Thursday, 13 February 2014

2013 Test Rides, Part 2. Adventure Motorcycles.

--> 2013 Test Rides, Part 2.  Adventure Motorcycles.


Adventure motorcycles mean different things to different people.  I own and ride a 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 that’s been set-up to go just about anywhere.  I use it to commute in poor weather and can pack her up for a weekend or longer on just about any road surface out there.  I call this an adventure motorcycle while others would consider it a heavy enduro.

For the purposes of this blog and Adventure Motorcycle is one that is an upright, long travel suspended, ride on any condition paved surface and perhaps might venture on a dirt or gravel road.  Some will be more adept at the dirt part then others.  Got it?

Yamaha Super Tenere:

 
Dislikes:

  1. It’s weight.
  2. The linked brakes.

Likes:

  1. Very comfortable.
  2. Great wind and rain protection.
  3. Very stable on the road.

Yamaha brought the big Tenere to North America a couple of years ago and at the time it appeared that Yamaha was trying to take a bite out of the BMW GS1200.  Based on how many of these that seem to linger in the dealers that I visit, BMW is safe, at least form the Tenere.

When Yamaha brought their fleet of motorcycles for a test day at my local dealer, the Tenere was off my list.  I wanted to ride the improved FJR1300.  I was “convinced” to take the Tenere out as no one else had signed up for it on one of the scheduled rides.  I was very surprised by the Super Tenere as it felt and handled like a larger version of my KLR650.  The bike was easy to ride and the engine had more then enough power for the big bike.  As luck would have it, rain came in torrents during the ride so I was able to see how the bike handled rainy and wet road conditions.  It was awesome.  I felt that I could take and ride this motorcycle in just about any conditions.  I also found the stock seat and seating position to be very comfortable.

While the Super Tenere is “low tech” compared to the BMW GS, it’s also priced accordingly and I was actually considering buying a Super Tenere sometime this year.  Plans, however, have changed.

Kawasaki Versys 1000



Dislikes:

  1. It’s ugly.
  2. The turn indicators start to vibrate at highway speeds.

Likes:

  1. The engine!
  2. It’s low center of gravity.
  3. One of the easiest motorcycles to ride two-up.

For my readers in the USA, this is a motorcycle that you’ll have to cross into Canada to get.  For some reason Kawasaki feels that this motorcycle will only sell in markets outside of the USA.  At least for now.

The engineers at Kawasaki took the engine out of the Z1000 and re-tuned it for better performance in the low and mid RPM range.  On the road, their objective was well met.  The electronics on the Versys 1000 is “Basic” by today’s standard with three different riding modes, traction control and ABS.

As I mentioned in the “Like” portion, this motorcycle is one of the easiest motorcycles to ride two-up and with the optional, color matched GIVI bag system, the Versys 1000 makes a great and relatively low cost touring motorcycle.

While the Versys 1000 has the appearance of an off road motorcycle, I doubt it would be comfortable on a single track or rough dirt road.  However, exploring a well graded gravel or dirt road is possible.

At under $14,000.00 Canadian for a 2014 model, with some dealers selling new 2013 models for under $10,000.00 Canadian, the Versys 1000 is a great value.

So which one would I buy?  Neither!  I was about ready to pull the trigger on a new 2012 Super Tenere until I road it back-to-back with a 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure.  Sorry Yamaha.