Explorer vs Tenere vs Stelvio vs Elefant: a review

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by MotorCade, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Mr Grumpy

    Mr Grumpy Old Git.

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    Great real-world review, thanks, answered a few questions for me & confirmed my own impressions too.

    And yes I agree with others, ignore the whiners.
    The review is too long for them to read but they have the time to post up & moan? get a grip! I really don't understand some folk.

    I too will be interested in your impressions on the Beemer, no matter how long it is.
    #21
  2. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Love that GS wheelie.

    Thanks, all. I'll be sure to post up as soon as I get a chance to ride one. Please be patient with me - schedule at work is pretty killer lately.

    That Stelvio definitely hit the high notes... either a shorty screen or a way to adjust it forward 10 or 15 degrees, and that would take care of the biggest complaint.

    Cheers!
    #22
  3. Bevelhead

    Bevelhead Adventurer

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    Excellent assessment of the Elefant. Running it up to 11 grand might explain the clacking valves though. Sure is fun but I try to avoid it in the interest of fewer valve adjustments. Nice write-up and just reinforces my thinking that I'll never sell mine.
    #23
  4. Thinc2

    Thinc2 Paciugo

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    Great review. Would love to get your take on the GS.

    I'm on my 2nd 1150GS and am seriously considering the Stelvio as the next bike. Did you notice any vibrations on the bars on the Guzzi?
    #24
  5. RetrogradE

    RetrogradE Banned

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    I think it was a damned fine review and if people are annoyed with the length then they're not interested in these bikes.

    It was well-written and your passion was evident.

    I read the post because I'm interested in the Explore v Tenere.

    Thanks for spending your time on the write-up.
    #25
  6. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    Great review. Took all of five minutes to read. The whiners had trouble with third grade. :lol3

    I rode the Tenere and GS. Tenere won it of the two for me. Did not ride the Stelvio, passed it up as an exotic. But a good friend is gaga over one so I gave it a second look after I already bought. Doing it all over again it would get much more serious consideration, especially for what you get for the money. Just looking at it I like it best of the three you rode. Explore second, tenere third.

    The GS I seen best described as 'agricultural'. It just seems like old technology. The torque from the motor when you rev it, clunky shifting, dry clutch, funky suspension. And the price? Naw. The super black model, and the current 'rally/anniversary' one with the red frame, are really sharp. I just couldn't justify over twenty grand for one.

    The Tenere is very v-strom like. Yeah, it's a better motorcycle, but it's just too heavy for me. The ecu detuning in the first three gears really sucks too. I would immediately bypass that with the fuse mod they do. It is SO sorted it is almost boring to ride. Did prefer it over the GS though.

    When it came right down to it though they were all too big and heavy for a 55 year old guy with 40 years of riding, weighing in at 170lbs. The shaft drive wasn't a biggie for me, actually prefer the simplicity and versatility of chain drive. So the Tiger XC checked all the right boxes, about a hundred pounds less than those big ones. Very fun to ride, really good for two-up even with the wifey weighing about what I do. The Explorer has a more comfortable seat, but I just couldn't deal with the extra weight. Have since modified the pillion to better suit my passenger.

    Since you seem to be hung up on a shaft drive I won't suggest testing out a Tiger 800XC. But it's the one that's getting all the kudos recently. It really is a terrific do-all motorbike.

    Let us know how it goes...subscribed.
    #26
  7. Ham

    Ham Been here awhile

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    Thinc 2

    In regards to handle bar vibration. No. Occassionally they shake but not at RPMs that matter. It is kind of hard to explain. I think I know what you are worried about, that annoying fine vibration that does you in...and no...it does not do that. Consider the occassional shake sort of what Harley guys like but much more sophisticated...just reminds you that a beast is between your legs...but then again...you already know that:)
    #27
  8. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Thinc2 - Like Ham said, nothing in the way of vibes that were annoying. Very smooth once running. Yes, you can feel that it's there, but it's really more of a thrum than a buzz.

    Bevel - yup, I only do an 'Italian tune up" once in a while, but it sure is fun from time to time. Maybe clicking is a better word than clacking. Faint clicking when valves have just been set to tolerance, and clacking when it's time to check em again. I love that this bike is talkative.

    Browneye - yeah, I'm definitely hung up on shaft drive for what I need this bike for. I'm looking for a do-it-all commuter. Low maintenance and high reliability are my highest concerns right now, but not at the expense of riding something I don't enjoy. If I didn't have the 'Fants, and off-roading was more of a need, I think the 800XC would be on the top of my test list, with the F800GS right next to it.

    Might get the chance to get over to BMW and try a 1200GS this weekend... will post up asap. Cheers!
    #28
  9. Sock Monkey

    Sock Monkey Corporate slave

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    Great write-up MC. Thanks for taking the time and for your thoughtful comments. :thumb

    As you can see from my sig, I've either owned or ridden all of the bikes you are considering except for the Explorer. I need to test ride one of them just for completeness. :lol3 IMO, they're all really REALLY good bikes. Picking one is like picking a SO: it's the little things that will turn you on or turn you off, unfortunately only time will tell you what those are! :gerg

    One comment I will make is in regards to the Stelvio windscreen. First, the helmet you wear makes a BIG difference. With my Arai XD3, I get buffeting unless I put the screen all the way down. With my Arai Signet or Scorpion, I can put the screen about 1" from it's top adjustment point and be fine up to about 90mph. Above that, I need to drop the screen down more. I'm considering adding this to my NTX for longer trips (MRA X-creen):

    [​IMG]

    For reference, I'm 6'0" w/ 33" inseam.

    Last point: The '13 GS looks to be significantly changed from the previous models, so you may want to wait before making a decision until you've given that one a go. Same goes for the new KTM 1190....BIG change from the 990.

    What a great time to be shopping for a new big Adv Touring bike! :clap

    -SM
    #29
  10. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    if you've got a lot of extra's on Elefant, it's probably pushing 475 ready to ride with a full tank.

    about 475lb for R80G/S PD with 9 gal fuel, extra tools, 2x tubes, racks, etc. from what I gather G/S is about 50lb lighter than a Elefant. which has 20hp+ more than G/S.

    without question Elefant is one of the most affordable Dakar winning bike that one can actually purchase. African Twins are pricey as G/S and much harder to find.
    #30
  11. Ham

    Ham Been here awhile

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    Thrum....I like that...a perfect word to describe.

    I wear a Schuberth and much improved but at this time I still get the air stream right at mid shield.

    6-0' 32inch inseam....inches matter:)
    #31
  12. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Well, the 1200GS is going to get more than a fair shake. I'm flying out to Connecticut on business travel on Nov. 6th, and I'm renting a 1200GS from Jupiter's MC rentals, instead of the typical corporate econobox. I'll have it for a couple days, including a couple 2 hour trips (from/to) NYC. I may go seek out some roads less traveled after working hours each day.
    #32
  13. Ham

    Ham Been here awhile

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    MotorCade.

    Hope you make it back...you know...reliability, complexity, and all:)
    #33
  14. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Why are you considering a "giant trailie" as a "commuter"?

    Why not the Triumph Tiger 800 or BMW GS 800, if you're wanting some sort of ADVcommuter?

    You just tested three touring bikes for commuter duty. Not sure I understand your thinking...

    Oh, buy the Guzzi.
    #34
  15. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    I've already got two mid-size bikes that can do serious adventure duty. I'm not sure I'm going to buy anything at this point, but if I do, it's going to be a 'big' bike that can handle two-up better than the 'fant, considering that I'm 6'2" and my wife is 5'10". I also really want something with low maintenance and a shaft drive. If any of the 800s had a shaft drive, I'd be all over them.

    I'm not really into sport-tourers, just a personal preference thing.
    #35
  16. VetMXR

    VetMXR Adventurer

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    "I'm flying out to Connecticut on business travel on Nov. 6th, and I'm renting a 1200GS from Jupiter's MC rentals, instead of the typical corporate econobox."

    Bring your electrics! It's down in the 30's now on my morning rides into the office!
    #36
  17. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Buy the Guzzi.

    :deal
    #37
  18. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    i must say (since this is a forum), that i'm really surprised as to how many of you are eager to hear the op's ride thoughts of the GS.....aside from the current model being two years old, the platform is many years older, and maybe one of the most talked about bikes at this website. like Sock, i've owned a Stelvio, a couple of GS bikes (cam/hex), and Multistradas as well, and would say that if the OP is wanting a shaft drive, to wait out the new (and improved in my mind) '13 GS that should arrive early next year, i think it's going to be a hecuva ride :evil.

    regards,
    #38
  19. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Electrics? What are those? :lol3 I ride Elefants!


    I do appreciate the travel advisory - I'll layer up and pick up a pair of cold-weather gloves. I don't own any electric gear, sadly.
    #39
  20. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Ok, Rocker, ok! :ear I'm leaning that direction, honestly.

    I'm going to give the older GS a try on the trip, and since I'm in no hurry, I'll see if I can test the 2013 GS. It might be out of my price range, though. :cry

    Cheers!
    #40