Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test

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Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test
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Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test

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Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test
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The middle class has changed. 100 hp, at least 750 cc and 200 km / h are nothing unusual here.

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test
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We test three representatives of this popular class.

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Triumph Street Triple R. Formerly a workbench, now an air-conditioned office. The Streety dances both dynamically and elegantly.

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Reactivated: Instead of color TFT, there is now a digital-analog mix. More bulky to use, but the speeds are easy to read.

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test
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Saved: The now disdainful brake pump brakes much more numbly. The ABS control behavior has also been better so far.

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Proven: The fully adjustable, quite stiff, but appealing Showa fork has remained.

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Sensitive to speed: There is still sporty toughness at the rear as well. As the speed increases, the work becomes smoother.

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BMW F 900 R: A busy office bee that always delivers. The projector does not hit the heart, but is convincing in everyday life.

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Well-informed: the well-known 6.5-inch TFT even shows the brake pressure and lean angle. Actually free of charge.

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Treacherous: A glance at the splendidly filled fittings of a BMW reveals the optional full equipment immediately.

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Adaptable: only the suspension strut works semi-actively (if required). Confident work with high residual comfort.

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Reassuring: The standard steering damper ensures a bolt-stable driving behavior, as is typical of the brand.

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KTM 790 Duke: Shirt-sleeved worker for rough tasks. The KTM strikes hard but heartily.

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Small, not fine: The KTM display is now a bit small and coarse in comparison. Capricious fuel gauge included.

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Sumolike: The Duke places the driver in an ultra-upright position and thus takes a slightly different route than the 890 version.

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Solid: No top hardware as on the 890 Duke R, but solid everyday brake with slightly increased hand strength.

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Raubein: The directly hinged shock absorber generously passes through shocks. You have to accept due to the lack of adjustability.

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Ergonomics and seating position on the three naked bikes:

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You rarely find more reference to the front wheel than on a street bike on naked bikes .

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Despite its similar dimensions, the BMW strangely feels a bit more touristy.

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On the KTM you almost feel like you are standing up. Ultra comfortable, but also ultra agile.

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Goes well: upright on BMW, hanging on Triumph, pushing on KTM.

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Everyone can do sport. However, intensity and endurance vary. And with it the experience.

motorcycles

Naked bike

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test

Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test
KTM 790 Duke, BMW F 900 R and Triumph Street Triple R.

The middle class has changed. 100 hp, at least 750 cc and 200 km / h are nothing unusual here. We are testing three naked bikes of this popular class.


Rene Correra

06/06/2021

“Middle class” – this concept has changed. Fully poured 100 PS, at least three quarters of a liter and a speedy 200 km / h in easy driving are the minimum requirements. And we’re talking more about the lower middle class. Which is not always that easy to recognize as such. As always, the F 900 R from BMW comes with extras worth the value of a used small car. So far, so Munich. Also the 790 Duke from Mattighofen offers all sleight of hand tricks that modern motorcycle technology has to offer, from cornering ABS to launch control. In comparison to the BMW and also to the furious noble sister 890 Duke R, however, as standard. Even in England there is little modesty at first. The 2020 Street Triple R comes with fully adjustable suspension and the usual three-cylinder power. Now even with a bidirectional automatic switch, monobloc Brembos and LED light.

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Street Triple R 1,000 euros cheaper

Doesn’t that sound like basic? That’s right, but that Street Triple This year S is only available as a badly castrated A2 variant, which makes the R the new entry into the fully fledged triple world from Hinckley. For 1,000 euros less than before. More for less, how do the English manage that? Well, the increasing production in Thailand will probably allow a few saved pound notes to spill over to Hinckley. And if you take a seat on the newest street, you will still find an unrivaled, sporty and front-wheel-oriented bed. But you can’t avoid wondering whether the LC display with analogue tachometer was not a color TFT at the last test step? And did your hand not finally reach for a classy Brembo radial brake pump? And where are these sexy decorative seams on the really tight seat??


Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test


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Triumph Street Triple R: It has lost a bit of shine, but has become cheaper.

Well, with the exception of the brake hardware, these are more of a cosmetic change. What has remained, however, is the overall great design of the street threesome. Wherever you look and grasp, your eyes and hands are still amply delighted. In addition, the brand identity proudly shines out of every crack and out of every Triumph logo. Finding them all would be a nice garage job for the darker days of the year.

BMW F 900 R 30 kg weight disadvantage

Which, by the way, also applies to the BMW. In Munich, too, there seems to be a noticeable effort to ensure that F 900 R owners do not forget the origin of their vehicle. Instead of heartfelt love, however, there is the usual clean, technoid appearance of the Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer. You can live with that. Whether that has been the case so far – let’s put it diplomatically – rather “functional” Overall appearance of the Munich middle class also applies, everyone has to decide for themselves. The current F generation makes it easier at first glance. They seem to have peeled rinds by the kilo: short rear, compact front, stable orientation to the front (also ergonomic) and contemporary, many beads and edges. In fact, it is a few more kilograms compared to its predecessor, and quite a few kilograms more than the Street Triple and Duke. The MOTORRAD scales only stopped at 217 kilograms. That is a weight disadvantage of almost 30 kilos. So it’s good that the drive has also been dynamized: the in-line twin now measures a full 895 cubic centimeters and, thanks to the crank pin offset, hits with a subtle, sonorous V2 stroke for the first time.

KTM 790 Duke – angry muscle on wheels

She has that too KTM 790 Duke from Austria, just the word “subtle” can confidently be deleted. Can actually be said for the whole motorcycle. From the garish rims to the angular design to the extreme ergonomics, this angry muscle on wheels only seems to know one key. And in contrast to the coffeehouse culture of the motherland, which is pregnant with curtsy, it is anything but subtle. Loving design, playful details, soft seat cushion? “Please go!!!”, as the Austrian says and the Duke barks with hearty firing. “Ready to race” is also here the announcement, middle class or not.

There is no windbreak, over here or over there

But now it’s ready to go downhill, in theory, as is well known, no comparison test has yet been won. And the good old Swabian Alb – the local cornering paradise – has proven itself sufficiently in practice. As is so often the case in life, good things first have to be earned through a little torture. And that’s usually called in motorcycle language “Approach by motorway”. It’s not fun, but it does produce interesting results. The most obvious thing: there is no windbreak, over here or over there. Anyone who wants to drive faster than 140 km / h for a long time has to fight a hopeless battle against the head wind. Ironically, because each of the three engines easily shakes higher speeds out of their sleeves. And each of the three chassis makes such speed excursions without complaint, with small differences: Bolt-stable and thus typical of the brand, the BMW mills over the BAB. Long wheelbase, long caster, steering damper: no wonder. The fact that the much more dynamically dimensioned Triumph manages this almost as well even without a steering damper speaks for a fine hand in development and coordination. Although the KTM also has the calming pill at the front, it is – at a very high level – most susceptible to restlessness at high speed.

the Duke always had a boisterous, rough nature. This can also be seen when you throttle back to the recommended speed. The directly hinged strut is hard-tuned, responds quite uncouth and forms a working group of pain with the thin seat cushion. “Take it or leave it!” is the announcement, because the damping cannot be adjusted.


Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test


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KTM 790 Duke: Emotionally and dynamically, the KTM is really powerful, but demands a little commitment and the ability to suffer on the chassis side.

the Street Triple R hits a similar notch at the stern, but parries short bumps a little finer. Especially since this problem can be softened a little thanks to the adjustability of the damping. Which unfortunately does not apply to a phenomenon that we did not know about on the previous R. From 6,000 rpm, the handlebars vibrate more and more, and not at high frequencies, but with a steady droning sound. And with that, while leisurely snuffling on the BAB. Another reason to leave this as soon as possible.

A few words beforehand BMW F 900 R.: It irons the asphalt as smooth as a quality shirt, rushes steadfastly towards the horizon at any speed and, contrary to the new look, has a classic BMW-like appearance. At least if you – also BMW-ig – have invested at least 380 euros in the semi-active shock absorber. This also offers in the tighter mode “Dynamic” more comfort than KTM and Triumph, but the spread between the two hardness settings is smaller than with the larger BMWs. Of course, it would be interesting and more appropriate to the test topic how a standard shock absorber acts, but it will probably be some time before BMW releases test machines without special equipment.

Over-ambitious Steering behavior of the Duke

Until then, we’d rather drive down from the train and up to the Alb. Time for a little mid-range action that doesn’t feel so mid-range here either. But what you can feel even more clearly now are the different characters. The Duke makes the start. It’s unbelievable how agile it cuts into the radius. No sooner has the line been targeted than it almost works in an inclined position. No, that is not entirely neutral and also not entirely intuitive, because the turning behavior sometimes seems downright ambitious. Radical geometry in connection with low weight also ensures radical handiness. Once in an inclined position, there is more calm in the load, but here too the Duke requires a sensitively leading and correcting hand. It takes a short while to get used to it, and a little experience is certainly not bad either. But once you get the hang of it, it works. As expected, the wild Austrian rewards more active driving techniques such as hanging-off or supermoto-esque pushing more than just sitting still. If you keep the speed above 5,000 tours, the 800 twin also really hammers forward. Thanks to extremely short gearshifts and a reliable automatic gearshift, riding at speed is easy. When the wheelie control is switched off, the Duke also likes to raise the front wheel as if he were going to raise his hand to salute the workers. In the explored driving modes “Sports” or even “Track” (here the throttle response works like a switch) this happens almost unintentionally. MOTORCYCLE top tip: “Street” is enough. The limit for the wild goings-on is only set by those who are not overly influential “Supermaxx ST”-Maxxis tires and the comparatively mild stoppers.

BMW = safety first

The latter are symbolic of how contradicting the Munich painter is designed. BMW = Safety first, their stoppers slow down like hell, need little manual force and have ABS control behavior as sensitive as a pair of pianist hands. At least if you – surprise – about 340 euros ins “ABS Pro” invested. Competencies that are also profitable under dynamic aspects. And the F 900 R is quite capable of this. Despite the weight disadvantage, it steers in with a noticeable nimble footing, keeps the line clean and rock solid, and has a motor that doesn’t really care about speeds, because it delivers 100% usable power between 2,000 and 9,000 revs like none of the two colleagues. Sauguad!


Mid-range naked bikes in a comparison test


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BMW F 900 R: Safe, comfortable, highly efficient, but with a slight belly. Less weight and a little more bang would bring the BMW far forward.

Only, you hardly notice it in the saddle. The engine develops its ample power so unspectacularly that one would subjectively attest to the other two malochers more longitudinal dynamics at any time, which objectively is not always true. There is also a super smooth, but not exactly direct throttle response. And if you’re really serious, the BMW calls out loudly in some places “chamber!”. Then you notice the almost 30 kilos extra fullness, the footrests that touch down earlier, the unrivaled smooth but also fearful traction control, the sometimes indecisive sluggish gearshift in the somewhat imprecise gearbox and the almost artificial loss of vigor of the engine from just under 7,000 revolutions. Sure, all of this is only really relevant if you understand the StVO as a guide. But in direct comparison at this ignition level it tastes more like a good clerk than a hard-hitting painter.

Streety combines qualities from Duke and F 900

Which brings us to a triumph that perfectly combines those two professions and thus both the qualities of BMW and KTM. There is a pure sports motorcycle in her, and she breathes this spirit through every pore. It turns into a corner with crystal clear precision, remains more agile than the BMW and more stable than the KTM at all times. No one transmits so directly between the front wheel and the driver’s brain; what feedback this bomb chassis delivers is almost at the athlete level. The same applies to the well-known voluptuous threesome in the engine room, only that “nearly” can be safely forgotten. He celebrates weightless propulsion with a hoarse exhaust hissing and a pithy airbox roar. From fewer than 2,000 to more than 12,000 tours. For the really big club, the triple needs a little more speed than the comrades. No problem. Nowhere else does it move so smoothly in the gears, which, luckily, only lack slightly shorter distances. But at the end of the day, the club in question does not swing as strongly and as persistently as the Streety. And nobody is so cultivated: These three cylinders do not seem to run in oil, but in milk and honey. Only the throttle response was slightly harder than with BMW and KTM (as long as you keep your hands off the sharp modes with the latter). The stiff chassis also runs smoothly, but it needs a decent basic speed, especially at the rear, in order to be persuaded to work. So far, so well known.

So nothing new from England? Unfortunately, it does: The brake pump that is now installed works noticeably worse under severe conditions. As soon as you get close to the ABS control, it hardens and makes it difficult to adjust. Hand lever issue, but another side: This Triumph is in a short time the third in our hands that reacts very sensitively to a clutch lever that is (too) tightly tightened. In short: it no longer runs free. This is usually prevented by a collar in the corresponding screw, but Triumph saves itself (recently?), As it turned out. Hmm, ugly. Well, the Streety R wins anyway. And thanks to the significantly lower price, even more confidently than before.

Conclusion

Triumph Street Triple R: The former painter who made it into the administration. The Streety combines dynamism and manners. It has lost a little shine, but has become cheaper. The brake is no longer convincing.

BMW F 900 R: More like a clerk in the office instead of a worker in the workshop. Safe, comfortable, highly efficient, but with a slight belly base. Less weight and a little more bang would bring the BMW far forward.

KTM 790 Duke: Honest specialist in the rough, who prefers to tackle things rather than discuss things. Emotionally and dynamically, the KTM is really powerful, but demands a little commitment and the ability to suffer on the chassis side.

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