BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290

BMW 1250 GS VS. KTM 1290 – Best Adventure Touring Bike

Both BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290 belong to different categories. The BMW GS 1250 (top speed: 124 miles an hour) is an adventure bike, while the KTM 1290 is a naked bike (top speed: 180 miles an hour).

Adventure touring bikes are all about exploring new horizons and going out in the wilderness. These bikes can handle different types of terrains pretty well. Equipped with large and strong tires and a powerful suspension to back up, these bikes are great for rough paths.

In this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290, we will compare two top-performing touring bikes.

Industry History

BMW

BWW is among the best auto manufacturers in the world. It has been producing cars and motorcycles since forever. Beginning in the early 1900s, the company has a long history of making high-quality vehicles for its consumers.

Whether it’s championships or regular use, BMW has been right among the top producers of 4-wheels and 2-wheels with top-notch performance features. If you are looking for quality and resilience, BMW is the way to go.

KTM

KTM is relatively new to the industry, especially if you compare it with the likes of BMW. But that doesn’t mean KTM is lost on how to perform well in the industry. On the contrary, they have been providing quite a stiff competition to the brands like BMW with their performance as well.

KTM hails from Europe, and it’s a pinnacle of Austrian motorcycle engineering that has recently entered the international market and has already seen plenty of success.

BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290 – An Overview

The BMW 1250 GS 2021

Looking for a ride to go off roads or on your extended tours, the 1250 GS is the right option. It features a boxer engine that is BMW’s specialty. The bike is the perfect amalgamation of riding comfort and driving dynamics to provide you with a unique riding experience. In addition, it integrates innovative engineering technologies to make sure you ride the frontiers just the way you have always wanted.

The KTM 1290 2021

The 1290 KTM is a naked bike with the looks and agility you expect from a naked bike. Its hyper speeds will let you trace down anyways, and the all-new chassis makes sure you have the right kind of aerodynamics to zip along. Maneuverability and handling are easy and straightforward, and it’s the ride that most speed demons will love to own.

Comparison Chart

FeaturesBMW 1250 GSKTM 1290
Fuel and vehicle typePetrol adventure bikePetrol naked bike
Fuel tank capacity5.2 gallons4.2 gallons
Engine typeAir and liquid-cooled flat twin engineLiquid-cooled V-twin engine
Displacement1254cc1301cc
Maximum power136 HP @ 7,750 RPM177 HP @ 9,000 RPM
Maximum torque105 lb-ft @ 6,250 RPM106.2 lb-ft @ 6,500 RPM
Seat height33.5 inches to 34.3 inches32.9 inches
Ground clearance7.3 inches6.3 inches
Seating capacity and type2, dual stepped2, dual stepped
Gear transmission6-speed w/ hydraulic wet clutch6-speed w/ hydraulic slipper clutch
Front and rear suspensionTelelever w/ central spring strut 7.5-inch travel and adjustable hydraulic Paralever 7.9-inch travelTouratech fork w/ 4.7-inch travel and mono-shock w/ 6.1-inch travel
Front and rear brakesDual floating disc brake w/ 4-piston caliper and single disc floating brake with 2-piston caliperDual disc brake w/ 4-piston caliper and single disc brake with 2-piston caliper
Front and rear tires120/70 R 19 and 170/60 R 17120/70 R17 and 190/55 R 17
Wheelbase59.6 inches58.3 inches
Weight~549 lbs~437 lbs

Engine

First, let’s talk about the engines in this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290. Both these machines have different kinds of engines geared towards different needs. However, the BMW 1250 is more focused on delivering powerful performance in off-road conditions.

Being an adventure bike comes with a flat-tin engine with air and liquid-cooled capacities to ensure better performance in different road conditions. It’s a blend of speed and power.

On the other hand, the KTM 1290 comes with a V-twin DOHC engine that focuses on speed and agility. As it is designed for roads, you will get a lot of horsepower from it.

If you are looking to focus on the off-road conditions and ride in less favorable conditions, you need to go for the BMW 1250. But if you are looking to ride the highways, the KTM 1290 is a more suitable machine.

So, both the bikes are suitable for different conditions, but purely in terms of speed, the KTM 1290 is the winner. And when we talk about carrying weight and gear, the BMW 1250 will take the lead.

Weight

Now let’s have a discussion on motorcycle weight in this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290. The BMW 1250 indeed weighs more than the KTM 1290 because it’s an adventure bike. It is less about speed and more about ride control. You will indeed feel more relaxed and comfortable riding those tough conditions when you are on your BMW 1250.

The KTM 1290 is lighter and has better aerodynamics because it is built to take off like a “Beast.” Of course, you won’t be able to take a lot of gear on it, but when you are rolling on the highways, you probably are not looking to carry any stuff either.

But here’s a thing!

The BMW 1250 does come with a significantly bigger fuel tank, and that’s quite obvious. When you are riding in the wilderness, you will not probably find a gas station that easily. And with a bigger fuel tank, you would care less about any frequent refills.

But conditions on the road are entirely different. When you are riding in the urban area, you will find a gas station more often. So, even with a slightly smaller fuel tank, you can think about going for any refills whenever you need them.

However, you will notice that the BMW 1250 is less friendly to maneuver and handling with a little heavier weight. In comparison, the KTM 1290 is far better because it is built that way and is lighter. So, both these bikes are suitable for riding in the conditions they are designed for, but overall benign lighter the KTM 1290 wins this round.

Suspension and brakes

The next topic is suspension and brakes in this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290. Both these bikes are different because the BMW 1250 is an off-road adventure bike while the KTM 1290 is a naked roadster. Therefore, they will be completely different if we compare them for their suspension and brakes.

The BMW 1250 is going to feature a far stronger suspension system. BMW equips its bikes with telelever front suspension and paralever back suspensions, and the 1250 GS is no different either. Both these suspensions provide plenty of travel, and this adds to the overall ride comfort. No matter how rough the terrain is, your BMW 1250 will keep the ride smooth for you.

On the other hand, the suspension of KTM 1290 is designed more for smoother roads and highways. Plus, you are going to ride at speeds, so you will only need that much suspension.

Still, the 4.7-inch front wheel travel and 6.1-inch rear wheel travel on KTM 1290 is relatively lower than the 7.5-inch front wheel travel and 7.9-inch rear-wheel travel on the BMW 1250.

So, in terms of numbers, the BMW 1250 is ahead of the KTM 1290. But when you consider the conditions, you will notice that the numbers are quite sufficient.

However, the brakes on the KTM 1290 are much stronger than what the BMW 1250 features. The floating disc brakes on the BMW are more suitable for control and weight handling.

In contrast, the mechanical disc brakes on the KTM are better suited for handling speed and ensuring better grip when the RPMs are tripping. So, the BMW 1250 is ahead in suspension, while the KTM 1290 is on top for the brakes.

Ergonomics

Now let’s talk about the ergonomics in this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290. Ergonomically, the BMW 1250 is superior to the KTM 1290 because you will feel more comfortable riding the BMW 1250 for longer distances on rough roads.

The footpegs and the handlebar on the BMW 1250 are pretty easy to access, and the bike also features an adjustable seat height. However, the BMW 1250 is more suitable for taller riders because the bike also comes with pretty decent ground clearance. You will need a taller seat height and more ground clearance as you will take it on off-road adventures.

But that is not the case with the KTM 1290. This machine is designed for road conditions, and you are going to ride it mostly on the highways. So, there is no rough terrain that you will have to deal with.

In other words, you can deal well with less ground clearance. And with less ground clearance, you will have lower seat height as well. So, you don’t need to be tall to ride your KTM 1290. The handlebar and the footpegs are very well placed.

Nevertheless, you will feel some discomfort after riding your KTM 1290 for long hours. A slight back stiffness will be there once you get off your KTM 1290. But it’s not that serious a thing to consider. The KTM 1290 is a comfortable ride, and you will feel nice riding on it. However, in comparison, the BMW 1250 is much better, and so it takes this round.

Looks and aesthetics

This will be a highly subjective matter in this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290. Both these machines are entirely different in terms of looks. The BMW 1250 is an adventure bike, and it looks bulky with a massive chassis and tires. In comparison, this beast is much leaner and far meaner. If you are into heavier and bulkier bikes, then you need to go for the BMW 1250.

For lighter and much more aerodynamic, you should consider going for the KTM 1290. But this matter is much more associated with personal preferences, so we will leave the decision up to you.

Both companies allow you to customize the looks in different ways. The BMW offers various colors and trims options, while the KTM provides a range of different accessories and add-on for your bike.

BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290 – The Similarities

Both these machines are entirely different from one another. But there are some similarities between them as well. And we have highlighted them in the following section for your convenience.

Fuel type

Both these machines run on petrol, but they do come with different fuel tank capacities. The BMW 1250 features a much bigger tank of 5.2 gallons than the 4,2-gallon tank on the KTM 1290.

Gear transmission

Both these machines have almost identical gear transmission systems. They both come with a 6-speed manual transmission system. However, the BMW 1250 features a hydraulic wet clutch, while the KTM 1290 has a hydraulic slipper clutch.

Seating type and capacity

The BMW 1250 and the KTM 1290 both come with dual-stepped seating. However, the seating on the BME 1250 is much more comfortable as it is designed to handle rougher roads.

BMW 1250 GS vs KTM 1290 – Pros & Cons

BMW 1250 GS 2021

Pros

  • A top choice adventure bike.
  • Bigger fuel tank.
  • Excellent suspension.
  • Handles rough terrain very well.
  • Comfortable seating.

Cons

  • Weaker horsepower.
  • Difficult to maneuver.

KTM 1290 2021

Pros

  • Excellent for road conditions.
  • Top choice, naked roadster.
  • Built for speed.
  • High-performing brakes.
  • Better control and lighter weight.

Cons

  • Weak suspensions.
  • Small fuel tank.

Conclusion

The winner of this comparison of BMW 1250 GS vs. KTM 1290 is the KTM 1290 if you are looking for speed and agility, and easier handling on highways. However, for off-road conditions, the BMW 1250 is the better option as it has powerful suspensions and can carry loads. 

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