2008 Super Sport-Touring Comparo Conclusion

Bart Madson | February 4, 2008
2008 Super Sport-Touring Comparo
Our 2008 Super Sport-Touring Shootout saw many miles of fog and rain, but the miles were memorable skirting the California coast.

2008 Super Sport-Touring Conclusion

After recuperating in some dry clothes our test riders got down to the task of rating these incredible machines. As is often the case, picking a winner is the most difficult aspect of our testing process, so we leave it up to the raw numbers from the scoresheet. Our evaluation form is broken down into ten categories, with ten points possible for each. We also doled out five points apiece for the standings in dyno horsepower, dyno torque, tank-empty weight and range. The following are our results.

Fourth: Honda ST1300
Rating: 91.25
Engine: User Friendliness 8.8
Engine: Open-Road Performance 8.8
Transmission/Clutch 9.5

At its highest setting the Honda ST1300 windscreen provided plenty of protection  blocking out the wind and rain entirely for most of our testers.
The Honda ST1300 may have finished fourth, but it surprised us with able handling and a smooth, yet lively, motor.

Handling/Chassis/Suspension 8.3
Brakes 8.8
Ergonomics/Riding Position 8.5
Fit & Finish/ Instruments/Cockpit 7.5
Appearance 7.0
Grin Factor 7.8
Value 7.5
Dyno Horsepower 1
Dyno Torque 2
Tank-Empty Weight 1
Range 5

While we aren’t shocked that the Honda took fourth in this ultra-competitive class, the ST1300 surprised us. Based just on looks, the Honda appears slow and conservative, yet behind the controls the heavy machine is deceptively fast and an able handler. As a solid touring platform, the tried and tested ST1300 has the benefit of age and Honda’s touring expertise. Although we only had 1000 miles in the saddle, we have a feeling the V-Four will run for decades and come 2015 there will be plenty of old codgers refusing to abandon their stalwart ST1300s.

The K1200GT utilizes BMW s proprietary Duolever and Paralever units for suspension duties  delivering a respective 4.5 and 5.3 inches of front and rear travel.
Although it didn’t fare as well in this year’s comparo, the BMW K1200GT is a fantastic sport-touring mount.

Third: BMW K1200GT
Rating: 95.5
Engine: User Friendliness 8.5
Engine: Open-Road Performance 9.3
Transmission/Clutch 8.3
Handling/Chassis/Suspension 8.0
Brakes 7.3
Ergonomics/Riding Position 9.0
Fit & Finish/ Instruments/Cockpit 9.5
Appearance 8.5
Grin Factor 8.5
Value 6.8
Dyno Horsepower 4
Dyno Torque 1
Tank-Empty Weight 5
Range 2

How does the mighty fall? Well, credit the finicky tastes of our testing crew. The BMW was victorious in our 2006 comparo by a narrow 3-2 vote. Of those five testers, only two carried over from ’06. The blights on the Beemer scorecard came in the braking and value department. Still, the BMW has a gratifying motor and can be pushed hard in the curves. Many of our impoverished riders whined that if they had the disposable income, the exclusive BMW would be their bike of choice.

Compared to its competition  the C14 s windscreen left us wanting more protection from the elements.
While its mega motor impresses, the Kawasaki Concours 14 falls short in the final scoring. Improving range and low-speed handling just might push the new Connie over the top.

Second: Kawasaki Concours 14
Rating: 98.25
Engine: User Friendliness 8.8
Engine: Open-Road Performance 9.3
Transmission/Clutch 8.3
Handling/Chassis/Suspension 7.5
Brakes 8.3
Ergonomics/Riding Position 8.5
Fit & Finish/ Instruments/Cockpit 8.3
Appearance 9.0
Grin Factor 8.5
Value 9.0
Dyno Horsepower 5
Dyno Torque 5
Tank-Empty Weight 2
Range 1

Sometimes an all-new model blows the doors off its competitors. Other times it takes a few years to dial it in. The C14 is a noble first-year effort from Kawasaki, but it’s monster motor doesn’t make up some of its deficiencies. The Kaw felt less spry than its competition in the handling department, and with its greedy motor demanding constant open-throttle application, the 5.8-gallon tank was always the first to need filling. Sub-200-mile range does not befit a “touring” bike. Still the C14’s got the looks and motor to spare. Find a way to add another gallon capacity, while improving its low-speed handling and the new Connie just might come out on top in future comparos.

Suspension is provided by Yamaha s Soqi 48mm fork and a single rear shock  each unit delivering a respective 5.4 and 4.8 inches travel.
Although a 2007 model, the Yamaha FJR1300 claims victory in our 2008 shootout by exhibiting no major weakness.

First: Yamaha FJR1300
Rating: 106.25 (96.75 AE)
Engine: User Friendliness 8.8 (8.0)
Engine: Open-Road Performance 8.8 (8.3
Transmission/Clutch 8.8 (8.0)
Handling/Chassis/Suspension 9.8 (9.5)
Brakes 9.8 (9.8)
Ergonomics/Riding Position 8.5 (8.5)
Fit & Finish/ Instruments/Cockpit 9.0 (9.0)
Appearance 9.0 (9.0)
Grin Factor 9.5 (8.8)
Value 9.5 (7.0)
Dyno Horsepower 3 (2)
Dyno Torque 4 (3)
Tank-Empty Weight 4 (3)
Range 4 (3)

The Yamaha does nothing wrong and everything well. While its motor can’t match the Kawi or BMW, it is a more than capable powerplant. The FJR looks sharp, has impressive fit and finish and is an absolute dream when the road starts getting curvy. The unique paddle-shifting AE version fared better this year, moving up from last place to just ahead of the BMW.

Check out what our test riders would pick if it was their money on the line in ourĀ For My Money section.

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Bart Madson

MotoUSA Editor | Articles | Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for 10 years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to motorcycle racing reports and industry news features.

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