Sportbike World banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK gang,
I'm starting to evaluate bikes for my next long-term ride. I expect to get it sometime next season, but who knows. I do know that I want to go to a sport-touring bike and have determined that the following are contenders. If you have any of these or have opinions on the marques, please add your comments.

Aprillia Futura
BMW R1150RT
Ducati ST4s (996 motor version, looks tantalizing)
Honda ST1300 (the new one)
Honda VFR (the new one)
Yamaha FJ1300 (if it comes to USA)
Kawasaki ZZR-1200 (not sure about this one though, carbs)
Suzuki ????
Triumph ST (I've riden these a couple times and love 'em)

I do virtually no two-up riding and live in a mountainous region (high elevation) I do tend to favor lighter weight, however I want a stable platform. Some of the bikes mentioned run a tad heavy for my tastes, but they're all superb machines.

One thing in particular, directed to the Ducati riders here, what have been your experiences concerning reliability?

Comments, suggestions, & thoughts are welcome :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
624 Posts
I love my VFR - did 10 hours on Sunday and not sore at all. However, the 2002 will be a new model, so you don't know if all the bugs will have been worked out. I don't know that this is such a concern with Honda, but something to think about. If you could pick up a 2000 or 2001 VFR I would highly recommend it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
I too love my VFR, it turned 79,000 miles this morning. I also have ridden a Aprillia Futura and liked it alot. The hard bags are nice but not necessary. I do not like the BMW 1150RT as the transmission sucks. The bike feels very soft on the suspension and somewhat vague in handling compared to a VFR or Futura. I too like the Triumph ST alot. They have great character and performance.

If it were my money I would get another VFR followed in order by: Triumph, and Futura . On a tight budget I would consider a Suzuki Bandit 1200S and maybe even the new 919 Honda with an after market windscreen.

Rick
NCVFR
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
For trully LOOOOoooong distance riding, and I mean over 1,000 miles per tour, I would consider only 3 bikes in your list.

From 1st to last.....

Yamaha FJR1300. The most handsome of any of the sport-touring first, sportbike 2nd type motorcycles. Hardbags. Big fairings for lots of wind & weather protection. SHAFTDRIVE. POWER....lots of it.

Kawasaki ZZR1200. No doubt will be the mightiest of all the sport-touring bikes. Also the sportiest. Big enough fairing for very good wind & weather protection. Hardbags will be available from Givi(per Kawasaki). POWER....lots of it. Carbs? In my experience, carbs FEEL better than FI and works just as good. No abruptness at lowspeed. Beautiful & attractive bike.

Honda VFR800. Will be the lightest of the top 3 so it will handle tight roads the best. If you can only have one bike for canyon carving and LD sport-touring, this could be it. Linked Brakes.

In my personal opinion, weight is a big factor when sport-touring. More importantly, MORE weight is not such a bad thing. A heavy bike will be less sensitive to crosswinds. This is important when you need to ride long distances in open country. Heavy bikes will be less sensitive to cargo. Being light and nimble is not necessary because when sport-touring, you hardly go fast like you would at you're favorite road that you're familiar with.

Why I wouldn't choose any of the other bikes you mentioned......

Aprilia Futura: Ugly. Limited dealerships in North America. Expensive to buy and maintain. Ugly.

BMWR1150RT: Vibration. Ugly. Expensive to buy and maintain. Limited dealerships in N. A.

Ducati ST4: Questionable long term reliability. Expensive to buy and maintain. Limited dealerships in N. A.

Honda ST1300: No opinion. Don't know anything about it.

Suzuki???: They don't offer ANYTHING that even competes with ST products from other manufacturers.

Triumph ST: Ugly. Limited dealerships in N.A. Ugly. OTOH, it is heavily discounted so this may be the best bargain of all. If it wasn't for its looks & limited dealerships, I would put this ABOVE the VFR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
624 Posts
I tested an ST1100 before I bought the VFR. I thought it was too heavy for me, since I lean towards the sport part of sport touring (plus they look very dated). That being said, they are not easy to find in the US because, in part, of limited distribution to dealers but also because very few owners are willing to part with them - they have incredible track records for reliability. I am sure you are aware both the VFR and ST have undergone major revisions and I would be interested in your review if you "kick the tires." I would also think that most publications will be testing and reviewing all the bikes you mentioned over the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
Rogue_Biker said:

Aprilia Futura: Ugly. Limited dealerships in North America. Expensive to buy and maintain. Ugly.
Triumph ST: Ugly.
Good post Rogue, but does this mean that the Aprilla is REALLY ugly or just ugly like the Trumpet ?:D

The FJR has just been voted 1st in the sport/touring cat. by MCN.
Are you finally getting them in the U.S. ?

Tahoe, I have ridden the FJR and was pretty impressed with it. The shaft wasn't noticable, plenty of grunt and was quite "chuckable".

Downsides: The seat was not awfully comfy (inexcusable on this type of machine) and the build quality was poor.
Some have said that it vibrates but I didn't notice.

But BE CAREFUL, can you really trust anything a dancing green smeghead says ?:D :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
Smeghead said:


Good post Rogue, but does this mean that the Aprilla is REALLY ugly or just ugly like the Trumpet ?:D

The FJR has just been voted 1st in the sport/touring cat. by MCN.
Are you finally getting them in the U.S. ?



I'd take the Trumpet over the Aprilia any day! And Yamaha hasn't decided to bring the FJR1300 to the US. According to them, there's not enough market for it. But many people, including Yamaha USA is trying to convince them otherwise. We're hoping......:rolleyes:


But BE CAREFUL, can you really trust anything a dancing green smeghead says ?:D:rolleyes:

LOL! :D :D :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
If you consider a Ducati only consider the ST4s. Motorcyclist just did a big review on it and loved it.

I test road a Futura this spring and wasn't blown away.
http://www.ulen.com/cyclepics/useful_info/futura_ride.htm
The bike wasn't broke in so I had to baby it, but the FI seemed really glitchy down low, and I'm not sure how I'd like the lumpiness of a v-twin in a ST bike.

ST1100 is too far on the touring side for me. The FJR1300 looks kinda cool, but same story...maybe a tad too much tourer in it. The Triumph seems like a very capable bike. The BMW is good only if you want to spend $$$. I still like performance in an ST. The ZZR also looks good. It's really a challenge to buy a BAD bike these days. :D Suzuki's ST would probably be the Hayabusa...but it's more of a GT or hyper ST.

And the VFR...what can you say about it that hasn't been said already. Do you ever hear anyone say anything bad about this bike? :D

My list would be (without doing extensive research):
1) VFR (aaaahhh, v4 goodness!!)
2) ST4s/Futura (would have to learn to love the vtwin lump, lump)
3) ZZR/Triumph ST
4) FJR
5) ST1100
6) BMW
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Tough choice, I'm now working an extra job so I hopefully will have to make the same choice.

Because I'm looking for something for 2-up riding I'm mainly considering the following.

The Triumph; a very well balanced package, but expensive to maintain. ( only 1 dealer around here ).

ST1300. I think it might be a little heavy for in town by myself but is probably the best for 2-up.

The Kawi, It looks like it might be the best compromise. FI might be nice but it seems that it always takes a couple years before they get it right anyways.

VFR, if it were just me, I think this would be the one. However, I think its underpowered for its weight. A 600 makes the same HP! ( ya, I know Torque......... blah, blah, blah.... no excuse for only 85 hp out of 800 cc)


If my luck keeps up this might be a mute point for me anyways, my kids a due for University soon and I can already see my "Toy fund "shrinking.:crying:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
624 Posts
oldgixer said:



VFR, if it were just me, I think this would be the one. However, I think its underpowered for its weight. A 600 makes the same HP! ( ya, I know Torque......... blah, blah, blah.... no excuse for only 85 hp out of 800 cc)


85 horses? Not sure that's right. MCN has it in the 105-108 range.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Excellent comments, Thanks.

Rouge, I agree to a degree about weight, remember, I'm the Token Harley Boy here, my current ride is a Road King. But as I tend to do more shorter jaunts 300-500 mile loops in these glorious mountains, I tend to be leaning more to the sport side (read light).

The ZZR gets a stab for being a carb bike, vs. the ZX-12 which has a well sorted FI system. The local dealer shares my opinion, "What were they thinking?" No luggage, no FI, no Shaft...all the things a serious tourer generally wants...strange.

Good points on the dealership issues pertaining to the Aprilia, definately a negative. And UFO, I did read your review, and excellent one BTW, you write good evaluations, please do more! Also agreed that it takes a little getting used to astheticly.

The consistent negative about the VFR is that it's boring...it does everything well. The Maytag of Motorcycles, no soul, just a superb do-anything bike. That may actually effect my decision. I know this is directly opposite of emotionally detached logic, but I like a little "soul" in my bikes. I've had a long history with Brit-bikes, a few Harleys, some obscure European bikes (like Ossa's & Zundaps) and of course a slew of Japanese stuff. I like some "personality".

The ST1300 is a major update over the previous series, which are rarely seen for sale, excellent machines to be sure. A tad big for my tastes I think, but I'll try and get to see one come show-time in the Bay Area. Also have those linked brakes which I do NOT like. (I've played with panic stops with BMW's and VFR's...no-no-no thanks)

I did read the Motorcyclist review of the Ducati ST4s, and it sounds like something right up my alley, but I do have concerns over reliability. I have some doubts about Italian machinery liability (I've got friends with Ferraris, great soul, lousy reliability, and we all know that FIAT stands for "fix it again tony") however I've found Berreta firearms to be as good as anything else, superb really. We do have a decent dealer (now) about an hour away, plus quite a few more on the Californication side of the mountains, so that may not be as large a factor. The ST4s has an impressive array of component features and prices out fairly well. (15K)

As we have no word on the FJ1300, that's a big question mark. I would also have to travel to get ANY of the Japanese machines, as my local dealer doesn't cut many deals (however the parts department there is world class!)

I keep lingering on the Triumph too. Understand that I don't find it unattractive, however more feedback on reliability and maintenance costs would be welcome here. Agreed, the pricing on these is very attractive.

BMW: We've a good dealer an hour away, but they sure ain't cheap! I rode the RT1150 at Sears last summer and liked it (liked the K1200S more) But I haven't quite gotten passionate about either. The RT actually vibrated MORE than my Harley (a mechanical buzz through the footpegs and bars) Good power though and sure-footed handling. Also the windshield is fun to play with...good on boring interstates to amuse oneself:D

One very good point made earlier, there's really no "bad" bike among them. They're all excellent machines and would likely make me a happy camper. I'll keep searching reviews and try to get a little saddle time on each before thinning my wallet severely.

If you know any Ducati & Triumph riders, ask them to share their experiences: maint & reliability.

Thanks for your excellent feedback, please keep it up.
Regards,
Kev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Bonk! said:
The new ones headed to the US only come in red! ARGH! :crying:
Ooops, my bad...totally forgot. You're completely right!!!

Kev, I also read the review on the ST4s and had me rubbing my chin going "Hmmmmm..." I have a friend who owns an ST2 (way down on power compared to and ST4s) and he loves it. My only concern is also the long term reliability and maintenance. I actually think the VFR has plenty of soul. A SSS, FI, racebred, V4 that sounds like complete heaven with some slipons? That's soul to me! ;)

I'd wait until some of the reviews start rolling in on some of the new bikes (ZZR, VFR, ST1300, etc) and decide then. If you actually do a lot of two up touring you might want to stay away from the VFR. In my eyes is really is a solo tourer. Of course I always tour solo because my wife has her own bike. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
714 Posts
Bonk! said:


The new ones headed to the US only come in red! ARGH! :crying:
Bloody hell, don't get UFO started about red VFR,s again !;)

Did I mention WE get them in ALL the colours !!!:D:twofinger :D

Ah, British humour, don't you just love it !!!!:hurl:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
698 Posts
Tahoe said:

The ZZR gets a stab for being a carb bike, vs. the ZX-12 which has a well sorted FI system. The local dealer shares my opinion, "What were they thinking?" No luggage, no FI, no Shaft...all the things a serious tourer generally wants...strange.


They're trying to save cost so they don't pass them on to you. It's got what's important(to me anyways!). Good(supposedly) wind and weather protection, comfy riding position, centerstand, range, gas gauge, and two most important characteristics: POWER and LOOKS. :)

FI is NOT a big deal. With 1200cc, you won't notice the power loss at high elevation. FI looses power too. My experience with my ZX11 is that it's throttle response at ALL speeds was excellent. Way better than the FI bikes I've ridden. I expect the same or better for the ZZR.



If you know any Ducati & Triumph riders, ask them to share their experiences: maint & reliability.


My good friend has an ST4 with 20k miles. He tours extensively on it with his wife on board. Maintenance is about $100 more than a Japanese bike. Everytime. Reliability is okay. He had a problem with an exhaust sensor falling off and making the bike backfire badly on one tour at 5k miles. He had to ride it all the way home 'cause there was no dealer close by to get a replacement part. Headlight seal broke at 10k miles so his lenses are all fogged up.

I know another Ducati owner(2000 748). First 3 months, gearbox ate itself. 3 months in the shop waiting for parts from Italy. Then clutch master cylinder broke. 1 month to get part from Italy.

I know two other guys with 2001 996's. No problems whatsoever. However, these bikes have less than 6k miles on them.

The other guy also has a 2001 748. After 6k miles of street riding, and another 6k miles at the track, engine threw a rod. The bike is maintained per Ducati's Owner's manual and never had any problems 'till now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Rogue: I guess what's got me puzzled about the ZZR (yes it's a really great looking machine and should have plenty of smak) is that the bike is essentially a reworked ZX-11, is priced within $500 of the ZX-12, and lacks much of that bike's componentry. But it is great looking. My issue with injection versus carbs for the most part comes from living at high elevations. EFI is generally easily remapped (or automatic) whereas you generally have to go in and rejet a carbed bike. Agreed, it will undoubtably have ample power!

I also appreciate the details about the Ducati's...that has been a serious concern...parts availability and Italian time schedules :D

Again, I rarely tour 2-up and I did my Butt Burner years ago. I like to do about 400 miles on the high side, enjoy a nice dinner and a spa at the end of the day.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top