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I almost bought a FJR1300 sight unseen (because of the stupid way Yamaha decided to market the bike) and all I can say is I'm glad I didn't. It may be one of the best all around performers out there, but what good is a bike that is so ugly that you would get tired looking at it in about 20 minutes. Sorry, but the angular design concept is way over with, and does not stand up to the test of time. Give me some curves so in about 10 years I still like the looks if the bike holds up that long. I agree with the over engineered brakes being a problem with the R1150RT and here's hoping the R1200RT the problem is corrected.
 

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Good test, seems more like a real world sports tourer test.



Funnily when I read the comments I think that the ST1100 (96 model) I got a week ago does not seem to have the faults identified in the ST1300..although I suppose in comparison the power may be less.



A good test is what will they be like in 100,000 kms? I am interested cos that is probably when I may buy one of these bikes, but the ST will probably still be going strong.
 

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Triumph stiff clutch ?

Did any of the testers think that the Triumph clutch was uncomfortable ? That is about the only complaint I ever hear about it. Good review, worth the wait, glad to finally find out how those Beamer brakes feel ... not too good from the sounds of it.
 

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sniff..sniff...sob...no connie...sniff

Great write up guys, seems that you guys almost had an adventure, but where adult enough to hold Ebass back (salt peter in his beer?)

The problem with ST shootouts is, as allways, getting the reviewers to remove themselves from their usual comfort zone of sport or touring. None of these bikes are a sport bike, none are a true touring rig, but a compromise. As such it allways goes to the subjective.

I appreiciate the hard work, and long days in the saddle you guys did (no I don't I'm jealous).

My $0.02, the Kaw ZZR looks the best, but thats me.
 

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Fine job and an entertaining read.

Looks like which one is best you me depends on how and where I'll ride. Having said that and being a bit partial to BMW's, I just don't get the servo and aggressive linking thing on the brakes. Seems like a comprehensive answer to a question I did not ask. (for another negative opinion on BMW brakes - see current issue of MCN - R12GS test)

Thanks again, MO. No wonder it too so long. This must have taken tons of work to complete. Thanks!
 

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The ZZR1200's last place finish almost endears me to it. I'm a sucker for last place comparo finishers that have monster motors. It's a set of Heli-Bars and a rear shock away from being as good as I would want it. It's a bargain right now, and after finishing last, will be a better bargain in the showroom. Yamaha needs to get their head out of their butts with the way they sell the FJR. I dont' care how nice a bike is. I won't buy a bike I can't see or ride first.
 

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Well, that was worth waiting for!



Surprise! The FJR wins again. It was one of "those motorcycles" that I instantly liked when I sat on one at Laguna Seca the year it was introduced. The ergos seemed tailored to my dimensions. I turn green with envy every time I see one in the road. Someday!!! It seems to sell well every year. How come Yamaha doesn't import a few more? Are they leaving money on the table or artificially keeping demand (and prices) high?



The other surprise (to me) was the K bike coming in behind the boxer. That heat problem must've been pretty bad. Oh well, I prefer the looks of the RT.
 

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The Boxer was more nimble, more comfortable and easier to ride. The K bike had better brakes, power and looks. If you want to drag race or pose, the K-GT will beat the RT. Otherwise, the RT is a nicer way to cover long distances over twisty roads. -Sean
 

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About a month ago I bought a new 2004 ZZR1200 and decked it out with a full bag set from GIVI and optional 3" taller windshield form Kawasaki and it is the best motorcycle I've ever owned and I've been riding for 27 years.  It may not have the electric adjustable windshield, ABS, and computer do-dads that some of it's competitors have (ST1300, FJR1300), but I do not think they are needed.  Plus, I paid about $4000.00 less out the door even fully equipping the bike with the full set of GIVI luggage.

 

The ZZR1200 has lot's of good things going for it.  First, it has a mighty powerful motor.  The last dyno I've seen says 145 hp (you guys say 140) at the rear wheel (even with catalytic converters) not counting ram air with about 186 mph top end!  One thing overlooked by some people is that this bike has a 600 watt alternator.  Great for the electric underwear some of us must wear to ride year round, plus some electric do-dads if I so desire.  The ZZR1200 has a fully adjustable suspension front and rear.  The last 2002 road test I saw and this one said the front only had preload adjust.  Mine has preload and dampening adjustment all around which has to be better than Yamaha's hard/soft adjustability on the rear. 



The luggage from GIVI is first rate.  Some magazines have criticized it's looks and how the bike looks with them off, but you cannot argue with the functionality of these bags.  They hold a ton of stuff, are weather proof, and come off with a push of one button to take with you.  Plus, the GIVI V46 trunk can be ordered with a trick brake light kit that matches the round tail lights of the bike. Cool indeed.

 

I'm sorry to see that you guys rated it last in this comparison. I ride my ZZR 120 miles per day and get 45 mpg doing 80+ mph and the suspension and riding position seem fine to me. I do agree that the riding position is a little more sport, but that can be corrected with Helibars or Genmars for not much cash. I have to also admit that I am smitten by the power of the thing and have to constantly remind myself to watch my speed. One last thought concerning the engine buzz. I only experience the buzz between 4500-5000 RPM and the thing is smooth on either side of that range.



Anyway, nice test. I guess I'll have to take satisfaction in the fact that I can out run any of the other sport tourers without a thought since engine power is about the only category that it won and the fact that I have at least $4000.00 more cash in my pocket by buying the ZZR.:)
 

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I was torn between the FJR and the K1200. The BMW would have (would of) been perfect in a nice cool place like Germany. Since most of my riding is in the Southwest I had to go with the Yamaha. The GT is a roaster. It didn't take well to LA's traffic either.
 

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HA!

What a great read. With all the updates to the FJR I figured she would come out on top. Sounds to me like everyone was pretty suprised by the Honda. She has a reputation of bein' a pig, but something tells me that got started by Kpaul.

I don't know what it is about the ST1300. I love the lines... and it appears to be a motorcyle they put a lot of thought into. The fairing bumpers... the fold down handle to make centering her so easy...

But then again... I love linked-brakes...
 
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