The large displacement adventure bike category has been a bright spot for the motorcycle industry over the past few years. The segment has seen sales growth that bucks the trend across the rest of the motorcycle landscape. This has resulted in a plethora of choices for the buyer. But which bike is best? We’ve ranked what we think are the top five 1,000cc plus adventure bikes on the market for 2014.
5. Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS – (TBA)
The newest bike here, the V-Strom doesn’t even have an MSRP yet (though we expect it to be the cheapest one on our list). In spite of the anticipated lower price tag, it does have a lot to offer. The 1,037cc V-twin is known for its wide powerband and bulletproof reliability, and, though it’s the smallest engine out of our top five, it’s only down about nine horsepower to the Ténéré and at 502 pounds (wet); the V-Strom is the lightest ride here. What holds the zuke back is the unknown. In addition to not knowing its MSRP, we haven’t had a chance to ride it yet, so it makes the list at number five.
4. Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 – $15,699
What the Explorer has going for it is that big, smooth, and powerful 1,215cc triple. When the Explorer first arrived on the scene its engine was the most powerful in the segment, since then, however, it’s been eclipsed by the KTM. What holds this Brit back is its questionable off-road capability, as many of its exposed hard parts just aren’t made to take much abuse.
3. Yamaha Super Ténéré – $14,790
A (relatively) low price and fat spec sheet make the Ténéré a compelling option for the value-minded buyer. Its torque happy 1,199cc twin is a great motor, but heavy weight (578 pounds wet) and an inability to disengage ABS on dirt keeps the big Yammer at number three.
2. BMW R 1200 GS – $16,100
Near the top of this list is the bike that created the category. The advent of liquid cooling on this year’s model brought with it a healthy increase in power and tractability. Though it’s still a very large motorcycle for serious off-road work, the GS is perhaps the most capable continent-crossing machine here, with a price tag to match.
1. KTM 1190 Adventure – $15,999
If you’ve read RoadRUNNER’s Nov/Dec ’13 issue, you know that KTM’s new 1190 Adventure narrowly edged the R 1200 GS in a head to head comparison. We think the Adventure is the best big-bore adventure machine available for 2014. Its 150 horsepower is 15 more than the second most powerful bike here (Tiger Explorer) and at 478 pounds (dry) it’s the second lightest on the list (only the V-Strom is lighter). But what pushes the 1190 to the top is its off-road prowess. Simply put, it’s the most capable dirt ride here.
What do you think? Have we ranked the bikes fairly? How would you rank them?