BMW K1300S vs. Honda VFR1200F vs. Kawasaki Concours 14 vs. Triumph Sprint GT

Long distance calling

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Kevin Wing

2011 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS | Price $15,599

Dyno
Variable valve timing fortifies the ZX-14-derived four’s delivery across the bottom of the rev range with relatively little in the way of a downside above that. Still, it tapers off early compared to the more powerful BMW and Honda.

Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c inline-four

Valve train: DOHC, 16v

Displacement: 1352cc

Bore x stroke: 84.0 x 61.0mm

Compression: 10.7:1

Fuel system: EFI

Clutch: Wet, multi-plate

Transmission: 6-speed

Frame: Aluminum monocoque

Front suspension: 43mm Kayaba inverted fork with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping

Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping

Front brake: Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 310mm discs with ABS

Rear brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 270mm disc with ABS

Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT021U

Rear tire: 190/50ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT021U

Rake/trail: 26.1/4.4 in.

Seat height: 32.1 in.

Wheelbase: 59.8 in.

Fuel capacity: 5.8 gal.

Weight (tank full/empty): 690/655 lbs.

Measured horsepower: 130.4 bhp @ 9000 rpm

Measured torque: 87.9 lb.-ft. @ 7250 rpm

Corrected -mile: 10.84 sec. @ 127.7 mph

Top-gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 4.2 sec.

Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 45/27/35 mpg

Colors: Blue, black

Availability: Now

Warranty: 36 mo., unlimited miles

Contact:
Kawasaki Motor Corp.
9950 Jeronimo Road
Irvine, CA 92618
949.770.0400
www.kawasaki.com

Ergos
Though roomier and more comfortable for long hauls, tall bars push you up and back. That’s great for covering long distances in a straight line, but it can feel a bit awkward when you’re pushing hard through the twisties.

2011 Triumph Sprint GT | Price $13,199

Dyno
Though smaller than the others in terms of size and sheer muscle, Triumph’s 1050cc triple makes the most of those 118.6 horses, laying them down in steady succession. That dip at 3000 rpm is much less noticeable on the road.

Tech Spec

Engine type: l-c inline-triple

Valve train: DOHC, 12v

Displacement: 1050cc

Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 71.4mm

Compression: 12.0:1

Fuel system: EFI

Clutch: Wet, multi-plate

Transmission: 6-speed

Frame: Aluminum twin-spar with single-sided swingarm

Front suspension: Showa 43mm fork with adjustable spring preload

Rear suspension: Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping

Front brake: Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 320mm discs with ABS

Rear brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 255mm disc with ABS

Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT021

Rear tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone Battlax BT021

Rake/trail: 23.5/3.3 in.

Seat height: 32.1 in.

Wheelbase: 60.5 in.

Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.

Weight (tank full/empty): 589/557 lbs.

Measured horsepower: 118.6 bhp @ 9000 rpm

Measured torque: 73.0 lb.-ft. @ 7500 rpm

Corrected -mile: 11.24 sec. @ 122.5 sec.

Top-gear roll-on 60-80 mph: 4.1 sec.

Fuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 48/33/41 mpg.

Colors: Blue, silver

Availability: Now

Warranty: 24 mo., unlimited mi.

Contact:
Triumph Motorcycles of America, Ltd.
385 Walt Sanders Memorial Dr. #100
Newnan, GA 30265
678.854.2010
www.triumphmotorcycles.com

Ergos
A nicely tapered seat makes the GT accessible to the vertically challenged, though getting from there to the oddly angled bars can be a stretch for some. The net effect offers perhaps the best balance of sporting comfort and control.

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carewser
Why the Yamaha FJR1300 was left out of the competition I can't imagine. Triumph? Over Yamaha? Really?
spokexx
I test rode the Triumph Sprint GT this past weekend. Damn I loved it. Now I'm contemplating a purchase but I really don't have to. I just want to. I would say that it is a touring sport bike where as the BMW is a sporty touring bike. The Honda seems to fall into a the former catagory also and the Kawi falls into a class with the beemer. I also test rode an older K1200 ...r? gt? whatever. And Im just not a fan of shaft drive.
mfrito
Didn't you forget the FJR1300?  Just a few years ago it came in second to the Concours.
JETSKI88
Dave,

The BMW's sure are intriguing but all I ever hear is high maintenance costs and expensive repairs.  That has kept me on Kawasakis for 17 years.  Bikes and jetskis.  Reliable and powerful.  Best machines out there!
BMWDave2007K1200S
My lemon
Almost 4 years ago I bought my dream bike a 2007 BMW K1200S from Cliff's BMW in Danbury CT. After about 100 miles the bike started to lurch and jerk under 3000 RPM (tough to make right turns without pulling in the clutch and ride at low speed in 1st gear) Well the dealer did not have a fix so I did not have a problem... After repeated attempts to get it fixed finally after the start of my 3rd season they re-mapped it and it has been fine. They even did not charge me...(how nice was that after all that time to find out it was not me and the way I was riding the bike) 3 years ago I went in because my clutch chattered, slipped and would not let me take off fast. Needless to say my 0-60 MPH in 2.8 seconds bike was not. This is not my first bike and I have driven manual transmission cars for 33 years. Clutches last a very long time. I would bring my bike in and Dave the service manager, Brianna a service writer (at the time, now service manager) and Cliff the owner all said "this is normal" I don't think I have it in writing because they did not want it in the records. I went in many times and was told it is normal. The new owner also "said it was normal" at my last oil change  So no help here... so only about 50 miles later I go to trade the bike because I don't think it is normal. What a surprise that I was told I need a new clutch. It will cost me around $1000.00 for the clutch and the housing. Cliff's should have bought my lemon back and gave me a new bike. between the surging and the clutch my bike was a big disappointment and not what I paid for. With a 19K list price and I paid $17500.00 and I still have around 14 payments left. Thanks for listening and I will tell this story to whoever will let me. Needless to say don't do business with Cliff he has an insurance company now and I am sure won't have anyones interest but his at heart.
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