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2009 BMW K1300GT Comparison

Monday, November 9, 2009
2009 BMW K1300GT Touring Shootout
2009 BMW K1300GT
MSRP: $21,045 ($19,150 ABS base without options)
Horsepower: 139.9 hp @ 9400 rpm
Torque: 86.1 lb-ft @ 7900 rpm
Weight: 667 lbs Range: 254 miles
BMW’s K series touring platform arrives for 2009 with one major upgrade – an all-new 1293cc engine. The larger, more powerful mill necessitated a new name, the BMW K1300GT. Not that the previous 1157cc version was a slouch, as the K1200GT won of our 2006 comparison in its first entry. But do an extra 136cc really make that big of a difference?

Consider the dyno runs: Our 2008 test unit spun MCUSA’s dyno drum to a 123.6 hp peak, while the 2009 bike topped things off at 139.9 hp. That’s right, the BMW doesn’t just knock the Kawasaki off the top of the horsepower hill, it tacked on an extra 6 hp more for good measure. Torque jumped too, from 79.7 lb-ft to 86.1 lb-ft. The extra oomph and displacement comes via 1mm-wider bore (80mm) and 5.3mm-longer stroke (64.3mm), along with other revised internals (for complete details read our 2009 BMW K1300 First Rides). The K1300 makes gains over the K1200 across the entire powerband. In its 2009 company, the invigorated Beemer better matches the previously matchless Kawasaki until 8000 rpm, where it presses its advantage, pulling harder and longer.

2009 BMW K1300GT
The BMW gets the better of the Kawasaki in the upper revs, where it peaks a full 6 hp higher than the mighty C14.
Dyno readouts illustrate the point, but we didn’t need them to tell us the Beemer swings a bigger bat this time around. Thumb the starter, crack the throttle and pleasing tones howl out of the highest-revving motor in the lineup, complemented by a crisp exhaust tone. Start rolling and the right wrist doles out the bounteous power. While the Kawasaki still gets a slight edge in our tester’s engine performance evaluation, the BMW confirms dyno evidence by pulling harder at higher rpm.

Unsteady hands take some time to acclimate to the immediate, potent throttle response. Also, some test riders reported a brief hesitation when gassing the throttle after cruising at a steady rate. Specifically, when revving to make a pass after motoring along at 70 mph on the freeway it would lag on ocassion. Minor FI-glitch aside, the BMW’s motor proved the biggest surprise of the shootout, pulling hard in every gear, sounding great and just plain stomping on the open road.

2009 BMW K1300GT Touring Shootout
Brakes and overall engine power are both nice improved to the 2009 BMW K1300GT.
Speaking of gears, the BMW transmission registered its lowest marks on its otherwise impressive scoresheet, yet still rated ahead of the Yamaha. True, a very BMW-eque ‘clunk’ accompanies stomping down on the shift pedal going from neutral into first gear. However, the six-speed gearbox is precise and the shaft drive, while not as smooth as the Kawi’s, doesn’t register much lash.

The BMW brakes hold up their end of the bargain, with the marque’s Integral ABS coming standard. The linked braking system activates both the front and rear calipers with the front lever, while the rear pedal controls solely the rear. The K1200GT in our previous test sourced servo-assisted brakes, one of our biggest gripes that year, as they transmitted plenty stopping power but with a cold machine-like feel at the lever – not to mention they didn’t work until the bike was turned on.

This year’s GT wipes away that sour braking taste with the sweetest stoppers in the test, taking top honors in our tester’s eyes. Ample bite from the four-pot calipers up front, latching down on dual 320mm rotors comes without much front end dive, thanks to its Duolever front suspension design. Dragging the rear’s two-piston caliper / 294mm rotor configuration is as effective as it needs to be. Try to lock either of them up and the ABS kicks in less intrusively than we recall from prior BMW ABS, lacking any harsh hand-jumping pulsation at the front.

2009 BMW K1300GT Touring Shootout
The BMW's Duolever and Paralever suspension units are adjustable on the fly thanks to the ESA II.
BMW’s unique Duolever front and Paralever rear comprise the GT’s suspension and both perform well. The latest ESA II (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) controls settings on-the-fly via left thumb at the handlebar switch. Riders swap between Comfort, Normal and Sport base settings, with sub-options in each for solo, luggage and pillion. The rear shock is further adjustable for rebound damping, with a handwheel offering hydraulic preload adjustment. Differences between the three base settings manifest in handling, and rider’s will quickly switch from the spongy Comfort to stiffer Sport once the corners on the road start bunching up.

And riders will actively hunt out corners on the BMW. While the Yamaha delivers a hair more stability and the Triumph is a sharp turner as well, the Bavarian mount delivers the most refined steering. Interestingly, the GT sports the laziest rake at 29.4 degrees (though the 4.4 inches of trail is comparable to the other Fours) and the longest wheelbase at 61.9 inches. Did we mention the BMW also weighs in the second-heaviest at 667 lbs? It doesn’t matter. The BMW turns silly fast, with the greatest ground clearance, and for 2009 our test riders rated the GT without peer in the handling department. Teamed with the ample performance of the Inline Four, BMW more than fulfills the sporting end of the sport-touring quotient.
2009 BMW K1300GT Touring Shootout
RIder protection from the elements is best on the BMW with its effective windscreen and fairing, not to mention the heated grips.

Said touring capabilities further distinguish it as the class leader. It starts with the best rider protection from its tall windscreen. While it does not completely engulf the rider – none of the others do either, with the only bike we’ve tested in its class to do so being the Honda ST1300 and its mammoth-sized screen – the BMW best directs the airflow and at its tallest setting a slight forward lean delivered complete protection. The faring also provides some of the best coverage.

The upright riding position best accommodated our test riders, though it’s worth noting all our testers were at least six feet tall and the BMW does feel better suited to the larger-statured. Though its 32.3-inch seat tops the Kawasaki by a mere 0.2 inches, the BMW rider feels much taller in the saddle. The high-placed handlebar, which is also adjustable, delivers great leverage and mild input yields immediate results.

Spacious saddlebags may remove from the bike in a tricky manner, at first, but they were esteemed second only to the Kawasaki in ease of use. But it’s really the intangible extras that make the difference. The brilliant illumination of the optional Xenon headlight and heated seats, for example aren’t needed per se, but certainly don’t hurt. And, of course, there are the heated grips, which are optional but warrant a standard inclusion on all S-T mounts in our opinion. On top of everything the BMW delivers one of the best ranges, 254 miles, from a solid 40.3 mpg and 6.3-gallon tank.
Picking a Winner...
2009 BMW K1300GT Touring Shootout
As the final day of our comparison test approached, a family obligation required me to bail out of Astoria before dawn. Watching the weather, the morning looked grim. I had 400-plus miles ahead of me, with sub-40 temps and expectations of rain, not to mention high-speed wind advisories. Also, leaving at 5 a.m. would mean at least two hours of pure darkness through the twisting forest route to Portland before a long haul on I-5.

I could’ve taken any of the bikes. Had I been gallant, selecting the Triumph would make my wrists and back sore but the other testers would owe me big time. The Yamaha would have worked too, and I definitely wouldn’t have complained about the Concours engine heat during the chilly morning either. Then there was the BMW, with its heated grips, best wind protection and tempting on-road performance. The real life decision mirrored the hypothetical one I always ask riders on a test like this: If you had to ride 500-miles on one bike, which would it be? 

Actions speak louder than words. I packed up the Beemer and snuck out of the hotel parking lot like a thief in the night. Tom’s still not quite back on speaking terms… At least friendly speaking terms.

- Bart
 

Styling divided rider opinion. Most found the BMW’s lines attractive, while others found them detestable. But love them or hate them, BMW manages to imprint a distinctive look across its entire motorcycle range and the GT reflects it.

The refined fit and finish on the Beemer delivers a sense of luxury, with attractive instrumentation displaying the most information, including ambient temperature among a myriad of other available data. The switchgear is also notable, primarily because BMW dropped the big turn signal paddles that the press, including us, liked to ridicule. So it’s a plain old turn signal switch on the left control. Most enjoyed the simpler new arrangement, though it dismayed Tom to no end that BMW had yielded to a bunch of whiners by killing a design he enjoyed, as it was much easier to use the large paddles with his gauntlet-style cold weather gloves.

There is one gigantic low to the BMW – it’s flabbergast-ingly high pricetag. In stock trim, which includes ABS, the BMW costs $19,150. Add on the extras adorning our bike (ESA II, Xenon light, heated grips, heated seat and on board computer) and the price jacks up to $21,045. The 15K threshold, much less 20K seems like a hard sell, even for the best sport-tourer on the market. (see for my money sidebar for a very reasonable case for the BMW’s MSRP).

Even with the steep asking price, BMW takes top honors for 2009, and it wasn’t even close. While the bottom three bikes all registered within three points of the each other, the Beemer sports almost a 12-point advantage over the second-place FJR. How? It matched or exceeded the previous strengths of its rivals. Where the Kawasaki had the more powerful engine, BMW closed the gap. Where the FJR was the best handler, the GT blows right past it. With so many strengths and no real performance weaknesses, the BMW’s premium price tag delivers a premium performance – the best sport-tourer money can buy in our 2009 comparison. 


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 2009 Sport-Touring Shootout
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BMW K1300GT For My Money
2009 BMW K1300GT Touring Shootout
Tom Lavine - Contributing Photographer
If money is an issue and you can't afford a BMW, then you have to compromise and probably end up with one of the $14K bikes. Listen, I'm not a rich man who can buy anything in the world, but I tend to put a premium on quality, service and resale! Motorcycling is important to me and I love everything the BMW GT offers. Given the choice of buying any of our test bikes... It’s not a contest. I buy the BMW GT! And this isn't just some editorial comment. I've been very interested in the GT and after this test I'll probably BUY one.
2010 Sport-Touring Shootout?
This is the first Honda motorcycle that incorporates throttle by wire technology as well. After watching competitors work the gremlins out of their fly-by-wire technology  Honda has finally brought it to the table as well - 2010 Honda VFR1200F
Can any rivals best the BMW for 2010? Already two 2010 models presents challenges for the GT. First, the Honda VFR1200F may be too much sport and not enough tourer, but its intriguing V-Four motor features numerous advances, including a dual-clutch and automatic transmission version. There is also the revamped 2010 Concours 14, which addresses many of the foibles on the 2009 machine. Having already sampled the ’10 Concours, it certainly is improved, the question is will it be enough to overtake the BMW. Guess we’ll have to run another sport-touring comparison to find out...
BMW Dealer Locator

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Comments
TJ -You get what you pay for  January 15, 2011 08:44 AM
I would a agree that th K1300GT is in it's own league. Cruise, electronic suspension, more roomy ergonomics, Duolever suspension, etc.

All these features pay nice dividens on a long trip, and consequently the bike costs more, which is understandable. If you're on a tighter budget then the FJR or C14 are great choices.

However, it seems very clear that the K13GT is objectively the better bike if you can afford it.
Glyn -horses for courses  November 20, 2010 03:23 PM
not everone can afford a new bike so value for money and second hand perchase will be cosidered by most, and what about weather protection,the police have to ride their bikes 24/7 and by far the most popular choice is the fjr comment such as staying dry in the rain, fun to ride ,and value for money, ask the police they don,t like bmw's too boring,gtr too bulky, the main thing is to talk to people who have owned the bikes and know all their litle fables
Ron -comparisons  July 1, 2010 05:43 AM
I read all these shoot outs myself and I don't know why. They have never influenced my actual purchase. I find a bike that appeals to me, matches my needs/wants and that I can afford. Then I test ride it for fit. I would prefer if there was no "winner" in the comparison. It would be better if it were merely a group review. Then comparing bikes with such vast difference in cost would be irrelevant. Just take out a group of bikes in the same class, ride them all day and tell us your impressions. No "winner" needed. Let the buyer determine which bike is a winner for themselves.
Larry -Sprint ST  March 14, 2010 08:01 PM
The Sprint ST is the orphan child in this comparo. The Sprint ST has the basics of riding covered. The other three assume that you don't mind giving up the pure experience of riding for some added features and the extra cost of these features are a bargin if you exclude the BMW. This comparo takes the easy way out and does mostly what we could do for ourselved if we could just take each one on a trip. Might I suggest a comparo that would be more useful because it would do what we as consumers can't do? Take three target amounts, say $8k, $12k $15k and equip 5 bikes at each level for touring and then do the testing. I would like to see how, say a 1250 Bandit setup for touring would do against other bikes at the same ready to ride price. Not all of us can by a dedicated ST bike for that long tour. We have to slap bags on our every day commuter. This test would do us a big favor when it comes to buying our next bike. The tips you could pass on when it comes to modifying a bike for that grand tour would make for great reading.
Mark 79RT and 08FLHTCU.......I wew -Uber comon 6  March 2, 2010 10:30 AM
They put the vents on the sides with the roundel and made it look overstated. I hear its a vibey beast but it sure is cool. The honda is awesome this year but bring on the 6 cylinder touring beemer and I may have to start my admiration all over like the GS did to me and that now with 2 cam heads.....beemer? you need to slow down and wait for my hog's new smell to wear off.
RQ GTR Pilot -Range?  December 1, 2009 02:56 PM
Wholeheartedly disagree with the fueling comments regarding the FJ and the GTR. Was in Europe during the summer riding the GTR and a mate on the FJR. The FJ was always first to need fuel, and the lack of a 6th gear had a huge part to play in this. The GTR handles as well or better than the FJR in the twisties in the Alps too!
claude pardo -Connie 14  November 30, 2009 06:03 AM
guess you always like what you ride.
I think the ST is the sexiest ride but when I want to come home from a long ride nothing is more comforting than a Japanese four mill running hard and smooth. My Concours 14 starts every time, burns NO oil and has the weight that does not let it get blown around on the interstate...Best bags, cool Kipass system, electric windshield, stunning brakes and stunning power and smoothness. Radial clutch is a dream . I dunno....For the money and features,,,I wanted performance and value. That is what I got on the Connie.
Pedro Gordo -Kawasaki's is still the best for me!  November 28, 2009 02:59 AM
I don't agree with the results. I had a FJR 1300'2004 and a ST 1300'03. BMW, I know it very well (1200Gt and 1300GT). Comparing the GTR with the ST or the FJR is comparing a much more refined and modern bike (GTR) with 2 "old" references. I's better in most of things. The BMW K1300GT is a very good bike, with the exception of reliability and the motor is not smooth. I hated the gearbox, too short and with a hard feel. Very good ergonmics and confort, but the rider's seat is a crap. No doubt the GTR 1400 is definitly the best bike, specially the new 2010 model. Make yourself a favor: buy the new GTR 1400 2010.

I will have to keep my 09'Juin GTR 1400 with only 10.000km...
JM -Interesting  November 18, 2009 02:01 PM
Along with most of the other complainers I think that price should matter a lot more in this comparison. Take the Triumph, Kawi, or Yami and spend the additional cash as you please and you will end up with a MUCH better motorcycle than the BMW. I would hope the K bike would win this comparison, selling for so much more. Another thing, how the hell did the BMW finish ahead of the Triumph in Appearance, it's ugly and the Triumph is about the sexiest touring motorcycle I've ever seen.
Matt -Wah, wah, wah...  November 17, 2009 08:38 AM
I read these comparison tests on MCUSA (and other sites too...) and its always the same - the feedback in forums and here in the comments crack me up. First, complaining over the winner. Second, complaining over what bikes were included. Third, complaining over what bikes were not included... Etc. Etc. Sounds like the testers liked the BMW most, what are they supposed to say? It's the better machine, but it loses? Two of the test riders did pick the Yamaha FJR as the bike they'd pick if they were buying one of them.
Andy S. -Yamaha  November 17, 2009 08:04 AM
I agree with Adam and others. The Beemer costs as much as most economy cars and some family sedans. Perhaps this is why the automobile magazines often run comparisons based upon price.
Best [whatever category] bike for $ 4k
Best bike for $ 7k.
Best bike for $10k.
Best bike for $13k.
Best bike for $16k.
Best bike for > $16K.
Categories would be dirt race, enduro, super moto, dual purpose, cruiser, naked, sport, sport tour, adventure tour, luxury tour.


Best regards,
Andy S. -Night Riding  November 17, 2009 07:54 AM
Because I'm short and ride at night, I'll need to make my choice based on two major criteria, seat height/parking maneuverability, and nightime visibility (headlights, high beams, and marker lights). I am very careful at stop signs, because my Ninja 650R has no side marker lights and more than one cager (not seeing me) has run a stop sign while I'm turning right. What if my headlight or tailight burns out? Kawasaki, please fix this with an accessory LED marker lights or something!

If you ride fast your bike will lean. Even the best headlights that provide a beautiful, bright, and wide beam on the interstate are almost useless if your motorcycle is leaned over 30 degrees or more. The tree line and irrelevant parts of the pavement, not my intended path, are illuminated. Who has the brightest lights with generous light "bleed" and coverage? We need a computer genius to fix this via a computer controlled turning lights?
C-14 -C the 14 whistle by...ta ta  November 16, 2009 12:12 PM
I would actually comment to specifics on the article, but the apparent lack of experience, knowlewdge, and as mentioned above, test criteria of the testers makes this article a misrepresentation. I'm sure you will see that all the readers find your disclaimer doesn't justify your opinions. Ride for 40 years, in every continent, in race conditions and offroad, in all weather conditions, on all types of bikes before you share your views. There are far more qualified people for the job. If you choose to do it, then do it with respect. People make choices based on your evaluation!!!
Steve -Stick with a k12  November 14, 2009 10:01 AM
I bought the K1200 when the K1300 came out - BMW dealers are offering big discounts to ditch the old k12 stock. I prefer the old BM switchgear - its much better quality than the new gear on the k13 which i have read has been a point of failure! The k12 has the same chassis and running gear than the k13 and handling may lack a few less hp but the savings on the k12 deal made it an easy decision.
Bruce -Just waiting  November 13, 2009 12:41 PM
From every thing I'm hearing, there is a new Sprint in the works. And I just about bet that it will still be the best for the money again. All the Triumph dealers I have talked to say that it will be another year or two but they are excited about it. To me being a solo rider the Sprint makes more sense and there is a bunch of stuff out there to address any of the issues mentioned here. The one thing the rest dont have is that sweet motor. I don't care if they make fifty more horses, that motor works perfect in this application and it sounds awsome. I would like to see a belt application rather than a chain along with better air managment next time though
Christian -Add night rides to these tests!!  November 13, 2009 05:16 AM
Hey, I'm not saying the FJR is ugly without the bags (that would be something only the Honda ST 1300 can claim hands down), but it was definitely designed with the mindset that the bags would stay on more often than off. The Sprint is the opposite, which is why IMO without bags and sporting the single sided swingarm it looks the sleekest(with the bags, looks okay, but not nearly as clean a look as the other bikes in the comparo).

I think these comparos should do some night rides as part of the testing, as this would add a new spin to some of the same old tests and give some very useful real world information. I also can't believe this wasn't mentioned in the article (or any Sprint article on this site) but the headlight is atrocious (at least '05- '08 models). Absolutely the worst I've ever used, and makes me not look forward to riding at night solo. The beam just cuts off due to the projector lens setup so there's a visible line where everything instantly disappears into the pitch black night (the light doesn't taper off, it just stops dead). If you enjoy a lot of night riding, you need a set of driving lamps on this bike or put yourself at risk.

Bram Frank -Christian, you gotta be kidding . . .  November 12, 2009 07:15 PM
The FJR looks fantastic without the bags - I mostly ride bagless unless I HAVE to carry anything - and if you REALLY want the bike to look mean, replace that pillion seat with a Corbin Smuggler!!!!

And much better weather protection, to boot.


Christian -Sprint ST is Underrated  November 12, 2009 05:54 AM
Hey everyone. I picked up an '06 Sprint ST this summer right before our annual week long bike trip (traded an '03 Kawi 636). 7 days, 3,000 miles, from MA to Wisconsin and all around the Great Lakes. Other rides with us were a cruiser and 2 FJR's. Each bike had it's merits and also its annoyances. Sprint ST was fantastic (esp. after upgrading from a sport bike with soft bags for the same kinds of trips). Did everything I needed it to do without all the fancy gizmos. I really do like the FJR as well, but I prefer sacrificing technology for less weight, better handling, great engine/sounds/fuel mileage, and looks (take the bags off the Sprint and it looks very sexy...can't say the same for the others). Since the bike is relatively unknown as well, I generally get a lot more stares at stop lights too. My biggest neg. on the bike....still having a chain (and having to lube numerous times on the trip). YMMV.
JamesK -Price should be weighted to make a fair comparo  November 11, 2009 05:18 PM
I am a little biased I guess, since my ST weapon of choice is my '07 FJR1300A. I too, have put way more than my share of quids on sport bikes and guys on every other type of bike, to shame in the twisties on my FJR, with fully loaded bags, topbox and more. The FJR is a very adaptable and versatile bike, and if you spent the $6,500 extra you'd pay for a stock BMW, you could get the FJR fitted out with all the nice (better that stock BMW) performance gear and plenty of useful farkels. I think that since there is such a big difference between the price of the FJR/C14 and the BMW GT13 any fair comparo should "equalize/weight" the Pricing. Damn that BMW is butt ugly IMHO. And I too agree that the Triumph Sprint ST does not belong in this group, maybe the new VFR1200T (but the "T" too is a bit on the ugly side for me, even if this does add more safety).
Michael McNamara -Cost per mile  November 11, 2009 12:53 PM
I'm not rich. I own a 2006 FJR, but have to look at insurance, maintenace costs (easier is cheaper), available upgrades and cost of those upgrades. The Connie has to have valve clearance checks more often and getting at spark plugs and such is a PIA. The final piece of the cost per miles is gasoline. The FJR gets much better gas mileage and range than the Connie, and runs great on 87 octane -- the Connie requires high test. The Beemer cost per mile is through the roof for most people. The Sprint looks and sounds great, but as others have said, isn't enough tourer for me; though if the ergonomics fit me better and more amenities were available I would consider it -- then the price goes up and cost per mile does. The Connie has a great seat, IMHO. If the upgrades on the newest iteration of the C14 is as good as they say, I will be tempted to part with the FJR. YMMV -- I think it is great they have different bikes for different tastes; in this economy we should all be grateful.
Bram Frank -Comparos notwithstanding  November 10, 2009 07:10 PM
Finally. ST reviews from riders taller than 5'6"!!!

Comments;

1. It is Yamaha that calls their ST the Supersport Tourer. Kawasaki calls their the "Transcontinental Supersport"

2. Heated grips have always been standard on the Yamaha AE and since 2007 for the A (except for the USA), though I believe they are including them for 2010 down in the 'states.

3. Yamaha offers a taller & wider screen as an standard option.

I've ridden 3 of the 4 bikes in the comparo and I own the Yamaha - I much prefer the handling (which is better than the BMW as far as I am concerned) and the BMW looks are not to my taste.

I have zero issues with driveline lash on the FJR - I also have no issues with clutch or throttle pull, but would comment that the Concours has THE smoothest engine and transmission of the lot.

I am looking to change my ride this year . . . not sure if I'll go to the Concours or buy another FJR. The BMW is not on the short list, partly for price, but mainly because of a sparse dealer network and driveline reliability issues (plus it is butt ugly).

One serious lack with the Yamaha is the 1 year standard warranty. Both Kawasaki and BMW (and Honda, for that matter) all have 3 years standard.
Damon -ST Comparo  November 10, 2009 05:43 PM
I agree with Adam, The Beemer is in a different league. It's like having the Mustang Cobra, New Vette, Dodge Hemi and a Lambo. The Lambo is just in a different league. They are all great but I too and calling the FJR the winner...
Cdogman -Huh?  November 10, 2009 05:39 PM
My FJR was plenty fast.. But it is indeed long in the tooth... In the twqisties it was a raging machine.. IT WAS EASY!!!!!!!! to work on myself.. Waiting for the VFR1200.... **tapping foot** before I make a new bike move
lnewlf -comparo  November 10, 2009 02:50 PM
The FJR has 48mm forks. Exhaust looks dated? More like classic you mean. What's with the butt ugly cans on new bikes [Connie?]. Everyday riding gives 48 mpg on my FJR. More ponies are readily available thru the aftermarket but the Yam has more than any ST rider needs-if you can use more you are on the wrong bike. Just try and service the Connie-[spark plugs meebee?]. The Beemer and Connie look like Susan Boyle sisters-FJR looks like Megan Fox-which would you want to ride? Triumph is very nice but doesn't belong here [chain,wind protection,two up?].
Ken -Appearance  November 10, 2009 12:17 PM
Just my thoughs, and I own multiple BMW's, old and new. 1. Triumph ST. You should see this bike in person, its slick, slick, slick. 2. FJR - Almost as slick as the ST, but its a 4, and the 3 lights, 3 guages, 3 taillight thing on the ST is SLICK. 3. BMW - Booooring.. snooze.. what the heck is with those side panels. 4. Connie - Too 80's looking, only thing uglier is the ZX-14, same style, only more intense.
RT Rider -R1200RT  November 10, 2009 10:08 AM
Everybody is wrong. My BMW R1200RT is by far the best bike - LOL....
Mack -FJR motor lacking?  November 10, 2009 06:23 AM
I have an '06 FJR and while I wouldn't turn down a few extra ponies, the motor is very useful in twisty bits. And my '06 has much better sorted suspension and better ground clearance than my '03. I'll bet I could put an Ohlins shock and fork valving on a new FJR and have a better handling bike than the BMW for a lot less money. I do think the new Beemer is better looking than the slab sided version of a few years ago. I think the Beemer delivers the goods for its price but it is pricey for sure. As to the comment above saying the FJR is for the slab: don't make me laugh! This thing rages in the corners! Many Gixxer squids have been bushwacked by my FJR. Sorry, but I think the Kawasaki is just butt ugly. Seems to have a great smooth motor but its bags are almost a foot wider at the rear than the FJR's, yuck. So is the Honda ST 1300 completely out of the mix now? I always thought it was a little more T than S but I'm surprised it wasn't included.
Jon -Big Bikes, big effort  November 9, 2009 09:49 PM
nice job on the ST's. I love sport touring and all my experience tells me light is might. If you love twisty roads and max lean angle then the Triumph is for you. Gotta slab pound and need the comfort, Yamaha. Excess money, and club only atmosphere, BMW. Or how about a new class - SST's. Check out www.prototype900turbo.com
Beemer Looks -Appearance  November 9, 2009 03:18 PM
Fine. You don't like the looks. Subtract 10 points from the final score and it still wins.
ty -bmw winning "appearance?"  November 9, 2009 03:16 PM
throws the whole comparison into question. i haven't ridden the bmw, but will accept that it's functionally/dynamically the best tourer here, but, c'mon, winning for its appearance? it is a failed design at best, even taking into account the notion that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." it's this kind of scoring that throws into question all the other scoring.
Brent Meeker -Other factors  November 9, 2009 02:23 PM
Even sport tourers should have their passenger accommodations evaluated. I have an '03 FJR with 112,000mi on it. I do like the handling, although it could use more cornering clearance. My only real gripe with it is wind turbulence, which seems to come right at helmet level and can only be avoided by raising the windshield so high I have to look through it. I agree with Mr. Lynn that you needed to include some other bikes. My next ST choice may be a Ducati (ST or Multistrada) or a 1200 Bandit with ABS. Certainly not a K1300 at new prices.
Rudy Lyynn -Triumph?  November 9, 2009 01:26 PM
I sometimes wonder why the Triumph Sprint ST is lumped along with the real sport tourers. I think it is a great bike but… it’s lighter because it has chain drive, smallest motor with the least amount of power and least amount of gadgets/options. This is also why it is the cheapest and gets the best fuel mileage. The Sprint ST hardly scored 2 points less than both the FJR and the C14. Does this mean that ALL of the “extras” that the C14 and FJR offer are only worth 2 or fewer points????
You guys said it best “It’s basically a Sportbike with bags”. So why not compare it with other sport bikes with bags? Comparing the Sprint ST with these other bikes would be like putting the VFR800 against the ST1300 and then giving extra points to the VFR because it weighed less got better MPG and was sportier.

The Sprint should be compared to bikes like the new Bandit 1200F with some bags, DL1000, VFR800 (although discontinued), FZ1, Ducati Multistrada etc.

Maybe compare the Kawasaki Versys to the Sprint and then give the Kawi props for better fuel mileage and nimbler handling. The gap (not the HP gap) going from the Versys to the Sprint is as big or smaller than the gap going form the Sprint to the other bikes in this comparison.

Considering how much more capable the other bikes in this comparison are, the less than 2 grand you save with the Sprint over the FJR and C14 actually make the Triumph look like a poor value. Could a few grand more put the Sprint on par with the other bikes…no chance.

And if I wanted a sport bike with bags there are plenty more capable sportbikes out there that I could toss bags on and go touring with.

Nothing against the Triumph but lets be real it does not belong in this class of bikes.
R100Pilot -Value?  November 9, 2009 01:17 PM
I have the original sport tourer - an '84 airhead BMW R100RS, so I have a soft spot for der motorrad, but c'mon... I was looking for something a little less maintenance intensive to use as both a communter and tourer, and For My Money, I wound up with a Sprint ST. Mind you, it was a year old and didn't have ABS, but it had bags and was $7K out the door. If I was buying brand new? I'd still have the Sprint in a heartbeat, without ABS, and use the nearly TEN GRAND I saved to buy a Daytona 675 as well.
Adam -Price plays a much bigger part  November 9, 2009 12:11 PM
The BMW is $6,500 more expensive than the nearest competitor in this shootout. The Yamaha FJR delivers a value that should not be ignored. This is like putting a Ferrari and a Chevy in the same comparison and giving the Ferrari higher points on grin & drool factor. Yamaha's FJR is the true winner here.