2010 Adventure Bike Shootout For My Money

JC Hilderbrand | September 27, 2010

For My Money

BMW R1200GS
Joe is a dyed-in-the-wool Ducati lover, and he still chose the Beemer.

Joe Wallace, 195 lbs, 5’10”
Being a huge Ducati fan along with owning a highly modified 1098 track bike, I have to say the Multistrada is a very fun bike to ride; it’s fast and great looking. I think the Multistrada would make a great commuter bike and it even did surprisingly well off-road. But if I have to pick a true Adventure Touring bike it would have to be the BMW. Comfortable to ride on- and off-road, good wind protection and you can load it up like a pack mule. Plus the fact that there’s a plethora of aftermarket accessories from engine guards to lights and tons of luggage options from several different companies. It’s a bike you can load up for a month-long adventure ride and know that it will hold up to plenty of abuse. It’s truly what I would call an Adventure Touring bike.

BMW R1200GS
Maddox wants to load the BMW to the max and escape.

Tyler Maddox, 150 lbs, 5’11”
To me these bikes are all about adventure – loading up the bags with camp gear, throwing my lady on the back and getting into places that a car could never go. Multi day/week rides across deserts, through the mountains and way off the beaten path, that’s what I think these bikes are for. Sure, they can be great commuters and make for fun day rides, but the main purpose of these bikes is adventure. When you’re in the far reaches of the planet, or even the local National Forest, the thing that matters most is dependability. That is why I would spend my money on the BMW. Yes, the Ducati brought a bigger smile to my face, but the BMW is so refined and solid. It might not pull as hard as the other two bikes but it never fell behind either when we poured it on in the twisties of Northern California. There’s still plenty of power, but it’s not the take-your-breath-away power that the Ducati has. For adventure, you don’t necessarily need limitless power. You need a bike that’s comfortable, corners effortlessly and is easy to stand up on. To me that bike is the BMW.

JC Hilderbrand, 177 lbs, 5’11”

BMW R1200GS
Make that 3-for-3. The BMW is our rider’s top overall pick when it comes to their own paychecks.

Adventure to me means dirt, so the BMW has what I need. None of the other bikes can compare when it comes to off-road capability. As much as I love the new Ducati, those 17-inch wheels just don’t cut it, the ergonomics don’t work as well and I just don’t trust that motor to keep it together. A couple hundred miles of mixed riding and I thought everything was going to start falling apart. To its credit, it didn’t, but the Beemer is unshakable, and it’s proven. I’ve personally witnessed them spinning down the road on one cylinder and dropped into dusty ravines. Nobody wants to do that to their $15K-bike, but I know in my heart that’s the type of abuse I’m going to dish out. Add in the sheer comfort and the wonderful on-road performance of the Paralever/Telelever, and the Duc’s ability to rip wheelies really doesn’t mean jack to me.

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JC Hilderbrand

Off-Road Editor| Articles | Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA’s Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn’t matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

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