- Six bombs
- 1st place – Yamaha FJR 1300
- The small difference
- Circular path
- 4th place – Kawasaki ZX-12 R
- 3rd place – Suzuki GSX-R 1000
- 6th place – Suzuki GSX 1400
- 5th place – Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer
Concept comparison Honda CBR 1100 XX Kawasaki ZX-12 R Suzuki GSX-R 1000 Suzuki GSX 1400 Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer Yamaha FJR 1300
The six most powerful and powerful four-cylinders from naked bikes to super sports cars in direct comparison. Which one sells his bombastic achievement best?
There are actually few rational reasons to ride a motorcycle with more than 100 hp. It’s a lot of fun and it’s so nice and confident. But in reality nobody needs it. Until a few years ago, at least that was what German motorcycle importers and insurers said. At the end of the 1970s, the two of them agreed on the much-cited gentlemen’s agreement, the voluntary self-limitation to 100 hp, which at the time made sense because of the sometimes terrifying driving behavior of some machines. But the valued customers have no longer agreed to this limitation over the years. And of course soon found ways and means to manifest the full performance of their Honda Fireblades and Co. in black and white in the vehicle registration document by means of a performance report and a visit to TÜV or Dekra. The voluntary self-restraint fell.
Since then, the Japanese manufacturers in particular have outbid each other with increasingly powerful machines. A trend that apparently continues unabated, from tourers to super sports bikes to naked bikes, is also underpinned by good sales figures. Reason enough to test six very different and energetic candidates together. A concept comparison of a special kind, because thanks to the new MOTORRAD 1000 point evaluation, motorcycles with very different orientations can now be compared with one another in a uniform scheme for the first time.
It is not sheer top performance or lap times on the racetrack that count, but the best all-round properties. That is why the main focus is on the subjects of chassis, safety, suitability for everyday use and, last but not least, the economy of a motorcycle. For the most objective and comparable test results possible, all candidates go through the extensive MOTORRAD top test, important criteria include handling (box on page 22), the brake test (box on page 27) and the circular path (box on page 29).
So, as I said, no ordinary comparison, because after all, it is six of the best and most powerful four-cylinder on the market. The most recent example: the Suzuki GSX 1400. Hardly presented, it won a comparison test against the established naked bike competition (issue 16/01). Whereby Suzuki took rather cheeky stylistic borrowings from the Yamaha XJR 1300 and the Honda CB 1300, which is unfortunately not officially available in Germany, and simply added a little more in terms of displacement. Typical for a naked bike: The GSX 1400 impresses less with its peak performance of measured 110 hp than with the fact that the engine puts a maximum torque of a whopping 128 on the crankshaft.
Honda’s CBR 1100 XX has been courting the touring group since 1997. What used to be the fastest production motorcycle in the world relies on a trump card that has given it great placings in many tests: its versatility. Over the years, the Honda technicians have skilfully refined the fast all-rounder, both externally and internally: an intake manifold injection instead of carburetors along with a secondary air system (SLS) and G-Kat allow XX owners to look into an even more uncertain future of motor vehicle tax without any worries.
The Kawasaki ZX-12R is currently the most powerful production motorcycle in the world with a nominal 178 hp. U-Kat and SLS are designed to reduce pollutant emissions. The top speed, noted in last year’s model with a proud 308 km / h in the vehicle registration document, is electronically locked to 298 km / h in model year 2001, the speedometer ends at 300. A fact that even an avowed speed freak will get over. It seems much more important that targeted model maintenance measures, such as the slightly higher rear, make the handling of the 249 kilogram heavy chunk much more homogeneous.
The Suzuki GSX-R 1000 weighs a whopping 48 kilograms less. In conjunction with a nominally 160 hp four-cylinder, it ensures sleepless nights for the sports group. The epoch-making Honda CBR 900 RR Fireblade was formative for the 90s, at the beginning of the new millennium the benchmark for super sports cars was called GSX-R 1000. With the FZS 1000 Fazer, Yamaha shows that a lot more can be done with a powerful sports engine . Inspired by the success of the small 600 series, Yamaha planted the super powerful and slightly modified YZF-R1 drive in a tubular steel frame and created a comfortable environment around it. A real alternative for all those who find super athletes too uncomfortable in the long run, but who do not want to do without an abundance of power. Pressure in all situations, even a touring rider can use it. After all, on long journeys there are often two people with a lot of luggage.
Yamaha also knows this and has given the world the strongest and sportiest tourer to date, the FJR 1300. At 275 kilograms, the 1300 weighs significantly more than initial rumors from Japan suggested, but the very good performance alone documents what for a great success Yahama has succeeded. Which is mainly due to the powerful engine of the FJR, which comes up with intake manifold injection, SLS and G-Kat. This four-cylinder doesn’t exactly pretend to be a cuddle, which is pretty atypical for Yamaha. In terms of smoothness, it doesn’t cut the very best figure. Despite two balancer shafts, the four-valve engine draws attention to itself with vibrations practically over its entire speed range, and from 160 km / h vibrations from the otherwise pleasantly inconspicuous cardan drive are added. It would certainly be helpful in this context if Yamaha had thought of a speed-lowering sixth gear, also designed as overdrive. However, the FJR has to get by with a somewhat clumsy, but precisely working five-speed gearbox. Did anyone in the development department have any doubts about the power of the engine? The compact engine can easily compete with the aggressive and ultra-powerful drive of the Kawasaki ZX-12 R with its acceleration from the lowest speed range ?? and that means something. The engine of the FJR 1300 pushes forward with an agility previously unimaginable in the world of touring. And don’t lose interest beyond the 6000 rpm mark, but keep turning happily until it is close to the limiter. The engine of the FJR 1300 already offers more sporting spirit than one would have initially expected from the fat Yamaha.
High speed, that’s not the world of the Suzuki GSX 1400. Who would ask that of a classic naked bike? Your SLS-equipped engine has an abundance of power practically from idle, and impresses with its smooth response and good running smoothness. Truly something for the gourmet, nothing for fast food fans. Unfortunately, the air / oil-cooled four-cylinder also relies on abundance when it comes to fuel consumption: On average, the injection drives almost seven liters into the cylinders per 100 kilometers.
The Kawasaki ZX-12R is also very enjoyable to drink, and it always treats itself to around six liters even when driving on country roads. A typical Kawasaki engine: In the best tradition of the house, the engine acts very powerfully and spontaneously, it may glide along lazily in the lower speed range, but can also if necessary ?? and enough exercise? pulling the chain so vehemently and without ceasing that it is almost impossible to describe this experience in words. Especially after such full throttle stages, the ZX-12 R tends to jolt at constant speed when the throttle valve closes, even at high engine speeds. Vibrations are present under all load conditions, but occur to a consistently tolerable level. Certainly not a highlight: the transmission. Frequent switching is unnecessary due to the excessive power, but the precise, but rather clumsy and noisy switching box is annoying.
Which is particularly noticeable in direct comparison with the buttery-soft, flowing switch boxes of the Honda CBR 1100 XX and the Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer. The Fazer. Grins cheekily at you with her characteristic double headlights. Pretends that it can’t cloud any water, purrs with little vibration and mechanically very quietly, but has it all behind the ears. A feat, because a so-called all-rounder, the Yamaha belongs to this genre, with such a high performance it has never been before. Whereby it should be noted benevolently that it does not have the same incredible and at the same time highly dangerous torque mountain in the lower speed range as its sister YZF-R1. And that’s good. Because it is easy on the nerves and the rear wheel. Nevertheless, their driving performance speaks volumes, especially the torque values convince and amaze at the same time. The Yamaha, in short, even tops the Kawasaki or the Suzuki GSX-R 1000. Also pleasing: the engine, which is equipped with constant pressure carburetors and is correspondingly softly appealing, needs less fuel than the four-cylinder of its competitors, which is supplied by manifold injection. Compared to the Suzuki on the country road, only tiny, but still.
The four-valve engine of the GSX-R 1000, simply a stunner. The sound experience alone. Aggressive and demanding at the same time, it signals unconditional commitment. But it is good for a low-speed driving style because the engine carries two souls in one breast: The Suzuki combines the power of a modern two-cylinder in the lower speed range with the unbridled revving of a 750 four-cylinder. If you have to, the 998 cm³ engine marches with ease over the 10000 rpm mark, the torque and acceleration values speak volumes. The engine, which accelerates relatively hard, shines across its entire speed range with astonishing smoothness. Only the relatively economical Honda CBR 1100 XX is even more sophisticated. Only in the lower speed range do very slight vibrations penetrate the handlebars. On the other hand, the four-cylinder is not quite powerful in these regions like the smaller-displacement engine of the Suzuki. The strengths of the Honda engine are in the range of 3000 and 8000 rpm, and in view of the power then offered, it can also handle a lazy driving style. It should be noted that frequent shifting is a lot of fun in view of the great gearbox and the smooth-running clutch.
In general, this XX looks like a piece. Well, as in previous tests, the standard composite brake system CBS causes criticism in special situations. With its combination brake, the Honda decelerates in normal situations on the country road very stable and with little manual force. For this, MOTORRAD awards ten extra points. Under extreme loads, however, the combination of the front and rear brake systems dilutes the feeling for the limit area (see also box on page 27), which leads to deductions in terms of controllability. A standard ABS is therefore on the wish list for the next model upgrade, which has already proven its qualities at the Honda Gold Wing.
What is Honda really good at? A successful suspension set-up, the much-described balance. This can be seen in the good values of the XX in the driving test. Which once again refutes the popular opinion that a low weight and extreme chassis geometry or a high, wide handlebar inevitably guarantee playful handling. The Honda CBR 1100 XX presents itself as a great compromise on the test track in the Swabian Alb. Regardless of the curve radii, regardless of the condition of the route, the Honda drives confidently and precisely over the asphalt after a strong pull on the handlebars placed above the fork bridge, the appealing and sufficiently comfortable suspension elements give the driver a lot of feedback and ultimately safety.
Only the superb and very stable chassis of the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 conveys more transparency, i.e. the unique feeling of being one with the motorcycle. Even if the R has an astonishingly high degree of suitability for everyday use, its proud owner must still have a certain ability to suffer. Of course, the Suzuki is more strenuous on narrow stretches despite a relatively comfortable sitting posture, and the neck and wrists hurt especially after long downhill sections. It is also clear that all machines in this comparison have an abundance of power. Everyone can playfully master everyday life in the last gear. But no one conveys this fact as imposingly as the Suzuki, which puts you in an apparent weightlessness. In comparison, the Kawasaki ZX 12-R is rougher, more sleeveless and looks rougher. Deliberately wants to be driven from one corner to the next, requires more concentration to stay on course, does not like to forgive a mistake in the choice of line. Convincing for it with significantly more comfort, a great wind protection and reference-suspicious light.
Everyday suitability, clearly the domain of the Yamaha FJR 1300. What you can expect from a motorcycle in its price range. It’s really amazing, however, how it does away with the familiar prejudices against tourers. And once and for all. Because of that, such machines are actually only good for leisurely traveling and swerving through curves that the desire to drive quickly disappears by itself. This Yamaha has a well-tuned chassis with plenty of reserves? not only in terms of comfort. It drives very directly for its weight class and can be turned precisely, the lean angle is always sufficient to really savor the fun on bends ?? also with two people. A point in which she is clearly ahead of her fellow brand FZS 1000 Fazer. It is a shame that Yamaha did not put a little more effort into the all-rounder in terms of suitability for two people, both in terms of the coordination of the rear shock absorber and the seating comfort. And the pitiful wind protection, at least Yamaha offers a taller touring screen as an accessory. Otherwise the Fazer would be an even more successful combination of sport and tour. It doesn’t drive as precisely and directly as the Suzuki GSX-R 1000, nor does it appear as balanced as the Honda CBR 1100 XX. But there is something wonderfully unreasonable about the Yamaha fun bike. How did her colleague Monika Schulz once characterized it: »At some point you will lie down with your fazer on the flap ?? and you don’t even know why. ”Back then, he meant the little sister FZS 600. However, it also applies without restriction to the 1000 series. The mighty R1 drive in connection with its inconspicuous exterior leaves plenty of room for misinterpretation. But one should never underestimate the Fazer, the wolf in sheep’s clothing. She likes to paint black lines on the asphalt when she accelerates out of the corners too high-spirited, the line between extreme driving pleasure and a painful descent becomes correspondingly narrow.
S.You never really expose yourself to such delicate moments on the Suzuki GSX 1400. The mighty naked bike exudes one thing above all with its beer calm: serenity. She leaves high-performance sport on the autobahn to the others, she prefers to feel obliged to what is perhaps the most beautiful thing in the world: Enjoyable gliding along country roads, without stress and hectic. Pampered the driver with its amazing handiness and the finely tuned, well-appealing chassis. Small weaknesses, such as the slight pendulum movements around the longitudinal axis, which occur especially in faster turns, are therefore easy to see. She doesn’t want to please everyone. Everybodys darling is the name of the Yamaha FJR 1300 in this comparison, with the exception of the ABS that is not available, it is probably the most complete motorcycle at the moment.
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Concept comparison Honda CBR 1100 XX Kawasaki ZX-12 R Suzuki GSX-R 1000 Suzuki GSX 1400 Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer Yamaha FJR 1300
2nd place – Honda CBR 1000 XX
The Honda XX is like a good wine: the sports tourer has improved in quality over the years. Like the Yamaha FJR 1300, it presents itself with a modern mixture preparation in addition to G-Kat and SLS, its performance is still more than sufficient. The chassis offers a good compromise between handiness, stability and comfort, the steering precision is simply inspiring. A standard ABS would be the famous icing on the cake for the XX.
1st place – Yamaha FJR 1300
The most complete, the most versatile motorcycle wins this comparison. The FJR 1300 impresses with its powerful four-cylinder, which should, however, be a little quieter. With its performance and good chassis, it penetrates into areas that were previously reserved for the sports group. On the wish list for the next model year are sixth gear and ABS ?? In these points, the tourer competition from Bavaria is still ahead.
The small difference
Distinctive details in the points evaluation briefly and concisely explained.
The most impressive: the Suzuki GSX-R engine. Incredibly spontaneous and yet controllable performance in all situations, closely followed by the aggressive Kawasaki and the calm, beefy character of the Yamaha FJR 1300. Stability in corners Here, too, the very stiff chassis of the GSX-R 1000 sets the standard, just before the very well balanced Honda CBR 1100 XX. Surprisingly good: the tourer Yamaha FJR 1300Delay / manual force Suspect reference: the Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer, both in terms of the deceleration values and the controllability of its front and rear brake systems. Long-range / low beam The Kawasaki ZX-12 R currently has the best series headlights in the world The open-space headlights of the Suzuki GSX 1400, on the other hand, are only average. Theoretical range Driving instead of refueling: Thanks to its relatively economical engine and a 25-liter tank, the Yamaha FJR 1300 pulls everyone away on long journeys the pillion. Above average for a sports tourer: the Honda CBR 1100 XX. Cutbacks, however, with the super sports car Suzuki GSX-R 1000.Windshield Exemplary: the electrically adjustable windshield of the Yamaha FJR 1300. Also great: the windshield on the lightning-fast Kawasaki ZX-12 R and the Honda. Consumption The Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer equipped with constant pressure carburetors is the most economical the Suzuki 1400s supplied by manifold injection are very thirsty. Inspection costs The two Yamahas with unrivaled low inspection guide values and 10,000-kilometer intervals. This makes the customer happy and makes the Yamaha mechanic sweat.
Always in a circle? What’s the point? Well, the tester felt dizzy? and loads of realizations. Because in the circular path (diameter 46 meters) MOTORRAD tests a large number of criteria. These include the grip of the initial tires and the tendency to pitch when braking in an inclined position, which can only be tested here in a comparable and relatively safe manner. Two bumps act as an additional hurdle, which place high demands on the stability of the chassis and the self-damping of the tires at great lean angles. The same applies to the circular path: The maximum speed driven is documented (see box), but only the subjective impressions of the testers are included in the evaluation, also collected on the test route covering several hundred kilometers, on which the freedom from leaning is also checked -12 R: Respect, the strongest production motorcycle in the world has good stability on an undulating track, the footpegs only come into contact with an extremely lean angle, even when driving with a passenger. Hardly any tendency to stand up when braking in an inclined position. Honda CBR 1100 XX: Great performance, the excellently balanced XX drives very stable and gives its driver a lot of feedback, its stiff chassis clearly tends towards supersport. The long nipples on the notches restrict the lean angle somewhat? but can be easily removed if necessary. Good choice of first tire: Dunlop D 205 in special specification. Hardly any tendency to erect, good self-damping and enough grip reserves. Suzuki GSX 1400: Likewise a lot of grip and self-damping thanks to Bridgestone BT 020, pegs, side and main stands sometimes hit hard in left turns. Good cornering stability, but load change reactions interfere. Suzuki GSX-R 1000: Appropriately fast, very stable and neutral, even with easy-to-grip Bridgestone BT 010 tires, the freedom from lean angles cannot be explored, no parts touching down. Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer: Good stability, even with load changes and waves, but notches, stands and exhaust are positioned at maximum inclination. Yamaha FJR 1300: Good cornering stability on waves, touches down good-naturedly with notches and side stands, but surprisingly high cornering speeds are possible.
Another important and safety-relevant test criterion: the brakes. In order to create the same conditions for everyone, the tests are carried out on a cordoned-off test site. The most important criteria: braking stability and the braking deceleration that can be achieved with both brakes, documented by the special VZM 300 recording device, as well as by a light barrier and distance measurement. MOTORRAD calculates the average braking deceleration and the braking distance from 100 km / h (see also the table below). Further questions: How high are the manual forces required? Does the brake system tend to fade under heavy use? When the brake system of the Honda CBR 1100 XX is extremely decelerated, it does not come close to the braking distances of the competitors. The reason: The testers lacked the last ounce of feeling for the locking limit of the front wheel. In addition, metering the brake with the foot is more difficult than with conventional systems. With the Kawasaki ZX-12 R, the controllability and effect of the front brake are at a very high level, but the rear reacts slightly restlessly when the brakes are fully applied, even if at least without violent stamping. The rear stoppers act bluntly and are difficult to dose.What also applies to the front stoppers of the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 at least at the beginning of braking, the 1000s only decelerate well and stably with increasing manual force. The rear wheel rises slightly and, due to the use of the rear brake, tends to stamp. The Suzuki GSX 1400 is state-of-the-art: Its brake system requires comparatively higher manual forces, but responds fine and delays the front like very good at the back. The front wheel has an occasional tendency to stamp. Such tendencies are alien to the Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer. It shines with excellent controllability of the front and rear brakes, fantastic deceleration values and remains stable on course. Somewhat irritating: the flexible handlebar mounting that allows the handlebars to tilt forward slightly. Also good: the presentation of the weighty Yamaha FJR 1300. However, its front brake system cannot be adjusted as well as the four-piston calipers of the Fazer, which are similar in construction, and a relatively high level of manual force is required.
4th place – Kawasaki ZX-12 R
The greatest plus of the Kawasaki: its elemental engine that produces abundant power in all situations. The world’s most powerful production motorcycle is not as polished and fine as the Honda, it requires an active, hands-on driver. Nevertheless, its somewhat rustic character is pleasing. Which is not least due to the good chassis, a great mix of comfort and stability, the top brakes and the above-average suitability for everyday use.
3rd place – Suzuki GSX-R 1000
On the racetrack, she drives everything into the ground. And you can also find out why on the country road. With the GSX-R 1000, Suzuki achieved an ingenious synthesis of an almost unshakably stable chassis and an ultra-potent engine combined with drivability. This sets the standard for super athletes. This uncompromising attitude leads to compromises in terms of comfort, but the Suzuki impresses with its good everyday suitability.
6th place – Suzuki GSX 1400
Suzuki’s high-torque bundle of joy doesn’t care about top sporting performance, but brings you back to the essentials: the enjoyment of consistently lively motorcycling ?? without stressing you in the least. For a 260 kilogram heavy chunk, the GSX 1400 has really extraordinary handling, plus a well-tuned chassis with sufficient reserves and a gripping braking system.
5th place – Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer
The Fazer combines the power of a super athlete with good all-round properties. Its bearish and smooth-running engine, derived from the R1, convinces in this comparison with the best pull-through values and with low consumption. Their talents would be even more effective if Yamaha showed a little more attention to detail. Above all, a tighter adjustment of the rear shock absorber, a more comfortable passenger seat and a significantly improved wind protection would be desirable.
Of great importance and associated with a lot of effort: the handling test. Important questions are: Does the motorcycle steer precisely? How easy is it to change lean angles and direction? How high is the effort? And what about the pillion quality? The test team checks all motorcycles during a precisely defined test lap on the Swabian Alb, which has everything that the roads have in store in normal motorcycling life, from tight bends to slow and brisk alternating curves to fast, wide radii. As a counterpart to the test track, to round off and check the results, MOTORRAD then checks the handling on a closed-off track with two different courses: a wide, slow and a narrow, fast slalom. The times and speeds listed below provide a basic guide to the handling properties, but the only thing that counts for the scoring is the subjective impression of the test team that was won on the test lap. Honda CBR 1100 XX: It does require a strong steering input, But it drives very precisely, neutral and stable. Even with two people, the Honda delivers an impeccable and accurate performance, only the hard load changes in slow passages take getting used to. The mighty Kawasaki ZX-12 R also requires high steering forces, reinforced by its over-wide 200 mm rear tires, but compensates for this disadvantage with its powerful engine. In slow slalom, i.e. long S-curves, the ZX-12 R makes a relatively tight curve at the turning point. The only disturbing effect at such low speeds is its hard load changes. Long wheelbase, maximum caster and high weight: Nevertheless, in this comparison, the Suzuki GSX 1400 is the handiest? also for two. Thanks to its stable fork, it shines with good steering precision, but noticeable tilting movements around the longitudinal axis occur with hard changes in load and lean angle, both in fast and slow arcs. The thoroughbred super athlete Suzuki GSX-R 1000, on the other hand, does not turn out to be a handling star, changing course requires a lot of strength. On the other hand, it behaves with unsurpassed stability and accuracy even when changing lean angles, even in two-person operation. The Yamaha FZS 1000 Fazer conveys an indirect steering feel when changing lean angles because of the rubber-mounted handlebar, and it also compresses a lot. In twos, the Fazer drives too tail-heavy, despite the maximum raised rear, which reduces the accuracy and increases the steering force beyond measure. Her touring sister, the Yamaha FJR 1300, on the other hand, surprises with a good, sufficiently tight set-up; Nothing changes about that even with two people, you practically don’t feel the front passenger at all. Only the lean angle suffers slightly from the additional weight, the heavy Yamaha easily touches down with the notches and the main stand.
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