Drifter against BMW R 1200 C.
Japan versus Europe: Cruiser
Two cruisers ?? four opinions. Kawasaki VN 1500 Drifter versus BMW R 1200 C..
And another poem: Artificially aged, Asian plagiarism meets King Ludwig. A shaking rhyme.
When it comes to cruisers, the Japanese don’t hesitate for long. They just copy whatever American role models they can get their hands on. The other day, Kawasaki approached Indian. The company culminated in the formidable 1500s Drifter. An iron like fresh from the Stone Age. With prehistoric fenders, a long fishtail exhaust, very little chrome and an incredible amount of black. Fork, lamp, handlebar, side cover ?? all Black.
Europe’s counterpart: the BMW R 1200 C. Neuschwanstein on wheels. Splendor and glory from front to back, in the middle a throne, as if made for the “Kini” personally. The world hadn’t expected such a device when BMW entered the cruiser business in 1997: Telelever, single-sided swing arm, ABS, regulated catalytic converter ?? and above all a design that twisted the minds of those who believed in pure teaching. Bayern had broken with all the rules of traditional lines.
If you only have a little left for poetry, you can already figure out which film is in which saddle. N / A? Exactly: The 107th repetition of “Titanic” is given on the Drifter. But it’s always nice. Lean back, enjoy. The calming chugging from the engine room, the sedate nature of the power delivery, the constant surging of the underdamped suspension. Cruising through the country on the wide sail pole and … rrrratsch! … puts the load on. See beautiful ?? You know the strip by heart.
Okay, then to the hardware. The brakes of the Kawasaki are so-so, the handling tends towards sluggish, the water-cooled V2 is a pretty good guy with a balance shaft, injection, unregulated catalytic converter and secondary air system. Brings real 65 hp. A pretty good figure in cruiser circles. But don’t be fooled: in high gear from zero to Timbuktu, that doesn’t work. Below 60 km / h, the elasticity of the 1500 engine is not far off.
The BMW boxer can do better. Comes out of the quark much stronger and pulls ahead in terms of overall performance. On top of that, it consumes less fuel. The film? Exactly: “We speak German.” Sitting upright, listening to brass music, holding court at the long wheelbarrow handlebar, which unfortunately messes up the feeling for the front wheel. Otherwise much more would be possible with the R 1200 C. But even so, it can be bent around corners surprisingly jaggedly for cruiser conditions. Stability and maneuverability are well above Drifter level, and the brakes are three times better, multiplied by twice the lean angle, results in driving dynamics that are not that different from those of a “normal” motorcycle.
Interesting, actually. The only question is whether you could take out half a meter of wheelbase? Because that ?? let’s say ?? An “authentic feeling” doesn’t really want to set in on the BMW. Great serenity, sovereignty and so? nothing comes. Maybe a few running boards and a rocker switch à la VN 1500 would help. Or a different sound. Or maybe we got it all wrong and Bayern are on the only right path.
Hard to say. And even more difficult to give a rating at this point. A decisive tie would be elegant, something like this: After everything we’ve learned in school, that’s VN 1500 Drifter the better cruiser and the BMW R 1200 C the better bike. Coward, coward. Okay, then the BMW, because it would collect a lot more points in a perfectly normal comparison test. But it’s also kind of boring.
Technical data: Kawasaki VN 1500 Drifter
Engine: water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 50-degree V-engine, one overhead camshaft each, four valves, intake manifold injection, uncontrolled catalytic converter, secondary air system, displacement 1471 cm3, rated output 47 kW (64 hp) at 4700 rpm, max. Torque 113 Nm (11.5 kpm) at 2800 rpm, five-speed gearbox. Chassis: steel double loop frame, tires 130/90 x 16; 130/80 x 16, wheelbase 1655 mm, spring travel f / h 150/100 mm. Dimensions and weights: Seat height * 750 mm, weight with a full tank * 323 kg, load * 178 kg, tank capacity 16 liters. Price includes VAT. and Nk. 21490 Mark + stylish outfit, high seating comfort, soothing marine diesel feeling, exhaust gas cleaning – underdamped spring elements, insipid brakes, relatively unwieldy, little lean angle, cardan reactions. Comparison test in MOTORRAD 10/1999
Technical data: BMW R 1200 C.
Engine: air / oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine, one high-lying camshaft, four valves, intake manifold injection, regulated catalytic converter, displacement 1170 cm3, rated output 45 kW (61 hp) at 5000 rpm, max. Torque 98 Nm (10.0 kpm) at 3000 / min, five-speed gearbox. Chassis: load-bearing engine / gearbox unit, tires 100/90 x 18; 170/80 x 15, wheelbase 1650 mm, spring travel f / h 144/100 mm. Dimensions and weights: Seat height * 750 mm, weight with a full tank * 277 kg, load * 173 kg, tank capacity 17.5 liters. Price incl. and ancillary costs 25 279 marks + dynamic driving behavior, good torque, decent brakes, regulated catalytic converter, low consumption – hard hindquarters, uncool background noise, long steering antlers, little feeling for the front wheel. Comparison test in MOTORRAD 4/99
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