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>>R1200GS and 1190 Adventure buyers have more to consider than just MSRP.

The BMW R1200GS and KTM 1190 Adventure R pretty much rule the roost among the adventure heavyweights, but at what cost to the wearer of the helmet? This question was answered to an extent in a long-term test by Cycle World magazine that not only pitted these liter-class adventure bikes against each, but also revealed some potentially costly surprises.

For starters, KTM 1190 Adventure owners should have KTM’s Dust Protection Kit installed that, at $189.79, is a fraction of the cost of a complete top end rebuild due to a flawed airbox and filter design. While the warranty took care of the repair bill, it’s a cautionary tale well worth heeding by all 1190 Adventure owners.

The BMW R1200GS has its own engineering issues. The standard crash bars could not prevent a cracked cylinder head cover during an off-road incident, but at least the warranty covered the replacement of the rear and front shocks. A new clutch was also needed with parts priced at $1,458.46.

Teutonic design does come at a price as the installation of the Beemer’s horn button illustrates. To replace the red button, a new handlebar pod needed to be fitted that with labor came to a whopping $448.10.

In all fairness, these bikes were ridden exceedingly hard by accomplished riders who didn’t spare the horses over some seriously challenging terrain. Put differently, the kind of punishment meted out to the BMW and KTM would have tested most adventure bikes, not to mention their riders.

With large parts of the mileage done off-road, it’s not surprising that the bikes burnt rubber at an alarming rate – five sets at just over 11 000 miles. Similarly, both bikes also required a new set of rear brake pads at $120.69 for the GS and $85.95 for the KTM.

The cost of maintenance – $1,858.98 for the BMW and $1,641.95 for the KTM – highlights the immutable fact that ownership cost of these machines does not come cheap. But, as the aficionados of the R1200GS and KTM 1190 Adventure R point out, most price concerns are dwarfed by the versatility, comfort and capability of these technological marvels.

Adventure Bike Model Long-Term Comparison

2014 BMW R1200GS 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure R
Price as Tested $21,671 $18,134
Total Miles Ridden 11,064 11,837
Maintenance Costs $1,858.98 $1,641.95
Repair Costs $3,173.87 $230.00
Next Service Mileage 18,000 18,600