Motorcycle USA has published its annual sport-touring shootout, but sadly, this time, two of the top contenders aren’t even being tested. Instead, the shootout is limited to just three bikes: The Kawasaki Concours14, The Triumph Sprint GT, and the Honda VFR1200F. The final results were…interesting, and I can’t say I agree, as the winning bike has some serious touring shortcomings. But I won’t spoil the surprise any more than that.
What I found more interesting was that both BMW and Yamaha refused to make their sport-touring bikes available. The BMW refusal to supply a K1300GT is understandable, as it’s a dead motorcycle, with the new K1600GT I-6-engined bike already announced as a replacement.
The lack of an FJR1300 in the line-up, however, makes me go, “Hmmmm.” I take it that this means that Yamaha is about to release a Gen III FJR, or an FJR replacement bike. Now, that really does interest me, because as an FJR rider on a daily basis, I really do like that motorcycle. But Yamaha has kept the performance pretty much the same for almost a decade, while BMW, Honda, and Kawasaki have all produced more horsepower-charged mounts. So, I’m fascinated to see what Yamaha has planned for the third generation of what used to be the gold standard of sport-tourers, but now is the most underpowered of them, except, of course, for the Triumph Sprint GT.
There’s been tons of speculation about what the Gen III FJR might be. Everything from an updated FJR1300 as hinted at by Cycle World:
To the rumored FJR1400 reported by the (not always reliable) French site, Moto Revue:
Both of these mockups are obviously computer-generated, and may or may not have anything to do with the actual motorcycle Yamaha actually produces. Of the two imaginary motorcycles, though, I prefer the imaginary motorcycle on the bottom.
Huh. This post ended up being about something entirely different than what it started out being about.
Motorcycle Daily has a new ride review of the “Baby ST”, Honda’s NT700V. This twin-cylinder light tourer–called the Deauville in Europe–is really less of a tourer than a mid-sized all-rounder with nice luggage capacity.
Comparing the NT to other motorcycles is a bit hard to do, since it really is a unique bike. It’s not as good looking or as fast as BMW’s F 800 ST, but it is less expensive considering the extras that are included in the NT’s base price, and would serve as a better all-around bike out of the lot. Compared to Suzuki’s V-Strom or Kawasaki’s Versys it’s a bit expensive, but then again it has superior creature comforts, shaft drive, and bags. This new import from Honda may just fill a niche that those bikes don’t; great for the more rational riders among us who are turned off by the idea of a 700+ pound touring bike or cruiser, and excellent for the novice or thrifty commuter looking for a usable, maintenance-free workhorse. Whether these riders come out of the woodwork to buy up NT’s by the boatload remains to be seen, but I can’t deny the bike is a pleasure to ride.
It seems like it might be a good choice for the beginning rider, or even the experienced rider who doesn’t put a premium on sport performance.