5-Comparisons

Best Sport Touring Motorcycle

Part 5 of 5

SO, WHICH IS THE BEST SPORT-TOURING MOTORCYCLE?

Part 4 of these motorcycle sport-tourer comparisons outlined Horsepower, Fuel Capacity and Weight. Let’s see how things stack up when we consider Price alone, and then in conjunction with the earlier three specifications.

After that, we’ll wrap up with an average of all four specifications and a summary.

PRICE

SPORT-TOURING MOTORCYCLE COMPARISON

Pricing for all these models includes ABS, except for the original Concours ZG1000, which does not have ABS available:

  • 2006* Kawasaki Concours, $8,499 MSRP USD (RV=1)
  • 2009 Kawasaki Concours14, $14,299 MSRP USD (RV=2)
  • 2009 Yamaha FJR1300, $14,490 MSRP USD (RV=3)
  • 2009 Honda ST1300, $15,699 MSRP USD (RV=4)
  • 2009 BMW R1200RT, $16,800 MSRP USD (RV=5)
  • 2009 BMW K 1300 GT, $18,800 MSRP USD (RV=6)

*Note: The Kawasaki Concours14 became available in the first week of July 2007 in the USA, as an early-release 2008 model. The Kawasaki Concours ZG1000 was manufactured for 20 “model” years, with 2006 being its last. (The first manufactured year was 1985, built for “model” year 1986). There was no “2007″ Concours.

The Kawasaki Concours ZG1000 is in a league of its own, in terms of cross-country miles for your dollar. It has long delivered the best value for anyone who enjoys spirited riding across the continent and would rather spend more money on traveling than on the transportation. Conversely, this bike does represent the oldest technology in this comparison.

On the other end of the price spectrum, both BMW models are also in a league of their own, based not only the prices seen, but also upon what is not seen here: BMW makes available a tremendous menu of optional add-on accessories for these bikes. Hence, you can spend a lot more than the stated MSRP before (or after) your bike leaves the showroom.

If we remove the Concours ZG1000 from this list, each of the remaining do represent advanced-technology motorbikes. Which means that it is arguable whether the difference in price between, say, the FJR or the Concours14, as compared to the K 1300 GT, really represents “better” technology for the money, or simply a premium for the name.

TOP RANKING SPORT-TOURER

SPORT-TOURING MOTORCYCLE COMPARISON

As noted earlier, manufacturing a sport-touring bike is about finding the best compromise between lighter, high-performance bikes, and heavier, full-featured, touring bikes. If you are the kind of rider who wants the most horsepower and fuel capacity with the least weight and price then let’s add each of the previous respective Ranking Values (RV) and list them accordingly:

  • Yamaha FJR1300, 13 combined RV (ranking value)
  • Kawasaki Concours, 13 combined RV (ranking value)
  • BMW K 1300 GT, 14 combined RV (ranking value)
  • BMW R1200RT, 14 combined RV (ranking value)
  • Kawasaki Concours14, 15 combined RV (ranking value)
  • Honda ST1300, 15 combined RV (ranking value)

In this final comparison, both the Yamaha FJR1300 and the original Kawasaki Concours (ZG1000) represent the best compromise of the most power, with the most fuel capacity, combined with the least weight and the least money, relative to the other bikes in this comparison. However, from a practical perspective, the older Concours (ZG1000) is not really comparable to the FJR 1300: The Concours isn’t even manufactured anymore! However, its remarkable value does bring it to the top of this particular ranking.

SUMMARY

SPORT-TOURING MOTORCYCLE COMPARISON

So which is the best for you?

Here are the summating conclusions:

  • If you are primarily performance oriented, the best bike for you is either the BMW K 1300 GT or the Kawasaki Concours14. (In the near future you may need astronaut training to fully take advantage of these rocket ships).
  • If you are mostly inclined towards long-distance riding with fewer fuel stops, an ST1300 or a used Concours ZG1000 will take you the longest distance with ample power.
  • If you want the longest riding range with the most power, the BMW K 1300 GT is your bike.
  • If you want the lightest sport-touring motorcycle, the answer is easy: Buy a BMW R1200 RT.
  • If you want the most expensive sport tourer, go to your nearest BMW dealer and purchase a K 1300 GT.
  • If you want the least expensive and most value for your sport-touring dollars, you are in the market for a used Kawasaki Concours ZG1000 (2006 was the last year for new models).
  • The Yamaha FJR1300 is the best all-around compromise of the four primary sport-touring qualifiers and their respective assumptions noted earlier, when considering the bikes with the most modern technology.

It’s worth re-stating that the definition of a sport-touring motorcycle determined which bikes to include in this comparison.

So, now the moment of truth: Which is the best sport-touring motorcycle for “YOU”?

And of course, no matter which bike you take across town, the state, the country, or the world, you want to arrive in great shape. Be sure to order your reference of “Motorcycle Safety Tips” to keep with you on your sport-touring adventures.

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