Sunday, February 01, 2009

Face-off: Moto Morini Granpasso vs BMW R1200GS


Moto Morini Granpasso vs BMW R1200GS, Italian panache vs German engineering...

In terms of genuine all-around capability as well as that carefully cultivated ‘adventure’ image, the BMW R1200GS is pretty much at the top of its game. Not that it prevents other manufacturers from trying to wrest the big Beemer’s crown though. One of the latest challengers in the arena is the Moto Morini Granpasso. Moto Revue recently had the opportunity pit the two bikes against each, and here are some excerpts from what they had to say:

Starting off on the two bikes, the first thing that strikes you is the height of their saddles – 875mm for the Moto Morini, 850-870mm (adjustable) for the BMW. Both bikes need fairly tall riders, otherwise you have to stand on the tips of your toes to keep your balance when these bikes are at rest. It’s just as well, then, that Moto Morini plan to launch a new version of the Granpasso soon, which will come with an 830mm seat height…

The R1200GS is bigger and heavier than the Granpasso. The BMW is 935mm wide and weighs 244 kilos, while the Moto Morini is only 850mm wide and at 234kg, it is 10 kilos lighter. The Granpasso looks more elegant, like the KTM 990 Adventure, while the R1200GS is bigger and bulkier, like the Moto Guzzi Stelvio.

At 13,450 euros, the BMW is more expensive than the Moto Morini, which comes in at 12,990 euros. Both bikes are fairly high-tech and well equipped. The BMW is fitted with the Bavarian company’s Telelever (front) and Paralever (rear) suspension, with shaft drive. The Moto Morini comes with an adjustable Öhlins shock, hydroformed aluminium swingarm, tubular-steel chassis from Verlicchi, Excel wheels and Brembo brakes.

On the move, both bikes feel quite manageable. The BMW’s riding position is very good and all the controls are quite intuitive. The Moto Morini’s clutch is a bit stiffer and the gearbox isn’t quite as slick and accurate as the BMW’s. The BMW also inches ahead in terms of overall comfort and weather protection, with its big, padded saddle and adjustable windscreen scoring higher than the Moto Morini’s.


The Granpasso is sportier, the R1200GS is more versatile and comfortable...

The Moto Morini seems better suited to smooth tarmac, while the BMW is better at handling the rough stuff. The German bike is slower to respond to rider inputs – it doesn’t change direction very quickly, and can be a bit tricky to manage under hard braking, though things seem to improve a bit with the optional electronically adjustable suspension (ESA). But while the BMW is better off-road, the Moto Morini is better on the tarmac – it feels more responsive and is quicker and faster than the Beemer.

The Granpasso is more focused towards being sporty, while the BMW is more versatile and comfortable. The Moto Morini’s seat, which feels quite comfortable initially, starts feeling a bit too stiff after a while. Also, its adjustable windscreen isn’t as effective as the BMW’s – wind turbulence seems to be a constant problem at almost all speeds – and its brakes aren’t as powerful as those on the German bike. Finally, the Granpasso’s 6.2m turning radius, compared to the BMW’s 4.9m, is a big disadvantage for the Italian machine, especially in the city, on narrow roads and while making U-turns.

The wide open road is where the Moto Morini really belongs – that’s where its 1,187cc v-twin can really breathe. Designed by Franco Lambertini, the Italian engine sounds almost like an American V8 at times and quite encourages you to be generous with the throttle, rewarding you with satisfying bursts of power. Measured on our test bench, the Moto Morini engine produced 120.5bhp, a bit more than the BMW 1,170cc boxer-twin’s 112.5bhp.

In the real world, the Granpasso’s 8bhp advantage isn’t enough to give it a significant performance edge over the R1200GS. If anything, the German engine feels smoother at low revs, while the Italian engine feels more free-revving and delivers its punch in the higher reaches of its rev range. In the end, both engines deliver the goods though the way they do it feels quite different. Both bikes are quite competent – it’s just that they do things in their own unique way…

For the full article, visit the Moto Revue website here

Also see:
All-new dual-purpose Ducati to be unveiled later this year...?
Kawasaki Z900-based dirt-tracker...
Kevin Schwantz on what he teaches nowadays...
A Yamaha R1 that's not scared of the Ducati 1098...
Repsol KTM 690 Rally: What lies beneath...
The BMW-powered, Lotus-designed snow scooter from hell...
Harley-Davidson to revive Cagiva...?
Riding impression: Moto Guzzi Millepercento BB1...

Elsewhere today:
Size matters: V8-powered motorcycles...


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