- Born to be mild
- Technical data Kawasaki ZR-7 S
- Technical data Suzuki GSF 600 S Bandit
- Technical data Yamaha FZS 600 / S Fazer
- Conclusion 1st place – Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer
- Conclusion 2nd place – Honda Hornet S
- Conclusion 3rd place – Kawasaki ZR-7 S
- Conclusion 4th place – Suzuki GSF 600 S Bandit
Comparison test middle class
Honda Hornet S.
Kawasaki ZR-7 S.
Suzuki GSF 600 S Bandit
Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer
Born to be mild
Four days, 1913 kilometers, 2465 curves. Sun, fog, snow. Gravel on the passes. The new Kawasaki ZR-7 S had to prove its qualities against the established competition on a marathon stage through the Alps.
The wind doesn’t let up. Massages the chest, shakes the helmet, throws the motorcycles off the track. No wonder. With our thick thermal suits, we have a drag coefficient like a garage door. We, that is test driver Rainer: 1.87 meters, 90 kilograms, combination size XXL. Peter and Christian wrap themselves up with their 1.75 meters in L, yours truly fits M. It’s March, the weather report has been fantasizing about spring for weeks, but it has been raining continuously for days. The snow line has fallen in the Alps. From an altitude of 600 meters, it becomes Christmassy. So let’s head south, onto the A7 motorway. The sun should shine in Italy. Says the weather report. Say all weather reports.
Bregenz, March 19, 2001, 1:11 p.m. Pitch black clouds puff up threateningly. We stick the Swiss motorway vignettes on the windshields of the four bikes, four-cylinder with a frame-mounted half-shell. The so-called S version. Honda Hornet, Suzuki Bandit and Yamaha Fazer each come up with 600 cm3, the new Kawasaki ZR-7 S comes with 739 cm3 and is the only one without an exciting-sounding nickname. All of them motorcycles, born out of the compromise between naked bikes and fully disguised racers in everyday life.
A stormy everyday life in which the half-shell of the new Kawasaki ZR-7 S and that of the Suzuki Bandit protect their drivers from wind and weather. Followed by the Yamaha Fazer, the fairing of which transfers strong turbulences to the pilot’s helmet. Incidentally, tubulence in the helmet area can be felt on all machines except the Honda Hornet for drivers over 1.60 meters tall. Only the small half-shell of the hornet noticeably relieves the upper body of the wind pressure, the helmet is unprotected from the wind, but is evenly exposed. If you are not driving in a storm, the even wind pressure is even more pleasant than the turbulence that the competition is struggling with. How was that? Less is sometimes more.
Refueling stop. Jacking up is easiest with the ZR-7 S and the Fazer. The bandit makes it hardest. The Honda doesn’t even have a main stand. Fill up with fuel, check oil level and air pressure, check luggage fastenings? the easiest thing to do is to lash everything on the Kawasaki and Suzuki. Ears in, balaclavas on ?? Bregenz disappears in the rear-view mirrors, sinks into dreary gray. Something the bandit pilot is watching most closely. Its mirrors are far enough apart, hardly vibrate. The further ranking: Hornet and ZR-7 on par, followed by the Fazer. Here the driver looks more at his arms than at the traffic behind. Chur welcomes us with light drifting snow, the slippery road grins us up from the asphalt. As a precaution, feet down is the name of the game now.
The easiest way to find ground contact is with the Hornet: At 79 centimeters, it has the lowest seat height combined with the narrowest bench in the quartet. At 201 kilograms it is also the lightest. Close behind is the Fazer, followed by the Suzuki. At 234 kilograms and in the highest seating position, the Kawasaki brings up the rear when it comes to safety in the case of blowing snow or fear of stopping at traffic lights.
At an altitude of 900 meters we break through the bad weather front, blue sky spans the horizon, the thermometer shows three degrees Celsius. Snow mountains piled up to the right and left, winter vacationers, reflective sunglasses, necks stretching questioningly behind us. Which bike offers the most comfortable workplace??
Four drivers, four different weights and sizes, one opinion: Kawasaki ZR-7 S. Everything is just right here. The distance between the seat and footrests, the cranking and width of the handlebars, the clutch and brake levers that can be adjusted to individual finger lengths, the shape and comfort of the seat, the knee closure on the tank. Yamaha engineers could take this as an example. Because the fuel drum of the Fazer bothers. Tall drivers are annoyed by the indentations for their legs that are far too small, but everyone complains about the bulging shape in the thigh area. Through this intensive tank contact, the coldness of the freshly filled up gasoline creeps into your legs. Very uncomfortable.
The Bandit, on the other hand, positions its pilot too far from the steering axis. In addition, the handlebars are bent forward in an unfavorable way? you sit too passively in terms of driving technique. In return, it offers the second-best seat bench comfort. On this point, the Hornet brings up the rear. What you still find acceptable on short tours around the block, the feeling of directing a toy, of being fully integrated, is extremely annoying in the long run. The Hornet seat is too hard, too narrow, offers little room for movement ?? Frequent changes of seat position are strongly advised on marathon stages.
In wide arcs we surf the curves on the south side of the San Bernardino. Here can the Yamaha its trump card ?? the most powerful engine? play best. Incredibly cleanly he hangs on the gas, lets his big muscles play over the entire speed range. The gearbox demands a bit of emphasis, but is perfectly stepped. Load changes are noticeable but can still be tolerated, hardly disturbing the line. The deceleration is in no way inferior to the acceleration. Although the Fazer stoppers no longer bite as hard as they did with the previous year’s models, they are easy to dose.
Much more toxic do the Honda brake pads snap at the discs? Not an easy thing for a beginner, but a real pleasure for the experienced driver. The power delivery of the engine is suspicious of racing. The fire only starts to burn from 6500 / min, from 8000 / min it blazes brightly to finally ignite a firestorm up to the red area of 14500 / min. Great. But unfortunately unusable in the tight bends. The transmission is very precise, precise and can even be shifted without using the clutch. Unfortunately, load change reactions cloud the good impression a little.
The ZR-7-S engine, a model-maintained relic from the seventies, two-valve, air-cooled, with 76 hp, conveys pure comfort. It revs up without haste, has no noticeable drops in performance over the entire speed range, but also does not develop an outstanding temperament, is the best choice for tourist gliding without sporting insoles. The brakes at Kawasaki seem to have been adapted to this. You are an imposition. Blunt and without a bite.
In terms of brakes, the Suzuki has a little more bite than the ZR-7 S, but in terms of engine technology, there is no real joy. The 78 hp want to be carried out almost in two-stroke fashion. Something for people who love constant speed orgies. Where the red zone begins on the Kawasaki engine, at 10,000 rpm, the Suzuki gives it its all. But in stark contrast to the Honda, it seems extremely powerless up to this point and vibrates annoyingly over the long term.
Blue. Deep blue. March 20th lives up to its name. Beginning of spring. At 11 a.m. it’s time for a cappuccino break on Lake Maggiore. Time enough to look at the bike’s equipment. This is where the Fazer emerges as a highlight: hazard warning lights, two trip counters, fuel gauge, clock, spacious storage compartment under the bench, fold-out luggage hook. What the technicians forgot is the ability to vary the path of the clutch handle. Of course, at 14,425 marks, it is also the most expensive in the quartet. And the only one in which not only the spring base on the shock absorber but also on the fork can be adjusted.
The Hornet, which is just 25 marks cheaper than the Fazer, cannot quite keep up: the tank cap cannot be folded down, and compared to the Yamaha, it has no watch and only a day trip display. In addition, the storage compartment under the bench is tiny and rugged. Your tiny fuel tap, a component that everyone in this test field has, can only be switched to reserve with extreme effort while driving with thick gloves.
The ZR-7 S costs around 1200 marks less. It offers the best handles for the pillion passenger and is ?? besides the lack of a clock ??? no special features. Just like the Bandit, with a dumping price of 12,540 marks the bargain in the comparison test. However, the Suzuki accessories don’t seem so dignified, the plastic of the half-shell and the instrumentation are very cheap. The Bandit cannot match the workmanship of the Hornet or Fazer.
The first clouds stalk their way over the mountains from the west. Greedy for curves we screw our way over the Passo di Falmenta, through the Melezzo valley, along the Toce river. The clouds are now thick, dark and threatening? now just get out of the mountains. As if the Italians only had compasses, not rulers, the road gives us curve after curve. A gas station attendant gives us the insider tip for a wonderful hostel 80 kilometers north of Genoa. However, the access road to the village is graveled and winds up in serpentines.
We use the opportunity the next morning to drive the machines several times over the loose ground. Strangely enough, the extra weight of the Kawasaki does not turn out to be a disadvantage here. It lies full, can be controlled easily and specifically over gravel thanks to the very wide handlebars, the wonderful knee grip and the balanced power output. The Hornet is quite the opposite, looks nervous in the steering, cannot move harmoniously in turns on loose ground due to its greed for speed. Due to its low weight and compactness, it is easy to control. The Fazer excels with its easy-to-dose engine power that can be called up at any time, but easily pushes over the front wheel in the bends. The bandit brings up the rear. Here, the less active seating position combined with the high weight takes its toll.
It is still cloudy, but the sun has hidden near Savona, reports the weather report. Only 230 kilometers away. Here we go. A wonderful journey under a cloudy sky begins. Alessandria, Asti, Alba. 12:34 p.m., eleven degrees Celsius. From Alba we can expect ideal test conditions. Well-developed roads, little traffic. And 75 kilometers of lined up curves. The ideal test terrain to find out your favorite motorcycle.
Christian swears by the Fazer. The chassis offers sufficient reserves, the machine steers neutrally through the curves, does not stand up excessively when braking, is very stable. Peter fell in love with the extremely handy Hornet. In the power, the brakes and, compared to the test field, the relatively stiff chassis. Although the Honda often asks for a correction in the corners, sometimes looks a bit wobbly and loses a little of its maneuverability due to its thick 180 rear tires. Even the very annoying vibrations, especially over long distances, which sometimes even find their way over the hard seat to the driver, don’t bother him much.
Rainer is impressed by the cosiness and space of the ZR-7 S. Without much effort, it has established itself among the half-disguised. It is the most neutral of all to surf through the arches, lies full and stable when you move it at tourist speeds. When things get sporty, the suspension, which is a little too soft, draws attention to itself, and the load begins to rock. Rapid changes in lean angle require a certain amount of work. The Suzuki is the only one that nobody wants to befriend. The steering behavior of the underdamped Bandit is not very accurate, the suspension is not overly comfortable, and bumps sometimes cause the rear to swing. If the radii become too tight and the lean angle increases, it tends to slide over the front wheel. Then there is the pressureless motor and the passive sitting position. The concept, which is getting on in years, has to admit defeat to the strong competition.
S.trada, March 22, 8:00 a.m., seven degrees Celsius. A godforsaken nest of 17 pitiful houses, around 10 kilometers as the crow flies from the French border. Thick fog stands in the valleys, we poke towards the sun. Ahead of us are almost 700 kilometers home, including eight passes. In Germany, the constant rain and everyday life await. There is plenty of time to dream. The ideal motorcycle for small and big adventures would have the power development of the Fazer, the serenity, the rich road contact and the seating position of the ZR-7 S as well as the brakes and maneuverability of the fast-paced Hornet. And, of course: all this for the price of the Suzuki. Our recommendation to Japan.
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Comparison test middle class
Honda Hornet S.
Kawasaki ZR-7 S.
Suzuki GSF 600 S Bandit
Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer
Born to be mild
Technical data Honda Hornet S
EngineWater-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, Keihin constant pressure carburetor, Ø 34 mm, digital transistor ignition, secondary air system, electric starter. Bore x stroke 65 x 45.2 mm, displacement 600 cm³, nominal output (ECE) 70 kW (95 PS) at 12,000 rpm Max. Torque 63 Nm (6.8 kpm) at 9,500 rpm Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis Central tubular frame made of steel profiles, load-bearing engine, telescopic fork, stanchion tube diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, directly hinged central spring strut, adjustable spring base , Double disc brake at the front, double piston calipers, floating brake discs, Ø 296 mm, rear disc brake single-piston caliper, Ø 220 mm. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17 Chassis data Steering head angle 64.6 degrees, caster 99 mm, wheelbase 1420 mm, spring travel f / h 120/128 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 790 mm, weight with a full tank * 201 kg, payload 185 kg, tank capacity / reserve 16/3 Liters. Two-year guarantee with unlimited mileageColors black, silver, bluePerformance variants 25 kW (34 PS) Price including VAT 14,400 marks Additional costs approx. 400 marks * MOTORCYCLE measurements
Technical data Kawasaki ZR-7 S
Air-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, two valves, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, Keihin constant pressure carburetor, Ø 32 mm, digital transistor ignition, secondary air system (KCAS), electric starter. Bore x stroke 66 x 54 mm, displacement 739 cm³ ECE) 56 kW (76 PS) at 9500 rpm Max. Torque 63 Nm (6.4 kpm) at 7500 rpm power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, five-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis Double-loop frame made of tubular steel, telescopic fork, stanchion tube diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, double-disc brake front, four-piston calipers, floating brake discs, Ø 300 mm, rear disc brake double-piston calipers, Ø 240 mm. Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17 Chassis data Steering head angle 64.5 degrees, caster 93 mm, wheelbase 1455 mm, suspension travel f / h 130/130 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 810 mm, weight with a full tank * 234 kg, load 182 kg, tank capacity / reserve 22/3 Liters. Two-year guarantee with unlimited mileageColors: red, blue, silverPerformance variants 25 kW (34 PS) Price including VAT 13,220 marks Additional costs approx. 300 marks * MOTORCYCLE measurements
Technical data Suzuki GSF 600 S Bandit
Air / oil-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, fork rocker arms, wet sump lubrication, Keihin Seiki constant pressure carburetor, Ø 32 mm, contactless transistor ignition, secondary air system, electric starter. Bore x stroke 62.6 x 48.7 mm Displacement 600 cm³ Rated output (DIN) 57 kW (78 PS) at 10 500 rpm Max. Torque 54 Nm (5.5 kpm) at 9500 rpm Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis Double loop frame made of tubular steel, telescopic fork, standpipe diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of steel profiles, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base and tension stage damping front, double-piston calipers, floating brake discs, Ø 290 mm, rear disc brake, double-piston calipers, Ø 240 mm. Tires 120/60 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17 Chassis data Steering head angle 64.5 degrees, caster 100 mm, wheelbase 1433 mm, spring travel f / h 130/121 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 800 mm, weight with a full tank * 230 kg, load 210 kg, tank capacity / reserve 20/4 , 5 liters. Warranty two years with unlimited mileageColors red, black, bluePerformance variants 25 kW (34 PS) Price incl. VAT 12,540Mark Additional costs approx. 250 Mark * MOTORCYCLE measurements
Technical data Yamaha FZS 600 / S Fazer
Water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, two overhead, chain-driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, bucket tappets, wet sump lubrication, Mikuni constant pressure carburetor, Ø 33 mm, contactless transistor ignition, no exhaust gas purification, electric starter. Bore x stroke 62 x 49.6 mm, displacement 599 cm³ Rated output (ECE) 70 kW (95 PS) at 11,500 rpm Max. Torque 61 Nm (6.2 kpm) at 9500 rpm Power transmission Mechanically operated multi-disc oil bath clutch, six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain. Chassis Double-loop frame made of tubular steel, telescopic fork with variable spring preload, stanchion tube diameter 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum profiles, central spring strut adjustable spring strut with lever system, adjustable Double disc brake at the front, four-piston calipers, floating brake discs, Ø 298 mm, rear disc brake, two-piston caliper, Ø 245 mm. Tires 110/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17 Chassis data Steering head angle 66 degrees, caster 88 mm, wheelbase 1415 mm, spring travel f / r 120/120 mm. Dimensions and weights Seat height * 800 mm, weight with a full tank * 217 kg, load 180 kg, tank capacity / reserve 20 / 3.5 Liter.Guarantee two years with unlimited mileage.Colors: red.Price incl. VAT. 14,425 marks. Additional costs 275 marks
Conclusion 1st place – Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer
Not only is it easy to drive, it also has no serious weaknesses. Apart from the fact that the light could be improved, the handlebars could be a little wider and the shape of the tank literally offends. The all-round talent is richly equipped and also has the most powerful engine in the comparison field. All in all, this results in the mix for the subscription winner. The competition has to come up with something.
Conclusion 2nd place – Honda Hornet S
The Hornet is the ultimate fun mobile. Very powerful, petite in size without scaring off long-legged people on short trips. Unfortunately, the wide 180 mm tires at the rear spoil their uncommon handiness. The engine is annoying with vibrations, especially in the middle speed range, and the driving behavior also suffers from load changes. But in terms of equipment, the Hornet does not come close to the Fazer, but is a worthy first loser.
Conclusion 3rd place – Kawasaki ZR-7 S
Your driving behavior suits the aged and good-natured engine. The new ZR-7 S shines with its inconspicuousness. Is a reliable companion without significant weak points. Apart from the miserable brakes. However, even without highlights. It has the most comfortable seating position in the comparison field and drives without any major peculiarities. It is recommended as a bike for everyone, for whom inner values count more than a pompous appearance or the sporty cornering.
Conclusion 4th place – Suzuki GSF 600 S Bandit
The fact that cheap is also bad is misleading in this case. Okay, the Bandit’s engine constantly demands revs and feels exhausted. In addition, she struggles with indifferent cornering behavior. Nevertheless, from a travel point of view, she is a good-natured companion. With acceptable wind protection and the best pillion seat in the field. Compared to the competition, however, it appears unwieldy and cumbersome. But easy going is half the battle.
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