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Comparison test of two-cylinder enduro bikes


The nice fat ones: They should be frugal and comfortable, reliable and fast: the thickest travel enduros from BMW, Cagiva, Honda, M.oto Guzzi and Yamaha.

What are they really, the big super enduros? Touring steamers with stunted off-road talents or off-road motorcycles with street qualities? If we believe the visual appearance of the five test candidates, it looks like an adventure tour through the most impassable terrain. Maybe from Paris to Cape Town? But if the adventurous folks follow the advice of the importers, they prefer to stay on solid, predictable ground. Because it is not the merciless whipping over sandy, holey desert paths that defines the super enduros, but the beautiful vacation trip, comfortable, reliable, economical and nevertheless fast. The Moto Guzzi 1000 Quota is the youngest member of the Traveler’s Club. At 260 kilograms and its impressive appearance, it is the heaviest motorcycle in this test.


This time the Honda, which has been spoiled for victory for three years, is in trouble?

You will look in vain for technical refinements on the Moto Guzzi. The Italians tend to rely on what is known and tried and tested. The high-torque V2 engine comes from the touring model Mille GT. The 1000, equipped with an electronic Weber-Marelli injection system, has a real 69 hp and is not bad in the race with this value. The chassis of the giant enduro is new. In solid locksmith fashion, the Italians weld steel pipes and cast parts together to form a stable, but also quite heavy unit. The second Italian is no less long-legged, but considerably more light-footed.

The Cagiva Elefant 900 i.e. GT makes the sportiest impression in this comparison. Equipped with an injection system from Weber-Marelli, like the Guzzi, the V2 Ducati engine with its 904 cm³ displacement produces a full 70 hp. Tea sporty character of the elephant, which is not exactly low-torque, is underlined by a six-speed gearbox. The Cagiva clearly demonstrates what is meant by Italian charm and chic. Lightweight, elegantly shaped aluminum forged parts on the chassis are not only pleasing to the eye, they also help save weight.


The five on tour.

At 232 kilograms, of all things, the elephant sets the standard. The third European in the quintet is called the BMW R 100 GS. She looks back on a long list of ancestors. Since 1980 the first BMW off-road motorcycles came on the market, over 60,000 copies of the Bavarian coarse scooters have been sold. The principle has not changed much. The 62 PS strong 1000 boxer engine (measured) works as ever with one camshaft and two valves per cylinder. The engine and chassis of the new GS generation presented for the first time in 1987 endured their last facelift measures a year ago. The new cockpit with adjustable windshield, the switches on the BMW K models, BMW’s own secondary air exhaust gas cleaning system (at an additional cost), the adjustable spring strut from Bilstein and the oil cooler mounted on the right crash bar are known from 1991.

Everyday testing


What else does the Cagiva have to offer besides its powerful Desmo-Twin?

The two Japanese enduro representatives have not been on dealers’ sales lists for quite that long. For 1992 only visually spiced up, the Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Expensive, presented for the first time in 1989, enters the race. The only ParallelTwin among the five is on par with the Cagiva with a proud 70 hp, but in the lower and middle speed range it seems rather calm and leisurely. Torque is not necessarily the strength of the Japanese large enduro. The same applies to the last participant in the group who loves to travel. The Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin is only available in series from the dealer in the 50 hp version. On request, however, a conversion kit to at least 59 hp is available to the customer for a price of around 150 marks. In this performance-enhanced variant, the test bench of the test machine from MOTORRAD even attests to 60 hp. With the exception of the new, digital trip master in the Honda cockpit with two separate trip meters, two trip timers and a normal clock and a new paint job, the winner of all previous tests continues unchanged in the 1992 season.


Has the Yamaha gained something since its defeat in the last group test?

How should a test run that really brings all the strengths and weaknesses of the adventure-proof desert ships to the day? Right, on a tour that leads through France to Spain, by ship to Morocco, a little through the desert. As experience shows that the majority of the touring enduros sold are not always that far away from home, a test team sets out to look for talented super enduros in the nearby southern Black Forest. The first section of the route is clearly dominated by the powerful participants. Yamaha, Cagiva and Moto Guzzi are slowly pulling away on empty autobahns – there are still some of them. The maximum speed measured by the Yamaha of 186 km / h on the MOTORRAD test track in Hockenheim offers travelers in a hurry enough reserves to make rapid progress. However, driving at full throttle is extremely exhausting and impractical, as the small panels on all five enduros only provide moderate wind protection. A constant speed of around 140 things has proven to be a tolerable travel speed, with the Honda fairing being the most effective protection for the driver. The air turbulence on the helmet and the resulting wind noise are heavily dependent on the height of the driver. The best position of the narrow BMW windshield, the inclination of which can be changed by loosening the hexagon socket screws on the side, is best determined by trial and error. At top speed, all five test candidates experienced slight pendulum movements.

landing gear


The seat of the Yamaha is padded a little too soft for longer tours.

After the compulsory compulsory hour on the motorway, the test crew approaches the more pleasant part of the journey. Well-developed country roads do not present the test subjects with any great difficulties. Only the BMW tends to swing slightly in fast corners. A comfortably tuned chassis in connection with the soft Metzeler tires give the driver an indirect feeling of the road. The BMW fork, which is tuned too softly, upsets the R 100 GS on bad roads with undulating surfaces. The whole motorcycle sways slightly due to the weak damping, the front wheel begins to jump on short waves. In contrast, the BMW is the biggest in tight bends. The low center of gravity of the machine and the relatively low seat height of 850 millimeters contribute to the best handiness of the BMW in this ouintett. In general, the seating position on the boxer differs significantly from that of the competition. The pilot sits here more on the machine than in it. The Yamaha also has its problems with bad roads. The fork behaves rather stubbornly on a brisk ride, blows penetrate hard to the handlebars. At the rear, the XTZ springs tightly, but not too hard. In tight bends, an annoying jerk when changing loads prevents a fluid line. The too flexible connection between the upper triple clamp and handlebars is responsible for the indirect feeling of the road. The vibration-inhibiting rubber mounts give way too much under the steering forces and transfer the steering movement to the front wheel with a slight delay. The Yamaha rider measures direct contact with the road, especially in fast combinations of bends, where high forces are required to quickly change lean angles.


Fall and wear parts

The Honda behaves completely differently. It impresses with its particularly direct and precise driving and steering behavior. The tight coordination gives the Honda driver a safe driving experience without unduly restricting comfort. The Honda handles tight bends and hairpin bends just as easily and safely as the BMW. The ouota is plagued by the elevator effect. This constant up and down of the entire vehicle is caused by the support of the drive torque on the swing arm. When accelerating, the machine rises far from the springs. Due to the resulting hardening of the rear suspension, the Ouota loses considerably of its otherwise exemplary comfort. A bad habit from the old days, which BMW has brought on the body with its elaborate Paralever system. Once the heavyweight is in motion, the awesome rider can only be amazed at how easily and easily this mighty enduro turns corners. The competition in this test is a bit more agile, but the Ouota is excellently balanced for its weight and height. The Cagiva is ideal for a sporty sitting posture on narrow streets. Here, the driver doesn’t sit as far back as with the Yamaha or Honda. A narrow tank also ensures good knee closure. The faster the Elefant irons over slopes, the better the spring elements work. As tight as the Honda, it has difficulties reliably eliminating bumps under low loads. The relative. Moderate suspension travel of the Cagiva slightly restricts comfort, but has a positive effect on driving stability.

Brakes and seating comfort


Cagiva 900 elephant i.e. GT

In the brake test, Honda’s Africa Twin once again sets the standard. The double disc system in the Honda front wheel decelerates very safely and reliably without requiring excessive manual force. A less precise pressure point and higher manual strength cost the Yamaha and Moto Guzzi valuable evaluation points. The two single-pane systems from BMW and Cagiva, on the other hand, are not entirely convincing. The BMW driver has to grip too tightly if he wants to achieve decent deceleration values. This is not least due to the unfavorably shaped handbrake lever, which offers no possibility of adjustment. The problem with the Cagiva is that the disc, which is mounted on one side, twists the entire fork during hard braking maneuvers. After around 350 kilometers, it’s time for a coffee break, because that’s how everyone wants it. The BMW has to offer the most comfortable seat in the long run. The upholstery, which is now manufactured in a sandwich construction, can withstand the rider’s weight even after prolonged exposure without allowing itself to sit through to the frame as it used to be. Sufficiently dimensioned in length and width, there is also room for a passenger comfortably on long rides. Only the pillion pegs are a bit forward. As slack as the fork guides the front wheel, the GS shock absorber works surprisingly well even with a load. It effectively keeps unwanted nuisances away from its riders. The Moto Guzzi Ouota acts as a negative example. In solo operation it meets the touring requirements, in pillion operation the mighty thick ship turns out to be more of a nutshell.


BMW R 100 GS

The bench is far too short for two people, so that the passenger constantly feels the hard bar of the luggage rack in his back. The problem of the seat that is too short also plagues the second Italian. The driver’s seat is now a bit separated. which has a positive effect on the seat height. But the pad is too narrow and too soft for longer rides. The very bottom of the Cagiva passenger has to be content with a seat whose padded area is around five centimeters too short. In addition, the passenger pegs are placed so far forward that the passenger can hardly defend himself against the acceleration forces. The workplaces of the two Japanese are perfect in terms of dimensions and upholstery. The only thing that is annoying here is the seat surfaces that rise to the rear and that put a lot of strain on the driver’s buttocks over time. The two fellow travelers can’t complain about it. In any case, there is sufficient space. On the Honda, however, the pillion rider looks in vain for a meaningful way to hold on.

Ground clearance and engine


The Yamaha engine guard protects against unpleasant rockfalls even in light terrain.

The seating problems are unfortunately not the only thing to complain about in pillion riding. The Moto Guzzi shows its bad side even with light luggage. Even at a relatively low incline, the main stand scratches furrows in the asphalt. Even after the spring base is lifted after tedious fiddling, hardly anything changes. The Yamaha does not react quite as seriously to corresponding payloads. With its engine guard, which is wide on the right, it reaches its limits relatively early in right-hand bends. The Yamaha shock absorber cannot cope with the passenger load. Hard and bone-dry, the blows penetrate to the backbone of the suffering pillion, whereas the Cagiva is exemplary. Ground clearance is not an issue for them. Chasing curves with and without additional weight is their strength. Not least because of its Ohlins shock absorber with hydraulic spring base adjustment from the outside, the Elefant can be adjusted to the given circumstances in a flash and with ease. There are also significant differences in the engine characteristics. The Cagiva has the edge on the narrow streets of the Black Forest. The Ducati engine lives from its enormous pressure even at low speeds.


Barometer test

When accelerating out of tight bends, it takes meters away from the competition. The Ducati-V2 maintains its lively mood up to well over 8000 rpm. The Cagiva pilot therefore repeatedly catches himself racing instead of traveling. The quota fanatic acts much less spectacularly. The competitor with the highest torque shakes reluctantly when the throttle valves open at low speeds of around 2500 rpm. The weighty centrifugal masses and the decidedly civil tone that escapes the Guzzi exhaust subjectively give the impression of a very tired engine. The actual measured values, however, attest the heavy quota to an astonishingly good condition. The Yamaha engine pulls only smaller sausages off the plate in the lower speed range. Only with increasing engine speeds does the tension on the rear wheel increase accordingly. From 5000 rpm, the XTZ is annoying when it starts to perform, however, with fine, high-frequency vibrations in the handlebar ends and footrests. Once again, the Bavarian drive unit can put itself in the limelight. The connecting rods press themselves firmly against the BMW crankshaft. The R 100 GS stomps comfortably but very firmly through the winding curves towards the Feldberg. As with the ouota, the pithy vibrations it develops are more calming than annoying. That leaves the Honda. Despite her lack of performance, she has no difficulty in following the lively group. The V-engine works so perfectly and inconspicuously that it is almost boring. Without a loss of power, the engine rotates willingly and evenly over the entire range.

Off road


Performance measurement

The evening care service brings further weaknesses to light. Missing main stands on the Cagiva and Yamaha make it difficult to lubricate the chain. The card-driven Guzzi Ouota has a main stand, but there is no side stand. The annoyed Ouota pilot has to force the 260 kilograms onto the middle stand every time. With luggage loaded, this is a real challenge for a bodybuilder. The Honda shows once again how it’s done. Main stand and side stand exactly where they are needed, without getting in the way of driving. On closer inspection, the testers found cracks on the exhaust manifold on the Moto Guzzi Ouota. As it turns out later, this problem stems from a manufacturing error in Mandello. The German importer, A + G Motorrad-Vertrieb GmbH in Bielefeld, is already equipping all new and already delivered machines with an improved collector under guarantee. The next day is a drive through easy terrain. Anyone who has already had some experience in off-road driving is hard to beat on the long-legged elephant. The tightly tuned chassis allows an astonishingly quick pace.



Standing in the pauses and pulling the rear wheel, off-road passages can be mastered in a rally-style. If, on the other hand, you feel less at home on unpaved ground, the BMW is undoubtedly the favorite. Thanks to the low seat height, it is easy to control even for the inexperienced. The crash bars on the cylinders and cladding are very positive and ensure that nothing falls off if the BMW falls over. Honda and Yamaha are struggling a little with their bulky fuel tanks. Your drivers sit a bit far back. In connection with the benches, which are quite high even for people of normal stature, there is no feeling of security. The ouota is a case in itself. Even at the mere thought of driving through the terrain, most average drivers will lapse into a kind of rigor mortis in view of the enormous mass. But surprisingly, once in motion, the Moto Guzzi moves easily and lightly on loose ground. The Italian Brocken can easily follow the easier competition. The only minus is the lack of engine protection. In deep ruts, the unprotected oil pan repeatedly pulls deep furrows into the dirt. The test crew takes a leisurely approach to the way home in the evening. Relaxation is the order of the day. Because traveling instead of racing is undoubtedly one of the strengths of the nice guys.

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