MotoGP – Two world champions in Sepang –

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer and Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F

Sports tourers in the comparison test

With wind protection and more comfort, the Power Naked Bikes want to shine as sports tourers even when eating miles. Can the high-end balancing act succeed? KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer and Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F in comparison.

NOTwe sit stanchi? Aren’t you tired? The landlord serves us the cappuccini almost pityingly. Fernpass, Brenner, before and after hundreds of kilometers of motorway. For him there would only be one thing after such a violent tour: riposare, rest. Certainly not the final sprint over 1000 meters in altitude from Levico Terme up here to Vetriolo Therme. He is not wrong. But even after the 600-kilometer non-stop ride from Germany to the northern Italian region around Trento, our perceived remaining energy level is far from spilling over into reserve. Maybe that’s because of the concept of the four sports tourers.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer and Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F

Sports tourers in the comparison test

Z 1000 SX Tourer and Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F are technically based on their respective undisguised base models, the power-naked bikes. In this respect: a furious start and agile handling of a muscle-packed power naked ice, wind protection and comfort of a touring bike – this combination sounds tempting. It is certainly not new. Suzuki Bandit S or Yamaha Fazer models, for example, celebrated success with this concept many years ago.

Last year there was movement in the segment

But the cards have been reshuffled. The current generation of domesticated nudes is based on current technology. In this regard, the Kawasaki is already part of the establishment. In 2011, the men in green provided the optically radical Z 1000 with the paneled SX variant, refined it again for the 2014 season (see picture gallery for differences) and now offer it as a Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer including suitcases, inner pockets and tank pad for 13,795 euros. There was movement in the segment last year.

First, the BMW product planners added the XR model to the bare S 1000 R. With its long list of modifications (see BMW S 1000 XR), the new model not only touches the crossover segment with a touch of travel-tourism, but also the 20,000 euro mark in terms of price. Almost at the same time, Suzuki launched the GSX-S 1000, the disguised Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F (13,045 euros). And now? KTM also attacks the sport touring league. With the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT, the Austrians hit for their first strike in this category, which cost 19,293 euros.

0 to 140 km / h in just five seconds

The motorcycles are still cooling down cracklingly. What machines! Up to 170 HP peak power, 0 to 140 km / h in just five seconds. Oh, one could again … No, let’s leave that. Please, another cappuccino. But better to rest – and review the past hours. As I said, most of them on the Autobahn. And yet not unimportant especially with these machines, which are also obliged to travel. How did Peter grin on the BMW S 1000 XR at the first refueling stop?

Not only because of the successful wind protection behind the pane that can be easily fixed in two stages. Also because the Munich-based company moved the BMW S 1000 XR significantly away from the basic R, at least in terms of ergonomics. Footrests mounted 35 millimeters lower and the handlebars towering 80 millimeters higher drastically change the seating experience. Instead of being front-oriented like on the S 1000 R, the XR pilot feels strikingly reminiscent of the relaxed tourist position on the GS. Only the high-frequency vibrations from 6000 rpm, which are unusually strong for an in-line four-cylinder, reduce the feel-good atmosphere on the track.

The Kawa four-cylinder traditionally runs a bit rough

The author on the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer also grins. Because the SX has moved away from the front-wheel-heavy seating position of the basic Z 1000. Leaning a little further forward than on the BMW S 1000 XR, but well balanced and comfortably padded, it sits on the SX. The wind shakes only a shade stronger than on the Bavarian behind the glass, which can be adjusted three times via a hand lever. Vibrations? The Kawa four-cylinder traditionally runs a bit rough, with a slight tingling sensation in the handlebars from 6000 rpm. Noticeable, acceptable goal.

Jo, who already knows the standard Super Duke R from the last comparison test (MOTORRAD 9/2016), hardly needs to get used to it. There the fat V2 had tickled the soles of the feet at higher speeds. But also with a wide open knee angle, a firm but comfortable seat cushion and a relatively high handlebar. The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT adopts this configuration, adding a higher (5 mm) and wider (25 mm) handlebar in this respect. And with their disguise. In the highest position of the angular disc, continuous speeds of around 180 km / h can be maintained. Keyword high speed. After the scandal about the Adventure’s tendency to pendulum, KTM is going on the offensive with the Super Duke GT in this regard. At least 180 km / h top speed (Adventure: 130 km / h) allow the Austrians the GT with attached cases. Rightly. Even at 250 km / h, the loaded orange express hissed across the train, still stable as a bolt.

The next morning. Stanco? Tired? On the contrary.

The Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F does not have to deal with such discussions anyway. A case system is currently not available for them either as an original accessory or from luggage system specialists. But not only because Georg now has to wrap his Bruno Bananis in a baggage roll, he looked a little strained. The standard lens, which cannot be adjusted, provides good protection up to 130 km / h. In addition, the higher retrofit label (270 euros) certainly makes sense. From the Austrian Inntal autobahn the subject was already done, the Suzuki rehabilitated with a comfortable seat cushion, comfortable handlebar position and an extremely smooth, low-vibration engine.

The next morning. Stanco? Tired? On the contrary. The mountains around Levico Terme are appealing: the ascent to Vetriolo Therme, the Kaiserjagerstrabe with its intoxicating panorama, further to the west of Monte Bondone, to the east of Monte Grappa. The memories of the autobahn, wind protection, and smooth running are all suppressed by anticipation. And above all: It is only here in the demanding rigorous curve that the basic judgment is made about how much sporty shine the tourist upgrade leaves the well-trained country road athletes. Again Peter sits at the head of the group on the BMW S 1000 XR.

Arturo Rivas

Traveling or racing? The S 1000 XR opted for both.

The BMW S 1000 XR, which now weighs 242 kilograms, has gained an impressive 35 kilograms in its metamorphosis from a power-free body to a crossover bike, making it the bumpiest of the quartet to climb the serpentines. And as with the seating position, the Munich model planners have also made significant adjustments to the chassis geometry. The wheelbase, caster, swing arm and steering angle have become longer or flatter, moving the XR a little further away from its wild sister.

But don’t worry, the BMW S 1000 XR has not become a tranquil tourer. Alone the aggressive-lustful – albeit unnecessarily loud – hissing of the four-cylinder with measured 170 PS at least 10 PS above the rated output animates the attack.

Being fast doesn’t necessarily mean feeling fast

Admittedly, the domesticated Bavarian can no longer offer the crystal-clear feedback from the front wheel that is familiar from the S 1000 R. But just like with the GS, trust develops quickly. Bend, straighten, accelerate – the movements flow harmoniously into one another. No tilting or erecting moment disturbs this elevated sovereignty. Apart from that: The lean angle is still enough for the quick line, even with the lower footrests. On the BMW S 1000 XR, being fast doesn’t necessarily mean feeling fast.

Even the shift assistant (508 euros) supports this effortless character, allowing the gears to be lined up almost seamlessly when shifting up and down. What an experience when the lively quadruplet snaps up the rungs of the speed ladder almost steplessly. Even the semi-active suspension of the BMW S 1000 XR feels obliged to the proclaimed effortlessness of the whole. While the electronics of the fork and shock absorber supplied by Sachs tend to work more in the dark, they make the front much less sagging when braking on the bends and bring calm to the chassis, especially downhill. Great – even if the fork in particular could handle the asphalt ravines that are omnipresent in the mountain roads a little more sensitively.

Arturo Rivas

On tour: In the SX version, the Z 1000 shifts its focus to the tourist element.

When it comes to comfort, the Kawasaki does not show any nakedness. As on the autobahn, the comfortably tuned suspension elements of the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer also confidently open up any fault on the country road, making the green one the most comfortable bike in the test field. In any case, the SX seems to have forgotten its relationship to the Z 1000. She is miles away from her naked sister’s wild streetfighter habit. The emphatically neutral seating position alone exudes serenity. And she drives calmly too. It accelerates gently and easily controllable, can be shifted brilliantly even without a shift assistant and purrs through the rev range with constant pressure. The fact that it is the weakest of the quartet with measured 137 hp (factory specification: 142 hp) only plays a minor role here on the narrow, winding streets.

There is enough steam in this performance class in every situation. The Bridgestone S 20 tires, which do not harmonize well with the SX, are more of a cause for concern. They only hold the line stubbornly in bends, demand counter pressure on the handlebars and want to stand up in an inclined position when braking. Only those who drive around will find the nippy line, just then to recognize that the comfortable suspension also has its downsides. During a brisk ride, the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer sways through its suspension travel, kinks the fork when decelerating hard, thereby intensifying the somewhat diffuse steering and driving feel.

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT technically close to the base model

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT remains technically astonishingly close to its sister. Tea geometry of the tubular space frame and the single-sided swing arm is unchanged from the basic version. But the difference in weight of 19 kilograms already indicates larger construction sites. Even if most of the kilos go to the tank, which has been enlarged from 18 to 23 liters, the fairing and the more stable rear frame. Above all, however, the Austrians rummaged deeply in the electrical box. Semi-active spring elements, cruise control, shift assistant, heated grips, tire pressure control, automatic turn signal reset and cornering lights, the GT tops the R output.

On top of that, an engine drag torque control (142 euros) and a hill start aid (177 euros) can be ordered. But first the somewhat wider tank is noticeable. This is annoying, but compared to the slim standard Super Duke R it is a bit wider in the knee area. And then? If it feels a bit smoother than the basic version, the V2 moves into the foreground. The cylinder heads from the Super Adventure, the intake ducts narrowed from 44 to 42 millimeters and perhaps also the exhaust flap used for the first time in a KTM are obviously good for the V2. He runs a little more smoothly below 3000 turns, he hangs on the accelerator even more brawny, pushes forward strongly and emotionally. The test bench also confirms the subjective impression. Compared to the engine of the Super Duke R, the drive of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT smooths the torque dent between 4000 and 6000 rpm.

Arturo Rivas

Power seeks V: species-appearance appropriate for the torque monster. Good thing there are wheelie controls.

The three four-cylinder engines don’t even have time to put on their life jackets during the Big Vau’s torque tsunami (see data and measurements). Even electrophobes are happy about the finely regulated traction control on this performance. About the best controllable brakes in the test field (see also tab "The ABS regulations in comparison") anyway. And it would probably also be via the first gear shift assistant in a KTM. But the Assi struggles at least at lower speeds and at part load with the large moving masses of the 1300 propellant, and lets the gears lock hard. The gear wheels of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT only slide seamlessly into one another under tension and from mid-rev.

Downshifting the clutch free, i.e. the blipper function, is not intended. Instead, the electronic suspension is on the cuddle course. The three modes (comfort, street, sport) cover an astonishing range of damping for the suspension elements from WP Suspension, and in comfort mode they can cope with even the worst potholes, especially at the back. At the front, the GT – like the BMW S 1000 XR – only nods off moderately even when braking hard. Exception: In sport mode, reduced pressure damping allows the fork to plunge into the vehicle when decelerating heavily, and then to turn corners more nimbly with a steeper steering angle. The trick actually works, the differences are noticeable, but can only be felt on the country road if the driving style is not socially acceptable. We don’t want to overuse the Italian tolerance, instead we enjoy how wonderfully neutral and precise the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT on the Pirelli Angel GT stands out through the corners. But above all, how she completely conceals her additional bacon rolls. Impressive.

Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F sporty, stiff suspension

The Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F has already positioned itself on the approach. Adjusted for equipment, it weighs at least 16 kg less than the competition at 216 kilograms, has a sporty, tight suspension, in short, and positions its trainer front-facing. And because her four-cylinder is not only well above plan with 156 hp (factory specification: 146 hp), but also appears extremely lively, it swirls with verve from turn to turn.

It’s just a shame that the extremely rough throttle response slows down the casual corner wetz permanently. The higher the speed, the more surly the well-behaved row quad reacts to the gas commands. For example, the Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F only draws a clean line when the throttle is extremely careful, and brakes the cute bike in its prime discipline on the country road.

Arturo Rivas

Sports follows: The Suzuki GSX-S 1000 is a fun bike – and remains so in the F version.

Which doesn’t change the pecking order. Because in the end, the focus is more on upgrading power naked bikes to sports tourers. Apart from the fairing, the Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F completely ignores the travel theme and continues to clearly define itself as an athlete. While the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer hits the other side and really blossoms on the journey, the BMW S 1000 XR even changes genre.

The metamorphosis of the BMW S 1000 XR mutated into a crossover bike with both high touring and sports demands. KTM, on the other hand, simply ignores the fundamental decision that is actually essential in this class. Tea KTM 1290 Super Duke GT preserves the sportiness of the Super Duke R and adds the touristic element without any significant loss. Both as well as instead of either or – with this recipe the newcomer duped the competition in a single stroke.

BMW S 1000 XR

Arturo Rivas

BMW S 1000 XR.

The most important differences between BMW S 1000 XR and BMW S 1000 R:

  • Frame changed (higher steering head)
  • Steering angle 0.9 degrees flatter
  • Trail 18 mm longer
  • Wheelbase 109 mm longer
  • Swing arm 50 mm longer
  • Spring travel by 30/20 mm (f / h) longer
  • Footpegs 35 mm lower
  • Handlebar 80 mm higher
  • Handlebar brackets mounted in rubber
  • Tank capacity 2.5 l larger
  • Suitcase with carrier: surcharge 772 euros
  • Weight: over 35 kg 
  • Base price: plus 1950 euros

Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer

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Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer.

The main differences between the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer and Kawasaki Z 1000:

  • Tank volume two liters larger
  • sixth gear translated longer
  • Exhaust without a valve
  • Case with carrier at no extra charge
  • Weight: over 12 kg
  • Price: plus 1400 euros

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

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KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The main differences between the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT and the KTM 1290 Super Duke R:

  • Intake ducts 2 mm narrower
  • Shift assistant as standard
  • Exhaust with valve control
  • Handlebars 25 mm wider and 5 mm higher
  • Tank volume five liters larger
  • semi-active suspension
  • Suitcase with carrier: surcharge 779 euros
  • Weight: over 19 kg
  • Price: plus 2100 euros

Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F.

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Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F..

The main differences between Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F and Suzuki GSX-S 1000:

  • Disguise
  • Case with carrier: not available
  • Weight: more 4 kg
  • Price: plus 600 euros

ABS regulations in comparison

Arturo Rivas

At the limit: The KTM only delivers such stoppies when the ABS is switched off.

High-quality electronic assistance systems are part of the program on these sports tourers. When it comes to ABS, the BMW S 1000 XR and the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT with ABS from Continental (BMW) and Bosch (KTM) that regulate lean angle are even at the forefront of current developments. In the absence of gyro sensors, the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer and the Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F only use conventional ABS electronics.

The Suzuki brakes are characterized by a cautious response in normal operation. In the ABS control range, the brakes are fine, but with the longest braking distance in the test field, they pay tribute to their fundamentally defensive orientation. The stoppers of the Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer can also be optimally metered on the country road. The braking distance of 41.0 meters is close to the feasible optimum for these high-build and therefore rollover-prone motorcycle concepts. Important: Neither the Kawasaki nor the Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F had a risk of stopping. Neither was the braking in road mode of the BMW S 1000 XR and the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

The two Europeans only achieve longer delays by switching off the rollover detection in Dynamic Pro mode (BMW S 1000 XR) or Supermoto mode (KTM 1290 Super Duke GT). However, the risk of stopping in these cases requires an extremely experienced pilot. Not a good choice for everyday emergency braking.

Technical data and measured values

Arturo Rivas

Fun to the power of four: whether on the journey or during a mountain sprint – high spirits on the power tourers.

Here you can see an extract of the technical data. If you would like the complete measurement values ​​determined by us, including all consumption, torque and acceleration values, you can buy the article as a PDF for download.


Arturo Rivas

Overall, the KTM collected the most points. This is mainly due to the high-torque engine, the true-to-track chassis, but also to the added large portion of everyday skills without losing quality and fun potential.

If you want the detailed MOTORCYCLE score, you can purchase the article as a PDF for download.

Max points BMW S 1000 XR Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer KTM 1290 Super Duke GT Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F Winner engine 250 203 196 200 195 BMW chassis 250 189 177 197 180 KTM everyday life 250 165 155 178 150 KTM safety 150 121 113 119 106 BMW costs 100 54 50 57 65 Suzuki Overall rating 1000 732 691 751 696 Placement 2nd 4th 1st 3rd price-performance grade top grade 1.0 3.8 2.0 2.6 1.7 Suzuki

MOTORCYCLE test result

Arturo Rivas

Through the tube: Because it’s so beautiful – Lake Caldonazzo again.

1. KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

High-torque engine, track-stable chassis – the GT skilfully adds a large portion of everyday expertise to the qualities of the Super Duke R. Nevertheless, the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT does not lose a single bit of quality and fun potential. The key to success.

2. BMW S 1000 XR

The heart of the S 1000 R beats in a different body. With the BMW S 1000 XR, BMW is transforming the fun bike base into a crossover bike suitable for touring. But the speed-hungry four-cylinder turns on enormously in a new environment.

3. Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F

The Suzuki does not even accept compromises. If you are frugal with luggage system, wind protection or comfort, the Suzuki GSX-S 1000 F compensates with a lively motor in the handy chassis. However, the Suzuki is not a sports tourer.

4. Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer

It’s amazing how far the SX has moved from the radical base Z 1000. Comfortable suspension, good wind protection and standard cases appeal. The Kawasaki Z 1000 SX Tourer is more touring than an athlete. Better tires would still do her good.

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