BMW R1200R Vs. KTM 990 Superduke - Hard Parts - MC Comparison

By Mitch Boehm, Photography by Kevin Wing

BMW R1200R
Price: $13,025
Hard Parts


Front Suspension
The R1200R's Telelever is a hybrid design, combining the direct-steering attributes of a conventional telescopic fork with the low-CG and chassis-stiffness characteristics of a swingarm. The system works mostly as advertised, offering excellent bump-absorption and plenty of rigidity, though there's enough dive to cause problems if you chop the throttle mid-corner. Dive from braking is much less pronounced.

Wheels/Brakes
Beautiful cast-aluminum wheels in 3.5- and 5.5-inch widths carry dual 320mm floating rotors up front and a single rotor in back gripped by calipers assisted by BMW's latest EVO anti-lock system. There's massive stopping power available, but the non-linear delivery makes it easy to get more braking than you desire.

Engine
The R1200R features BMW's latest Boxer-twin, the same basic powerplant fitted to the RT and GS. Exceptionally smooth thanks to a counterbalancer, the 1170cc mill pumps out nearly 100 rear-wheel horses, every one of them useable. Delivery through the six-speed gearbox and Paralever drive system is seamless.

Frame/Rear Suspension
There's no real frame to speak of, just front and rear subframes that bolt directly to the engine, which functions as a fully stressed member. The tubular rear section is new and much lighter than before. In back is an adjustable monoshock acting on a single-sided swingarm that incorporates the bike's shaft-drive system-pretty trick for a so-called standard.

Ergos
The BMW is plusher than the KTM every way you turn it, with more seat-to-peg room, less room between the seat and bar, and a more comfortable saddle. We tried both the standard saddle and the optional low-boy unit, which reduces seat height by about 2 inches. With the tall seat in place, handlebar rise is 6.1 inches, though that jumps to 8.1 inches-the same as the KTM's-when the lower seat is bolted in place.

Tech Spec
Price: $13,025 ($14,420 as tested)
Engine type: a/o-c opposed-twin
Valve train: IHC, 4v
Displacement: 1170cc
Bore x stroke: 101.0mm x 73.0mm
Compression: 12.0:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Dry, single-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular steel front and rear subframes
Front suspension: Telelever with single shock
Rear suspension: Paralever with single shock, adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake: Single Brembo two-piston caliper, 264mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Michelin Pilot Road
Rake/trail: 27.0 degrees/4.7 in.
Seat height: 32.7 in.
Wheelbase: 58.9 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.6 gal.
eight (wet): 515 lbs.
Weight (dry): 487 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 96.8 bhp at 7800 rpm
Measured torque: 73.5 lb.-ft. at 6350 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 11.59 sec. at 118.0 mph
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 3.8 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 45/39/43 mpg
Colors: Black, Crystal Gray, Granite Gray
Available: Now
Warranty: 2 years, unlimited mi.

Contact:
BMW of North America
P.O. Box 1227
Westwood, NJ, 07575
201.307.4000
www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Dyno
Compared to the KTM's linear power delivery, the BMW's is all over the map, with peaks and valleys to rival those in the Alps. Still, the ups and downs aren't really noticeable on the road, especially if you keep the revs in the fat part of the power delivery between 3500 and 6000 rpm. Ridden thusly, the smooth-running Boxer is sublime, with plenty of power and very little bothersome vibration.

KTM 990 Superduke
Price: $13,999
Hard Parts


Frame/Rear Suspension
Constructed of lightweight chrome-moly tubing up front (with an aluminum tail-section aft), the Superduke's frame is simple, lightweight and functional. A single, multi-adjustable WP damper controls the rear wheel and, like the fork, is sprung and damped firmly. Ride quality is good, however, especially at speed, where the bike begs to be ridden harder.

Engine
The 75-degree LC8 V-twin is more compact than sporty twins from Italy, Japan or the U.S. Its diminutive stature allows the frame surrounding it to be smaller, which in turn keeps the entire machine compact. Power is plentiful and easy to use; the 990 is torquey down low and rips with authority on top.

Wheels/Brakes
Five-spoke alloy wheels in 3.5- and 4.5-inch widths hold Dunlop D208RR race-spec rubber and, up front, some of the best brakes we've sampled-radial- mount four-piston Brembo calipers grabbing 320mm discs. Braking power is unreal, with excellent feedback and progression at the lever. Impressive stoppie action is a one-finger affair, or would be if it weren't for the flexy bar mounts. And hey, is that a beautiful lower fork casting or what?

Front Suspension
The Superduke's 48mm, tree-trunk-like WP fork is sprung firmly, but action is reasonably compliant unless you're a lightweight. Feedback through the nicely angled aluminum handlebar is exquisite; you always know exactly what the front end is doing, the front tire's contact patch seemingly hard-wired to your brain.

Dyno
Looking at the Superduke's nearly-flat torque and smooth horsepower curves, it's easy to understand why we love flogging this engine so much. Not only does it make nearly 104 rear-wheel horsepower, it transfers those ponies to the sticky rear Dunlop smoothly, thanks mostly to the gear-driven counterbalancer. Whatever your mood or riding situation, the LC8 delivers highly useable power with near-perfect fueling manners.

Tech Spec
Price: $13,999
Engine type: l-c 75-degree V-twin
Valve train: DOHC, 8v
Displacement: 999cc
Bore x stroke: 101.0mm x 62.4mm
Compression: 11.5:1
Fuel system: EFI
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Tubular steel main frame with aluminum subframe
Front suspension: 48mm WP inverted fork, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Single WP shock, adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 320mm discs
Rear brake: Single Brembo twin-piston caliper, 240mm disc
Front tire: 120/70-ZR17 Dunlop D208RR
Rear tire: 180/55-ZR17 Dunlop D208RR
Rake/trail: 23.5 degrees/4.0 in.
Seat height: 33.7 in.
Wheelbase: 56.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 4.0 gal.
Weight (wet): 444 lbs.
Weight (dry): 420 lbs.
Measured horsepower: 103.6 bhp at 9650 rpm
Measured torque: 64.5 lb.-ft. at 7300 rpm
Corrected 1/4-mile: 11.27 sec. at 120.81 mph.
Top gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 3.5 sec.
Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.) 42/37/40 mpg
Colors: Black, Gray, Orange
Available: Now
Warranty: 12 months, 12,000 mi.

Contact:
KTM North America, Inc.
1119 Milan Ave.
Amherst, OH 44001
440.985.3553 www.ktmusa.com

Ergos
Both of these bikes offer exceptional ergonomic layouts, though most testers preferred the KTM's slightly more aggressive stance. The KTM offers about an inch less seat-to-peg room and a .7-inch longer reach to the handlebar, but considering how all-day comfortable the BMW is, the KTM's numbers are dang good. And yet the KTM still feels like a serious sportbike, which means it's got a good balance, ergo-wise.

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