Middle-class all-rounder in a comparison test

Honda Crossrunner, Kawasaki Versys 1000, Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

All-rounder in the comparison test

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Top performer or cucumber troupe? Mid-range crossover bikes like the Honda Crossrunner, Kawasaki Versys 1000, Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and Yamaha MT-09 Tracer are often smiled at by sports riders. So far, we too have been rather skeptical of the colorless all-rounders. Rightly?

Too heavy, too lame, too wobbly: simply knitted long forks won’t tear athletic pilots from their stools. So-called crossover bikes should cover travel and home routes as well as cautious excursions into the countryside. The sport is inevitably neglected. But the latest version of the Yamaha MT-09 is different. With the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, the Japanese created a new, interesting niche with a sporty appeal. The Honda Crossrunner, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph are also a little less consistent, but positioned in the same way Tiger 1050 Sport with its 17-inch chassis, cast wheels, moderate suspension travel, low ground clearance and road tires are clearly on the asphalt dance. The quartet also plays in a similar performance league. So enough material for a hearty meal.

Honda Crossrunner, Kawasaki Versys 1000, Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

All-rounder in the comparison test

Crossrunner a. She cheekily turns off the road and takes the off-road shortcut over gentle scree. A short jump over an edge, bang, and she is the first to line up on the asphalt strip. The small detour is made possible by the tires designed for moderate off-road use, the most comfortable chassis and the greatest ground clearance. But be careful: if you overdo it off-road, you risk a battered exhaust due to lack of engine protection!

Honda Crossrunner goes its own way on the engine side

The Honda Crossrunner also goes its own way on the engine side. It is the only one that houses a V4, which, with 107 hp, is comparatively weak. No wonder, after all, the drive has to draw its power from just 782 cubic capacity. The competitors have more to offer in this regard. Above all the Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and the Kawasaki Versys 1000. They tickle real 122 HP (Tiger) and 123 HP (Versys) from over one liter of displacement. The Yamaha MT-09 Tracer presses an impressive 115 hp from 847 cubic meters. But how do the engines react when filing well?

The Yamaha MT-09 Tracer treble, which was newly developed for 2014 and also powers the other MT-09 models, is still fascinating. Although it opens its throttle valve a little more cautiously due to the changed ECU programming, the drive shoots the bike and the pilot into orbit. The triple is always there, has no breather and burns off its grandiose fireworks up to maximum output at around 10,500 rpm. This mark is followed by a broad performance plateau, it only ends at 11,300 tours.


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Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and Kawasaki Versys 1000 with more punch

The big blocks of the Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and Kawasaki Versys 1000 serve even more punch. The hoarse roar of the Japan quadruple still seems strange. After all, no other sporty in-line four-cylinder has been used in such bikes to date. The Greens moped the drive out of the Naked Bike Z 1000 and trimmed it to a lot of pressure from the speed basement. For this they sacrificed a good 20 hp peak power, but even sports fans can do without that. Especially since the unit already pushes brutally just above idle speed and burns wildly through the entire speed range. As is typical for Kawa, the quadruplets are accompanied by clear vibrations – I swing, therefore I am!

Another characteristic is the hard throttle response – especially in full power "F" mode. On the other hand, on low power ("L"), the change from pushing to load operation is super smooth. Disadvantage: This setting cuts the performance by around 25 percent. The switch box is surprisingly soft to operate. It is unclear whether Kawasaki did any fine work here as part of the complex model update. That was definitely not an issue when the Kawasaki Versys 1000 was presented in December. On the other hand, they proudly announced the anti-hopping clutch that was installed for the first time and that works really well.

All tests and articles about the Kawasaki Versys 1000

Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport without special technical features

Except for an ABS, the Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport has no special technical features. The British revised the big cat extensively in 2013. But in Hinckley at that time they donated neither a special clutch nor traction control, not even different driving modes were included. Fortunately, that doesn’t detract from the iconic engine when sprinting through the revs. As usual, the big cat marches forward and hisses its unmistakable sound through the raised exhaust pipe. But despite the full acceleration, the Triple does not look as fresh in direct comparison as the units from the Kawasaki Versys 1000 and the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer. The glamor of the 1050 is slowly fading. In its basic form, it is already ten years old. During this time, strong load change reactions accompanied him just as persistently as the hooked gear. So it is high time for a modern successor.

There is also an old friend in the Honda Crossrunner. With the Vtec variable valve control, the engine made its debut in its touring sister VFR 800 F. In addition to the engine, the crossover bike also took over the frame, swing arm, wheels and exhaust from the latest version.


Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport in the driving report

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So-called crossover bikes should cover travel and home routes as well as cautious excursions into the terrain.

At least on the engine side, the all-rounder cannot really show itself off. We have already mentioned the manageable output. In addition, the far too good engine characteristics do not really get the blood of sporty attackers pumping. Especially on low tours, the Honda Crossrunner only comes out of the quark tough and always requires a lower gear than the competition when bolting out of the corners.

At least it adds a few briquettes from 6500 rpm. With this brand, thanks to Vtec, it switches from two to four valve drives and generates a noticeable kick, accompanied by frenetic chatter. The high speed reserves of the shorts-stroke unit are of course superfluous. It yodels up to well over 12,000 turns, but it delivers its highest output at just under 10,000 rpm. The smooth running of the V4, velvet and silk in its purest form is wonderfully flattering! In addition, the Honda Crossrunner accelerates gently, and the gear changes are wonderfully smooth thanks to the automatic gearshift (290 euros).

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer with 212 kilos the lightweight of the quartet

If happy hunting is on the program, the Honda Crossrunner has to admit defeat to the fellow campaigners. Regardless of whether it is a sprint from a standing start or a sweater-through exercise in the last gear: You will be mercilessly left behind by the assembled competition. Manageable engine power and high weight (245 kilos) form an unfavorable alliance. The Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport and the Kawasaki Versys 1000 are also heavy, both of which weigh a mighty 255 kilos. With the Kawa this is at least partly due to the additional equipment "Tourer" and "Grand Tourer". The packages include, among other things, case and topcase holders, additional headlights and engine protection bars – all weight-inducing extras. At 212 kilos, the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer is the lightweight of the quartet. That’s why it sticks close to the back wheels of Tiger and Versys when sprinting. However, Yamaha limited the top speed of Tracy to 210 km / h due to chassis unrest.

But that doesn’t matter for cornering. This is where the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer is in its element. Tight chassis, short suspension travel, active seating position, sporty tires and good feedback, combined with their low weight, form an unbeatable combination. It’s just great how the Tracer storms straight into the corners and stays stable on course. The fine wheelies at the exit of bends, which unicyclists easily conjure up from the wrist, also create a great mood. To do this, however, the pilot must first deactivate the early and roughly regulating traction control. Unfortunately, this only works when the car is stationary. The incalculable ABS that cannot be switched off also slows down the euphoria a little: One time the system regulates very early, another time it allows high stoppies. To do this, it works with rough intervals, and the pressure point on the brake lever hardens very strongly. Despite these slip-ups, Tracy is a pure branding iron with an extremely high fun factor.


Yamaha MT-09 Tracer in the top test

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Tiger tires build excellent grip

This only applies to a limited extent for the Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport. The high notches force the tiger tamer’s knees into a narrow angle, and the wide tank spreads his legs very wide. In addition, the British woman looks very bulky due to the fuel barrel. The effort required by the pilot to guide the heavyweight around the radius is correspondingly high. In addition, the Tiger delivers little feedback at the front. After all, you can rely on the perfectly functioning initial tires. The rubbers build up excellent grip and guide the load accurately through the track.

The Kawasaki Versys 1000 is completely different: According to the manufacturer, its Bridgestone T 30 tires in special specification "F" are designed for high straight-line stability. Apparently, this is at the expense of handling and accuracy. We attribute the poor feedback from the front end, at least in part, to the comfortable set-up of the fork. Regardless of this, the front tire in particular only develops moderate grip. A sneaky slide over the front wheel gave the author a real shock. Why the Japanese didn’t take over the superb soles from last year’s Versys remains their secret.

Crossrunner surprisingly handy

On the other hand, there is applause for the traction control of the Kawasaki Versys 1000. It controls very finely, reliably and unobtrusively. Depending on the thirst for action or driving skills, the three-way adjustable and switchable TC offers the right level for everyone. The ABS also works perfectly. The Honda Crossrunner also has a very acceptable ABS. However, it does not have different driving modes. They are unnecessary with this tame drive. It offers heated grips and a two-stage traction control that can be switched off as standard. In position two, however, the system intervenes so vehemently that it stops propulsion even when there is no longer any rear wheel slip – do not use it! Level one, on the other hand, works great and even allows smaller wheelies.

Surprisingly handy, the Honda Crossrunner arrows through the meander. Narrow engine, high center of gravity, centralized masses: The Crossrunner has an ingenious balance package and, despite its pounds, is even ahead of the Yamaha in the handiness category. Unfortunately, there is a lot of movement in the load in attack mode due to the soft set-up, and the damping drops out early. As a result, the fork and shock absorber can sometimes hit through when the pillion rides on pitted surfaces. To do this, the Japanese girl touches down early with the pegs, in left turns even with the boom of the side stand. The seat, which is far behind the front structure, also slows the pilot down when looking for the limit due to a lack of feedback.

Like the notches of the Honda Crossrunner, the fear nipples of the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer and the Kawasaki Versys 1000 grind across the asphalt quite early. However, stands or other fixed vehicle parts are spared. The Kawa offers passengers the most secluded place: comfortable upholstery, lots of space, comfortable knee angle, large handles – everything is great. The chassis also takes the additional ballast away well. However, the shock absorber in particular could use a touch more cushioning. Even for solo operation, we had to close the rebound stage almost completely.

Athletic toughness with the tracer

The Yamaha MT-09 Tracer, on the other hand, is sporty. The responsiveness and comfort of the suspension elements are still just okay on second-class roads – whether alone or with a partner. Pampered socias, Tracy compensates for the shaking with plenty of space and a comfortable knee angle.

The Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport also requires a certain amount of suffering because of its stiff chassis. Singles get along quite well with the appropriate coordination. With two people, however, the Tiger deflects far behind and then works uncomfortably. Wind protection is always an issue for all-rounders. Unfortunately, none of the bikes can really convince here. Either the windshield is too short (Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport), too narrow (Kawasaki Versys 1000) or too loud (Yamaha MT-09 Tracer). The Honda Crossrunner’s non-adjustable screen offers the best compromise between protection and wind noise. To finally answer the question asked at the beginning: Contrary to our skepticism, the crossover bikes are definitely fun. Most machines only lack the last bit of sportiness for hardcore knee grinding. So cucumber troop after all? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that!

Technical specifications


Contrary to our skepticism, the crossover bikes are definitely fun. Most machines only lack the last bit of sportiness for hardcore knee grinding.



The Kawasaki Versys 1000 wins the comparison test of the mid-range all-rounders.

1. Kawasaki Versys 1000
Surprise: The Kawasaki Versys 1000 wins this test! It collects significantly more points than the sportier Yamaha MT-09 Tracer in the disciplines of performance, transmission, traction control, ABS and clutch. Your biggest handicap is the tires. But you can change them.

2. Yamaha MT-09 Tracer
The fascinating Yamaha MT-09 Tracer comes in second just behind the Kawasaki Versys 1000. The MT-09 offshoot is particularly important when it comes to driver assistance. Nevertheless, Tracy is the winner of the hearts because it offers a lot of driving pleasure. It is also much cheaper than the competition.

3. Honda Crossrunner
The good Honda Crossrunner took third place. She is an uncomplicated and reliable partner. However, it lacks that certain something, that special kick. The too soft chassis and the inactive sitting position set limits to sporty activity. An all-rounder for the sensible.

4. Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport
Only the red lantern remains for the Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport. She looks like a former starlet who tries to cover up his age with copious amounts of makeup. Lean equipment, hooked transmission, clumsy handling: In addition to points, this also costs sympathy. Clearly a bike for die-hard enthusiasts.

Middle class all-rounder in the price comparison

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Crossover bikes are very popular.

Crossover motorcycles are very popular on the market due to their versatile field of application. Used all-rounders can be found in large numbers on the used market with a wide variety of attachments and mileage. The models in this test are available here in price comparison: used all-round motorcycles in Germany.

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