Comparison test Kawasaki GTR 1000, Triumph Trophy 1200, Yamaha FJR 1300


Comparison test Kawasaki GTR 1000, Triumph Trophy 1200, Yamaha FJR 1300

Comparison test Kawasaki GTR 1000, Triumph Trophy 1200, Yamaha FJR 1300

As time goes by

Grayed in honor? and still available: two veteran touring bikes in comparison with the Yamaha FJR 1300. The measure of all things in the travel group.

What a year, 1986. Germany messed up the soccer World Cup title against Argentina two to three, Boris Becker wins the Wimbledon final for the second time, Falco storms the charts with “Rock me Amadeus”, the young boxer Mike Tyson conquers the heavyweight world championship throne, Kawasaki presents its star in the tourer heaven, the GTR 1000.
And today? Falco sings on cloud nine, Tyson beats up girls, Becker does it in the laundry room. Where did we get to? Well, not everything from the 80s went down the drain. A-ha and Kylie Minogue are back anyway. And the Kawasaki GTR 1000, it was never gone. For 16 years now, it has been in the program almost unchanged, withstood all progress, but also all technical errors and confusions. Record breaking.
In 1990, a highlight in terms of football, the Tommys were beaten and won the World Cup. In England you can witness the miraculous resurrection of a motorcycle brand: Triumph presents its First Edition, the Trophy 1200. Initially misunderstood as a sports tourer, the English made their real purpose clear with a fundamental facelift in 1996. The Trophy has always been a tourer. And that is still part of the Triumph program today.
That naturally raises questions. What in the world is it that makes Triumph and Kawasaki continue to offer the models that are now showing their age (see box on pages 54 and 57). How do the two dinosaurs compare to one of the best tourers on the market right now, the Yamaha FJR 1300? And why the hell do the Yamaha cases cost 724.50 euros extra? A luggage system is a standard feature of the GTR 1000 and Trophy 1200.
Flashback to 1986, touring comparison test by MOTORRAD, including: Kawasaki GTR 1000. Tester Siegfried Guttner brakes the over 300 kilogram load in 39.2 meters from 100 km / h to zero. Record breaking. With an average deceleration of over 9.8 m / s², the GTR achieves what is physically feasible for a normal street motorcycle. Guttner’s succinct explanation for this value, which is still formidable today: »I have ?? For his young successor, Carsten Schwers, Guttner’s value is not reproducible with the best will in the world and even with the greatest effort. The tester, washed with water, brings the current model to a standstill after 42.2 meters (9.1 m / s2).
The solution to the riddle: In 1994, the GTR 1000 received double-piston brake calipers instead of the two-piston calipers used up to now. That reduces the hand strength, improves the response behavior almost dramatically? and at the same time reduces the feeling of the blocking limit. To make matters worse, Kawasaki has not found it necessary in all these years to make the fork, which has always been much too soft, tighter. The result: As soon as the brake is applied, the front of the lead-heavy Kawa sinks almost to the end stop, never to be seen again. In 1986 it took brute force to slow down the GTR, but it was next to impossible to lock the front wheel on a dry road surface.
The brake of the Yamaha FJR 1300 shows how excellent deceleration values ​​and good operability can be combined. In terms of manual force and controllability, the system comes close to the values ​​of the Kawasaki at that time: 39.4 meters of braking distance from 100 km / h correspond to an average deceleration of 9.8 m / s². With 40.5 meters and 9.5 m / s², the Triumph is also very respectable. However, from today’s point of view, the braking system of the Englishwoman requires very high manual forces, the pressure point is squishy, ​​the controllability more than moderate.
Really not a great pleasure to capture this colossus before curves. Especially with two people and loaded with luggage, this turns into hard work. The Triumph is now exemplary with its payload. While only a ridiculous 155 kilograms were allowed in 1996, today the Trophy trumps even the Yamaha FJR 1300 with its 217 kilograms load capacity, it offers 190 kilograms with luggage system. It is still amazing how nimble the gentle English giant, one of the most expansive and imposing motorcycles on the market, swings from curve to curve. When the pace is slow, the Yamaha can hardly boast any advantages.
The Kawasaki, which in comparison requires more power when swinging around bends, really proves to be a surprise in one point: The good piece has the greatest freedom from lean angles. While the black lower part of the fairing turns into granulate again on the Triumph and the footpegs cheerfully spray sparks on the Yamaha, nothing touches the surface on the Kawasaki. Thanks to their ancient-looking tires: a 150 in the 16-inch format that was popular in 1986 is sufficient at the rear. With the same cornering speed, the GTR 1000 therefore needs less lean angle than the Yamaha rolling on a fashionable 180 cm. Perhaps that is why colleagues attested the Kawa had such astonishingly athletic talents in the eighties. They are the same when handling a 750. Difficult to understand from today’s perspective, but back then a sporty seventy-five, with the exception of the feather-light Suzuki GSX-R 750, weighed a good 250 kilograms.
Then as now, very badly worthy of criticism: the unstable driving behavior of the GTR 1000. The reasons for this evil: the unstable attachment of suitcases ?? and the unstable chassis with the, as already mentioned, much too slack fork. Pretty ignorant of Kawasaki not to tackle the problem of front wheel guidance in all these years ?? and to leave the solution to the valued customers. If you drive a little faster, slightly undulating asphalt is sufficient ?? and a normal curve mutates into a rocking game. The Triumph swings much more stable around the corner, assuming a moderate pace. As I said, she never wanted to be a sports tourer.
The Yamaha FJR 1300 doesn’t want either. But ultimately it is. Because it has a stable aluminum chassis with tightly coordinated and finely appealing spring elements. Not too obese and heavy to exercise. It brushes aside the prejudice that tourers are only for thoughtful flip-up helmet wearers. It is the fist in the neck of all pocket Rossis from the Supersport faction. Acts out its performance advantage over the two oldies almost at will. With its beefy, high-torque four-cylinder, superb chassis and great brakes, the Yamaha provides princely driving pleasure on country roads. See the bend, brake in, shift down one or two gears, bend and when the notch scrapes slightly, gently apply the gas again. If you didn’t know better, you’d hardly believe that the FJR 1300 has a cardan drive, the load change is so smooth and reactive.
The Triumph four-cylinder, once also revered as a bull, bravely keeps up in low engine speed regions, but above 5000 rpm wears out any temperament, then the engine only increases its power slowly. The Kawasaki, with its rough, mechanically loud, but economical engine, always seems a bit strained compared to the other two, even when it comes to the deliberately moderate consumption of rural roads. And that despite the fact that its engine comes from the former Kawasaki GPZ 1000 athlete. It’s been a couple of years. With its open power of around 120 hp, the GTR would be totally overwhelmed anyway. With a measured 97 hp, the fun stops at the latest when it needs to go a little faster, i.e. on the motorway.
The Kawasaki oscillates noticeably below 150 km / h, above that it becomes almost adventurous, especially when ruts come into play. The Triumph is doing well, but seems a bit confused. Because the grim face of the FJR 1300 with the distinctive twin headlights appears in its rear-view mirrors and the Yamaha effortlessly flies past it with its powerful engine. It almost seems as if the Trophy wants to drown their frustration over it. The English woman sucks twelve liters and more through her carburetor over 160 km / h.
An average of eight liters is enough for the Yamaha to flit from A to B very quickly and comfortably. Pretty advanced. It should be mentioned that the two oldies but goldies can hold a candle to her when it comes to comfort. Both have neither an electrically adjustable disc ?? Series at the Yamaha ?? still through flow-optimizing slots in their massive windshields, but that only bothers smaller contemporaries. Both GTR 1000 and Trophy 1200 ensure more well-being in bad weather.
The FJR driver is less annoyed about the lack of wind protection than about the fact that the spray water is constantly being thrown up from the front wheel and the pilot, along with the tank and instruments, is pretty bogged down. What is the Yamaha still missing? Clearly: on a sixth gear that lowers the engine speed? or at least a longer geared fifth gear. That would counteract annoying vibrations that the four-cylinder produces despite two balancer shafts and otherwise steer the speed level in a more orderly direction. All too often the FJR 1300 marches cheerfully into the limiter in the last gear on fast stretches of the motorway.
The Yamaha, on the other hand, is exemplary with its exhaust emissions. Thanks to the G-Kat, SLS and injection, it already easily meets the planned Euro 2 standard for motorcycles, the stricter limit values ​​of which will apply to new motorcycles from 2003. The Triumph also takes this hurdle without any problems, but the GTR 1000, only equipped with a secondary air system, will face a major emissions problem in the near future that could bring an abrupt end to the seemingly eternal life of the Kawasaki tourer. Because it can hardly be assumed that you will invest in modern exhaust gas cleaning with the good old piece.
Und what do you do with a well-deserved employee? Right, you send him into retirement. As everyone knows, it has to end once. Also for the Kawasaki GTR 1000. End of the line company museum.

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Comparison test Kawasaki GTR 1000, Triumph Trophy 1200, Yamaha FJR 1300

Comparison test Kawasaki GTR 1000, Triumph Trophy 1200, Yamaha FJR 1300
As time goes by

No successor in sight

Since its facelift in 1996, the German importer has been able to sell 576 Trophy 1200. In 2001 there were just 78. Even six years ago, MOTORRAD’s triumph didn’t give MOTORRAD any great chances, considering the modular system, the Ur-Trophy from 1991, was exhausted: »In the Supertourer class there is no cardan shaft and ABS, no Injection and G-Kat no more to win a flower pot today. «Triumph currently has other priorities, no one is specifically thinking about a successor model. “We have invested a lot of money in the development of our cruiser series, the Bonneville models are particularly important for the American market,” says Mark Fletcher, Managing Director of Triumph Germany. If Triumph is planning a new tourer, for which the high-torque three-cylinder from the Sprint series would be ideal, then ABS and a low-maintenance drive with cardan or toothed belt will definitely be an issue, Triumph has a G-Kat and injection anyway.


Why is the Kawasaki GTR 1000 still in the range? “Because there are simply customers for the cardan tourer,” says Leo Schlueter, press spokesman for Kawasaki Germany: 2619 since market launch, in 2001 exactly 83. In the USA, the Concours, as the GTR 1000 is called in the States, is downright a bestseller: dealers sold 1,500 pieces there last year. According to Schluter, there will not be a direct successor to the Tourer in the foreseeable future. »That doesn’t hurt us because with the new ZZ-R 1200 we can offer an excellent alternative in the touring area ?? a motorcycle that is up to date in every respect and also meets the high demands of touring riders. The chain drive of the ZZ-R is no longer a real counter-argument in view of the high mileage that is possible today, “Schluter is certain. If you still like to indulge in the past:

1st place – Yamaha FJR 1300

She did a great job, which was to be expected. Nevertheless, the enormous point gap is astonishing, especially to the Kawasaki. Now to the freestyle. Because with all the praise for the great chassis and the beefy four-cylinder, which combines power and low pollutant emissions, the FJR 1300 is by no means (or fortunately) a perfect motorcycle. The fifth gear, which is clearly too short, is annoying, and there is currently no ABS to buy from Yamaha for good words? in Bavaria.

2nd place – Triumph Trophy 1200

Still a solid, well-balanced motorcycle, the Triumph. However, you can tell that she is getting on a bit, especially when it comes to her driving performance. Triumph would have a great engine with injection and G-Kat in the hindquarters: The around 120 hp three-cylinder that drives the Sprint series and the Speed ​​Triple would be perfect for a tourer. A Trophy 955 i with ABS and toothed belt drive would also find many fans in Germany.

3rd place – Kawasaki GTR 1000

From a friendly point of view: The Kawasaki is a lovable reminiscence of the wild 80s, comfortable, with good wind protection and full equipment. But a lot more is required of a modern tourer today. More power, for example, G-Kat and electronic injection ?? and a stable chassis. With its diaper-soft chassis, the GTR 1000 no longer wins a flower pot. In view of this, 10,565 euros is a pretty steep price.

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