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2010 Sport-Touring Shootout V Conclusion

Monday, October 18, 2010
2010 Sport Touring Shootout
Now its time for the final rankings. We have returned our scoresheet from last year’s test for consistency, ranking the bikes in a 10-point system: Ten for the winner, 8 for second and 7 for third, with ties possible in each category.

A note on the scoring: We rate bikes and award numeric values because it’s the best system we’ve come up with to rank performance. We concede that sometimes the sum of the parts add up beyond the scoresheet totals. So please accept these evaluations in the manner in which they are given – honest opinion and our best effort to deliver information to the reader. The best bike for each rider depends on a myriad of factors, including personal preference, and will not always be the bike we deem the top rated. The true goal in these shootouts is to examine the differences of these bikes and reveal their personality and character. Please feel free to disagree and share your opinion in the comments section below.

Triumph Sprint GT – 130 points:

2011 Triumph Sprint GT
The Triumph Sprint GT is an all-rounder with improved touring capabilities and the most affordable pricetag.
The GT is a better touring mount than the ST. The bags are beyond spacious and the handling is still sharp but delivers more stability. The long-range comfort has also improved and that is key to touring success. The Inline Triple remains characteristic, even if  the new exhaust robs the Sprint of some charm. The steady power from the three-cyclinder delivers ready torque across the rev range and that is a useful trait whether you intend to do more sport or touring.

The new fairing and swing arm keeps an attractive profile, but head to head with the polished Kawasaki and Honda, the British beauty comes across as less refined. However, its MSRP, by far the lowest in our test, makes up for the complaints and the lack of amenities.

In this three-bike shootout, the Sprint proved the closest kin to the VFR, the two almost a micro-class by themselves - supersport-touring. In pure comfort, it edges out the the Honda by its seat alone, but it just can't keep up with the VFR's potent power and unrivaled handling. As an all-around no frills sport touring bike, the Sprint GT excels.

2010 Kawasaki Concours 14
As a touring platform, the Kawasaki takes the cake, offering the most favorable long-distance amenities in stock trim.
Kawasaki Concours 14 – 130 points:

Believe it or not we hate ties too. But the numbers add up to what the numbers add up to. The Kawi’s engine pulls like an obedient brute, with pure reliable power, everywhere. There’s really no fault to find. But it doesn’t get under our skin quite the same way as the other powerplants. Engineers will toss darts at our mug shot to hear us say it, but can an engine be too refined?

Super comfortable, the Connie is big and built for packing on the miles. Though it feels its size on tighter roads and during low speed maneuvers, riders will be surprised at how this heavyweight handles.

If your métier is piling on miles, the Concours is your bike. Hands down. As Tom repeatedly said as we skirted near the Northwestern-most point of the contiguous U.S., “If we’re heading to Miami tomorrow, I’m taking this sum B.” Regardless of points on a scorecard, if riders weight the touring more than the sport, the C14 wins.

Honda VFR1200F – 142 points:
2010 Honda VFR1200F
The Honda VFR1200F, capable of a trackday and thousand-mile tour, delivers high-performance thrills and a refined gentlemanly package.

We’ve sampled some sporty rides over the years in our ST comparos, but none have been in the same class as the new VFR. Claims that it’s really a cheater may have a ring of truth to it, as it does lack the amenities to make it a full touring rig on the level of the Concours. Yet we piled on the miles and we were none the worse for wear.

Ten miles of twisties on the Honda make up for 90 miles of its less than optimal touring prowess. It’s the on-road performance of its V-Four, faultless brakes and class-leading handling that power it to a win in our measure.

All told the Honda VFR1200F delivers premium sportbike performance in a touring capable package. It’s a bike as comfortable on the racetrack as it is in the fastlane.



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Comments
Bob B, - England -A view from England re - vfr v sprint v gtr  January 30, 2011 06:22 AM
My new Honda vfr 1200f was delivered last saturday 22 january after being painted metalic black by a specialist bike painter here in England,and it looks the business,some pictures of the bike are available on www.bikepics.com just select the vfr 1200 page then select the "all pictures of this bike" option, in this last week ive been out 3 times and on each occasion done around 160 miles and although the temperature here is around the 0 degree mark it's been dry, ive really enjoyed the bike and been very impressed with it so far.The issues that some have had regarding fuel consumption are not a problem for me as a full tank [18.5 litres] took me 156 miles before the warning light came on with one bar left on the fuel gauge and after around 2.5 hours of riding i was pleased to stop for fuel when i refueled it took 14.5 litres so 4 litres still in the tank giving a potential for 200 miles,it would have probably been less had i not been running in a brand new bike and to be fair i didnt go over 4k or much over 70mph.The glitchy fueling that some have mentioned on the forums for me doesnt exist,and could really just be the difference between a carberated bike and an injected one,and its something i would notice believe me as i've had issues with previous bikes on this matter,namely a Harley twin cam night train and even after power commandering it, it had to go i'm afraid,which was a shame as i've owned and built Harley's for the past 30 years. So to Big Al B take a test ride on a vfr before you commit to the sprint as the quality of the honda is superb and you may be able to pick up an ex demo bike with low miles for less than you would pay for a new sprint,As for the GTR1400 kawasaki [concours in the USA]give one a try its an exellent bike and maybe as your name suggests you are a big fella and the size and weight of the thing will not be an issue for you,but for me and the type of riding i do it just was not right.One of the best ways of researching a new bike for me apart from riding one for a couple of hours and that doesnt always work [my GTR being a prime example] is to check out the owners club forums and see what existing owners think of the bike.
Good luck with your search and i hope this helps.
Big Al B. -Sport Touring is a state of mind...  January 28, 2011 09:08 AM
Whether its a sport bike with bags, a stripped down tourer or some frankenstiened dreambike, sport tourers are made by the rider's needs. Sunbelt riders don't necessarily need heated grips. "Pack-light" types don't need huge bags and not everyone "needs" a huge powerband. I currently have a Kawi Z750S with a large tankbag and saddlebags, laminar lip and speed-rack. It does fine for backroads and short highway runs. But I long for a little bigger motor and some more wind protection for longer trips. The Sprint has been on my radar for awhile, and though not perfect, may suit my needs and wallet better than the other 2.
Reginald J -Motorcycling  January 27, 2011 10:56 AM
Having owned a few Gold Wings and most recently the VFR800. I can attest to the fact that the new VFR is all one could ask for. I rode the VFR across the country (46 yr old 5ft9in tall)in six days 2500 miles. Loved it!! Currently over 9k on the bike, two brothers and K&N it fixed all the drivibility complaints. Again I agree with those who have discovered that your preference weight more than any other catagory. I prefer the sporting side thats why I'm not on the Wing, and opted for the VFR over the Connie. Go Ride!!
Bob B, England. -A View from England re -- vfr 1200 v gtr 1400  January 3, 2011 11:09 AM
As a current Gtr 1400 owner [concours in the USA] which i am in the process of exchanging for a vfr 1200f i can honestly say that the gtr is a fantastic bike in nearly every respect and just about the most comfortable bike i've ever ridden but for me it's just to damn big and cumbersome, i have never had a bike before and ive' owned a lot, that i have had to sit in traffic on [43 inches wide at the mirror tips] and although the weight goes away when moving it is a pig to manouever when stationary and thats without luggage and a pillion,i am 5.10 & 13.5 st and fit with almost 40 years riding experience, but when doing a u turn one day i touched the kerb on the opposite side of the road when completing the turn and it put the bike over to about 45 degrees and it was impossible to stop it going over as i could not put both feet flat on the ground due to the camber in the road. When i testroad the bike i also tested a BMW K 1300S and a vfr 1200f within days of each other so as to get a comparison and i quickly decided that the beemer was not for me, it was just impossible to go slow on [168 mph which was the fun bit] but with a horrible on-off throttle and uncomfortable riding position,this left the Honda vfr which after years of riding big jap muscle bikes and harley custom's that ive' built myself i found the vfr very comfortable with a fantastic engine although not as fast as the bmw [only 160mph on the test ride] i can't help myself i just gotta know how fast it goes, the brakes are like nothing i have experienced before and belong on a race bike and the handling was superb,they say fuel consumption is an issue but after riding for 2 hours non stop and around 125miles on English motorways also /A&B roads /and country lanes i returned it to the dealer without the fuel warning light coming on and to be honest i was ready for a break anyway.To sum it up i wished i'd bought the honda in the first place,but English/European riding is possibly different to the USA, we have shitty little roads covered in potholes and an infestation of traffic. I now have around 3 weeks to wait for the bike to be delivered as it's currently being painted metalic black by one on England top bike paint company's.Sorry its so long winded just thought i'd share my experience if its of any help to someone with a similar decision to make.
Jimmy K -comfort seeking  December 8, 2010 04:10 PM
I recently started looking at machines like this as an alternative to pure touring rides. I've looked at classic cruiser bikes mostly and give an eye of envy at the Electra Glides, Goldwings, Royal Stars, etc. Personally I could care less about a high wattage sound system or GPS. A comfortable ride for the long haul that doesn't weigh 900lbs and cost $25k is appealing especially if it can navigate twisties. The Kawi seems to have more features for a median price. The Honda looks nice but why be like the masses that flock to Honda for cars and bikes simply for its name when you can stand out a little with a Kawi or the Triumph. I have not sat on or ridden any of these rides but it seems the Honda would have no appeal aside from being fast. Let's face it though, for fast, I can buy a Hayabusa for thousands less. But to mix the two worlds the Kawi is the first I'll look at. I'll go to Honda if I need a nice generator when the power goes out. haha :)
Steve M -LONG RANT WARNING: Ditto Safety Technology  November 14, 2010 08:09 PM
So now that the ABS answer is in regarding the actual HUGE fatal accident reduction impact (from the Insurance Inst. for Hwy Safety), perhaps we'll not only see ABS become standard fare on ALL motorcycles, but where today ABS is considered standard fare (Sport Tourers), we'll some time hopefully sooner than not, see Traction Control become standard. ...tragic that this entire ABS debate that has raged for so many years within motorcycling, has been a case of motorcycle manufacturers literally listening to the loudest of their target market. (Noting also that some observers have suggested their having also listened perhaps too closely to their defense lawyers against increased litigation liability risk!) Visit any number of forums over the years and it is incredible but very telling, how SO many riders (seemingly the loudest "extremists;" sounds like some of the same folks who have hijacked "the real" political parties) have had themselves convinced they could perform better than ABS. But much worse, their arguably, "loud mouthed cockiness," managed to hoodwink virtually an entire industry (motorcycle makers and much of the "riding sheep public?") for years in thinking "our market really doesn't want ABS yet?" Or, for we riders, "we really ARE better than ABS?" Regrettably, some of this anti-ABS sentiment was a product of outdated Dinosaur Thinking, you could call it, from the earliest ABS systems that didn't work very smoothly. Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly (and then some and; does it show? :) ) with Chris B on the new safety tech, but would add; ...it surely seems to me that one of the single best roles members of the media and especially the motorcycling press can have, is to, ...when time for "the right fight!", ...actually consider a little "bully pulpit" work sometimes. Perhaps one way to do so is to introduce a ranking system for ALL bikes that automatically deducts points when ABS is not present (yes we all know ABS can be built to be switched off like for offroad/ gravel settings). So in the case of this review and by extension, considering also Traction Control, that might have unlocked not just another point to the logical Sport Touring leader here, but perhaps a number of bonus points to the maker that CLEARLY also shows it "cares most" about the life and safety of its target market. MOST IMPORTANTLY, a nice sidebar that STAYS there or comes up with frequency, about the IIHS ABS Study and Motorcycle USA consistently explaining its reasoning behind their new, PIONEERING STAND...on ABS-for-all-bikes PLUS Traction Control for Sport Tourers and soon after...why not also cruisers and sport bikes and...? Somehow the motorcycling public and makers haven't yet done the math. So with reduced insurance premiums just like with automobiles, plus dramatically increased safety when wet and other conditions, these moves would logically stretch the biking season and geographic markets while appealing to an untold number of POTENTIAL buyers, who have stayed on the sidelines WONDERING, "why isn't this technology yet widely adopted in motorcycles when automakers of even the literally cheapest brands have been deploying them for MANY years?" In short, such moves can be counted upon, to grow the market for motorcycles. Who knows, perhaps it may even do so in as dramatic a fashion as events like the Oil Crisis back in the 1970s first helped light the industry on fire, so to speak, onto its historic trajectory after. ...sure a ride should be about fun and entertainment, but based on that IIHS study I reference, my odds are increased dramatically that I will live to enjoy my ride and another, for another day..."just" with ABS. I can only imagine what traction control might weave into the mix and sure, if it only bumps safety by a "measly" 10% or even 5% rather than the huge 37% of the study on ABS fatalities reduction...I will take even that.
Randy Tingler -shaft and chains  November 2, 2010 07:46 PM
I wish you GIRLS would get over yourself. Weight is a big problem with new ST bikes. No one always moves a motorcycle under power of the motor. Weight effects all aspects of riding. I'll take the chain any time and save 100 pounds of weight. Your not using chains manufactured in the 70's it's 2010 move on how many sportbikes today use a shaft right they use a chain and you cry baby testers say nothing about needing a shaft. Save the weight and cost. My Triumph Trophy 1200 has a chain. I have owned a BMW R1100RT, Yamaha VMax, and Honda ST I'll take the weight savings and eliminate the handling changes created by the shaft when will manufactures smell the rubber. SAVE WEIGHT AND MANUFACTURING COST.
BRAD ' Desmo Demon' Walter -Real sport touring bikes  November 1, 2010 09:09 PM
All these bikes are way too heavy- too complicated- too high priced !!!!! Put sport back into traveling on two wheels. The new KTM Supermoto T is better than any of these pigs. It can outhandle these bikes with ease, great power out of curves, and is very easy to maintain. If tou can find one- TEST RIDE IT !!!! The handling is amazing. Small easy to attach compact bags and a sturdy rack will carry what you need. The bikes in this test are nothing but redesigned pathetic goldwings-Gaaaaaggggg!!!!!
Terri -Don't knock VFR until you've ridden it.  November 1, 2010 01:26 PM
Big? Yes. Heavy? A little; but I'm not standing still and posing. Quit whining about the weight and size, considering it's less in both areas than the ST1300. I'm probably smaller and lighter than any of you and I manage mine just fine! Don't like the bars? Get Heli. Don't like the seat? Visit Corbin. If you like the basic platform, then buy it and make it your own.
DoyleW -Who defines a Sport Tourer?  October 27, 2010 11:53 AM
The difficulty in rating a sports touring bike is everyone has a different idea of what one should be. I tend to agree with Bob about the BMW R1100S as I have one, but I also have a Guzzi Norge for trips with more straight and less curves. Heck, I toured the country in 1976 on a Yamaha RD400 and thought it was the perfect bike. But this doesn't make any of the other bikes "less" as a sports tourer, only a different focus. I would only expect to agree with this type of comparison if they only reviewed bikes that matched my idea of sports touring. When I read these tests, I modify their scores to match what I feel is most important, ie weight and handling and can usually figure which one would work best.
backroadbob.com -Rhodes Scholar  October 27, 2010 07:32 AM
Nice review, but sport-tourers should weight less than 600 pounds (fueled without bags). Despite all the aluminum and magnesium in these bikes, they all weight too much. That weight is a detriment whether you're doing 20 or 120 (a good test for a sport-tourer if it can do that in one gear). A sport-tourer should be sub-600 pounds, have plenty of power, a minimum of shifting, shaft drive, and ergos to comfortably ride 500 miles of twisty two laners in a day. Maybe the Sprint is a sport-tourer, but the rest are not.
Twowheeladdict -My Sport Tourer...  October 27, 2010 05:58 AM
is a 2007 Ninja 650R with GIVI luggage, adjustable foot pegs, touring windshield, heated gloves and jacket liner, and spencer modified seat. I can go anywhere these big bikes can go for less than half the $. Very few sport tourers ride two up. When are the manufacturers going to make mid size sport touring machines?

I guess next year the new Ninja 1000 with bags will be in the test.
Stouty -informative  October 26, 2010 06:07 PM
I appreciate the reviews, thanks. I'm considering a new ride and the more info I can find the better. The VFR is a possibility, but I never considered the Triumph, I will definitely take a look that way now. While some here seem to think everything fits in a nice little box, this is what you had to work with, and I think the reviews were helpful and informative.
Rob Alexander -Alright, but...  October 26, 2010 01:26 PM
...my next sport-touring bike will still be a KTM 990 SM-T! :-)
Bob -Catagorically Disappointed  October 26, 2010 12:37 PM
What defines s "sport tourer" in recent years really bothers me. The bikes are getting bigger, longer, heavier and more expensive than ever. The so called new STs are simply slightly smaller touring rigs.

I just got back from a 2 week 4900 mile trip from Houston, TX through, Memphis, Cincinati, Pitt and Philly, the Adirondaks, Niagra, across Canada to Upper Michigan, to Indy, St Louis and finally back home. All said...9 days of riding and 7 visiting family and friends.

What did I do it on? A 2004 BMW R1100S with ABS. 525 lbs fully fuelled with hard cases...andthat's with the heavy cat and servo brake system. It has a 57.5" wheelbase (1.5" longer than a race rep). The power is seriously weak but the suspension is fully adjustable. I have Ohlins on it but even the OEM was fully adjustable save compression on the front. 141,000 miles on it now including trips to Alaska and Nova Scotia. Done those same 2 trips on my Buell X1 8 years ago.

What's my point? A true sport tourer should barely be bigger and heavier than a real sport bike...just include side cases, heated grips and slightly more comfy riding posture. If you want to take a passenger and car roof rack full of junk, get one of the bikes in the test. There is little "sport" in any of those bikes. Mostly "tour."

The bikes in the test should be classified as Gran Tourers because of their size and heft.

Me, I'll be waiting for Kawasaki's Z1000SX when it comes stateside. I really wanted a better Sprint GT but it looks like Triumph abandoned the "last" small "sport" touring bike available. The Z1000SX is small, light and full of true sport features like fully adjustable suspension and chassis geometry and will offer Givi designed cases.
Tim S. -Good Job  October 26, 2010 06:30 AM
Cmon guys, give them a break. They only had three bike available and they tested them. They were also honest about the fact that the Connie was the best tourer and the VFR the best sport bike. I for one enjoyed reading the writeup about how the different bikes compared to each other. You should each be smart enough to determine which bike fits YOUR needs the best. Also, chain drive isn't really that bad. I would rather have my current chain drive than BMW's shaft drive that is way more likely to strand me in the middle of nowhere. It takes 3 minutes every 500 miles to spray it down good.

IMO the sport touring bikes of today are to biased towards touring. If I was to buy one of the three I'd lean towards the VFR and then put some comfort mods on it. I don't need to take the kitchen sink and I don't want a barge.
Bob Rove -Nice!  October 23, 2010 07:30 PM
Nice to see a bike with some sport in it again! There is no shortage of tankers out there the size of small cars. Too bad the rest of the gang wouldn't put out some mid sized sport tourers again. Not all of us want to ride 2-up and carry 400 lbs of junk. I want sport with some extra's and nothing more. Even the new VFR, which is the only sporty one left, is too big a tank.
Del Noroeste -That's the third shootout in a row...  October 22, 2010 06:28 PM
where the wrong bike won. I'm awfully tired of the motorcycle press trying to convince everyone that the new VFR is a sport tourer, when it is not identified as such by Honda. As far as I'm concerned, there were only two sport tourers in this test, plus a sport bike with bags added on. I used to enjoy reading your website, but stuff like this makes me want to delete my bookmark.
MCUSA - Bart -Touring Entries  October 22, 2010 04:50 PM
As we explained in the intro page of this year's shootout, we were limited in our list of entries by the bikes that were made available. Hopefully our 2011 comparison will be more comprehensive. As it stands, we danced with them what brung us, the result was the three-bike shootout you just read.

But we're always open for comparison ideas and improvements for our scoring system. We write the these tests for you folks, so keep the feedback coming. How can we improve.

As for torque and hp comparison charts, they are in each bike's corresponding photo gallery. Here are quicklinks:
http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/PhotoGallerys/10_sporttour_hp.jpg
http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/PhotoGallerys/10_sporttour_torque.jpg
BillyRoads -Results  October 22, 2010 04:31 PM
I enjoyed reading about these bikes, but your scoring system makes no sense. If the difference between first and third places is only 3 points, why have them scored out of 10? Why does a bike that weighs nearly 100 lbs more than the second-heaviest only get one point less? And why can't we see the dyno runs compared on one chart so we can see how they compare?
Bram Frank -Why call this an ST shootout . . .  October 22, 2010 01:57 PM
I'm surprised that neither BMW nor Yamaha loaned machines for this shootout - it isn;t as if Yamaha did anything to the FJR for 2011 (your conjecture that they have something in store notwithstanding) and the BMW is an amazing platform, albeit way too expensive.

So two of the main players in the category were missing, and one of the ringers you shoehorned in (the Triumph)one of the contenders doesn't even have shaft drive and the other (the VFR)you included is more properly sport bikes with (extremely expensive) accessory side cases.

Shame on you.

I haven't ridden the Triumh, but for long rides and for MY demographic (which is as you described) the VFR is a back breaker, plain and simple. I couldn't do a 10,000 mile trip on any of the three reviewed, the Concours being excluded for me solely because of it's anemic gas tank and overtall stance.

If the proper machines HAD been reviewed, I suspect that the outcome would have been:

1. K1300GT (because you guys don't factor pricing into the comparison)
2. The FJR - it may not have traction control, but it is low enough to the ground for almost anyone of normal stature to flatfoot, handles magnificently, brakes ferociously and it has gobs of low end torque
3. The Concours - it's key failings being that it is a bit anemic where it counts the most - below 3,000 RPM and it has limited range.

One bike I DO want to check out is BMW's answer to the Goldwing, the K1600GT - I suspect that it will fully qualify as a Sport Tourer on steroids.

Until then, let's all remember that some of the criteria for ST machines is that they have shaft drive, full fairings, standard hard cases and long range on a single fillup.

So for 2010 I suppose there was no practical shootout.
Greg B -Scapegoat  October 22, 2010 01:47 PM
Honda's website identifies and categorizes the VFR as a sportbike, and always has. The flagship (top of the line) sportbike need not be an RR, race replica. Kudos to BMW, (K1300S), Suzuki, (Hayabusa), Kawasaki, (ZX-14), and Honda for making sportbikes that fit real people who might not do as many track days as they used to. The fact that these larger and more-refined bikes can be equipped to tour is a bonus. But, who said they were "Sport Tourers?" Aren't they simply GT's, i.e. long-distance and 2-up capable sportbikes? I think of a gran turismo car as a fixed-roof sports car, with perhaps a tiny back seat and trunk, akin to the VFR, Sprint GT, etc.
Rider -Not Sport "Touring" Bikes  October 22, 2010 01:43 PM
The bikes you tested are not "sport touring" bikes. They are a rebagged sport bike. The only real "sport touring" bikes are the BMW RT and GT bikes that were designed from the ground up to be a sport touring motorcycle and not a reworked sport bike. I can not really believe that you seriously consider these bikes to be any kind of touring bike unless your "tours" are 150 miles or less. Hey guys lets take our sport bike and hang some bags on it and we can call them sport touring bikes. Yea that's the ticket.
Claude pardo -The Connie is the true Sport Touring Champ. C'mon guys....  October 21, 2010 10:00 AM
had an 08 Connie and just traded for the stunning blue 10 connie.
The Concours is a true sport Touring mount. Bulletproof engineering and all the features I want except cruise control . Kawasaki has thought long and hard on this bike and for the money there is no substitute. Taking her to Europe for 2 weeks next summer. The bike is proven and dead reliable and just flat out works. Lots of guys have over 200,000 miles on OLD connies....This is the new standard bearer of Sport touring in North America. Honda has some work to do as its just not there. Not enough features and too pricy and that seat !! yuk....The new fairing , mirrors, heat management and heated grips made it for me. Ride on. Claude in Toronto
Max -Category Errors  October 21, 2010 09:53 AM
I don't know why knowledgeable magazines can't put similar bikes in a comparison test. The VFR is the same layout as BMW K1300S. The C14 completes with the FJR, Honda ST, and K1300LT. The Triumph belongs with other chain drive bikes with hard bags: the Suzi Bandit, Kawi 1000.
MikeD -MrBill...  October 20, 2010 06:56 PM
Most testers as in biased previous owners from previous generations that are used to overweight motorcycles?
Its bags are tiny(not a tourer), fuel tank and range tiny(not a tourer),no fully adjustable suspension(whats the $16k buying u, a nice paintjob?), Overpriced 2Wheeled Accord.
The C14 gives u a lot more and then some for less money.
Only Honda blind minions would not see that.

Lay off the Honda Kool-Aid.

It just don't fit in this segment, the VFR1200T will do that.
Brian -One UGLY motorcycle  October 20, 2010 03:20 PM
The VFR is kinda like dating a ugly chick....still fun to ride, but you don't want your friends to see you on one
MrBill -Motard  October 20, 2010 02:37 PM
I guess the Shamu comment refers to the VFR. As a very happy rider of a 94 VFR, I can see that the new one could be a much more powerful bike but with similar ergos and road feel (however updated / extra weight). I am guessing MikeD has not ridden one as most testers think it goes pretty well on the road. I don't know if I would like it or not WITHOUT having ridden it. In any case, filling a niche is only necessary for those attached to labels. It works, or not, for the rider and who cares what the uninformed think. Some speculation is interesting, some is not.
MikeD -What a Joke.  October 20, 2010 02:08 PM
Again, SHAMU had to be the ToolMedia's little darling.
That overweight 2 wheeled aircraft-carrier thats so confused it can't fill any niche at all. Not a sport-tourer, not a sportbike, a nothing.
MCUSA -Correction  October 20, 2010 01:53 PM
The Kawasaki brakes are linked front to rear and text has been amended. The front-to-rear linkage is constant, unlike the rear-to-front, which offer two setting options as previously mentioned.
Sloan -Where did my comment go?  October 20, 2010 09:23 AM
So what happened to my earlier posted comments about the VFR1200f verses the ST1300 and VFR800? I'm not seeing them any longer. Did somebody not like that I gave so many examples where I thought the new VFR falls short of VFR800 and ST1300 in real usability? Don't get me wrong, the VFR1200f is a nice motorcycle but unless you want the dual-clutch model, it doesn't really have many other advantages over the Honda's that are approaching 10 year old designs. I have Concours 14 riding experience too and for a practical sport-touring bike, I think it's better suited than the new Honda too (and I'm VERY much a Honda lover)
Al Hurt -Touring Rider  October 20, 2010 08:39 AM
Sport touring is a lot of fun. I have a BMW 1200 Lt and for two up it is great. I am looking forward to test riding a new BMW 1600 GT. I think it will be next in my stable.
Mick M -2010 C14 Owner  October 20, 2010 08:37 AM
Concours is pronounced Con Coor (no s) watch the Kawasaki.com videos if you don't believe me http://www.kawasaki.com/products/product-specifications.aspx?id=442&scid=25 Even Greg White gets it right. On the tech specs, the VVT does NOT alter the camshaft profile, it alters the intake camshaft timing. Also, the brakes are linked front to rear AND rear to front above 12 MPH. They are impressive in both the 'standard' and 'high combined' modes. In standard mode, you can trail-brake with no ill effects in the twisties. For my money, the big Kawasaki is WAY more bike for the money and the added features make it the best all-around performer.
Morvegil -Sprint  October 20, 2010 08:13 AM
I have a Sprint ST. I;ve driven all those bikes, i like the Sprints Torque and handling!!!
Jay Mack -President  October 20, 2010 07:11 AM
Wait a minute. Those are pretty arbitrary and unweighted catagories. MPG and horsepower weighted equally? Price and torque weighted equally? Engine personality and range weighted equally?

And where are the points for self-cancelling turn signals, heated hand grips, easy maintenance, simplicity of concept?

Personally, the coming Suzuki Bandit 1250GT appeals more to me than any of these.
Mark J. -Shaft Drive defines Sport Touring  October 20, 2010 06:34 AM
When a see a chain drive all I can think is Sunday afternoon play toy. Then spend time after the ride to clean and lube the chain. Then spend time cleaning the rear wheel. Then spend $$$ on replacement chains and sprockets after a season or two of hard all weather riding.

When I see a shaft drive I think of riding coast to coast with no maintenance. There is no way I would consider a motorcycle a sport touring bike unless it at least has shaft drive.

Chris B. -Let me be the first...  October 19, 2010 03:10 PM
...to disagree with the results. Ok, ok, I'm a bit biased being a '09 Concours owner. But c'mon, I can throw a pair of soft bags across a Ducati and call it a Sport-Tourer. It really doesn't make it so. That's how I feel about the Honda, it seems (and feels, I sat on one) more like a sport bike. I feel with all the "touring amenities" on the Concours along with all the new safety technology, it should be harder to beat. Just my opinion, thanks. Question. How was the wrists after miles on the Honda?