Good article. The fact of the matter is that the current battery of sport tourers is so good, the real answers lie in this type of testing more than in the sport bike wankers testing of dyno charts, torque tables, and lap times arround some track.
However, it should be remembered that the Triumph Sprint was built to copy the VFR. In fact, while it was being designed the joke internal designation for it was TFR. Bike magazine included the VFR in a test against the Aprilia Futura. Their reluctant conclusion is that the VFR is still the best sport-tourer in the world.
All that said, I would be interested in sitting on the Yamaha. With my short legs, I would like to know how low that puppy really is.
Good comparo but I think you guys should have done the test with a pillion on all the bikes. Most ST bikes see a lot of 2up duty...although it hardly matters because the Futura would still have won hands down.
The Futura has the comfort of the FJR...but hangs with the gixxers...imagine that! Fortunately for me I don't have to.
What sort of torque monster V-twin are you riding? I've test driven a few sporty V-twins and run my GSXR beside them and the GSXR just walks away in top gear roll-on comparisons. Who's got more torque? If you want some hard numbers check at the back of Motorcyclist magazine. They keep stats on the time it takes a bike to accelerate from 60 to 80 mph. Here's a few samples.
Honda RC51 4.94 seconds
Honda VTR1000F 5.00 seconds
Suzuki TL1000S 4.61 seconds
Suzuki TL1000R 4.30 seconds
Ducati 996 5.35 seconds
Ducati Monster S4 4.11 seconds
Ducati Supersport 900 5.61 seconds
Aprilia RSV Mille 3.35 seconds
Aprilia SL1000 4.56 seconds
Now how about a few of those torque deficient inline fours?
Honda CBR929RR 2.98 seconds
Suzuki GSXR1000 2.62 seconds
Kawasaki ZX9R 3.18 seconds
Yamaha YZF R1 2.82 seconds
Oh, and by the way, the '01 Honda CBR600 runs right with the torque monster V-twins with a time of 4.12 seconds.
GSXRWOLF don't confuse these guys with facts and data.
They flunked math. You see now that the AMA has removed the 250 cc advantage V-Twins had over inline 4s in Superbike, these guys are having trouble proving that V-Twins have a real-world torqe advantage. Just think in their eyes a Ducati 748 is faster than the GSXR750. In their Harley heads, the Ducati 998 is faster than the GSXR1000. You and I both know that without the cc advantage V-Twins are a dying breed in road racing.
VFR Rules I'ts the future Twin-heads, get used to it.
Given Cycle World's and Bike's reviews on STs, I think the Honda VFR would blow all these bikes away. Too bad MOrons will never know. Of course you V-Twins fans could never handle the truth anyway. (Jack N voice). Put a Triple in the Futura an you got a nice package. V-4 in the ST-4 becomes an instant sales winner. I'ts the future Twin-heads, get used to it.
VFR will be my next bike but I am going to wait for the next model change. By then my Ninja will be old. But on a rainy day in Seattle, or BC as well, when a lady talking on cell phone pulls in front of you with as SUV, hitting the brakes on a bike with ABS would be a great safety advantage. By the way VFR does have one of the highest resale values of any sport bike.
Re: GSXRWOLF don't confuse these guys with facts and data.
Right you are KPaul. I've got an aquaintance with an RC51. He's been so smug about the RC51 winning AMA Superbike and World Superbike last year. Fact is, the only people that can build a competive RC51 are HRC. If the RC51 was a good start for a superbike the privateers would be riding them. Check out the grid of an AMA Superbike race. See any RC51's beside the factory bikes? Nope. How about Aprilia's? Nope. How about Ducati's? A couple. And even with their vast experience and success with the V-twin, what does Ducati build to race in MotoGP? A V-four!!
Anyways, I like to carry around a photcopy sheet of those "hard numbers" with me and when I hear the tired old whine about the V-twin's superior torque, I drag out my sheet and start spooling off the numbers. Then, if they want to, we head for the open road and I give them a little demonstration.
Maybe its just because I am a Kawasaki fan, but I really feel the ZZR-1200 should have been included in this test. MO you say its more GT than ST, but Yamaha calls the FJR a "supersport tourer". Wheres the line between supersport and GT ? The bags that Kawasaki sells for the ZZR are giviugly, but the corbin beetle bags are really awesome looking on it. Yamaha should have used a 6 speed gear box in the FJR that sweet motor is spinning almost 5,000 RPM at highway speeds. Thats great for being in the meat of the power, but a over drive 6th would be nice for the long haul.
As to this comparison you really should look carefully at the twin numbers. Note the significant difference between the Mille and the RC 51 for example. The twins are dealt a somewhat bad hand by overly tall gearing and other requirements to meet EPA requirements. Give the RC reasonable gearing and remove the flapper intake valve and it's much closer to a I-4 of similar displacement.
Some good things are just much more subjective than objective-beauty and intelligence are just two examples. But as to the V-twin vs I-4 raging debate, let me say this as I have both: Some virtues of the V-twin just don't carry over to a drag race time slip or even race results. The V-twin RC51 gives similar urge, below the 8,000 rpm range, as your vaunted GSXR 1K but it does it very differently. While I enjoy my R1 and agree that in mostly stock form it makes a better track bike, I think the engine in the RC makes a better street bike choice (not addressing ergo's here). The twin is just less tedious to ride.
And finally, you can go fast on a twin. Just ask Mat Miladin-he finished well behind three of 'em at Daytona.
I just hope that Honda will use the RC motor-without detuning or "retuning" it for midrange torque as a replacement or an alternative for the VFR
i may not really know a whole lot about bikes, like some of the rest of you seem to, being that bikes are what i do for a living and all, but i do know that the twin lump on my SV1000 is quite nice on the street.
maybe my opinion has something to do with the fact that i don't race...
Maybe it's the lack of standard bags on the VFR and ZZR that keep them out, I'm surprised at not having any BMW's represented. Maybe MO needs to do a sport- tourer's- that- are- more- touring- than- sport artical. My vote would be a Trophy 1200, K1200 and ST 1300 test, I'm curious what MO thinks of the Triumph because I'm thinking of buying one.
I love seeing football humping sportbike riders on the highway, doing their best "man in a gale" impersonation at 85mph. Meanwhile, I come cruising by on my 80hp R1100GS at 100mph, feet splayed out La-Z-Boy style on the engine guards, visor open thanks to the great wind protection..... And I give a smug chuckle as I think about which bike is really faster in the real world. Bwahahahahahahaha.......
I'm sure everyone has their favorite in this catagory, as "sport-touring" is a broad definition. Do you like more "sport" or more "tour"? That makes a big difference on what you will choose. I have ridden all these bikes 'cept the Yamaha. If Yamaha thinks I would plunk down 12 large on a bike I can't test ride, they need to smoke a different filler. I don't care who says what about a bike, I want a ride on it myself, and I'll make the decision after that, thanks. Since when did Yamaha worry so much about resale value? Gimme a brake on that lame excuse. Maybe I can mug the one guy I see riding an FJ around and give his a whirl. I really liked the Aprilia in this bunch also. It has a sporty feel without the pain, and a wide powerband that makes shifting an option. The styling is nicer in person that in pics. It would be my choice for 1up touring. Basically, it all comes down to what feels best for the individual. There are no track times or drag-strip runs here. The MO staff gave us a good flavor of what each bike is about, but that flavor may lead to a bitter taste if the buyer doesn't judge for himself. I can't tell you how many bikes I really wanted to like, but couldn't live with after a real ride. Another job well done and damn hard work too, from the MO staff
Who'd a thunk it. Replace the Duc with the VFR and you would be looking at all of the contenders in my recent search! Good for you MO, having narrowed it down to the Futura & FJR it came down to preferences. Ultimately it was "real world" comfort & performance and a recent experience where I locked up my Honda's rear wheel nearly ended up as cargo in the back of a garbage truck that convinced me to plop down the $500 commitment package on the FJR w/ABS. Thanks for confirming my choice!
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