BMW F 850 GS Adventure vs KTM 1090 Adventure R

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Rider LF, Mar 30, 2019.

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BMW F850GS Adventure or KTM 1090 Adventure R?

Poll closed Apr 6, 2019.
  1. BMW F850GS Adventure

    41.2%
  2. KTM 1090 Adventure R

    58.8%
  1. Rider LF

    Rider LF n00b

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    Hi,
    It's been a couple of years since I sold my F 800 GS. It was a capable bike, both relatively good on and off road and took me a few places it shouldn't have. My only minor complaints with that bike were the seat was uncomfortable, the screen gave a lot of wind noise/buffetting to my helmet and the engine lacked a bit of character.

    I am now looking at getting back in the game; I am looking at the F 850 GS Adventure and KTM 1090 Adventure R specifically.

    I am yet to test ride any bikes and will keep you updated as I do, but have sat on a Honda Africa Twin, BMW F 850 GS Adventure and KTM 1090 Adventure R - height is not a problem, I'm 6'2". The africa twin to me represents good value, but possibly isn't up to the level of the BMW or KTM based on reviews and to my eye is not as attractive/didn't really float my boat. I will still test ride it.
    I have also considered a Triumph Tiger 800, but prefer low end torque over the revving out that this triple seems to be good at and can't stand the whining noise it makes (I think you either love it or hate it).
    Another bike that I am yet to see in the flesh as the dealer didn't have one yet is the KTM 790 Adventure, but it doesn't seem that suitable for carrying a pillion, even if it is relatively irregularly.

    My wife is fully on board for me to get another bike and is keen to do a bit more two up riding as we used to do on the 800 GS, I am welcoming her input to keep her keen and after looking around with me, she really prefers the look of the BMW 850 despite the price difference to the KTM.

    Whatever bike I choose, will be ridden on a decent amount of bitumen given I now live in Brisbane, but my real love is riding on gravel roads, dirt tracks and pushing it a bit when the opportunity arises.

    Any feedback and opinions are welcome.
    Here are some pics of my old bike/rides. IMG_0050.jpg IMG_0053.jpg IMG_0060.jpg IMG_0458.jpg
    #1
  2. Merlin32

    Merlin32 Been here awhile

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    Hvent riddem either but sat on a gsa . KTM all the way. The gsa is underpowered .
    #2
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  3. Twosaun

    Twosaun ItsUranus

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    Lmao
    #3
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  4. Merlin32

    Merlin32 Been here awhile

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    Haha dude i know that sounds horrible but i own a 14’ gsa and new ones are even heavier and top heavy at that. Also only 95 hp. 1090 is putting down 120 or more. Better suspension and lighter. Only thing gsa wins out on is wind protection lol.
    #4
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  5. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    You passed over a third twin, the BMW R1250GSA. Higher price tag, but it fits in with the tall ones you’re looking at. A friend bought one and places it above several other big ADVs he’s owned.


    Two other entries are Super Tenere and Triumph Explorer.
    #5
  6. amschnellsten

    amschnellsten Been here awhile

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    1090r hands down. The old f800gs was a pretty good bike and BMW ruined it with the 850gs. If you still have a bit of zing left in you get the KTM
    #6
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  7. Daechir

    Daechir Adventurer

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    Just test drive them all. KTM will be more hard core I think. 850GS(A) will be ok on and off road but still has its faults. R12(0)(5)0 will be great on road and a bit heavy off road. If you want to ride with the wife, don't go with the 850. I think it's a great motorcycle but not with a pillion( all the time). Just choose what makes you smile and fizz betwee the legs ;)
    #7
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  8. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    You guys forgot to cast your vote.
    #8
  9. Rider LF

    Rider LF n00b

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    So today I test rode the F 850 GS and F 850 GSA.

    I rode the 850 GS first up.
    The first thing I noticed was the engine sounds much better than my last bike - the F 800 (that's not hard though).
    I felt an immediate confidence as the stability that the 800 had, has been well and truly brought over to the 850 (would be interesting to test it on a loose surface though).
    The engine feels more powerful/meaty and the seat is great. I played with the quick shifter and can see that while it is a bit of a fad generally, there is a definite safety advantage there in a tight situation.
    I thought the tft screen was going to be invasive, but riding the bike was very much still about the ride and given all of the electronic features now available, I think anyone would be mad not to get it.

    4.JPG 5.JPG 6.JPG

    Next up was the 850 GSA.
    As you can see from the photos, this bike comes with the bigger tank, luggage racks etc.
    The bike was fully fuelled which was good because I wanted to see the difference between the GS and GSA in terms of weight.
    When I first hopped on it, I could feel a little more weight up high, but this disappeared the second the wheels started rolling. I presume on dirt this may be more noticeable, but only marginally.
    The wind protection was better on the GSA with an adjustable screen and extra side panels which meet the wide tank.
    I think it is a personal preference, but I really like the wide tank (it feels like a real GS) and although it looked huge the first time I saw it, once wheels are rolling, it's not a problem.
    I like the extra fuel range the GSA offers because the F 800 had me riding really conservatively at times just to make a petrol station. Poor planning I know.

    2.JPG 1.JPG 3.JPG

    Below is the bike I actually rode, the blue one was just on the floor and I forgot to get photos of my ride. I like that it is a bit more low key.

    7.JPG

    When I find the time, I will test ride the KTM 1090 R. I am also thinking of riding the Honda Africa Twin, although I don't overly like the look of it (that is just my personal preference though).
    #9
  10. 1or2Cylinder

    1or2Cylinder Been here awhile

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    I would also check out the KTM 790 Adventure R.
    #10
  11. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    Agree. The 790 R is a much closer comparison with the 850.
    #11
  12. MCMXCIVRS

    MCMXCIVRS Long timer

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    My vote is for the GSA, but that's for me and my needs. I like the 1090R and if I was looking for a back road terrorizer, it'd be a great choice. I however want a long distance machine for some extended travel and for that the GSA seems to be a better fit. Weight and power are more than acceptable for that role and the added comfort, range and protection win out.
    #12
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  13. Rider LF

    Rider LF n00b

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    Yeah I will check it out, whe I visited the dealer, he said they wouldn't have any on the floor until June, so it is a bit of a wait, but I am in no rush. I don't think it would be as comfortable for touring or a pillion though, but would eat up the off road.
    #13
  14. Merlin32

    Merlin32 Been here awhile

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    Th
    great call although i feel that dang tank on the GSa is just too big. At least on the 8 it was under the seat... its great to see theyre all really nice though. You really cant make a bad decision.
    #14
  15. ABRdk

    ABRdk n00b

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    I recently bought a F850GS and I just love the sound of the engine more and more. I think it has sufficient power to handle most things.
    I have not tried the GSA or the 1090, but what I hear/read/see is that the 1090 is very off-road oriented. I think it is a great bike if you are planning to do some serious off-road riding.
    The BMW with all its electronics will probably be easier for you to drive both on and off road, and therefor maybe be a better experience.
    #15
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  16. MCMXCIVRS

    MCMXCIVRS Long timer

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    I've been wondering about the weight of the GSA also and so decided to find out what my F800GS actually weighs in at with all the added gear and full fuel (including Camel Tank) to get an idea of how it would compare. Turns out it's heavier than the F850GSA so I think I'm fine. The thing about the new design with the tank up front is that it does transfer more of that weight forward which is probably good. I weighed the 800 without the cases on or any gear loaded and it is tail heavy all ready. Add the packing onto that and its no wonder the front end tends to feels light.
    #16
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  17. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    That’s exactly why BMW said they did it. Makes sense for packing a load and possibly carrying a passenger. For people like me though that ride solo, it just produces the negative effect of top heaviness. I picked my F700 over the Triumph XCX mainly due to the lower height and cog.
    #17
  18. Rider LF

    Rider LF n00b

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    Today I test rode the KTM 1090 Adventure R, Triumph Tiger 800 xca and for fun, I rode the Triumph Scrambler 1200 xe.

    KTM 1090 Adventure R:
    My first thoughts on this bike are that it is considerably more powerful than the other options, a little more raw in its power delivery and the suspension is quite stiff on the road. If I was riding a high percentage of off road, this would be my first choice, but I have to be realistic and it is not the best all rounder. Also, I don't think this bike would be terribly comfortable for a pillion.
    It is off my list I think, but it is a good bike for the right purpose.

    Triumph Tiger 800 xca:
    First of all, the tiger was a real surprise.
    Comfortable seating position etc in line with the f 850 gs and super smooth engine which begged to be revved. It is the most road oriented bike I have ridden in the middle weight adventure category and would be a hell of alot of fun in some twisties. I do however wonder how it woud go with it's relatively low torque, in a tighter off road situation. (Input welcome).

    Scrambler 1200 xe:
    What an engine.
    I love the torquey engine, the character it offers and the exhaust note.
    Speaking of the exhaust, it was hot enough that I had to prop my leg out from the bike so it wouldn't get burnt.
    If Triumph made a proper adventure bike out of this bike, I would buy it based on the engine alone. It eats up twisties and feels as though it would perform on the dirt (by all accounts it does). In it's current form, it's lack of wind protection means it will not suit my purpose and combined with the leg burning issue, it is crossed of being a consideration.
    I still love that engine.

    I was going to ride the Africa Twin, but I don't like the look of it and given this is a luxury purchase, I want something pretty to look at (As far as adventure bikes go. I am pissing into the wind I know!).

    I think I have narrowed my search down to a BMW F 850 GS Adventure .
    I always wanted more fuel range out of my old 800 gs and this bike offers a good range, more character to the engine and more wind protection.
    #18
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  19. Tigershark48

    Tigershark48 My other BMW is a Roadster.

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    Not to steer you away from the 850, but have you looked at/ridden the Super Tenere? Just another thought.
    #19
  20. Rider LF

    Rider LF n00b

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    Maybe it is worth me giving it a test ride. Is it much heavier?
    #20