All Duels – Duel BMW R1200 RT Vs Yamaha FJR1300 AE: the road czars! – Two heavy goods vehicles

Duel BMW R1200 RT Vs Yamaha FJR1300 AE: the road czars !

All Duels - Duel BMW R1200 RT Vs Yamaha FJR1300 AE: the czars of the road! - Two heavy goods vehicles

In the kingdom of the empresses of the road, the BMW R1200RT and the Yamaha FJR1300 are among the most sovereign of motorcycles. In 2014, each wickedly upgraded and modernized its weapons to rule. MNC opposes them in a duel of tsars… Comparative test.

Two heavy weights on the road

Despite a similar seat height and tank capacity (25 liters), accessibility differs greatly between the FJR1300 and the R1200RT. Copiously hollowed out, the sides of the BMW tank already spread much less the legs, the arch which ensues remaining surprisingly contained in view of its measurements.

A 1.75m rider thus places the soles of his boots flat, while it will be impossible for him to be so firmly planted on his feet with the Yamaha. Note in passing that the seat height varies easily from 805 to 825 mm on the two motorcycles, through wedges. A possibility that we gladly use on the BMW to reduce the bend imposed on the (large) legs, more pronounced than on the FJR1300 with equivalent saddle position.

Positioned more forward and less wide (73 cm measured against 80 for the BMW), the handlebars of the Yamaha cause a slightly more inclined posture than on the German. However, not enough to catalog the FJR1300AE in the "Sport-GT" department: the position remains relaxed – arms horizontal and legs barely bent – and encourages people to inquire about the terminal !

Softer, the R1200RT’s saddles offer a sofa-like welcome to the rider and his guest. The foam of its seats is reminiscent of those used in high-end memory foam mattresses, which perfectly fit every contour of the anatomy. Passengers on the road across the Rhine will also enjoy its grab handles, which are easier to grasp, as they offer more space to slide their hands in. Especially with heavy winter gloves !

Smoothness, the FJR1300 AE also has a lot of reserve, especially in terms of its engine. Its 1298 cc in-line 4-cylinder engine is a real pleasure, capable of going down to 1000 rpm in the fifth and last gear – ie at 30 km / h – without emitting the slightest hiccup. Better: it then leaves again by emitting a deep groan typical of big "4-legged" !

Its gimbal transmission, however, reveals the limits of its transparency when flirting as much with the sub-systems, by delivering a few disapproving clicks. On the BMW, the 1170 cc Boxer is – unsurprisingly – a little more "rough" at the bottom of the tachometer..

However, its availability impresses for a twin since it can drop just above 1,500 rpm in sixth, or 55 km / h. Certainly, the engine modifications carried out compared to the R1200GS give it a higher elasticity and "roundness". Its specific exhaust also gives it a more relaxing sound than on the maxi-trail, because its rocky accent is more subdued..

Whatever the regime or the constraints, no noise escapes from its acatene transmission. Its excellent turning radius (5m38 measured to make a U-turn against 6m07 for the Yam ‘) and its incomparably smoother clutch control than that of the FJR1300 AE make it easier to grip the R1200RT.

This feeling of general ease – a little less pronounced than on the old RT according to some of our testers – is reinforced by its astounding handling compared to its mass. Despite its 274 kg (15 kg more than the old model), the BMW roadster has a degree of ease that the FJR1300 AE cannot claim..

Heavier (292 kg all full facts announced), the Yamaha requires more effort to enter a curve, its direction tending to fall slightly at low speed. The fault, of course, with its additional weight, but also with its higher wheelbase (1545 mm against 1485 mm). Above all, it is on the side of its center of gravity located higher that it is necessary to look for the reasons for this maneuverability behind.

On this specific point, its rival takes advantage of its engine architecture (flat cylinders) which allows the masses to be lowered and better distributed. Hence the almost perfect balance of the R1200RT, on which all maneuvers and changes of direction are more evident and smoother than the handlebars of the FJR1300 AE.

Dynamics: the BMW hides its pounds better !

Both in built-up areas and outings, MNC preferred to use the more "quiet" injection maps ("Road" on the BMW, "Touring" on the Yamaha), in opposition to the "Dynamic" modes on the R1200RT and " Sport "on the FJR1300 AE. The response to the accelerator is smoother, totally devoid of jerks, which is not quite the case with their "mapping" reserved for a less coiled driving..

Solicited in peaceful driving then in their last entrenchments, the two motorcycles impress by their general efficiency. Notwithstanding their imposing gait, both the BMW and the Yamaha go very easily from one turn to another, with a precision and a liveliness unsuspected at first glance..

Taking advantage of its neutral front axle and easier to place, the R1200RT immediately takes the lead in operations, then retains it thanks to its more rigorous cycle part. Set in "Hard" mode, its electronic suspensions provide remarkable work, absorbing stresses while significantly reducing mass transfers during acceleration and braking.

The difference in behavior with its "Soft" mode is simply stunning! We go from a flexible shock-absorbing motorcycle – almost too much at the rear -, on which the irregularities of the asphalt have absolutely no control, to a much more rigid machine, capable of turning at one block without virtually any movement. suspensions.

And this even by squeezing the right grip with still a lot of speed and angle out of curves, its ground clearance much higher than that of Yamaha allowing it an impressive tilt angle. !

The Yamaha FJR1300 AE however also benefits from excellent suspensions, on which the electronics also have a positive influence. A few manipulations make it possible to strengthen its preload, then to adjust the relaxation and compression on several levels (from -3 to +3). As you wish, it is thus possible to switch from a comfort-oriented compromise to a much more dynamic behavior. Thank you electronics !

But even set to the harshest, its rear shock does not have a sinking curve as progressive as that of the BMW, which results in "waddles" of its stern during strong constraints. In addition, its steering locks when the right lever is operated in a curve, while its higher mechanical inertia tends to push the crew outwards..

Thanks to its Telelever front suspension, the R1200RT is virtually insensitive to the front brake engagement on the angle. And that’s good, since its rear element is sometimes not enough to put the almost three quintals on the right track on its own! Coupled with the rear, the front device offers colossal power and exquisite handling.

Equally powerful but less obvious to dose, the front brake of the FJR1300 AE also allows “approved trappers” slowing down. Good news: its ABS finally calibrated (ditto on the BMW) rarely – and discreetly – in action. Unlike its rival across the Rhine, the Yamaha offers a coupling going from the rear to the front which is very effective. In the sequences or in town, it is often driven "at the foot" without operating the right lever.

Finally, in terms of traction, the grip offered by their 180 mm wide rear tire (Michelin Pilot Road 4 on the BMW, Bridgestone BT-023 on the Yamaha) is very difficult to fault. Consequently, their respective traction controls are only triggered on rare occasions, mainly on slippery or wet asphalt..

On this type of surface, MNC appreciated the reassuring softness of the FJR1300 AE system and its not very intrusive character: the control unit lets the wheel slip for a fraction of a second before regulating the power supply via injection or ignition. . On the R1200RT, the device lacks transparency by intervening in a more preventive and brutal manner, without allowing the slightest evasion to pass..

It is also true that this traction control has every interest in being reactive as the "fleet-twin" delivers strong acceleration, even in the French version! Badly restrained (146 hp and 134.4 Nm in Full versus 125 hp and 125 Nm for the BMW), the FJR1300 AE can only bow during our recovery tests, especially on the latest reports.

And the Yamaha "box five" cannot be held solely responsible for this performance gap, since at 130 km / h the BMW turns just below 4500 rpm in sixth, while the Yamaha is just at over 4000 laps on its last gear.

Very alert mechanically speaking, the BMW propels itself vigorously from the first third of the tachometer, while the Yamaha waits around 4000 rpm to deliver a replica of equal intensity. But while the R1200RT continues to accelerate with force past the 6000 rpm mark, the Franco-French FJR1300 AE "runs out of steam" at this speed because of its clamping..

Its acceleration smooths out as the needle approaches its ignition failure (9500 rpm), prompting to shift to the next gear to plunge back into its maximum torque zone. Too bad, as it is noticeable that the 4-cylinder wants to continue to express all its quiet strength…

Verdict: the queen keeps her crown !

Despite great opposition from the FJR1300 AE, the 2014 R1200RT emerged as the winner of this new MNC duel: the BMW is more versatile, more comfortable and more dynamic than the Yamaha, and the distance also in terms of protection..

In the high position, the electric bubble of the R1200RT draws up a practically impassable rampart behind which are sheltered the entire helmet, bust and shoulders. At the bottom, the Boxer and the side panels take care of the lower limbs with the same efficiency. Even stronger: its huge fork crown incorporates transparent deflectors that protect the forearms from much of the air and water (tested and approved by MNC in the rain).

Despite an excellent performance in this area, the FJR1300 AE does not reach this level of "motaumobilesque" protection, even with the screen 103 mm higher than the original (optional at 235 euros) and the foot deflectors just as optional (249 euros) as on the model tested here.

As an option, the R1200RT drives the point home by satisfying practically all requests, from the most "traditional" (heated saddles, sound system, tire pressure indicator) to the most "futuristic" as its hill start assistant or its shifter allowing to up AND down gears without disengaging. So many equipment missing from the Yamaha accessories catalog…

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