Best Sport Touring Motorcycle of 2014
Winner of the sport-touring motorcycle of the year:
by Tom Roderick
Bmw has been on an absolute tear for a number of years. Recent past MOBO winners include the S1000RR/HP4, K1600GT/GTL and the iconic R1200GS. This year the R1200RT returns to his winning ways by claiming the honors of the best Sport-Tourer. It was during the press launch of the R1200RT that BMW also presented this year’s winning technology, Hill start control. But that’s just one example of the many improvements the RT has received this year. Other examples include: Shift Assist Pro (which includes clutchless downshift), Dynamic ESA, Ride Mode Pro, On-Board Computer Pro, GPS Preparation, and a large TFT color display.
Compared to that of BMW K1600GT, the RT’s precision-cooled Boxer-Twin generates 35 and 37 horsepower and lb-ft of torque, respectively, than the GT’s marvelous inline-six. However, the RT gets eight more miles per gallon, rides on a shorter 7.6-inch wheelbase, rides on a narrower 180/55 rear tire (190/55 GT), has a shorter seat height of an inch and weighs 128 pounds less than the GT. So when it comes to putting the emphasis on sport in sport tourism, it’s hard to argue with the specifications of the RT.
The RT is both nimble and stable, making it a great companion on winding mountain roads or long, deserted straights. As one of the lightest sport touring bikes available today, (604 pounds with its full 6.6 gallon tank), the RT rides long sweepers and tight laces with the same aplomb. A new bridge-type frame made of continuous steel tubing has been designed to increase stiffness and road feel. This new frame, according to BMW, combined with the more compact Boxer engine, lowers the bike’s center of gravity. The result in motion is the illusion that the RT feels much smaller than its actual size. At $ 20,850 for an RT with the Premium Package (which includes most of the aforementioned tech), this is an expensive sport-tourer, but a sport-tourer that we deem is worth every penny.
It should be noted that if the RT equipped with ESA had a recall due to a rear shock problem in which the shock absorber rod may be insufficiently strong. BMW’s response to the problem has been generous, offering a bike loan plus $ 1,000 in accessories or clothing, or alternatively, a payment of $ 2,500 as an apology while your bike is repaired. Brian Bell of Irv Seaver Motorcycles tells us new shocks are on the way and should arrive in a week or two. And if your RT doesn’t have an ESA, there’s nothing to worry about.
Honorable mention: Yamaha FJR1300A / ES
By Evans Brasfield
What are the 2014 Yamaha FJR1300A and FJR1300ES? Standing here on the second step of the podium next to a completely reworked, tech-packed BMW R1200RT retailing for an additional $ 4,000 is a testament to the formidable sport tourer the FJR1300 has been in the past. The 1300A model was victorious in our Penalty shootout 2013 Sport-tourism, and the new electronic suspension ES took second place honors this year Sport-Tourism shootout for a touring bike disguised as an ST mount, costing an additional $ 10,000.
The FJR’s 1,298cc inline-four and RbW throttle produce torque from underground in the rev range, peaking with a robust 88.8 ft-lbs at 6800 rpm, delivering power that’s always on. . The EFI distributes this power via two engine maps (Sport and Touring) without any problem. Pilot comfort is assisted by an electrically adjustable windshield, electronic cruise control and heated grips. Easily removable rigid bags are roomy at 8 gallons per bag.
And what about the ES’s electronically controlled suspension? The fork was reversed for 2014 with its compression and damping circuits distributed between the two branches. Both of these settings are controlled by stepper motors on the top of the fork and set via switches on the left grip. The shock also benefits from adjustable compression and rebound damping, and the preload can be adjusted while stationary with the push of a button.
With its relentless skill and the updated ES suspension, the Yamaha FJR1300A / ES shows that professional substance can withstand the march of technology, and the prices of both models are still within the grasp of many riders. The capable and powerful 1300A costs $ 15,890, with the ES a premium of $ 1,000 which we believe is worth the investment for its added convenience and versatility. Whichever you choose, you’ll be happy in the saddle for this year’s Touring Sportif best honorable mention.