Testing 5 adventure bikes: BMW, Yamaha, Honda, Triumph, Husqvarna | Portugal calling
Very early in the year, a Touratech team with five Adventure Bikes set off for a photo shoot in the south of Portugal. The riders not only gain many live impressions of the latest accessories, but also get to know some ingenious routes in the Enduro paradise of Alentejo.
For the next four days, we set up camp in a lovingly renovated historic house in the village of Ermidas-Sado. The cosy domicile is run by Margarida Salgado, a TV presenter in her main job, but otherwise an adventure rider with heart and soul.
On the way to Ermidas-Sado, we already visited the first photo spot of our session: The famous Minas de São Domingos. Surely known to some readers from the film about ACT Portugal, the mine has been in operation since pre-Christian times and experienced its first heyday between 12 and 397 A.D. Since then, it mainly produced copper until its closure in 1966. Today, one can only shake one's head at the environmental damage left behind by this mine. However, the morbid fascination of this location can not only serve as a reminder for future generations, but also constitutes the perfect set for our first shoot.
BMW R 1250 GS
"Overall, the BMW R 1250 GS is the most balanced vehicle. We did not only ride the off-road sections of the O Nosso Dakar – a Touratech PT event that occurred just days earlier, but also had to master the motorway passage from Lisbon to the Algarve, the main road with the most curves per kilometre in Portugal and then the transfer via Madrid to the Pinguinos meeting near Valladolid. With luggage, without luggage and on the stage where we carried all the luggage off-road, the GS was simply unbeatable. For me as an intermediate off-road rider, the GS is the bike with the widest range of features that gives you a feeling of security in all situations. Additionally, you have the powerful boxer engine and good wind and weather protection, which allows you to ride a fast road section in a relaxed manner even in the early morning at 0 degrees Celsius."
Statement Martin Wickert, CMO Touratech
Parts BMW R 1250 GS from Martin
- Fairing crash bar stainless steel, black for BMW R1250GS€332.68(£288.70)
- Tail bag Touring€151.16(£131.18)
- Luggage rack side bags Touring for BMW R1250GS/ R1200GS (LC)€100.74(£87.42)
Not far from our accommodation is another mine, the Minas do Lousal, which helped the entire region to work and achieve a certain prosperity between 1900 and 1988 - which vanished into thin air when the mine closed. With subsidies from the EU, the region is now slowly managing to develop alternatives to mining, such as tourism. In any case, a fascinating region and exemplary for the "other" Portugal, away from the beaches.
The next great backdrop for our photo shoot will be wild Atlantic coast, which is also only a 45-minute ride on our adventure bikes away. Even though you're not allowed to ride on the beach, of course, there are always small gravel paths that lead close to the cliffs, so that the fully equipped bikes can be impressively showcased.
Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin DCT
"What moves us in life are the challenges. With motorbikes, technological innovation is one of our greatest challenges. The Africa Twin DCT is proof of this. At first, the absence of the clutch lever seems unusual, but you soon learn to appreciate the DCT. No matter if you are on-road or off-road - the dual-clutch transmission always finds the right gear ratio. Once you get used to it, you learn to enjoy what really matters: the riding!"
Statement Margarida Salgado, TV-Moderatorin
Parts Honda Africa Twin from Margarida
- Fairing crash bar black for Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin€332.68(£288.70)
- ZEGA Evo aluminium pannier system for Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin (-2021)€1,260.41(£1,093.77)
- Windscreen S tinted for Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin€141.07(£122.42)
- Engine Guard ”Expedition” for Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin€302.42(£262.44)
Porto Covo, south of the town of Sines, offers a variety of riding opportunities and attractive subject for photography. In Porto Covo itself, we enjoy the colourful culinary and cultural offerings. The town is quite crowded in summer, but we only have to share the charming scenery with a few surfers and windsurfers this early in the year. The beautiful beaches are largely deserted during the cool season.
Sines presents an ambivalent picture. On one side, there is the wonderful old city centre, dominated by the 15th century fortress, and the wonderful beaches. On the other hand, Sines is characterised by a refinery and a container port. The latter is part of the city's long seafaring tradition, which produced the great explorer Vasco da Gama.
Triumph Tiger 1200
"During the photoshoot, I was riding the bike that I had set up for my participation in the Baja Portalegre Rally. I fitted some protectors from the Touratech range to protect the Triumph Tiger 1200 from damage in tough off-road conditions. The protector equipment includes the crash bars and the engine protector as well as the Defensa hand protectors. This makes the 1200 perfectly prepared for demanding off-road rides. Of course, after the race and after our participation in the O nosso Dakar, I mounted the ZEGA Evo pannier system again, since we had to cover longer distances on the photo tour."
Statement Filipe Elias, Head of Touratech Portugal
Parts Triumph Tiger 1200 from Filipe
- Fairing crash bar Triumph Tiger 1200 GT/ GT Pro/ Rally Pro (2022-)€302.42(£262.44)
- "Expedition" engine guard / skid plate for Triumph Tiger 1200 (2022-)€302.42(£262.44)
- Tail bag "Ibarra Sport"€60.41(£52.42)
- Compañero Rambler Trousers, men€605.04(£525.05)€605.04(£0.00)
- Compañero Rambler Jacket, men€907.56(£787.57)€907.56(£0.00)
- ZEGA Evo aluminium pannier system for Triumph Tiger 1200 (2022-)€1,260.41(£1,093.77)
Finally, a few kilometres inland, we take the gravel roads around the Barragem de Campilhas reservoir and enjoy the landscape around the artificial water surface.
Husqvarna Norden 901
"At the O Nosso Dakar, the Husqvarna Norden 901 proved itself in tough off-road use. The chassis is very harmoniously tuned so that the necessary traction is always available. During our photo shoot, we had numerous sandy stretches by the sea under our wheels. Here, too, the Norden was convincing with the successful interaction of the pleasantly rideable Twin and the solid chassis."
Statement Marc Pelzer, Touratech Owner
Parts Husqvarna Norden 901 from Marc
- Mudguard riser for original mudguard for KTM and Husqvarna€45.28(£39.29)
- ZEGA Topcase rack, black, for Husqvarna Norden 901€171.32(£148.67)
- Side stand base extension for KTM 890 Adventure/ 790 Adventure€60.41(£52.42)
The coastal region of the Alentejo is fascinating for is its diversity in a small area. The attractions range from desert-like sand dunes right by the sea in the Lagoas de Santo André e da Sancha National Park, to the mines of São Domingos. Deep sandy stretches, muddy tracks, wide fast gravel sections or deep fords leave nothing to be desired, even for spoilt travel Enduro riders.
Yamaha Ténéré 700
"I was lucky enough to ride the Ténéré 700 with the prototype of our new EVO shock. I had ridden the T7 once before during an ACT film shoot, where I had noticed minor weaknesses in the suspension under heavy use. This was a small downer given the great, high-torque engine and excellent value for money. Equipped with our new EVO shock, the T7 has completely wowed me with significant improvements in riding comfort, traction and, most importantly, the newfound ease with which it handles challenging terrain."
Statement Elvio Andrade, Head of International Sales Touratech
Parts Yamaha Ténéré 700 from Elvio
- Brake lever extension Yamaha Tenere 700 / World Raid€45.28(£39.29)
- Engine Guard Expedition for Yamaha Tenere 700 EURO5€332.68(£288.70)
- Hand protectors DEFENSA Expedition for Yamaha Tenere 700 / World Raid€181.42(£157.43)€181.42(£0.00)
- "Works" long-distance foot pegs for Yamaha Tenere 700 / World Raid€151.16(£131.18)
- Pillion seat bag EXTREME Edition, by Touratech Waterproof€221.75(£192.43)
- Windscreen Adjustment Pro for Yamaha Tenere 700 / World Raid€110.82(£96.17)
- Progressive fork springs for Yamaha 700 Tenere ab 2019€190.58(£165.38)