First Post!!! Geez, I hope I did get it this time.
There isn't a dog in this bunch. Do you have any brand preference? My brain is leaning more towards the Honda, then the Kwacker and the Suzuki last. I have a friend who had a Hayabusa and he had problems w/the bike. You might want to visit the websites dedicated to these models and get some feedback from an owner's group. When I was shopping around for a new bike I was leaning towards the Blackbird until I got an insurance quote and that was the end of that idea. Since your last bike was stolen, I doubt if your rates will go down. Best of luck!
Did 300 miles/6 hours on my '02 XX this past Sunday. Seat is a bit hard, legs were a bit cramped, but I imagine the seat would be plush and the legroom generous compared to the 954. I'm 6'1" and 300 lbs., so I would have a tougher time with the pegs (and, let's face it, the seat too) than you would. Still, very agile bike and great to blast through corners. Can't say much about 2-up, as my girlfriend rode on the back once and now refuses to ride on anything but my Valkyrie. Go figure.
ZX12R pillion is not made for going the distance for sure. Hayabusa is ok tow up, but the riding position is more radical than the XX. With the full seat and more upright bars, the XX is the choice here. If you are worried about bragging rights, one of the other two fits that bill.
Had a 99 Blackbird for a while and was very happy with the bike. The ergos are relaxed but the footpegs are a bit high but then again I'm 6', 225lbs and 34 inseam. This was the smoothest, most refined and fastest bike I ever had. With the GIVI windshield and Corbin seat this is a very nice long distance tourer. Sold it to buy a Triumph Trophy and I'm still banging my head on the wall over it. The Trophy is more comfy but the rest of the bike takes be back to 1992. I want my Blackbird back ! Pleaaaase....
Just to complicate your quest, there are rumors of a reworked, 1200cc XX coming, as well as maybe a new Triumph Trophy 1300 and a Daytona 1300 (same engine, different tune). And maybe, just maybe the Trophy will have shaft drive!
I have the '02 ZX12R, bought as a GT, and kitted with Helibars, Throttlemeister, Ventura rack / bag system and Laminar Lip (OK but going to try the NWS double bubble next).
As a two-up machine, I think the passenger seat is rather sparse, and I would look at the Blackbird if it is a prime criteria (or go with an aftermarket saddle).
However my wife loves it for shorter trips, and would rather be on this bike than my Concours (with Russell saddle and large screen) or my previous R11GS, as it is just so smooth and solid handling. She would rather have the excitement than the comfort....
I bought it as the legroom was better than the Hayabusa or Blackbird (6'2", 32" inseam), it has great brakes, suspension and handling for a GT, and 'sufficient' power.
I think the saddle is one of the better stock seats I have ever sat on, and everything just works so well. Although the screen is a little low, lower body protection is excellent.
If you are looking for a two-up GT, I would also consider the ZZR1200, probably a more practical alternative to the ZX, with available hard bags, better mileage and tank range, about as much stomp at real world speeds, better ergos and protection than any of the other bikes mentioned.
It just so happens as The People has a 2001 Hayabusa so I'll be happy to give you my thoughts on the bike.
1. Nothing faster stock. Period. The `busa isn't just a bit faster than your old 954, it'll stomp it into the dirt.
2. Easy to go fast on. Long wheelbase base means you can launch the beast HARD from a stop without it wheeling too bad.
3. Handles "better" with a 180 on the rear as opposed to the stock 190, but it'll never out handle your old 954 in the twisties.
4. Mrs. The People likes the rear passenger area, she's 5'9" and has no complaints for hour long rides. She does like the FJR1300 better for the long haul.
5. It is stone reliable so far, but I've only put 6500 miles on it.
6. The clutch is odd. It's got this lock out thing that makes it chatter if your not smooth from the start. There are a few aftermarket fixes for this that I highly recommend (only if you're going to do drag strip launches, on the street the stocker is fine). The transmission is nice but you must make the shift into sixth deliberate or it can hit a false neutral.
7. It eats rear tires. Stock Bridgestone was gone at 4000 miles.
8. You will need to put a Zero Gravity Double Bubble shield on it if you want to see the gauges while you ride. Stock shield is only good at full tuck.
9. TONS of aftermarket stuff for this bike.
10. Insurance will kill you if you are a squid/young/inexperienced/stupid rider. Mine for mega-super-full coverage in SoCal is $600/yr.
There are better sport tourers and there are better sport bikes than the `busa. The `busa is big and comfortable and stupid fast.
Do you live around the 'ham? Or are you just traveling to the RA at Barbers? I live about 2 miles from it and can tell you it is berry berry nice. Can't wait till I can run a track day on the GS! Twins in fact do rule.
Too late, I just bought an Azure Trophy. I was looking for the BRG one but none were available. I actually love my Trophy, for what I use it for it's perfect for me. The XX is certainly more modern though. In this case I'd take the XX or Kawasaki over a Hayabusa, depending on which one fit better. Performance wise I think it's pretty much a wash as all three run as fast as you want to go. I have heard of Hayabusa reliability issues and short tire life, check out powersportsnetwork.com owner reviews, you can get some good first hand info there.
I own a 2002 CBR954RR and put about 35K on a 1999 CBR1100XX that I sold to purchase the 'Blade. I actually find the 954 to be a little more comfortable than the 1100 (6'3", 200 lbs) but I haven't had any problems traveling long distances on either bike. The 1100 is absolutely unhindered by a pillion. I did 3K with a passenger once and could just barely tell the difference when I dropped her off at the end of the trip.
If reliability is important I can report that my Blackbird was bulletproof. After 35K miles it still didn't even need as much as a valve shim. The Hayabusa and ZX-12 are faster and sportier (although most 600's will smoke all of them in the twisties) but the Blackbird is rock solid. I think that you could easily put 200K on one of these with the original engine if you took care of it.