Off-road bikers with journey benefits: BMW, Benelli, Yamaha

Peterhansel in front of an ice cream parlor, Auriol on his way to the office, Dakar as a destination on Google Maps – goes Kopfkino. Anyone standing erect, broad-armed and powerful rims crowned on the flat seat with a Yamaha Ténéré has a desert classic in the back room, perhaps a Dakar.
The optics alone: ​​a steep screen against sandstorms, the slope profile of the streamlined body for fast stages, perforated engine protection in pebble sections, plus thick handguards. And that on German roads? Absolutely right. Wild bikes are justified, because unlike the BMW GS 1250-style enduro elephants, they are not only much cheaper, but also master the pleasant handling of a mid-range machine.
Yamaha’s 700 showed the way: If you can do desert rallies, you can also tackle everyday life on the outskirts of the big city. The technical toughness of the Ténéré comes with the Nimbus Dakar, in a fun humble way. 73 hp and a weight of 204 kg fit perfectly.

Find clues in the sand: Adventure models from BMW, Benelli, Yamaha and Aprilia at Buyer’s Guide.


What about other brands? More and more are participating in this segment. Aprilia now also has a raid rider in its range. Reason enough for AUTO BILD MOTORRAD to gather all the important liberties to look for their strengths and weaknesses: ability on asphalt and gravel, mule-like qualities, fun to drive, versatility.

In addition to the veteran Yamaha Ténéré 700 and the new Aprilia Tuareg, the inexpensive Benelli TRK 502 X and the flagship off-road model BMW F 850 ​​GS also face the AUTO BILD MOTORRAD character test. Even Ducati digs into this category with the brand new Desert X. You can read more about the adventurers on the following pages. Motorcycle season 2022 – the desert comes alive!

BMW F 850 ​​GS Adventure

After all, the little brother of the big GS has the letter F in his first name, and like the GS Adventure, it fits perfectly in the desert quartet. The F model is particularly universal. Luxurious payload is matched by long spring deflections, so even with the passenger and luggage on, the BMW can handle rough camber. In general, the driver and passenger are comfortable on the 850. The wide seat holds well, and the knee angle is correct.

BMW F 850 ​​GS Adventure

Round Giant! After a few meters of driving, the GS allows you to forget about the rather high weight.


With a seat height of 875mm in the driver’s seat, the GS as Adventure is one of the tallest towers; In any case, the wide and bulky enduro is difficult to maneuver backwards. Here, for example, you have an easier game with the slim Yamaha. Great: BMW’s selection of luggage racks, transport solutions and trunk systems is extensive, and the customer can also choose the different lowering technology and seats.

Technical data and classification

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displacement

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Kilowatt (hp) 1/min

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Newton meter at 1/min

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Weight ready to drive

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payload

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seat height

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Tank Content / Scope / Consumption

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wheel size

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Travel

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price

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Scoring

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Advantages and disadvantages of OFFROAD

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Advantages and disadvantages of ONROAD

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Advantages and disadvantages of every day

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the liquid cools down

18 L / 450 km / 4.0 L / 100 km

Front 90/90 p. 21, Rear 150/70 p. 18

240 mm in the front, 240 mm in the rear

the liquid cools down

20 L / 480 km / 4.1 L / 100 km

Front 110/80 R19, Rear 150/70 R17

140 mm front and rear k. a

+ Engine Response

the liquid cools down

23 L / 540 km / 4.2 L / 100 km

Front 90/90 p. 21, Rear 150/70 p. 17

230 mm in the front, 215 mm in the rear

Stubborn starting behavior

the liquid cools down

16 L / 370 km / 4.3 L / 100 km

Front 90/90 p. 21, Rear 15/70 p. 18

210 mm in the front, 220 mm in the rear

When the GS is in motion, the mass and volume are forgotten. With plentiful wind protection and a harmonious ergonomics, it glides over the highway with little pressure, smoothly runs through alternating curves on country roads, and settles on gas over the middle. At lower revs, it should hold more effectively and loosen more sensitively on broken road surfaces. Off-road, the 21er’s large front wheel helps pat into bad grooves, and gas dosing (in off-road mode) can be set cleanly and accurately. It’s not easy to drive standing up, your knees love to hit the wide tank.

660

Angry engine sisters RS 660 (Sportler) and Tuono 660 (Naked) – could this work well in a desert ship like the Tuareg 660? And whether! The two-cylinder cylinder can also be reserved, behaves very decently when screeching slowly, and doses cleanly with the help of the smooth-running clutch. In addition to the shorter first gear ratio, Aprilia also offers a variable off-road program.

The large front wheel rolls nicely over gravel surfaces, and a noticeable low center of gravity helps balance the motorcycle, which weighs just 204 kilograms. When driving off-road, the Touareg may feel heavier and push through the deeper sand than the Yamaha, but on the road, the 660 revs come alive as expected.

660

Similar to the Yamaha, the Touareg easily copes with gritty off-road maneuvers.


The sound of the mechanical drive turns into a lively audio spectacle with a grunting pull noise, and thanks to the smooth-running automatic transmission (optional, works in both directions) the 660’s engine can be revved up solidly. Plus, the straight-line engine feels very powerful even in low-traffic areas. The suspension runs flexibly and shock-free, but it’s never spongy – great!

Snap cockpit

You should get used to the extra wide handlebar seat position and more sinking into the seat foam – consistent with working with your hands up. In any case, on the long stages she sits very comfortably on the Tuareg. In addition, the wide passenger seat fits better than in the case of the Ténéré.

There’s a lot more to the cockpit than the simply prepared multifunction display might suggest. The different driving modes can be configured using the multifunction button on the left steering wheel panel, for example affecting the ABS system and traction control. Even the engine braking effect can be dosed in three stages.

Yamaha Tenner 700

It’s a paradox. Yamaha has fewer spring rides than a BMW, for example, but it feels long-legged, much like off-roading, and ultimately more radical. Because it is an advantage in a positive sense. The seat is taut, the handlebars are low, the driving position is ready to jump. Everything looks straightforward, nothing seems diffused, and the feedback from the chassis is clear and unmistakable — the Light 700 likes to be brought on track with your thighs.
Yamaha Tenner 700

Ténéré lives up to its name: it has the best desert passer in this comparison.


The CP2 drives very much into this sentiment. In terms of operating culture, the machine is roaring, but it is always fully awake for work. Lively on the road, for juicy and manageable off-roading at the same time – the 700 sets the mood on asphalt and gravel alike.

What’s more: The high-mounted tool in the road book design and the narrow, high window convey a very sporty feel. Despite the simple, basic attitude to the subject of driving aids (apart from ABS, there is none in the Ténéré), the machine feels stable and inspires confidence.

BMW’s 86-horsepower engine certainly has nothing to oppose the Japanese car. In contrast, the 73 horsepower assembled in a pleasantly obedient manner could be directed down the chain. Delicate drifts on the sand, loves to be driven standing – great thrill of 700 rally race. You have to love and plan long road trips; The range is lower, the angular seat is more annoying than the other libertines.

Benelli TRK 502 X

Smaller 19-inch front wheel, big belly instead of a narrow rally silhouette – does the TRK 502 belong in this comparison? sure of course. After all, the X in the name stands for Cross, and requires both seat height and suspension travel for fast stages on sandy soil. Real Hammer: Benelli costs about half a Ténéré and a Tuareg.

Benelli TRK 502 X

A very cheap filter, but certainly not the cheap one: the Benelli 502 has a chassis with off-road reserves.


Not as minimally equipped as the purchase price suggests. Large windshield, spacious cockpit including illuminated shift units, as well as thick handguards, fixed crash bar and spoke wheels – this is something to be proud of.

Despite its 48 horsepower, the 500cc cylinder head doesn’t sound sluggish at all, and runs powerfully with the boring, pleasant sound of a powerful final bowl.

Fun: The short gear ratio and linear speed range are exactly the same, and the R2 likes higher revs. On the road, the Benelli is surprisingly agile and smooth, and good wind protection is particularly satisfying. However, the front brake requires much more manual force than that of the BMW GS, and its effect is likely to be more toxic.

Off-road, Benelli has bad cards. The grip is moderate despite the slightly angular profile, and you can’t ride standing up optimally—the tank overlaps the knee grip. Driving aids are not provided. In the end, there are still plenty of adventure bikes out there for little money.

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