happy
4th place street
The handy Yamaha is the loser in this comparison test. The tired, XX year old engine can no longer keep up with the engines of the competition. And there is no excuse for such undersized dough brakes. In addition, the Yamaha is the most economical. The suspension elements of the TT 600 S would have done her good
4th place Terrain Here too, the TT reaps the red lantern. Too short spring travel, too inexact gear, too slack engine, too little reserves – the others are better
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