It’s EICMA – the Milan Motorcycle Show – next week. And here at RUST we’re excited. Because we’re anticipating a showdown. By our reckoning we could have four manufacturers debuting all-new middleweight adventure machines, maybe even five?
KTM are long-long-long overdue to present their new 790 Adventure and it’s looking like its unveiling really is at last ‘now’. BMW are due to counterpunch with an all-new 800GS that actually might be an 850 or a 900GS. Triumph are going to bring along their new 800 Tiger (along with a new 1200 Tiger) and hopefully Yamaha will at last go full production with the 700 Ténéré (the T7 project). And hey, could it be Honda could play a blinder with a new Transalp? That’s pure conjecture that last one, but we’d welcome it.
Quite how these new models will position themselves will be most interesting. And we’re talking on price here (and for the sake of the conjecture, we’ll use the Euro as the base for comparison). Point being, big adventure bikes are getting mighty costly. The 1200s really are going stratospheric; after all, top-end tech costs. So we really are in need some new exciting reasonably priced adv machines.
Currently the 800 benchmark is €11,000 – that’s for a Tiger XC or an 800GS. KTM certainly could do with their offering coming within range of that as their current ‘smallest’ adv, the 1090 Adventure R, is a hefty €14,295. But Yamaha might upset the applecart with a sharply priced Ténéré. Given the motor in this model is similar to that in Yamaha’s XSR700 roadster, which currently sells for €7595, could Yamaha put the wind up its competitors by pricing its adv a good €2000 below the competition? Anyone buying a Carnet de Passage knows this is a serious issue.
It’ll be interesting to see how the competitors play the rest of the spec list, too. Frame tech is going in all directions. KTM have stuck by their tubular steel trellis, BMW look to have swapped to cast aluminium while the Yamaha's T7 appears to have a spine and cradle type. It would seem both KTM and BMW have followed Honda’s lead with the 270º firing order parallel twin to create a vee-twin feel, Yamaha’s motor is the same. Triumph will remain a triple, nicely placing it as an alternative offering. But will they be inclined to chase the 100hp mark (putting them close to Honda’s Africa Twin) or be happy to settle for something in the order of 80hp (again, Yamaha’s XSR700 puts out a claimed 75hp)? Let it be said: less is often more in off-road…
Who knows? But soon we’ll all know. Yeah, we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next week. And, for sure, we'll report on those models right here at RUST – stay tuned!
Images, top to bottom: Yamaha's T7 concept, a BMW 800/900GS prototype, KTM 790 Adventure prototype & Triumph Tiger 800XC prototype