BMW K1600GT vs. Kawasaki Concours 14 vs. Triumph Trophy SE vs. Yamaha FJR1300 | Conquering The Divide

Four STs, Twice Over the Prow of America

The Great Continental Divide sounds like it should be halfway across the country, the natural demarcation of east to west. Nope. This feature, a topological high point that separates natural runoff that drains into the Pacific Ocean from that which drains into the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, actually snakes its way north from the Mexican border through New Mexico not far from the western edge of the state. We crossed it twice in two days on the best sport-touring motorcycles made, facing snowy mountain passes, rain, and soul-eating stretches of desert Interstate. It was, in a word, brilliant!

Planning a multi-state tour anywhere in the U.S. in mid December is a crapshoot--anything can happen with the weather. Almost arbitrarily, we chose Albuquerque as the end point. The city of half a million is surrounded by stunning terrain and served by roads that take you through scores of small towns and present amazing vistas. With luck, we would be able to skirt the Tonto and Apache National Forests in Arizona and the Gila National Forest in New Mexico before the worst of the winter weather set in, and in so doing keep us off as much of Interstate 8 and I-10 as possible. In short, just the kind of test these serious sport-touring rigs are made to ace. Not some wimpy 500-mile out-and-back, thank you very much.

For the timing of the trip, we blame Triumph. But in a nice way. We were waiting for Triumph's just-launched Trophy SE to arrive stateside, which it did just before Christmas. With an all-new triple based on the Tiger Explorer's, the Trophy sports a 1215cc mill seasoned with character but tamed with ride-by-wire electronics, a shaft final drive, and a fresh chassis. Rather than compete with the more basic Japanese STs, the Trophy moves up to the luxury-touring category thanks to the standard entertainment system--radio with Bluetooth, XM capability, and a USB connection to your music player of choice. The Trophy is fully featured, including ABS, traction control, cruise control, and standard hard saddlebags, which explains the $18,999 base price; all you need is $249.99 to add heated grips.

Triumph is, for a limited time, bringing in Launch Pack versions of the Trophy with a bundle of accessories for $20,499; the accessories include heated handgrips, a color-matched top box with mounts, heated rider and passenger seats, and an accessory windscreen that's an inch taller and 1.5 in. wider than stock. (To be fair, we left our testbikes top box behind, though we weighed and performance-tested the bike with the mount and other accessories in place; a pure base-model SE will be a tad lighter.)

Determining where the Triumph lies on the sport/touring spectrum would dictate its competition here. In the May 11 issue, we compared four STs a bit closer to the sport side: The BMW K1300S, Honda VFR1200F, Kawasaki Concours 14, and Triumph Sprint GT. (The Connie won.) This time, acknowledging the Trophy's size and intended mission, we moved a tick or three toward the touring end, which solved all our matchup problems but one: Which BMW?

The $17,350 R1200RT is closer in price to the Trophy and the expected Japanese contenders--the Concours and Yamaha's refreshed FJR1300--but bringing the $21,200 (base) K1600GT to the fight would give us a better benchmark for the luxury end. Perhaps it's a bit unfair to the Triumph to pit it against the mighty K16, but it would be equally unfair to bring the R1200RT--now a lame duck of sorts with the liquid-cooled boxer engine coming to the GS now and likely to the RT in a year or two--into this battle. Those of you who followed our exploits on social media also asked why we didn't include the Honda ST1300. Mainly it's because the ST has been unchanged since it arrived here in 2003 and, in fact, there's technically not a 2013 model. When Honda refreshes or replaces the ST, we'll do it all again. Promise.

Since its release in 2011 as a '12 model, the BMW K1600 twins--the sportier GT and slightly more Gold Wing-like GTL--have clamped down on the sport-touring category like a six-cylinder DeBakey Bulldog. Everything we thought we knew about big, heavy, powerful STs got rewritten by the BMW--it's lighter feeling, sportier, faster, and generally far more capable than it has any right to be. The inline-six engine has amazed us from Day One with its incredible torque curve, proper manners, and distinctive six-pot shriek to redline. We knew the K1600 would be something of a performance overdog, so the question was this: Is it that much better to justify the large price differential? Our 2012 testbike topped out at $25,035 as equipped--with heated seats, Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), traction control, tire-pressure monitors, audio system, and adaptive headlight. The '13 bikes are mechanically unchanged, only new colors, with a $300-higher base price.

Joining the new Triumph and the familiar BMW is the Kawasaki Concours 14, a longtime favorite around here thanks to its ZX-14R-derived engine and aluminum monocoque chassis, generous ergonomics, available (now standard) traction control, and linked ABS. Kawasaki introduced the C14 for the 2008 model year and refreshed it in 2010 with mods to reduce the amount of engine heat sent to the rider. Since then, aside from dropping the non-ABS model and switching colors every year, the $16,199 Connie is largely unchanged.

For 2013, Yamaha gave the evergreen FJR1300 a substantial rework to include an entirely new front fairing and dashboard along with the adaptation of ride-by-wire electronics and cruise control. Yamaha says the suspension was stiffened slightly from before, but the engine, drivetrain, main bodywork, luggage, and ergonomics largely carry over. No more power, no sixth gear, but an improved feature set for the lowest price--$15,890--makes the FJR the value leader in the group.

We had the bikes, now to work out the ride. Our route brought us out of the Los Angeles/San Diego sprawl toward the Mexican border as we sought to skirt a weather system dumping rain and snow on Northern California and Arizona. Weather aborted our attempt to run up and over Palomar Mountain--we were halted by snow and near-zero visibility, stopping to take a photo next to the chains required sign. "That's our problem," quipped Digital Editor Thomas Kinzer. "All these bikes are shaft drive!"

After turning tail and riding the lower roads toward the stunning County Highway S22 down into Borrego Springs, we finally got a chance to sample the bikes twisty-road performance. Editor at Large Aaron Frank, catching his breath at the bottom, said, "I remain consistently amazed at how well the K1600GT handles. You can flat-out haul ass on it, in a way that seems like it should be just impossible on such a long, low, heavy machine."

I was just ahead of him on the pass, there to appreciate the Yamaha's straightforward steering and no-glitches feedback. But in an effort to stay ahead of the BMW's indomitable thrust I had to slightly over-ride the FJR, causing it to drag hard parts with regularity. Moving the shock preload to the Hard position and dialing the rebound damping up would help some but not enough; the FJR is willing until the ride motions get out of hand and the pegs begin losing metal. The FJR's evenhanded thrust and smooth throttle response promise more backroad fun than the suspension calibration allows.

Associate Editor Zack Courts, following the spark show on the Triumph opined, "It feels big, but once moving the handling is pretty light. It's not too much work to wind along a twisty road, but it starts to feel like a behemoth when you push past about 80 percent of your own capability." He noted, as we all did, that the Trophy's steering is uncommonly light for a bike of that size, offering the promise of lightning reflexes that its heft can't quite fulfill. As the second heaviest bike here--697 pounds wet, 59 under the BMW but up 7 lbs. and 29 lbs. on the Kawasaki and the Yamaha, respectively--the Triumph uses aggressive steering geometry to conceal its bulk. Where physics is concerned, you can run but you can't hide.

Kinzer, on the Concours, arrived at the bottom of S22 in an agitated state. "It takes a little muscle but I don't mind that. It feels stable at speed but always big. And I really don't like the wonky linked brakes." S22 is fairly smooth, and we'd find out how these beasts would do on roads more beaten upon by weather in the days to come. We could tell by his tone that Kinzer had just seen the sport side of the Connie's capabilities, which are amazingly high considering its size and level of comfort.

Refilled by calorie-rich Mexican cuisine, our group reassembled for a push into Arizona for our overnight in Casa Grande, just south of Phoenix. Soon, too soon, we were off the secondary roads and on Interstate 8, headed east. It's here, the inevitable slog on straight roads, that the decision to buy a bigger ST starts to make sense. For starters, all four bikes have very good weather protection. The Kawasaki and Yamaha trail the group only because they're slightly smaller. Where the Kawasaki's wide mirrors offer a modicum of wind protection for the hands, the FJR rider has his outer four digits exposed to a trickle of air, while the lucky guys on the BMW and the Triumph ride in a nearly draft-free environment. Listening to the XM radio, no doubt. Pigs.

This part we loved as the sun set and the temps dropped to the low 40s. Call us wimps, but we all found comfort in heated grips and seats, generous wind protection, and the other amenities sporting riders scoff at when wheeling one of these beasts around the garage. When it's raining hard and you have another 300 miles to go, that wall of plastic is worth every pound. And yet, while these bikes are unquestionably hefty, they don't feel obese, and they all have enough power and handling acumen to make them feel lively under the right circumstances.

Two of our four STs give the rider a chance to soften the suspension on the fly. BMW's and Triumph's electronic adjustments are similar. Rear spring preload adjusts electrically, but the bike has to be stopped. Damping adjustments can be made at speed. Those adjustments are easy enough to find, though the BMW's settings are much closer to the top of the menu system; Triumph puts the settings a couple of layers down. Both bikes change demeanor from Comfort to Normal to Sport, though the Triumph feels more stiffly sprung and highly damped than the K1600, and the apparent changes from mode to mode are more pronounced. In Sport mode with full rear preload, the Triumph is borderline too hard for a lighter rider and a normal payload in the luggage.

The second day brought us to some of the best roads in Arizona and New Mexico, through Globe and eastbound on AZ70 past Safford and across the Continental Divide on AZ78, two-lane roads that were alternately flat and open to snow patched and frost heaved. Through it all, the BMW maintained its poise. Courts said of the K16 that there isn't a lot of feel from the front end, but it cannot be faulted for being unstable. In fact, the rougher the road, the better the GT felt. Although it had little natural feel, the Duolever front end managed an amazing balance of suppleness and stability, absorbing those crazy little frost heaves like nothing else while never bottoming heavily enough to be alarming. The lack of front-end dive is noticeable, especially after leaving the Kawasaki or Yamaha.

Brakes on such fast, heavy bikes are critical to well being, but we have relatively few complaints. All are backed by competent ABS and each bike has some form of linking, ranging from transparent (especially on the Triumph and Yamaha) to slightly funky (on the BMW, mainly because the controls lack feedback) to pretty annoying, in the case of the Kawasaki. While the Connie's binders are plenty powerful, the linking strategy, even in the Low Combined mode, can offer unpredictable results. Each of us had praise for ABS at least once during the trip, and the same can be said for traction control, though the Kawasaki's, which cuts power too bluntly and for too long, is half a generation behind.

As we made our way up Highway 152 out of Silver City in what would be a futile attempt to cross the Emory Pass before clear pavement and daylight ran out, the road became tighter, rougher, and more technical. As before, the BMW impressed us with its rare combination of stability and compliance, with the Triumph not far behind as long as you reduced rear preload a bit; though the rougher roads could conspire with its light steering to demand a bit more concentration than is ideal.

By now we'd started to give the Yamaha some margin owing to the soft suspension. The FJR manages rougher roads well, but you have to work to preserve lean angle. The Connie was a little frustrating. We couldn't find suspension settings that gave us acceptable bump compliance without inducing somewhat unruly ride motions. "Kawasaki definitely intended for this bike to be ridden hard, and it's sprung accordingly with what seem like pretty stiff spring rates," opined the ever-enthusiastic Mr. Frank. "Unfortunately, damping is a bit light, especially rebound, which occasionally made the Connie feel a little hyperactive over rough pavement. I've ridden a modified Connie with a cartridge kit in the fork and Penske rear shock and it's pretty remarkable when this bike is working right."

We had to abandon our shortcut along Highway 152 out to Interstate 25 and an early dinner in Albuquerque because of snow and darkness, backtracking enough that we ran our chase bike out of gas. Which illustrates an interesting point of true long-distance bikes: range. The Kawasaki averaged a sorry 36 mpg over the 2200-mile ride--despite our occasionally engaging the fuel-sipping Eco ride mode--suggesting a theoretical maximum range of less than 210 miles. The three others, by dint of either better mileage or bigger tanks--the BMW's is 7 gal. even, the Triumph's 6.9--math out at or above 260 miles. Doesn't sound like much, but 50 miles is everything when gas stations are 60 miles apart.

After an uneventful night in Albuquerque--aside, of course, from the freak snowstorm that blew in just 10 minutes after wed parked--we reassembled in near-freezing conditions to head westward, picking up US60 out of Socorro, NM. Skirting the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array--"We're broadcasting important information into space, like how much water we dumb is that?" asked staff paranoiac Kinzer--we found roads to let the STs stretch their legs. Subjective impressions put the K1600 a league ahead of the others. The silken six peaks at 106.4 lb.-ft. of torque, but holds more than 100 from 4500 to nearly 6500 rpm. None of the others gets close.

Third fastest in the quarter mile only because the ride by wire and lightswitch clutch kill the launch, the BMW ruled in the 60-80 roll-on test at 3.37 seconds. The Yamaha was next, at 3.66 seconds, but everyone pointed out that running the test in fifth gear is like cheating. (Maybe Yamaha had this in mind all along.) Although the dyno traces have the Connie and the FJR running neck-to-neck until the last 2500 rpm of the Kawi's powerband, that's not how it feels. The C14 has speed to burn; its broad torque curve leads to a surprisingly heady top-end rush that you never tire of exploring. (Could explain the mileage.) And then we have the Triumph. With the smallest engine, second-greatest weight, and least power and torque, the Trophy doesn't stand a chance in this company. By itself the triple feels great, with very good low-rpm power and near-flawless fueling--no multiple drive modes needed here, the only one is the right one--but any time spent in the upper end of the powerband reveals more growl and charisma than true thrust.

We crossed the Continental Divide again on US60 before stopping for gas in Dahil, wind blowing snow across the road and making us wonder if the ambient-temperature gauges were correct. (Turns out the Kawasaki's consistently read 2-3 degrees low.) We turned southwest on NM12, tiptoed through runoff with the gauges showing 32 degrees, and eventually followed the terrain downhill, away from the fallen snow and toward warmer temperatures. The brutal beauty of New Mexico never ceased to amaze. We followed roads on the sere valley floor, into terrain that's at first pretty barren, then pine covered, and then barren again before long. After I ran over something on the road--Thomas says chicken crate, I think Javelina, Zack maintains Chupacabara--shearing the Connie's left lower fairing off, the bike never flinched. But I did, so we stopped short for the night in Safford.

Our final day on the road concluded with photos in the scenic Tortilla Flat section of the Apache Trail northeast of Phoenix. Thanks to photographer Kevin Wings desire to shoot at nearly last light, we found ourselves eating an 8 o' clock dinner just a few miles west of Phoenix. Great, 370 miles to go, its dark out, and were already cold. Thanks, Kevin.

Every tour has this phase: the need to put down the miles to get home, beat weather, make a schedule. Right here, ultimate comfort becomes the primary criterion. Each of these bikes scores highly, though there are clearly two echelons. The Japanese contestants feature more aggressive riding positions, grips located a couple inches closer to the ground and a longer reach to them--but they're still really comfortable by sporting standards, and each of us would be happy to spend all day on any of them. (In fact, we already have.) For weather protection, the Connie beats the FJR by just a bit, though an aftermarket screen might help the Yamaha. Our shorter riders had trouble finding a good position on the Kawasaki's screen that provided protection without turbulence.

Where the Kawasaki and Yamaha offer impressive comfort and coverage, they're still not in the luxo-league of the BMW and Triumph. Both of the Euros offer better wind and weather protection, with the amazingly wide Triumph fairing getting the road-cocoon award. But the BMW is just a millimeter behind in terms of coverage and may well have slicker aerodynamics--each of us found an effective, turbulence-free windshield position on the K16. Plus the BMW has the added bonus of swing-out air deflectors that can make the cockpit more tolerable in warm weather. We worry that the snug Trophy could be claustrophobic in 100-degree heat.

From an ergonomics standpoint, the BMW and Triumph are more like traditional touring bikes--high bars and upright seating positions. We all liked the GT's arrangement, which splits the difference from sport to tour very well. Conversely, we all thought the Triumph's setup was a tad cramped.

Comfort, convenience, power, capabilities, and panache--these modern STs seem to have it all. But there has to be a winner, right? Because these four really split into two groups--the upscale Euro speedsters and the trimmer Japanese pair--it's a hard one to call.

For second place, anyway. And that's because the BMW simply dominates. It is dynamically superior--faster in the real world away from the dragstrip and overflowing with charisma--but also packs a host of well-considered features designed by people who clearly ride these things for a living. It's crazy fast for an ST yet gives up nothing in comfort.

Triumph openly positions the Trophy in a price and performance slot below the K1600GT and above the R1200RT--and there it fits like a key in a lock. It has handsome styling and excellent build quality, enough to put it on par with the K16 yet it's less expensive, giving you access to more of the Trophy's accessories list. With competitive power, the Triumph might have seriously troubled the BMW and scored an upset victory in this comparison. Ultimately, it didn't overcome the K16's six-cylinder appeal, but we have no doubt that the Triumph would put the hurt on the R1200RT, and that for a rider biased toward the touring end of the ST spectrum it will be an excellent choice.

Going into the comparison we wondered if Yamaha's remake of the FJR1300 would be enough to unseat the Connie, a machine with season tickets to our affections. The answer: Not quite. But it was closer than we assumed it would be, with the Yamaha's newfound refinement and softer suspension making it a much better pure-highway trawler than the tautly sprung, growly Connie. It comes down to personality. The FJR1300 is plush--slightly too plush, actually--and smooth, seldom calling attention to itself. Kawasaki gave the Connie the heart of a lion, sure, but it wants to roar even when you need it to purr. To sum up the Japanese pair, then: The Yamaha's polished and the Concours really just wants to rip.

The BMW does both, spanning more of the sport/touring spectrum than anything else you can buy. The only compromise is cost.

Off the Record

Aaron Frank
Editor at Large
Age: 38
Height: 57
Weight: 155 lbs.
Inseam: 32 in.

If I we're buying a cross-continent cruise missile on my current salary, it would probably be a Concours 14. Built on the bones of the ZX-14R, Ms. Connie is more than sporty, and I know from personal experience--my father currently owns the magazine's 2008 C14 long-term testbike--that a few carefully considered mods transform the Concours into a sublime high-speed, high-mile machine. But it would be so very hard not to blow my budget on BMW's brilliant K1600GT. Forget Triumph triples or Ducati twins--the Beemer inline six has my new favorite exhaust note. I fell in love with the K16 every time I fired it up, and my lust didn't diminish at all as miles piled up. No matter how you farkle a C14, you'll never match the same level of performance, convenience, integration and function that the BMW delivers out the door. That makes the extra $8,836 seem like a bargain, even on a wordsmith's salary.

Marc Cook
Editor in Chief
Age: 49
Height: 59
Weight: 195 lbs.
Inseam: 32 in.

Late last year, I rode the Triumph Trophy SE in Scotland and came away impressed. I've always been a sucker for a big triple, and got on really well with the Explorer, which shares the 1215cc engine. At the launch, the Trophy seemed quick enough and well equipped for the money. What's more, I didn't feel like the Triumph's riding position was too tight or confining, but I didn't have the K1600GT or the FJR1300 there to compare. For me, that's the one area where the Trophy lags: It simply feels too much like a touring bike to me. Now, the FJR fits me like the engineers took my measurements first--it's that natural and comfortable for me. Aside from the soft suspension--easily fixed--and the silly 82-mph limit on the cruise control, I cant find anything of substance to fault about the FJR.

Thomas Kinzer
Digital Editor
Age: 44
Height: 58
Weight: 170 lbs.
Inseam: 32 in.

These machines fall into two distinct categories in my mind. The Triumph and the BMW fall into the touring category. The Yamaha and Kawasaki get filed under sportbikes, tweaked for touring. All four are great in terms of performance, but the big difference for me is the way the bikes feel in size. The Yamaha would be my choice as a single do-it-all bike. It's smaller size fits me better and just makes the bike fun. If I wanted a two-up, long-distance touring bike, I'd go with the Triumph. It has all the bells and whistles, feels lighter, and retains more motorcycle character than the BMW. If you wouldn't be caught dead on a Gold Wing but secretly want one, go with the Trophy.

Zack Courts
Associate Editor
Age: 29
Height: 62
Weight: 185 lbs.
Inseam: 34 in.

All of these bikes spun the trip meters up so fast we forgot what time zone we were in, but in the end it was a tale of two classes; the Euro-luxury liners and the Japanese econo-tourers. Triumph's stab at BMW's throne came up short, as even the all-new Trophy feels dated compared to the Starship Enterprise that is the K1600GT. The BMW is the best bike here and, not coincidentally, you have to pay for it. As addictive as heated seats, electronic suspension, and satellite radio can be, anyone with one eye on their retirement account will be looking at Yamaha and Kawasaki dealerships for their ST bike. The Concours and the FJR are both great options, but since it benefits from a more recent update (and because it didn't threaten my life with conniving linked brakes) I give my nod to Yamahas FJR1300.

Displacement, as they say, is everything. BMW's straight-six uses its extra capacity--297cc over the next largest, 434cc above the smallest--to great effect. Sure, it gets beaten at the peak by the ZX-14R-derived Concours, but the K16 produces amazing power at very relaxed revs. What the charts don't convey is how quickly it spins up. The Connie and FJR trade punches up the chart until 6700 rpm, where the Yamaha begins to fade and the Kawasaki keeps charging. On the road, the difference is clear--you're looking to short-shift the Yamaha (wishing for an extra gear ratio or two) yet happy to let the Connie reach for the redline. Triumph stepped to the bar with the smallest engine and fewest cylinders. It's still a characteristically exciting triple, but it is thoroughly out gunned by more powerful competitors.

Impressive as the BMW's horsepower curve may be, it's the torque trace that gets us going. That ear-pleasing six rises above 100 lb.-ft. of torque at 4200 rpm and doesn't cross back down for another 2000 rpm. The steep downslope in the last third can't be felt from the saddle. Here's one case where the dyno charts truly reflect real life: The Yamaha is distinctly stronger and crisper right off the bottom than the Kawasaki, which feels a bit soggy; the Connie makes up for it later. And while the dyno saw a slight dip in the FJR's torque output at 4500, the ride-by-wire logic effectively covers up for it on the road. Triumph's small three-pot has the flattest, best-looking torque curve of the four. We just wish it were higher up the scale.

Price: $25,035 (As Tested)

Engine type: l-c inline-six
Valve train: DOHC, 24v
Displacement: 1649cc
Bore x stroke: 72.0 x 67.5mm
Compression: 12.2:1
Fuel system: EFI, ride by wire
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Measured horsepower: 128.5 bhp @ 7800 rpm
Measured torque: 106.4 lb.-ft. @ 5100 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 10.86 sec. @ 124.20 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 3.37 sec.
Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 43/32/37 mpg
Front suspension: Duolever with ESA II
Rear suspension: Paralever with ESA II
Front brake: Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 320mm discs with ABS
Rear brake: Brembo two-piston caliper, 320mm disc with ABS
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone BT-021
Rear tire: 190/55ZR17 Bridgestone BT-021
Rake/trail: 27.8°/4.3 in.
Seat height: 31.9-32.7 in.
Wheelbase: 66.1 in.
Fuel capacity: 7.0 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 756/714 lbs.
Colors: Dark Graphite Metallic, Light Gray Metallic, Montego Blue Metallic
Availability: Now
Warranty: 36 mo., 36,000 mi.
BMW of North America
P.O. Box 1227
Westwood, NJ 07575

Kawasaki Concours 14
Price: $16,199

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
Measured horsepower: 132.6 bhp @ 8800 rpm
Measured torque: 87.5 lb.-ft. @ 7200 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 10.70 sec. @ 125.98 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 4.78 sec.
Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 46/33/36 mpg
Front suspension: Kayaba 43mm inverted fork with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Rear suspension: 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 BT-021
Rear tire: 190/50ZR-17 Bridgestone BT-021
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.
Colors: Metallic Nocturne Blue, Metallic Spark Black
Availability: Now
Warranty: 36 mo., unlimited mi.
Kawasaki Motor Corp.
9950 Jeronimo Road
Irvine, CA 92618
949.770.0400 _

Triumph Trophy SE
Price: $20,499 (As Tested)

Engine type: l-c inline-triple
Valve train: DOHC, 12v
Displacement: 1215cc
Bore x stroke: 85.0 x 71.4mm
Compression: 12.0:1
Fuel system: EFI, ride by wire
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Measured horsepower: 114.7 bhp @ 9100 rpm
Measured torque: 73.4 lb.-ft. @ 6800 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 11.44 sec. @ 118.18 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 4.50 sec.
Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 50/35/40 mpg
Front suspension: WP 43mm inverted fork with electronically adjustable rebound damping
Rear suspension: WP shock with electronically adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 320mm discs with ABS
Rear brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 282mm disc with ABS
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Angel
Rear tire: 190/55ZR-17 Pirelli Angel
Rake/trail: 27.0°/4.7 in.
Seat height: 30.3-31.1 in.
Wheelbase: 60.7 in.
Fuel capacity: 6.9 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 697/655 lbs.
Colors: Lunar Silver, Pacific Blue
Availability: Now
Warranty: 24 mo., unlimited mi.
Triumph Motorcycles of America, Ltd
385 Walt Sanders Memorial Dr. #100
Newnan, GA 30265

Yamaha FJR1300
Price: $15,890

Engine type: l-c inline-four
Valve train: DOHC, 16v
Displacement: 1298cc
Bore x stroke: 79.0 x 66.2mm
Compression: 10.8:1
Fuel system: EFI, ride by wire
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: 5-speed
Frame: Aluminum twin-spar
Measured horsepower: 123.0 bhp @ 8100 rpm
Measured torque: 86.8 lb.-ft. @ 6400 rpm
Corrected ¼-mile: 10.82 sec. @ 122.47 mph
Top-gear roll-on, 60-80 mph: 3.66 sec.
Fuel mileage (hi/low/avg.): 47/32/39 mpg
Front suspension: YHSJ 48mm fork with adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension: YHSJ shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake: Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 320mm discs with ABS
Rear brake: Nissin one-piston caliper, 282mm disc with ABS
Front tire: 120/70ZR-17 Bridgestone BT-023
Rear tire: 180/55ZR-17 Bridgestone BT-023
Rake/trail: 26.0°/4.3 in
Seat height: 31.7-32.5 in.
Wheelbase: 60.8 in.
Fuel capacity: 6.6 gal.
Weight (tank full/empty): 668/628 lbs.
Color: Stone Gray
Availability: Now
Warranty: 12 mo., unlimited mi.
Yamaha Motor Corp. USA
6555 Katella Ave.
Cypress, CA 90630

Wide and wiggly, the Triumph’s suspended bags at least allow you to leave them unlocked for easy access. Their double-wall construction steals some interior room.
Nice analog gauges bracket an LCD multifunction panel with logical controls and clear menus. Triumph got it right. We would love lighted switches on handlebars, though.
My, what a big one you have. Triumph went all out for weather protection with the Trophy’s broad, tall fairing and wider/taller accessory screen.
Virtually perfect luggage. Two-step latches that can remain unlocked protect roomy, water-tight vessels. Aero tricks help reduce grime buildup. BMW just gets it.
Besides a speedo with too-tiny (and too many) numbers, the BMW’s instrument panel is superb, easy to manage and understand, and handsome. The GPS is optional.
The optional adaptive headlight is the centerpiece of BMW’s artfully tuned and thoroughly effective fairing. Some of the best aero going, right there.
The Connie’s bags hold a surprising amount of stuff, but they are also fairly wide. It’s a real pain to use the KIPASS key to open them every time you need access.
Hello, 2007—where have you been? Cheap-looking analog gauges and an artless multifunction display get the job done but won’t win any design awards.
Kawasaki increased the height of the stock windscreen in 2010, but it could stand to be a bit larger for our taller guys. We all liked the Connie’s aggressive look.
Nothing special here, but the bags are commendably narrow without sacrificing capacity. The latches are easy to use, but feel flimsy.
Subtle but effective, the FJR’s dash is new this year and much improved. Windshield and grip-heater adjustments are confirmed through the right-side menu.
With the ’13 re-do, Yamaha gave the FJR a turbulence-reducing portal above the new headlights. It works, but the opening also lets in rainwater.
The K16 has your classic touring-biased ST seating position, with moderately tall bars and reasonable legroom. The open seating angle and shorter seat/peg relationship shows the GT's modestly rear-set footpegs.
With the most aggressive riding position of these four, the Connie is nevertheless all-day comfortable. A relatively tall saddle and hiked-up footpegs distance it from the FJR, making it feel sportier.
Compared to the BMW, the Trophy's bars are slightly higher and the footpegs farther forward, but other factors, including seat shape, make it feel a bit cramped next to the K16. The seat is two-position adjustable, 20mm apart.
A seat not everyone liked is the only mark against the FJR's ergonomic picture. Less aggressive than the C14's layout, the Yamaha's rider triangle may be the perfect sport/touring compromise. Seat and bars are adjustable.