Welcome to the world of the biggest and baddest adventure bikes that you can splurge money on. The equivalent of Range Rovers, these high-riding go-anywhere motorcycles have been built to take you across continents in comfort. The newest entrant in this segment in India is the 2017 Triumph Tiger Explorer XCx. It faces competition from two of the most recognisable brands in this segment – the GS and the Multistrada. While there are a slew of variants of these bikes in the market, the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro are Tiger Explorer’s direct rivals. Here is an on-paper comparison of how these bikes stack up against each other.
While all three bikes displace almost 1200cc, none of them share similar engine architectures. At the heart of the British Tiger Explorer XCx is a 1215cc inline three-cylinder engine. The tweaks to meet BS IV norms have seen a jump in power and torque output, while improving the efficiency. It now delivers 137bhp and 123Nm.
The Italian Multistrada Enduro, like every Ducati, is powered by an L-twin engine. The 1198cc Testastretta DVT motor delivers 160bhp and 136Nm of torque. The Multistrada Enduro is the only bike here to stick to a final chain drive, with the other two opting for a final shaft drive. The desmodronic valve technology (DVT) independently controls both the intake and the exhaust valves to make the power easily accessible.
Just like Ducati’s association with the L-twin engine, nothing says BMW quite like a boxer engine. And the German R 1200 GS Adventure is no exception. The 1170cc twin in the bike churns out 123bhp and 125Nm. The engine uses a combination of water and air cooling for heat management. All three motorcycles get a six-speed gearbox with slipper clutch.
There is an underlying theme to all these bikes. They follow a signature recipe – tall riding stance, comfortable ergonomics, upswept exhaust, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoke wheels, sump guard, high ground clearance and dual-sport tyres to boost their off-road capabilities. They also feature a similar set of rider aids, including rider modes, traction control, cornering ABS and cruise control. They even get hill hold systems which engage the brake to simplify uphill starts.
We start off with the Tiger Explorer XCx. It rides on semi-active suspension setup sourced from Austrian specialists WP. The Triumph Semi Active Suspension (TSAS) system uses six-axis IMU and swingarm position sensor to modify the damping settings. The suspension travel for the front and the rear is 190mm and 193mm respectively. The brake setup consists of Brembo callipers gripping dual 305mm discs up front and a Nissin calliper with a 282mm disc at the rear. There are also a bunch of creature comforts like 12V power outlets, a USB power outlet, an electrically adjustable windscreen and heated grips.
The Ducati Multistrada Enduro might be based on the road-biased Multistrada 1200S, but it features a slew of technical and mechanical updates to boost its off-road capabilities. The suspension travel has been increased to help it cope with rough terrain. It also benefits from LED cornering lights which illuminate the road on corner entry. The Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) Evolution is a semi-active system which uses feedback from traction control and ABS sensors as well as the IMU to allow continuous rebound and compression damping adjustment. The suspension setup consists of Sachs front forks and rear monoshock, with 200mm suspension travel at both ends. The brake setup has been sourced from Brembo with dual 320mm discs at the front and a 265mm disc at the rear.
The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure is the only bike here to ride on telescopic front forks, with the others using a USD setup. Nevertheless, it has the greatest suspension travel among the lot, with 210mm at the front and 220mm at the rear. BMW Motorrad’s terminology for the semi-active suspension system is Dynamic ESA. It adapts to the riding situation damping-wise and features a self-levelling function to compensate for load through automatic spring preload adjustments. The brake setup involves dual 305mm discs at the front and a single 276mm disc at the rear.
The Tiger Explorer XCx is the heaviest of the lot, tipping the scales as 253 kilograms. The Multistrada Enduro is the lightest at 225 kilograms while the R 1200 GS Adventure sits in between at 244 kilograms.
The Tiger Explorer XCx is the most expensive motorcycle in the lot, retailing at Rs 18.75 lakhs. The R 1200 GS Adventure is the most affordable, beginning at Rs 17.16 lakhs. The Multistrada Enduro, sits in between at Rs 17.45 lakhs. All prices are ex-showroom.