BMW F900GS Adventure vs Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro | The best of 
both worlds

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Looking at the current crop of big-capacity adventure bikes, I have a concern about history repeating itself.

Let me explain, in the early 2000s sportsbikes suddenly experienced a huge hike in performance as the litre class exploded into action. Overnight, power figures leapt up by around 30bhp as the new breed arrived and then, as is always the way, the figures continued to rise as manufacturers tried to outdo each other, leading to where we are today – too much performance for road use and sales at rock-bottom.

2024 BMW F900GSA and triumph tiger 900 Rally Pro - static shot

Not to mention models such as the iconic R1 being dropped as a road bike. Could the big-capacity adventure bike market mirror this boom and bust cycle due to headline-grabbing performance and tech taking precedent over common sense? 

It is a worry because with both also comes cost and realistically, you are already looking at the thick end of £20k to buy a big-capacity adventure machine in 2024. So what’s the answer? Well, how about dropping in size? 

Dive into the detail:

2024 BMW F900GSA - cornering riding towards camera

BMW F900GS Adventure

£14,690 (with £2340 Ride Pro pack)

  • Engine 895cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin DOHC 8v 
  • Power 107.5 bhp
  • Torque 68.6 lb.ft 
  • Fuel Capacity 23 litres
  • Frame Bridge-type steel frame 
  • Suspension F: 43mm inverted forks, fully-adjustable. R: Monoshock, fully adjustable with optional Dynamic ESA 
  • Front brake 2 x 305mm discs with two-piston Brembo radial. Cornering ABS
  • Rear Brake 1 x 265mm disc with one-piston caliper. Cornering ABS 
  • Seat Height 875mm 
  • Kerb Weight 246kg (wet)
  • Check out MCN’s detailed expert review for the BMW F900GS here.
2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - cornering riding towards camera

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro


  • Engine 888cc liquid-cooled inline-four DOHC 12v 
  • Power 106.5 bhp
  • Torque 66 lb.ft
  • Fuel Capacity 20 litres
  • Frame Tubular steel trellis 
  • Suspension F: 45mm inverted Showa forks, fully-adjustable. R: Showa monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound damping
  • Front brake 2 x 320mm discs with four-piston Brembo Stylema calipers. Cornering ABS
  • Rear Brake 1 x 255mm disc with one-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
  • Seat Height 860mm-880mm
  • Kerb Weight 228kg (wet)
  • Check out MCN’s detailed expert review of the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro here.

‘Both have stacks of presence and look big and purposeful’

Visually at least, there is very little to suggest that the latest 
BMW F900GS Adventure and Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro are anything less than full-on adventure bikes. Both have stacks of presence and look physically big and purposeful.

In fact, everyone who saw the GSA during this test assumed it was a big-capacity boxer, until they noticed it lacked two huge cylinder heads hanging out either side… and when you glance at their spec list (it is worth noting our GSA also has the £2340 Ride Pro pack fitted), you are not left feeling that you’ve been forced to compromise by selecting one of these smaller-capacity models. 

2024 BMW F900GSA and triumph tiger 900 Rally Pro - cornering on country road side by side

Both bikes have heated grips as standard (the Rally Pro also has heated seats) and they both have angle-responsive TC and ABS, cruise control, variable power modes, connectivity, height-adjustable screens, crash protection, brush guards, fully-adjustable suspension (with a semi-active shock on the GSA), spoke wheels, an up/down quick shifter, centre stand and even auxiliary lights.

2024 BMW F900GSA and triumph tiger 900 Rally Pro - photo from pillion onboard the bike

Plus the BMW also boasts pannier mounts and keyless ignition. And all for under £15k. So, if you are in the market for an adventure bike, why wouldn’t you seriously consider a middleweight option? But what about the ride, does a lower-capacity engine detract from their ability to cover miles in comfort? 

Taking to the BMW and handing the key (how old-school, no keyless here…) of the Triumph to MCN’s Chief Road Tester, Michael Neeves, I’m still struggling to compute that it is a middleweight bike. When you sit on the F900GS Adventure it feels every bit a big-capacity GS with a lovely bulbous 23-litre tank positioning you within the bike and wide bars giving you that classic GS stance.

2024 BMW F900GSA - cornering on country road

Look around and the 900 has the R1250GSA’s switchgear, the same dash, the same style of screen, the same chunky pegs – it’s a typical GSA product in every way. And then you fire it up. 

Despite BMW giving their F900 parallel-twin motor a 270/450 degree firing order with 90-degree offset crank journals to replicate a V-twin feel, it still can’t replicate the flat-twin growl of a boxer.

2024 BMW F900GSA  - left hand switch gear

Or its spirit when you are out on the road, which is a shame and the only real disappointment with the GSA. This year BMW have upped the GSA’s capacity to nearly 900cc, a move that gives it more than enough performance for road riding, but there is something slightly lacking.

2024 BMW F900GSA - right hand side engine shot

True, you can happily sit at motorway speeds and it is lovely and smooth (and only touching 5000rpm) and when on the back roads there is ample midrange drive to power you out of corners – but it just isn’t that memorable or engaging to use. 

“The power delivery is so linear it never really grabs your interest,” reckoned Neevesy. “It’s deceptively fast due to this trait, but I can’t get excited about its motor. Certainly not in the same way I can with the Triumph’s triple.” 

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - right hand side engine shot

One of the few manufacturers 
to not use a parallel twin in their middleweight adventurers (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, KTM, Husqvarna, Aprilia and CFMoto all do), the Triumph T-plane triple is a huge selling point for the Tiger 900 Rally Pro. But not one that is totally fault-free. 

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - shot of left hand side of bike as it corners

Triumph launched the T-plane in 2020 to give their triple a bit more character, something it certainly does thanks to its off-beat exhaust note and raw nature, but it also introduced annoying vibrations into what was previously a silky-smooth engine.

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - left hand switch gear and handle bar set up

Addressing this issue through re-positioned rubber-mounted handlebars for 2024, as well as increasing the engine’s performance, all should have been well, but I’m still not convinced. 

When you are out and enjoying the ride the triple is superb. Beautifully smooth and responsive without overstepping the mark, and packing heaps of mid-range, it has a lovely docile nature when you want to just cruise. 

2024 BMW F900GSA and Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - riding in line down a country road

‘Roll along and the BMW swallows miles’

Let it rev and it changes character, delivering a spark of excitement that the BMW lacks. It’s a great motor but at motorway speeds I still found it a bit tingly, which is strange because I’ve ridden a Tiger 900GT and it didn’t suffer from the same vibes.

Maybe I’m just being a bit too critical because ridden back-to-back the BMW was smoother, but it was noticeable on the Rally where on the Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro it wasn’t. Odd.

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - wind screen

That said, if you are riding the Rally Pro on a motorway, the slight vibes will be the least of your worries. 
“Absolutely dreadful, the screen creates so much noise at anything over 60mph I couldn’t cover distance on it, it has given me a headache,” said Neevesy after a bit of straight-line riding.

2024 BMW F900GSA - windscreen

And he’s right. While the GSA’s screen isn’t brilliant, it is acceptable and you can easily smash out miles on it in comfort because the rest of the bike is so relaxed – possibly even seeing off its near 300-mile tank range. But on the Tiger you’d struggle as the wind noise ruins its ability to cruise at 70mph.

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - heated comfortable seat

Comfort-wise you can, it has a lovely relaxed stance and pleasingly padded (and heated) seat, but the screen is a let-down. So it was with great relief (for the Tiger rider…) that after a straight line stint we turned off the dual carriageway and headed back towards some twisty B-roads. 

‘Both are decent bikes, but the Tiger lacks purpose’

2024 BMW F900GSA  - seat and rear rack set up

Armed with adventure-sized 21in front wheels, you would be forgiven for thinking that these two bikes might be a bit compromised in bends when compared to 19in-front-wheeled alternatives, but this is far from the case.

Impressively agile and loads of fun to ride briskly along a B-road, these two adventurers could happily keep up with a big-capacity model and while you may be working their motors a touch harder, in many ways that adds to their appeal.

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - front wheel and brake assembly

But there are noticeable differences between the two bikes. “The Tiger is more agile and feels more modern than the BMW, but it doesn’t cover ground as easily,” summed up Neeves. “You roll along on the BMW and it just swallows miles as it is so dynamically capable where the Triumph requires a little more effort.” 

I put much of this down to the Tiger’s suspension, which I don’t feel is as composed compared to the BMW’s. The Tiger may be lighter (by a claimed 18kg), allowing it to respond faster to a rider’s inputs, but it can’t match the feedback or ride quality of the BMW. 

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - front suspension

Helped by its Dynamic ESA shock, the GSA’s suspension is extremely well-damped and responsive at both ends. Although Neeves did find it a bit harsh, he is quite light at under 12 stone, while as a 14.5-stone rider I had no complaints at all and I think BMW have developed a lovely base road setting for the forks (which are fully-adjustable) that the semi-active shock only enhances. 

If you want to take it easy, a quick change of mode makes the back end much more compliant, while another press of a button firms it up for a more dynamic ride. Triumph have an electronically-adjustable shock on the GT Pro model (not semi-active), it seems a shame they haven’t fitted it to the Rally Pro as it would certainly benefit.

2024 BMW F900GSA - Rear suspension

That said, at least Triumph have armed the Rally with decent brakes, an area that BMW have overlooked on the GSA where the two-piston sliding calipers can feel a touch under-powered when the bike is fully-fuelled and has a pillion.

But in the grand scheme of things, this alongside lacking a bit of spirit in its engine, are quite a small negative points about the GSA, which is a hard bike to really pick fault with and is certainly a viable alternative to a big-capacity adventure bike. The Rally Pro, however, has a few more issues – the main one being its excellent GT Pro sibling. 


‘BMW ticks all the boxes’

2024 BMW F900 GSA vs 2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - both Jon and Neevesy

Considering how much I loved the updated Tiger 900GT Pro, I can’t help but feel disappointed and let down by the Tiger 900 Rally Pro. It’s a bike that, especially in the UK market, I can’t help but feel is left a bit lacking in purpose. 

I totally get the F900GS Adventure. BMW have moved the positioning of the F900GS and it is now very much an off-road focused model with a light weight and serious mud-plugging ability and to counter this they have left the GSA a long-distance mile-muncher with added tech, better weather protection and a huge tank range.

It has a purpose as a counterfoil to the GS and is also cheaper and more manageable (financially and performance-wise) than a BMW R1300GS. But what is the Tiger Rally Pro’s unique selling point? 

2024 BMW F900GSA and triumph tiger 900 Rally Pro - riding down road towards camera

Yes, it gets upgraded off-road suspension and a 21in front, but it isn’t lighter than the GT and neither does it have as good weather protection or some of the GT Pro’s tech such as the electronically-adjustable shock.

In my book this renders it a bit pointless and if you have no intention of going off-road, as the vast majority of UK owners won’t, you are just buying a bike for its rugged styling and having to put up with compromises such as a noisy screen and taller seat height as a result.

2024 BMW F900GSA vs 2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - comparison test winner

If you want a Tiger 900, I’d buy the GT Pro instead, and if you want a middleweight adventurer bike for covering distances on, the F900GS Adventure will tick all your boxes. Although to be honest, I’d also pick the Tiger 900GT Pro over it… 


  • The GSA’s huge tank range – 300 miles if you take it easy! 
  • The Rally’s triple is far more engaging than the GSA’s parallel twin 
  • Both bikes corner impressively well considering their 21in front wheels  


  • There is still a bit of a tingle from the Tiger’s engine 
  • The Tiger’s horribly noisy screen 
  • The GSA needs better brakes, four-pistons please next time BMW, and it’s a bit top-heavy when loaded up 

A pillion’s point of view:

Alison Silcox, (MCN Office Manager), 5ft 10in 

2024 BMW F900 GSA - riding with pillion

“From a pillion’s perspective, the GSA feels anything but a compromise. The seat is typical GS, flat and comfortable, and I was very impressed at how absorbent the suspension was on the bumpy back roads we rode on. 

“I’d like a grab rail behind me to hold onto, or a top box to lean against, but the motor was lovely and smooth and overall I’d be more than happy to go touring on the back of the GSA. The only real negative points we found during our ride was it being a touch top-heavy when fully-fuelled, making T-junctions a bit daunting and requiring the rider to place both feet on the ground to hold the bike securely. 

“In comparison to the GS, the Tiger was very good in terms of comfort levels, and the grab rails well positioned at a kind of side to back location, but the gear change wasn’t very smooth. The quickshifter seemed to cut the ignition for too long, resulting in me lurching forward before the power came back in, which was unpleasant. 

2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro - Quick shifter

“Also there seemed to be lots of buffeting on my helmet, creating lots of unpleasant noise, despite the fact I felt I was going to be quite sheltered behind the rider, and the suspension wasn’t anywhere like as refined as the BMW’s. Over a few bumps my back received quite a jolt, which I didn’t feel on the GSA. Gives the choice of the two, I’d rather go on the GSA for a long trip.” 

While you’re here: How MCN tests bikes

Our highly experienced team of road testers grind out hundreds of miles, come rain or snow, on the UK’s pothole-ridden roads to decide which bike is best in a particular category.

Using years of riding and racing experience (on and off-road), our expert journalists are able to assess the capabilities of a machine and translate that into understandable language to help MCN’s readers make an informed buying decision. Pitching bikes against their main rivals, we aim to give a conclusive verdict on which bike is best for your needs and your budget.

Using their considerable knowledge of the motorcycling market and audience, they can put a motorcycle into context and deliver a verdict that means something to anyone considering buying a particular machine, whether it be a cutting-edge, 200bhp sportsbike, a tall adventure weapon or a low-capacity 125cc machine.

When we ride the bikes in the UK we tend to do at least one full day of riding on various different types of road and in varying conditions. Our testers will then spend another day riding the bike – with rivals – to get images and video footage for our print and online reviews.

We will also, often, weigh the bikes, speed and dyno test them to see just how accurately the manufacturer claims are in these areas to give a more empirical assessment.

Find out more about how we test bikes right here.