Here's what we thought in the office
The BMW R1200GS is a genuine all-rounder. Its 1170cc Boxer engine is a pleasure to use, while the handling, braking, usability and comfort put this bike on another level. The motor is flexible, punchy and revvy all at the same time. The throttle is light, the response is instant and the power is all you could hopefully use in the real world. There are pleasantly few vibes, too.
The chassis is superb. The Telelever front end initially feels remote, but once you’re dialled in and confident, the GS can be leant and leant. The servo-assisted brakes and (optional) ABS help haul it up with ease, and there are loads of accessories: heated grips, crash bars, hard and soft luggage…
The GS is a much more affordable option – and is much sturdier – than its nearest competitor, the Multistrada 1200 (see below), should the worst happen on slippery, snow-lined roads.
2010 BMW R1200GS , £11,295, 2296 miles, dealer
2009 BMW R1200GS, £8750, 7200 miles, private
THE BABY BRIT OPTION
TRIUMPH TIGER 800 XC
The XC’s combination of 21-inch wire front wheel (in place of the standard 800’s cast 19-incher), longer travel (by 40mm) 45mm forks (the stocker’s are 43mm) and slightly wider (by 32mm), higher, wider and further back bars (by using different bars and risers) make the XC seem, a much more full-size, macho and full-on, proper, adventure bike where the road-going 800 is the more novice-friendly middleweight.
2010 Triumph Tiger 800XC, £2231, 1 mile, dealer
THE MONEY-NO-OBJECT OPTION
DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1200S
Ducati’s ‘sport’ biased bikes have never been cheap and at £14,795 the Multistrada 1200S Sport carries on that tradition. But then you are buying a trend-setting, class beating machine decked out with class-leading electronics. Take away the carbon parts, electro-trickery Ohlins suspension and ABS, and you end up with the base model Multistrada for £3300 less – same engine power and power mode selection, mind.
2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200S, £14,795, 1 mile, dealer
THE BIG BRIT OPTION
TRIUMPH TIGER 1050
The Triumph Tiger's 1050cc powerplant’s power was reduced to 115 horses but it’s still brilliant. Not just in the way it out grunts the old bike, but the way the throttle responds to rider input. This makes it much easier to live with in slow traffic or attacking countryside bends. The taller top gear ratio also means the Tiger 1050 is considerably more relaxed at cruising speeds, helping reduce fuel consumption and rider fatigue.
2008 Triumph Tiger 1050, £5800, 11,157 miles, private
THE BUDGET OPTION
SUZUKI DL1000 V-Strom
The Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom is a far better bike than its subdued manner and slightly anonymous styling suggests. Its heart is the excellent V-twin motor from the TL series. The chassis is top notch road-trailie, it’s comfortable, brisk and excellent value, too. Lots of extra such as heated grips, luggage and centre stands are available too making the Suzuki a true go-anywhere bike for not a huge amount of dosh.
2008 Suzuki V-Strom, £4500, 11,000 miles, private