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2006 BMW K1200GT vs. Yamaha FJR Photo Gallery

2006 BMW K1200GT vs. Yamaha FJR

Three worthy machines, but which one deserves to be crowned the King?
BC and Don talk FJR.
Lavine is usally behind the camera, but we caught him chatting here with BC next to the FJRAE.
We took the two tourers down to the ocean and up the PCH during our testing adventures.
Both the Yamaha and BMW have ample binders, featuring linked and ABS technology. However, back-to-back the FJR got the most praise from our testers.
After we put in some serious miles the BMW's extra options, like cruise control and Electronic Suspension Adjustment, began to add to the Beemer's level of sport-touring comfort.
Ringing in at $5300 less than its rival the FJR represents the clearest bang for your buck, but comes up short when comparing the performance abilities of the two actual machines.
The FJR's windshield wasn't bad, it just wasn't better than the GT's.
The Beemer won out in the adjustable windscreen faceoff, in part, because it stayed in the same position upon restart. A simple trait, but something that became annoying on the FJR due to its absence.
The AE's auto shift took some getting used to, and not everyone appreciated the new design.
A lot of the Beemer's ritzy standard components are made up for on the FJR1300AE by the novel paddle shifter, which took some getting used to but was a fun option on the Yamaha.
Yamaha faithful with have no problem packing on the miles with the '07 crop of FJRs.
The Beemer and Yamaha were neck-in-neck for the faceoff win, but our conflicted riders could all agree that out of the three the FJR1300AE should take third, not because it's a horrible bike, but because its quirky auto clutch dropped its stock in our tester's opinions.
The FJR's luggage (above) required a key to unlock, compared to the GT which offered keyless entry as an option. The two tourer's bags held about the same amount of material and were also equal in their mounting systems.
The two motorcycles we'd be riding if the Axis had won the war... hey, wait a minute.
Three of our comparo testers, Don, Ken, and BC, mug for the camera.
While riding a Super Sport Touring machine, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the traffic approaching from behind. If you're on either FJR, the view to the rear is unobstructed but it's sometimes blurred.
'The paddle shifter takes a while to get used to but it becomes second nature after a little time on the bike,' says Chamberlain.
The GT's Duolever front suspension guides a steady line through turns and all but eliminates front-end dive.
Overall the BMW K1200GT wasn't uncomfortable, but the sloping seat, which had a tendency to push the rider's groin into the tank, most definitely was.
Neither FJR has the array of amenities our loaded BMW test bike does, although the Yamahas have a 12-volt plug in the front storage compartment that's handy for charging a cell phone or powering an electric vest or GPS unit.
Once we hit the big-city traffic in Portland, some of our test riders were able to handle the GT's stiff clutch better than others.
The Beemer's ground clearance was such that throwing the GT around a bend it seemed like we were in greater danger of scraping the saddlebag before the pegs.
BC throws the venerable FJR around a corner.
A journey down Oregon's Highway 42 gave us plenty of twisty surfaces to cut corners on. The FJR took these on without trouble, the trick to riding the FJRAE was at lower speeds, where the paddle shifter was unfamiliar and awkward.
'The Yamaha's ergonomics are far more comfortable than the GT's,' says Creative Director Brian Chamberlain.
The reigning Sport-Touring king, Yamaha's FJR1300, showed how it got its title by getting an across-the-board heads up by our testers when it came to deciding which mount had the most comfortable riding position.
The windshield is probably the most often used of the adjustable components. Both designs work well and provide customized protection from the elements at the touch of a finger.
The headlights of all three bikes were good, but the powerful lamp on the GT outshined its Japanese rival.
With a shorter wheelbase and slightly more aggressive geometry, the FJR was more nimble when negotiating trough turns.
The Beemer can get up to speed in a hurry.
The FJRSAE auto clutch surprised us in the city, with it becoming problematic in stop-and-go traffic.
Three capable sport-touring machines, many miles of open road. Gosh our jobs are rough.
Knowing we need to experience every possible scenario in order call one bike the winner, we put together a nice little look of some of Oregon's best riding country.
Although they are quite similar, the riding position of the FJR was unanimously chosen to be the best by all of our test riders.
Suspension is another aspect where the BMW comes out on top due to its cutting-edge technology, with the ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) allowing the rider to change settings at the touch of a button.
The two FJRs looked the same from but the AE (right) was a different animal thanks to the auto clutch.
As befits a high-end sport-touring machine, the windscreens on both the Yamaha and Beemer are adjustable, with the GT getting a slim nod due to increased protection and the shield remaining in the same position when restarting the bike.
The FJR's LCD display might not have been able to match wits with the Beemer's On Board Computer, but the Yamaha still boasts an attractive and informative instrument cluster.
The AE posted 39.4 mpg, just a bit off the 40.2 mpg average of the standard clutch FJR.
Yamaha has owned the Super Sport Touring class since it coined the term when the FJR1300 was introduced late in 2002.
Any advantage the BMW gets from those 0.4 ponies is squashed by the FJR in the torque department, with the Yamaha's extra 141cc powerplant producing a brawny torque curve.
The Beemer just nipped the Yamaha on the dyno when it came to horsepower, peaking at 124.2 compared to the FJR's 123.8.
The K1200GT is purpose built to up the ante and provide an option in the Super Sport Touring class.
Ringing in at $5300 more than its rival the FJR represents the clearest bang for your buck, but comes up short when comparing the performance abilities of the two actual machines.
We knew the powerful and feature-laden K1200GT was a contender when we tested it during its introduction in Arizona earlier this year.