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Tested travel enduros

BMW versus KTM

It doesn’t get any nicer than this: just a moment ago ridden splendid passes in the wild hinterland, now a breathtaking view over Toulon. And then over hill and dale to the most secluded places in Provence, before tomorrow Spain waits. A case for the BMW R 1200 GS, of course. But what does the renovated KTM 990 Adventure have to offer??

There are things in life that are fascinating every time. The moment when man and machine shake the winter out of their bones and in the mild early spring of southern France take the first turns in this wonderful landscape with bizarre rock formations and a view of the azure blue Mediterranean Sea is part of it.

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Tested travel enduros

BMW versus KTM

Grab KTM. Eleven kilograms lighter, but also 870 millimeters high, with an even longer wheelbase (1570 millimeters) ?? and yet just as natural, maybe even a bit easier to conduct. At least here, on the winding mountain roads between Marseille and Toulon, where the asphalt often throws rough waves and another bend is guaranteed to lurk behind the next crest.

Smooth running and chassis


BMW R 1200 GS and KTM 990 Adventure – two philosophies when it comes to traveling with big game.

?? Easy living ?? on the KTM ?? that actually has a different quality. The 21-inch front wheel with the narrow 90s Pirelli Scorpion leads the narrow paths in the south of France not just easily, but almost playfully, the thoroughly revised 75-degree V2 on the gas is far more greedy than the GS bull. Even before the performance cure, this engine was a real jumpers’ field and continues this tradition, now strengthened by a measured seven to 105 hp and one insurance class more expensive, much more cultivated. In detail: Blessed with a new cylinder head, optimized combustion chambers and revised ducts, new camshafts, connecting rods and pistons as well as a new 48 mm throttle valve housing with double throttle valves, the V2 not only accelerates more gently, but also has the annoying constant speed jerk and the unwillingness in the lower speed range largely filed. "It will be a good day", therefore also applies from the first meter on the Adventure. However, with the combative addition: "People, get dressed warmly!" Now anyone who has ever jumped into the saddle with this confidence knows how unleashing it can be.

Especially when the stool keeps its promise and turns out to be a first-rate entertainment establishment even on longer stages. Although some supersport fans may find it difficult to believe, it is precisely the enduresque wheel and tire dimensions that mean nothing on these little streets? and certainly not in terms of liability? be missing. Regardless of whether the 21 inches of the KTM or the 19 inches of the BMW on the front wheel: Anyone who is on the move with these moderate dimensions (90/90 or 110/80 at the front, uniformly 150/70 at the rear ) will immediately wonder why they are The broad-tire aria of a super sports car actually does in civilian life. The GS and Adventure sail neutrally from one lean angle to the next, very little force is needed to change direction, the large front wheels find their way precisely even in road-building development areas. In combination with the finely appealing spring elements and long spring travel, even rough distortions lose their horror without turning both of them into rocking steamers.

So a stalemate in terms of chassis? In sum (also on points) yes, although there are of course noticeable differences in view of the completely different constructions. The feedback on the KTM, for example, with its conventional and off-road chassis, is much more pronounced than on the apparently completely detached Telelever BMW. In contrast, the Austrian’s coarse-tread Pirellis deliver less transparency in very deep slopes than the Bavarian’s Metzeler Tourance EXP. In addition, the lower the speed, the greater the handling advantage of the KTM, the higher the speed, the more nimble the BMW with the smaller front wheel. Measured against what constitutes the true character differences of the two travel enduros, these are marginalia. Rather, it is represented by the engines, because the two two-cylinder units are of a completely different nature, despite the identical objectives.

Motors in comparison


A pleasant travel companion: BMW R 1200 GS.

The 1200 boxer pushes as deep out of the rev range as the brawny exterior of the GS suggests, while the exactly 1000 cm3 V2 of the Adventure is more sporty than the world tour look suggests. A look at the power and, above all, the torque curves makes this clear. At 5500 rpm, the boxer has reached its peak in torque and then only reluctantly builds up power. The torque promontory, however, which begins just above idle speed, is far from a high plateau with its ups and downs, but it is still of mighty proportions. It pushes the heavy GS reliably and energetically forward even in the most pointed hairpin bends, even in second gear.

The Austrian twin, on the other hand, has exactly what sports drivers always want: an extremely spontaneous throttle response and an exemplary steady increase in power, which is paired with a fascinating revving, especially in those speed regions where the BMW drive has long stopped working. The result is amazing? over here and over there. And when you look at the scoring, it is even largely balanced. At least if you disregard the displacement advantage, which gives the GS superior pulling power. But that’s exactly what makes life so pleasant for travelers. Globetrotters and Alpine holidaymakers alike appreciate a permanently comfortable bench. Advantage BMW, whose expansive furniture is not only very comfortable, but also height adjustable. In addition, the windshield is wider than the KTM component and the windshield is therefore better. In particular, however? traditionally a big job at Bayern ?? it is the extensive and well thought-out additional equipment that finally ennobles the GS to the universal talent and thus to the undisputed front-runner of the approval charts.

Price range and features


Two different concepts, one goal: travel.

Yes, there is also a set of cases for the Adventure. Highly stable, made of aluminum or plastic, each with a heavy pinch of adventure. However, this solution does not come close to the patented, easy-to-use and natural-looking BMW system with integrated carriers and variable capacity of the cases. Just like the fold-out handwheel of the hydraulically adjustable spring base on the strut cannot compete with BMW’s own electronic suspension adjustment ESA (in the GS with off-road mode). Simply adjust the suspension elements to the conditions at the push of a button while driving? that has something and makes sense because of the wide adjustment range. Further examples: the tried and tested heated grips or the comprehensive on-board computer that can be operated practically from the left end of the handlebar.

?? Yes, yes, probably true, but everything is expensive to pay for. Not even the ABS is standard ?, Throw in BMW skeptics. And they are right. The basic price of 12,650 euros quickly becomes 16,285 euros. In this light, the KTM is really cheap at 13,295 euros. But their talents are by far not as broadly diversified, but rather pointed. And something else on the subject of money: Although the Munich-based company is charging a hefty surcharge for the ABS (individually ordered 1080 euros), it surpasses the Austrian solution by far in terms of technical perfection. Barely noticeable control processes, impeccable braking stability and a braking distance (39.75 meters from 100 km / h) that stops exactly where the KTM would hit at over 30 km / h ?? The GS underscores the competence that BMW now possesses when it comes to preventing locks. And so comes what had to come: In the points assessment, the mega seller is unmatched ahead. But the bundle of temperament KTM Adventure 990 has caught up and has become more cultivated. Probably have to ?? like the BMW ?? only mature over many years. A start has been made.

Technical data BMW R 1200 GS


BMW R 1200 GS

Air / oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine, a balance shaft, one high-level, chain-driven camshaft, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, bumpers, rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 47 mm, regulated catalytic converter, 720 W alternator, 12 V battery / 14 Ah, hydraulically operated single-plate dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, cardan, secondary gear ratio 2.909.

Bore x stroke 101.0 x 73.0 mm
Cubic capacity 1170 cm3
Compression ratio 12.0: 1 rated output 77.0 kW (105 hp) at 7000 rpm
Max. Torque 115 Nm at 5750 rpm

landing gear
Load-bearing motor-gear unit, telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm, adjustable spring base (with ESA: electro-hydraulically adjustable spring base and rebound damping), two-joint single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base and rebound damping (with ESA: electro-hydraulically adjustable spring base and Rebound damping), double disc brake front, Ø 305 mm, four-piston fixed calipers, disc brake rear, Ø 265 mm, double-piston floating caliper.

Cast aluminum wheels 2.50 x 19; 4.00 x 17
110/80 R 19 tires; 150/70 R 17
Tires in the test Metzeler Tourance EXP

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1507 mm, steering head angle 64.3 degrees, caster 101 mm, spring travel f / r 190/200 mm, seat height * 850 870 mm, weight with a full tank * 244 kg, payload * 196 kg, tank capacity / reserve 20.0 / 4, 0 liters.

Warranty two years
Service intervals 10,000 km
Colors blue, orange, black, silver
Price 12 650 euros
Price test motorcycle ** 16,285 euros
Additional costs around 269 euros

Technical data KTM 990 Adventure


KTM 990 Adventure

Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 75-degree V engine, one balancer shaft, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts each, four valves, bucket tappets, dry sump lubrication, injection, Ø 48 mm, regulated catalytic converter with secondary air system, 450 W alternator, 12 V battery / 11 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-plate oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 42:16.

Boron x stroke 101.0 x 62.4 mm
Cubic capacity 1000 cm3
Compression ratio 11.5: 1
Rated output 78.0 kW (106 hp) at 8250 rpm
Max. Torque 100 Nm at 6750 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut, directly hinged, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 300 mm, double piston -Swimming calipers, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm, double-piston floating caliper, ABS.

Spoked wheels with aluminum rims 2.15 x 21; 4.25 x 18
Tires 90 / 90-21; 150 / 70-18
Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 tires tested

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1570 mm, steering head angle 63.4 degrees, caster 119 mm, spring travel f / r 210/210 mm, seat height * 870 mm, weight with a full tank * 233 kg, payload * 197 kg, tank capacity 22.0 liters.
Two year guarantee
Service intervals 7500 km
Orange, black colors
Price 13,295 euros
Additional costs around 250 euros

Test result


All-round talent versus joker: First place goes to the woolly milk sow BMW R 1200 GS.

1. BMW R 1200 GS
Another victory in a long line of triumphs. The concept of the GS is so easy to bend, especially since BMW is constantly developing the bestseller.

2. KTM 990 Adventure
It is what it is: KTM cannot shed the basic sporting philosophy of the travel enduro either. Very active driving, good in the field, a fun maker. But not an all-rounder.

How to scoring

Displacement versus sportsmanship: the bottom line is that displacement wins, because the GS scores above all with its torque values. On the other hand, the sporty, short-stroke action of the Adventure 990, whose bore is exactly the same size as that of the BMW boxer, is endowed with formidable turning pleasure. However, its vibrations are also much more pithy. BMW and KTM transmissions can be shifted smoothly and precisely.

landing gear
A draw at a high level: Both chassis hardly give cause for criticism. Their outstanding ability is that they make it pleasantly easy for the driver. Drive quickly and quickly from the start? this is their domain. While KTM achieves this goal with conventional means and a great balance, BMW successfully goes its own way with Tele and Duolever as well as ESA. Off the beaten track, the KTM has an advantage? goal that is not evaluated here.

everyday life
The domain of the GS. This chapter clearly separates the wheat from the chaff. The pillion sits better, the light is better, the optional equipment more extensive than anywhere else, and the handling ?? thanks to the cardan shaft, but also because of the oil and tire pressure control at the push of a button ?? is as simple as can be. The rest is good, the result is clear. A motorcycle can hardly be much more stowable in everyday life than the GS. Excellent for both: the range.

And another BMW domain: it is not just the ABS function that justifies the full GS lead, but the performance of the braking system in general. The KTM is only superior in terms of ground clearance. But for real adventurers that can be an argument.

Here, too, one thing is clear: lower consumption, significantly lower inspection costs ?? the GS continues its triumphal march.

Winner: BMW R 1200 GS
If you have a lot of points, you can also cost a lot. The expensive GS is even ahead in terms of price-performance ratio, the KTM loses with decency.


The R 1200 GS converts its displacement advantage over a wide speed range into a huge power and torque advantage. However, its curves have considerable ups and downs. Quite in contrast to the exemplary linear KTM performance development, which compared to its predecessor is slightly less up to 6000 rpm, but increases significantly above this. The revving pleasure of the V2 between 6000 and 9000 tours is in contrast to the boxer lethargy beyond 6000 rpm.

* Power on the crankshaft. Measurements on Dynojet chassis dynamometer 150, corrected according to 95/1 / EG, maximum possible deviation ± 5%

Alternative – program – different ways


Alternative driving machine: KTM 990 SMT.

Even if both the GS and the 990 Adventure are clearly based on the idea of ​​the egg-laying woolly milk sow, both manufacturers provide their large enduros with other derivatives to cover the largest possible range. Both go the ?? brand-typical ?? Way: While BMW is shifting the universal character of the GS a little more in the direction of travel with the mighty R 1200 GS Adventure (from 14 150 euros) and with the F 800 GS is advancing into more affordable price regions (from 9 750 euros) without restricting the possible uses KTM the already sharper 990 Adventure in two widely drifting versions.

The street-oriented Supermoto version (12,395 euros) has so far been clearly more successful than its sister for the very rough, the Super Enduro. With the result that the Enduro will only be sold (price: 11695 euros plus ancillary costs) and the Supermoto, as an SMT, will be much more travel-oriented (driving report in Motorrad 6/2009). She really succeeds. Although the SM cannot shed their extroverted character by adding a windshield and mini suitcases. In addition, the lack of an ABS should not make poaching in the BMW camp easier. Seen in this way, the SMT will also remain what the Adventure is with a slightly different focus: a fascinating driving machine. But the woolly milk sow is called GS.

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