- Little Stromer
- That’s still there
- Technical data: Suzuki V-Strom 650
- Technical data: Honda Transalp 650
- Technical data: Aprilia Pegaso 650 i.e.
- Rolf Henniges on the disappearance of the Honda Africa Twin
- 4th place – Aprilia Pegaso 650 i.e.
- 1st place – Suzuki V-Strom 650
- 3rd place – Honda Transalp 650
- 2nd place – BMW F 650 GS
Comparison test of mid-range enduro bikes
BMW has shown the way, now Suzuki is following suit. Modern mechanical engineering in a moderate enduro guise? Aprilia Pegaso and Honda Transalp look old now?
What did he beg, what did he drill. Long, but ultimately not in vain. He wanted enduro bikes, a corresponding drive was already in stock. Something for travel and also for every day. The pragmatic German clientele would literally thirst for it. And finally he has ?? as
so often ?? won.
Bert Poensgen, sales manager at the German Suzuki importer in Bensheim, got his V-Strom. Initially as a 1000 with the further developed, formidable TL unit. And now the 650s. With a 90-degree V2, which has acquired a legendary reputation practically since the first SV-650 generation appeared, which it still lives up to today.
Nothing can go wrong, so the unanimous opinion of the Pragmatists Group. “Yes, definitely,” countered two-wheeled aesthetes, because the chills from the first tête-à-tête with the 1000 were still in their bones. And both should be right.
The V-Strom 650 not only has the family name in common with its big sister, it is also from her
Face cut. The ?? many think so? is the bad news. But in the sum of its properties it is the better motorcycle. That’s the good one. The little V-Strom even manages to casually demonstrate the rest of the professional drifters presented here in almost all disciplines. A fact that ?? depending on your perspective? is to be sorted. A blessing for everyone who has long been flirting with the medium-sized, medium-strength travel enduro bikes but, apart from the BMW F 650 GS, have been waiting in vain for innovations for years. Leverage for Aprilia, BMW and Honda to do something.
What does the V-Strom have that the others don’t? She has ?? except for the lack of ABS, where BMW still maintains its monopoly position? more of everything. However, if you ignore the baroque plastic dress, this “more” never takes on such opulent forms that purists would turn away indignantly, everyday drivers would be repulsed or beginners would be frightened. On the contrary: Most of our contemporaries can do well on Suzuki’s travel enduro
feel. And without any pull-ups you can enjoy a dynamic that is not offered by the competition.
Has the largest share of it? Naturally ?? the motor. A look at the power and torque curves of the 650 cubic centimeter drives reveals what we are talking about. The in and of itself lively BMW single can keep up with the Suzuki V2 until just past the 5000 mark, above which it runs out of breath. The elderly
Honda Twin starts vehemently, then slackens off just as quickly and gasps asthmatically towards the switching point after the drop at 4000 revs. The Aprilia’s Rotax engine shows over the entire speed range that it dates back to the past millennium and, as an early retiree, now pulls around the house from time to time, but knows exactly when it gets too colorful. Namely very early.
That applies to the comparison with the BMW and the Honda, but especially in the competition with the Suzuki V2. The engineers have done that again for V-Strom use. A little peak performance cut? You could afford that in view of the weak competition ?? and added a little more pressure in the middle. So the two-cylinder has even the nippy BMW single easily under control, and beyond the 5000 mark there is no stopping it anyway. He pulls away playfully, adds one after the other money evenly and emphatically, simply plays in a higher league. The best thing about it is that this is not about gray test bench theory. This head start through performance and liveliness, which manifests itself in bare figures with 69 hp at 9000 rpm, can be experienced at any time
noticeable. Regardless of whether it is a leisurely tour or a sporty Sunday excursion: there is
practically no situation to which this V2 does not have the right answer.
The bottom line is that in connection with impeccable manners in terms of response and starting behavior, in terms of gearbox, clutch and emission control (G-Kat and SLS) in the drive chapter, it gives itself a solid lead. F 650 GS and Transalp ?? Contrary to previous experience, the test copy had a gear that was very reluctant to operate ?? remain a class below despite their pleasant demeanor, and the Pegaso single loses a lot of ground with weaknesses in almost all areas, even in the midfield.
But there is still more to come, in the truest sense of the word. The supposed Pummel V-Strom shows the established electric vehicles where the Bartel gets the must with regard to the chassis. The neutrality with which the Suzuki, despite the widest tires in the field, circles curves of any radius and itself
It doesn’t get disturbed by rough bumps, is just as inspiring as the playful handiness with which it can be thrown from one incline into the other.
In addition to the wide handlebars, the successful coordination of the spring elements also plays its part. Sufficiently tight and yet comfortable, the V-Strom feels at home on roads of all categories. They are also not impressed by the additional burden of a passenger. Especially since in such cases the level of the stern can be adjusted to the changed needs in no time at all with the handwheel. The latter also applies to the BMW, which nevertheless tends to reach the limits of its suspension elements when fully loaded, but operates at a high level in solo operation. In terms of handiness and steering precision, it does not come close to the V-Strom.
Even the Honda Transalp with its cutting disc-like tires (front 90 mm wide, rear 120 mm wide) does not quite manage that. In particular, it is their 41 fork with traditional bellows that demands more attention from the driver than is actually necessary. During strong braking maneuvers, it counteracts the dynamic shifting of the wheel load too little progression, the front dips deeply every time and also dampens
the rebound movement too little. This constant up and down at the entrance to the curve doesn’t make choosing a line any easier.
Once brought on course in an inclined position, the Transalp behaves in an exemplary manner. Which one cannot really say about Aprilias Pegaso in any driving situation, because a spring strut is added to a soft fork that is not up to the demands. It acknowledges with excited pumping
already mediocre asphalt quality, and also the aged Pirelli MT 90 ?? as with the F 650 in the format 100/90 at the front and 130/80 at the rear ?? hardly make sure to calm the load.
The braking system is also less than convincing. The lonely 300-millimeter disc with double piston pliers in the front wheel does not contribute to the deceleration process any more than is necessary and needs to be persuaded to do so with a lot of manual effort. For two or three powerful braking maneuvers
this succeeds just before pronounced fading sets in, and the very idea of a courageous pass descent mutates into a horror scenario.
It shows that it is much better with identically dimensioned components
the F 650 GS. Though like the Pegaso
Equipped only with a 300 mm disc in the front wheel, it almost reaches the level of the double disc systems from Honda and Suzuki in terms of both deceleration and metering and also offers a perfectly functioning anti-lock braking system, albeit only for an extra charge (510 euros). An offer that neither Honda is willing to accept despite a slight facelift
the 2004 Transalp year (optional
30 millimeters lower seat for 82.50 euros, hazard warning lights and improved corrosion protection) even Suzuki were able to get through in this beginner-friendly class.
Speaking of seat height: Don’t be fooled by the stately dimensions of the V-Strom. Due to the pronounced shape of the driver’s seat, the seat height is only 815 millimeters and thus only five millimeters more than with the much more delicate–looking single-cylinder (for the GS there is also a 20 millimeter lower bench on request), while for the Transalp the
Standard trim 835 millimeters can be climbed. Once in the saddle, everyone impresses with their long-distance ergonomics, which in the more compact singles is much more enduro-like and therefore more front-wheel-oriented than in the travel-oriented twins.
In view of this orientation, it is only logical that Suzuki gave its latest creation a three-way adjustable, sweeping windshield, which effectively protects against the oncoming forces even on fast stretches of the motorway. The logic behind the adjustment mechanism? no less than ten screws have to be loosened and tightened again ?? This is not immediately apparent even to clever minds. After all, depending on the driver’s size and posture, it takes several attempts to find the best compromise between wind protection and turbulence. Such gimmicks do not apply to the other candidates. After all, the panels of the Transalp and Pegaso still effectively relieve the driver’s upper body despite the lower windows, while the plastic shield of the BMW is much more delicate and makes longer stretches of the motorway quite uncomfortable. Not least because traffic behind can hardly be seen due to the vibrating mirrors.
Exactly the opposite is the case when instead of wide asphalt strips, narrow gravel paths are taken under the wheels. Here you feel on the
dainty single cylinders with their less expansive panels and the more active seating position, enjoy the greater freedom of movement, which even allows passages taken while standing, and the better view to the front. More pronounced off-road inserts, however, are set early by the tires and the not exactly lush ground clearance, so that off-road athletes look around in another corner anyway.
So it stays that way: All four only appear to have the name Enduro. They are made for a lot of fun on the country roads and should also digest one or the other long-distance trip. And the new Suzuki V-Strom 650 cannot hold a candle to this. Not the competitors presented here? and even the larger-displacement group will have a hard time. Because this engine actually never gives rise to the desire for more power, but masters everything from leisurely touring to committed gasping. And this is ?? also considering the competitive mid-range price ?? despite the pragmatic charisma at least as much as one can expect. Aprilia, BMW and Honda are advised to go inside and Ant-
to find words. At least Honda would have
with some commitment one had that
in addition to pure functionality
the aura of adventure exudes. Is my colleague Rolf Henniges, an ardent admirer of A.frica Twin (see next page). But that will be discontinued for the 2004 model year.
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Comparison test of mid-range enduro bikes
Technical data: BMW F 650 GS
EngineWater-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 46 mm, engine management, regulated catalytic converter, electric starter.Bore x stroke 100 x 83 mm, displacement 652 cm3, rated power 37 kW (50 Hp) at 6500 rpm Max. Torque 60 Nm (6.1 kpm) at 5000 rpm Pollutant values (homologation) CO 1.25 g / km, HC 0.12 g / km, NOx 0.07 g / km Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O-ring Chassis bridge frame made of steel profiles, load-bearing motor, telescopic fork, stanchion diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, front disc brake, Ø 300 mm, double-piston caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston caliper. Tires 100/90 S 19; 130/80 SR 17 tires tested Michelin T 66 Chassis data Steering head angle 60.8 degrees, caster 113 mm, wheelbase 1479 mm, spring travel f / r 170/165 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 810 mm, weight with a full tank * 201 kg, payload * 179 kg, Tank capacity / reserve 17.3 / 4.5 liters. Warranty two years with unlimited mileageColors black, yellow, blue, silver metallicPower variant 25 kW (34 PS) Price 7100 euros Price test motorcycle ** 7793 euros Additional costs 262 euros
That’s still there
Too little adventure, too little desert sand or mountain rubble? At least Aprilia and BMW serve single-cylinder fans with off-road variants of the standard models. Aprilia has recently started offering the Pegaso as a Tuscany-Tibet Raid version. In addition to the flashy paintwork, the »Tibet« is supplied with a higher windshield, aluminum topcase and more ground clearance because the fork (25 millimeters) and shock absorber (20 millimeters) are longer. The suspension travel, however, only increases at the front, by five millimeters, and the price by 500 euros. BMW is pursuing a similar policy with the »Dakar«. However, at 210 millimeters at the front and rear, it also has longer spring travel compared to the civil GS (170/165 mm). There is also a greater seat height (900 to 810 millimeters) and a windshield. And a 21-inch instead of the 19-inch front wheel and larger-tread tires. But also a price that is 500 euros higher. Kawasaki’s KLE 500 is more geared towards the needs of road drivers. The exotic, which has been in the range since eighteen hundred windstorms, still has this parallel twin with a nominal 48 hp (a 34 hp version is also offered), which was no longer entirely fresh in the past millennium. But with 5435 euros, the KLE also has a competitive price that makes one sit up and take notice.
Technical data: Suzuki V-Strom 650
EngineWater-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, transverse crankshaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 39 mm, engine management, regulated catalytic converter with secondary air system, electric starter. Bore x stroke 81 x 62.6 mm, displacement 645 cm3, rated output 49 kW (67 hp) at 8800 rpm, max. Torque 60 Nm (6.1 kpm) at 6400 rpm Pollutant values (homologation) CO 2.99 g / km, HC 0.56 g / km, NOx 0.11 g / km Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring Chassis Bridge frame made of cast aluminum, load-bearing motor, screwed rear frame made of aluminum profiles, telescopic fork, standpipe diameter 43 mm, adjustable spring base, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and rebound damping, double disc brake at the front, floating discs, double-piston brake discs, Ø 310 mm rear, Ø 260 mm, single-piston caliper, tires 110/80 R 19; 150/70 R 17 tires tested Bridgestone Trail Wing TW 101 J, TW 152 F chassis data Steering head angle 64 degrees, caster 110 mm, wheelbase 1540 mm, spring travel f / r 150/150 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 815 mm, weight fully fueled * 214 kg, Payload * 206 kg, tank capacity 22 liters. Warranty two years with unlimited mileageColors black, silver, blue Price 7480 euros, additional costs 130 euros
Technical data: Honda Transalp 650
Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 52-degree V-engine, transverse crankshaft, one overhead, chain-driven camshaft, three valves per cylinder, rocker arm, wet sump lubrication, constant pressure carburetor, Ø 34 mm, transistor double ignition, uncontrolled catalytic converter with secondary air system, electric starter .Bore x stroke 79 x 66 mm, displacement 647 cm3, rated output 39 kW (53 PS) at 7500 rpm, max. Torque 55 Nm (5.6 kpm) at 5500 rpm Pollutant values (homologation) CO 3.31 g / km, HC 0.80 g / km, NOx 0.12 g / km Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O-ring Single-loop frame made of tubular steel, split beams, telescopic fork, stanchion diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 256 mm, double-piston calipers, disc brake at the rear, Ø 240 mm, single-piston caliper 90/90 S 21; 120/90 S 17 tires tested Bridgestone Trail Wing TW 47 G / 48 G chassis data Steering head angle 62 degrees, caster 108 mm, wheelbase 1505 mm, spring travel f / r 200/172 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 835 mm, weight with a full tank * 216 kg, payload * 176 kg, tank capacity / reserve 19 / 3.5 liters.Warranty two years with unlimited mileageColors silver, black, bluePower variant 25 kW (34 PS) Price 7490 euros Additional costs 180 euros
Technical data: Aprilia Pegaso 650 i.e.
Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, a balance shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, five valves, arranged radially, bucket tappets, a rocker arm, dry sump lubrication, electronic intake manifold injection, Ø 46 mm, uncontrolled catalytic converter, electric starter. Bore x stroke 100 x 83 mm, displacement 652 cm3 36 kW (49 PS) at 6300 rpm Max. Torque 54 Nm (5.5 kpm) at 4500 rpm Pollutant values (homologation) CO 1.50 g / km, HC 0.18 g / km, NOx 0.24 g / km Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O-ring Single-loop frame made of tubular steel with screwed aluminum profiles, telescopic fork, standpipe diameter 45 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, front disc brake, Ø 300 mm, double-piston caliper, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, single-piston caliper 100 / 90-19; 130/80 R 17 tires tested Pirelli MT 90 Chassis data Steering head angle 61.3 degrees, caster 115 mm, wheelbase 1475 mm, spring travel f / r 170/165 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 810 mm, weight with a full tank * 203 kg, payload * 180 kg, Tank capacity / reserve 21 / 4.5 liters. Warranty two years with unlimited mileageColors1 anthracite, silver-redPower variant 25 kW (34 PS) Price including ancillary costs 6089 euros
Rolf Henniges on the disappearance of the Honda Africa Twin
MOTORRAD editor Rolf Henniges to the
Disappearance of the Honda Africa Twin.
A shrill, colorful two-cylinder enduro set new standards in 1988. With an engine that seemed indestructible, driving stability unmatched in this segment and a wide range of applications. Regardless of whether it is a gravel pit, Kazakhstan or a pub, the Africa Twin cuts a fine figure everywhere. First with 650 cm3 displacement, from 1990 with 750 cm3. Honda sold 72091 copies in Europe, 20,823 of them in Germany alone. Production of the Twin will be discontinued in the coming year. Why? Honda justifies this step with falling sales figures. In fact, there has been a sharp drop in sales. In each case at the time when BMW presented its thick-nosed GS, namely in 1993 and 1999. So what if there are only a certain number of freaks who are interested in this kind of enduresque mix? Who conquered the world in the eighties with the XT 600, then switched to the Africa Twin and finally were lured away by BMW with its GS? Because Honda wallowed in deep sleep and rested on its laurels. Can be anything. The fact is that the reputation of the fans is like a desperate scream. And always feeds new rumors. There will be a new one, so it is said at the campfires of the twin friends. Big tank, long spring travel, 800 cm3, 80 hp, injection. A dream that KTM has long since turned into reality with the 950 Adventure, but which Honda has simply ignored. They have the facelifted Transalp and Varadero, says Offenbach, and they cover everything. Dear Honda executives, they don’t. You asked BMW and KTM to take the butter off your long-distance bread. Because the virtues mentioned above, the ever-present feeling that you can set off for Cape Town with the pedestal at any time, should have been strengthened with an efficient model update that has long been demanded by the fans. The gap in the market remains unchanged. KTM’s Adventure first has to prove its reliability, the GS is a heavy chunk, the Transalp too limp, the Varadero a plasticine sofa. The twin’s success story could have continued. It is a cheek to offer a motorcycle almost unchanged for ten years and then cancel it without replacement, justifying falling sales.
4th place – Aprilia Pegaso 650 i.e.
The Pegaso is an old motorcycle ?? and that’s how it drives. Lethargic engine, unstable chassis: there is actually no reason to flirt with the Aprilia. Except for the price, which is well below that of the competition. And the look, because that is quite pleasing. So if you are primarily in the city, shopping or going to the cafe, the Pegaso should be on the shortlist. If you are looking for fun on the country road, you should orientate yourself elsewhere.
1st place – Suzuki V-Strom 650
Hats off, this is a made-to-measure debut. Seldom has a motorcycle won a comparison test more convincingly. And for good reason, because the small V-Strom is equipped for almost all eventualities that can come under the wheels. Great engine, great chassis ?? what more do you want? Perhaps a more pleasing appearance, a little more adventure aura. But that cannot be assessed objectively. Therefore, it remains a deserved victory across the board.
3rd place – Honda Transalp 650
It still exudes the charm of rock-solid motorcycle construction, the Transalp. But also that of the cultivated coffee house atmosphere. This becomes particularly clear in comparison with the powerful appearance of the V-Strom. Anyone who wants to get from A to B reliably and without great commitment, to whom scenic beauty is more important than the ideal line, is well served with the Honda. If you want to experience more, you should grab the Suzuki, which is available for practically the same money.
2nd place – BMW F 650 GS
It does well, the BMW single, can even compete with the two-cylinder Honda Transalp in the sum of its properties. Despite the spirited motor, despite the possibility of ordering heated grips and ABS, there is no herb against the new V-Strom. In addition, is ?? equipped in this way? the price just under 500 euros above the Suzuki. And that’s a lot of wood in this class, in which saved money is also a decisive selling point.
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