Comparison test BMW K 1200 LT, Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Yamaha XVZ 13 TF Royal Star Venture


Comparison test BMW K 1200 LT, Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Yamaha XVZ 13 TF Royal Star Venture

Beautiful living

Eating miles, in pairs, with a lot of luggage? and without stress: luxury tourers promise pure enjoyment, exceed all dimensions ?? and uninhibitedly plunder savings accounts.

My colleague Kaschel steadfastly maintains that beer and curry sausages tasted unparalleled in Herford. And since Swabians are stubborn but also cosmopolitan, they allow themselves to be persuaded by East Westphalia to take an on-site examination. Especially since three formidable big ships are ready for the test drive: in addition to the BMW K 1200 LT, the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic and the brand new Yamaha XVZ 13 TF Royal Star Venture.
Even the best of all pillars can be won over quickly by this weekend trip, after all, these machines promise an abundance of comfort and plenty of storage space. The luggage required by two people can easily be stored in the side suitcases on all three tourers, and lighter items in the top cases. And finally there is no threat of wild highway booby, word of honor. The journey is the goal this time? and that leads to Herford.
On a wonderful Saturday morning, the trio then rushes north over the Wurzburg autobahn. In the on-board entertainment program of the K 1200 LT, »The Police« give their famous Atlanta concert from 1983 via a six-disc CD changer (special accessory). The sound of the BMW sound system is particularly impressive (see also box on page 18). The standard cruise control meanwhile consistently maintains 130 km / h on all three machines. Motorway journeys get their very own charm from this delicacy. Extremely relaxing, the driver can enjoy the luxury of luxury tourers to the fullest. The Yamaha cruise control is the easiest to use. The button for activation is in a central position under the cassette part; after pressing it, control, i.e. decelerating or accelerating, takes place via a large switch next to the throttle, which is the quickest way for each of the three test drivers to get used to. The control of the quickly responding BMW cruise control, on the other hand, is incumbent on the left thumb, which, after a short period of getting used to it, also becomes second nature. The Harley counterpart is a little trickier to use because the switch below the right turn signal switch is a bit too small.
Tempo 130, the recommended speed on German motorways ?? and on this tour. Because much more is not possible with the Harley E-Glilde. Your nominally 67 PS strong V2 has a lot to do with the 388 kilogram load ?? in addition to the driver, front passenger and luggage, that means more than half a ton of weight? to keep at this speed. The Big Twin, whose five-speed transmission can be shifted hard, audibly, but precisely, reaches the limits of its capabilities, especially on uphill sections. Thanks to an ingenious rubber mount, almost nothing of the pithy vibrations it produces during such acts of violence penetrate the crew of the E-Glide.
Another plus point of the beautiful V-twin cylinder inhaled by means of intake manifold injection: Up to the 130 limit, it is frugal with less than six liters per 100 kilometers. If it really has to go faster – and that means full throttle for the Glide – consumption will of course increase dramatically. Almost eleven liters – too much to cover even reasonable distances in one go with the tight tank capacity of just 19 liters. A bitter disappointment on a luxury tourer.
Just like the chassis of the Harley. Sure, she is cult, adored by the fans. But their strongly underdamped, very comfortably designed spring elements sometimes drive you to despair in test operation. The fact that the double loop frame twists noticeably would still be bearable. But the fact that the Glide in the Kassel mountains acts like a rodeo horse in a long left-hand bend when a bump gets in the way at speedometer 160 is beyond the tolerance limit. Colleague Kaschel had his hands full getting the Harley under control again.
The Yamaha Royal Star Venture also rolls with very soft spring elements. It also wants to be kept on course with a sensitive hand at speeds above 140 km / h. And its chassis twists noticeably when it crosses parting lines and ruts. The key difference to the Harley: You are always good-natured. And unlike the American, the air-assisted spring elements of the Yamaha do not tend to break through in joints and bumps. A real winner: the V4 engine from the Royal Star Venture. It combines fabulous running smoothness with enough punch from the lower speed range, a beguiling sound, restrained fuel consumption and an easily shiftable transmission. All in all, the engine with the highest entertainment value, which is even superior to the well-known high-torque engine of the BMW K 1200 LT in pulling up to 140 km / h. Nevertheless, even with the LT, overtaking maneuvers can be carried out stress-free in fifth gear, which is designed as overdrive. That speaks just as much for the injection engine as its surprisingly frugal drinking habits: at 130 km / h the in-line four-cylinder is content with just 4.6 liters of Super. Because the BMW also has a 24-liter tank, it enables ?? as well as the venture ??? Playful ranges of 300 kilometers and more without a break. That is worthy of a luxury tourer.
With just under eight liters, the LT’s thirst is still within limits even at 160 km / h. Really annoying: The strong vibrations of the otherwise quietly running four-cylinder, which occur precisely in this speed range, i.e. around the 5000 rpm mark. As with earlier Test-LT, unmistakable with this copy: the metallic noises from the drive train, which mainly occur when driving over the edges of the road. And also not an isolated case with the Bavarian luxury tourer: the capricious five-speed gearbox. Sometimes it can be shifted very smoothly and precisely, sometimes the gears only engage with force, regardless of the speed. Now and then the fifth just jumps out and engages in the fourth.
No fickleness, however, with the LT chassis. BMW clearly sets the standard, something like this has never been seen in this class before. Only in solo operation near top speed are road bumps noticeable as a slight oscillation. Also almost perfect: thanks to an electronically height-adjustable screen, the BMW offers by far the best wind protection for the driver and front passenger. The Bavarian is also clearly ahead in terms of ergonomics and seating comfort. On the Harley, the high windshield protects the rider’s upper body very well, but the knee area is not so well shielded, and the seat, which is covered with real leather, is a little too softly padded. The opposite is true for the Yamaha: You sit more comfortably on it, but the wind protection leaves a lot to be desired. Because the windshield of the German Venture version had to be shortened significantly for approval reasons, the head and shoulders are fully in the airstream, and the passenger also gets his share of it. In addition, the passenger on the Yamaha is not quite as comfortable as on the Harley? and certainly not like on the BMW.
Nevertheless, all three luxury tourers have proven their suitability for the motorway. and the East Westphalia region really does get along with beer and curry sausages. Already in the area, you can take a little dangling to check the sloping fun of Sauerland and the three test candidates. The big ships can be moved at a brisk pace along the beautifully curved country roads. They just don’t particularly like very tight turns. The BMW then drives wobbly, wobbles around a little, especially on bumpy asphalt in front of bends, lacks some accuracy and therefore wants to be maneuvered around corners with concentration. In the case of the other two, the underdamped forks hop on bumps on bumps, the thick 150 mm front tire messes the Yamaha clean lines when turning into an inclined position. In addition, the running boards, which touch down early, warn to moderate the pace ?? which is not the same as sneaking around.
Keyword deceleration: All three brake systems require a lot of manual effort in order to decelerate the machines, which weigh around 500 kilograms with a load, while driving more quickly. Especially with the strongest and most agile machine of the comparison, the BMW, one would have wished for a more hearty stopper. Not least because this steamer offers excellent handiness on fast, well-developed routes and encourages a more sporty driving style. Nevertheless, the motto applies to everyone: Travel instead of racing. That’s what it was built for, after all. And when cruising, the Harley’s performance deficit is no longer so significant, and it doesn’t have to fill up with new fuel at every tank.
D.he conclusion after a test drive of 1,300 kilometers: The best place to live is on the K 1200 LT. It’s not free either, but given the E-Glide’s 40,000 mark, a base price of 34,879 marks is okay, especially since the production version includes a lot of luxury. The Yamaha Royal Star Venture is a successful compromise between the cozy American and the dynamic Bavarian. not least because their introductory price was tactically lowered from the planned 31,500 to 29,990 marks.

Sound systems in comparison

The travel giants’ stereo systems not only pass the time in traffic jams, but also provide entertainment during the journey. Here is a detailed soundcheck: The Harley was allowed to play first, with scratchy highs, clear mids and a tired bass coming to the driver’s ear from its speakers. The spatial effect suffered from the so-called front staging, i.e. the impression that the music was only coming from the front, as a result of the rear speakers positioned low down and radiating towards the center. The Harley installation is still good for crisp rock music, the Stones spit their “I can ?? t get no satisfaction” eerily beautiful from the American speakers. Up to a speed of 120, as with BMW and Yamaha, thanks to the automatic volume increase, music and speech can be listened to before the wind and engine noise gain the upper hand. This is a particular shame with the BMW, because the radio and cassette sounds already seemed surprisingly clear and concise . It almost became audiophile when the 6-disc CD changer (surcharge 885 marks) came into play. It is housed in a small, foam-dampened case in the right case and was only briefly disturbed by very rough potholes. Otherwise, a shimmering high frequency range with present mids and a contoured, if not too deep, bass flowed together to create an all-round inspiring sound. The spatial impression was also striking. Voices and instruments separated neatly from the four boxes, each consisting of a broadband speaker with a separate tweeter. Tracy Thorn seemed to breathe her “Protection” from the Massive Attack CD of the same name into the microphone in a live manner. In contrast, the sound of the Yamaha radio only deserves the title “squeaky”. Blurred highs, bloody mid-range and thin bass were the acoustic ingredients here. But then: put in the cassette and off it went. Lined with appropriate material (tip: »Fly Away« by Lenny Kravitz), the Yamaha system powered the loudest of all three from its full-range speakers, without being annoying with distortion. Nevertheless, the BMW deserves the victory of the sound contest, Harley owners still have the satisfaction of a standard Venture intercom and LT only offer this for a surcharge.

BMW K 1200 LT – 1st place

There is currently nothing comparable among luxury tourers: blessed with a beefy, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, the BMW K 1200 LT drives much more dynamically than you would expect from a motorcycle weighing 385 kilograms. In addition, it offers almost perfect seating comfort, the best possible wind protection and shines with a wealth of useful equipment details, such as G-Kat, ABS, the great sound system and a reversing aid.

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic – 3rd place

Only those who know how to use the Ultra Classic correctly will be happy with it. The engine works hard, and there is only one way to prevent the weaknesses of the chassis: a very quiet driving style, which also benefits fuel consumption. But then the primeval cattle from Amiland really put you in a good mood and want to cruise for two. As an inexpensive alternative, the basic version Electra Glide Standard for 28,150 marks should be mentioned here.

Ýamaha XVZ 13 TF Royal Star Venture – 2nd place

Made-to-measure debut for the Venture, especially because of its beefy engine, which goes perfectly with this travel cruiser. The powerful, great-sounding and fuel-efficient engine is really only missing one thing: a G-Kat. It is also a pity that the wind protection was so poor on her. On the other hand, one likes to look after the small chassis weaknesses. Mainly because its price is convincing: At 29,990 marks it is the cheapest luxury tourer in this comparison.

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