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. switchback

    switchback Eatin' Dirt Since 1982

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    With the exception of the KTM and Multistrada the rest of the large ADV tourers are so close that preference related to street/dirt bias, ergonomics, engine type, maintenance play a large role. I will also say that an hour test ride will not tell you enough to determine what your real preference is and unfortunately unless you find things that are really wrong for you you are SOL regarding a meaningful decision. I am just over 5k into my Tenere ownership and it took a 2k mile tour to decide that this bike rocks on rough dirt roads and is an outstanding tourer. The miles also told me that while nearly as quick my Multistrada is a far more exciting commuter. The initial deciding factor for me came down to the low maintenance requirements on the Yamaha, and my disdain for BMW/Triumph dealers. The nearest Guzzi is hundreds of miles away so that was not an option. I do miss the original Stelvio design, it had a definite appreciation of a part of the female anatomy.
    #41
  2. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    Motorcade, thank you for your thoughtful and interesting overview of the big ADV bike - and their comparison to your Elefants. I have always been into Italian bikes and Buells because of their uniqueness. Resurrecting my brothers 1985 Ninja 900 got me interested in trying out a new Ninja 1000 and I bought one. It has more character than I expected and is a stellar motorcycle. However, 13,000 miles later - I am probably going to sell it, and buy a new Stelvio.
    I have an 1100 mile round trip stretch of 85 mph Interstate to ride to our place in West Texas, which is near a lot of wide smooth gravel roads which lead into New Mexico. My last 2400 mile ride there was awesome on the Ninja, but my body took a good beating on the 1100 miles of Interstate, due to heavy cross winds. I arrived home pretty exhausted with sore shoulders, numbness in my wrists, and neck pain.
    The Stelvio should give me the comfort and wind protection I seek and be a fine bike for wide smooth gravel roads and perform like a sport touring bike on the twisty paved roads.
    Thank you for your insight on the Stelvio!
    #42
  3. richtidebruin

    richtidebruin Lurking since 2003..

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    Thanks for the review of your personal experience on these bikes. I just tested the 2013 GS this week, though I only put 20 miles or so on it. At 5'10' and 170, I'm considerably smaller than many with these big shaft-drive bikes, so my perspective my be somewhat different.

    Coming from a 990 (and Wee before that), I liked the low rpm refinement and stability at highway speeds (felt slower than reality) of the new GS. Also I liked its manners when faced with moderately high crosswinds. It did feel considerably lighter than I anticipated and it's a bike I could quickly acclimate to. But I've never ridden the old GS, or others in the group reviewed based on size (mine and the bikes) -- felt like I didn't want to muscle around so much bike, especially if I got it off-road.

    All in all, I really like the new GS, though it didn't feel "perfect" -- and I still have more interest in it than I ever have before. But I keep thinking that for me, the cost of the WC GS relative to the competition - which (for me) includes the GS 800 and 800XC, and maybe even back to a 990 - doesn't justify the extra smiles. So, I'm willing to wait to test the 1190 whenever it gets here. Maybe that's the best of both worlds (less weight, less cost, more refinement).... Or, it may be that the narrowness and lighter weight of the 990, 800, and XC just fits me better. Finally, the practical side of me says I can have just as good an experience -- if not better -- for thousands less. All that to say, even with a wide price range, the cost is still a factor for most of us -- especially if it doesn't feel like the "perfect" bike. On the other hand, if (insert brand and model here) fits YOU "perfect", the cost is IMO justifiable.
    #43
  4. vivo

    vivo Adventurer

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    Regarding cost of a bike and ownership cost, I agree for me it matters. The Multi and the GS are expensive bikes and ownership costs aren't cheap either. I picked the Stelvio NTX because it has everything in a package and it felt like value. The Triumph Explorer was considered but sitting on it felt top heavy to me. I had Guzzis before and so knew I would enjoy the feel of the bike but if it cost the same with no panniers, lights, crash bars, sump protection, hand guards, no abs, no traction control, extra for on board computer, then I would not have considered it.

    Vivo
    #44
  5. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    ^^ This.

    I'm the same size. That's why I liked the 800XC so much better than the bigger bikes. It's got the perfornance, but it's a lighter slimmer package.

    I've always said, if you're a great big guy then those are the bikes that fit. I know lots of GS owners that are way over 6' and way over 200lbs. Some them are very muscular as well, so they are able to throw those bikes around like I do my 800.

    I feel the same way about dualsports and dirtbikes. A 250 works really well for me, but a big guy is going to like a 450/525 size bike better.

    I think I'd still like to have a Stelvio though. :evil
    #45
  6. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    Excellent observations! I too do consider the cost of ownership and part of keeping that cost low is doing all my own maintenance, not to mention its an enjoyable hobby for me. Guzzi's simple valve adjustment routine is a big selling point to me, and I would even purchase the equipment to sync the throttle bodies and do a TPS reset. Buells are one of my favorites because of they don't require valve adjustments and have a belt drive.
    While checking out the new Stelvio, I also felt it is a great value because, as far as I could tell, there was not a single upgrade I would have to make to it to improve my comfort and off-road protection for the bike.
    #46
  7. Oca

    Oca Been here awhile

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    MC, I purchased the burnt orange Stelvio NTX from TO on Tuesday (5/1).

    I traded in an '06 Breva 1100.

    No complaints. I find keeping the screen at its lowest point and no buffeting.

    I am 5'11" with 33" inseam. Getting on the bike is a new experience for me.

    The panniers are high, but I have the technique down. My wife, who pillions with me, does not have a problem getting on the bike with the panniers.

    As Rocker 59 said "buy the Guzzi."

    By the way, where in Simi are you? I am in the Santa Rosa Valley.
    #47
  8. sunset_ryder

    sunset_ryder aka "toots"

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    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, it's what makes this forum such a great place.:clap
    #48
  9. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Thanks to the OP for a very well written comparison. It was not too long at all. I enjoyed the detail and thought out observations. Too many magazine reviews these days are less than a page with a few thumbs up or down. Go back and read a CycleWorld from the '70s, 3-4 page reviews, that's more like it.

    I have been going through this very selection process for the past 2 years now while riding a Vstrom 1k as my "baseline". I test rode the GSA, a couple Stelvios, 4 different Teneres, a Multistrada, and the Triumph Explorer, Tiger 800XC and 800 std.

    I agree the Tenere has been refined almost too much. While it's a very good bike and extremely capable, I always felt a little disconnected while riding it, kinda like a video game. I think some of that can be corrected but it's just the impression I got each time. The Explorer was a little the same way and the front end was a little skittish, not planted feeling. The Multistrada stands out as a superior sport bike, wow. If it had shaft drive..... hmm. Yes, I want shaft drive period. I've lived with both chains and shaft and I really prefer the shaft drive.

    I'd have to agree. I really like the Tiger 800 and thought long and hard about it, but the desire for a shaft drive turned me away. I liked the 800 std, it has a physically smaller feel to it, very light, almost like an oversized KLR but more stable plus extreme smoothness and great power. That 800 triple is one very sweet engine. If they made a 800 Street Triple with that engine I'd be very interested.

    I wish Guzzi made a 850 NTX that was 50 lbs lighter, that's my preference. I think there is a real market for a modern 750-850 ADV bike with shaft drive keeping the weight closer to 475-525 lbs. (wet, 1 gal of fuel, no extra farkles) I think it's quite feasible. The Multistrada 1200 is 516lbs wet so add another 10lbs for shaft drive. A Street fighter 848 is 416 lbs wet and the Tigers are in the 460-470 lb range.

    I'm right in line behind you. I will pick up my orange Stelvio in TO next Friday.
    #49
  10. ajgranda

    ajgranda n00b

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    Thanks for your review. I took a 2013 TEX for a test drive and loved every second of it. I actually test rode it right after the 2013 Multistrada sport. For me, it handle nearly as well, felt almost as fast with nearly as much character. It had less engine vibration for sure. I preferred the sound to the stock exhaust on the Multi, but that can be remedied by adding Arrow slip ons on the TEX. I just don't understand those who say the TEX is front heavy and overweight. Maybe compared to a sport bike. I owned a BMW K1200 LT. Now that was top heavy and a nightmare to handle in the slow stuff.
    #50
  11. TIGERRIDER007

    TIGERRIDER007 Long timer

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    When you say "TEX", I'm assuming you're talking about the Triumph Explorer right?
    #51
  12. ajgranda

    ajgranda n00b

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    #52
  13. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Long time no update from me! Sorry! Glad to hear that you're getting enjoyment out of the bike! Right now, I'm wishing I went with the Stelvio myself, as I'd ended up buying a V7 classic (which I think is gorgeous with my Norman Hyde bars, dart flyscreen and bar-end mirrors) but my transmission (or something) failed catastrophically wednesday and locked up the rear tire. They said it will be next week before they can even look at it, and I'm getting no response from Moto Guzzi USA customer support.

    We'll see.

    I did end up taking the trip out to Connecticut and riding the 1200GS in the big snowstorm right after Hurricane Sandy. There's a story and a ride review there, and I even have some pics - but it'll have to wait until later. It's waited this long, it can wait a few more days. (Started a business - life got busier)

    The 1200 was a good bike, and I loved the heated grips. Lots of technology, including ABS and traction control. That was a big plus in the snow and ice. If I had to ride in those types of conditions regularly, I could see that it would be a must. But I'm in So Cal, so it's not something I really need. Long story short, the Stelvio would still have been my choice. I'll explain it all later...

    Cheers

    PS. I'm in Newbury Park, to answer your other question.
    #53
  14. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    But it really warranted photos... Not of the new bikes, but of your two Elefants!!! Great choice of bikes too. Way ahead of their time... along with a select few other Rally inspired V twins of that era. How do you top that bike... Perhaps you should have waited for a new KTM 1190 R. It visually lives in a different world of "Euro Ultra Modern" complex angular design. An origami wrapping over a sublime techno symphony. Undoubtably the worlds most versatile minimalistic big bike. This may be the bike that could actually override your desires to remove the Fant out of it's roost... at all. And to keep up with your current bike, the 1190 Adventure will also be relevant far beyond it's years. Perhaps it's just a tad too far ahead of itself in first impressions. But it absolutely makes a bold statement... that it also backs up with performance.
    #54
  15. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    Long time no update from me! Sorry! Glad to hear that you're getting enjoyment out of the bike! Right now, I'm wishing I went with the Stelvio myself, as I'd ended up buying a V7 classic (which I think is gorgeous with my Norman Hyde bars, dart flyscreen and bar-end mirrors) but my transmission (or something) failed catastrophically wednesday and locked up the rear tire. They said it will be next week before they can even look at it, and I'm getting no response from Moto Guzzi USA customer support


    "Moto Guzzi USA customer support"
    :lol3
    #55
  16. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    Will this do? I actually had a KTM 950 ADV, and it was good. Not as good as these, though. At least for me. I'm interested in seeing how the 1190 rides...

    [​IMG]
    Pair of pachyderms by MotorCade77, on Flickr
    #56
  17. MotorCade

    MotorCade Rugby whore

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    And this was definitely a good day.

    [​IMG]
    IMG_4731 by MotorCade77, on Flickr

    I still have TKC80s on it now, but no front fender for the moment. I'm working on fabricating a replacement fork guard/fender mount because they cracked through on that trip. The bike handles whoop de doos pretty well, but the plastic is a little brittle.
    #57
  18. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    A rare matching pair of aces... The cloth the 950 Adventure was cut from. Something tells me an 1190 is in the future... A future collectors item.
    #58
  19. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

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    I had a 2012 ntx for 5200 miles, gave it up to the deer gods, liked it so much I bought a 2013. Some mods to make it better:
    stelviontx.blogspot.com
    #59