Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North Saanich, British Columbia, Canada
Test Ride Weirdness - First Impressions
The big white semi with the test ride bikes finally made it to Vancouver Island last week and I was given the opportunity to test ride the K1600GT.
I suspect these bikes must suffer from the wide range of rider skill they are exposed to, or the techs have a hard time keeping up with tuning because the bike I tried out was not the smooth running machine I had expected.
On accelertion/deceleration, most especially if the throttle was "blipped", it felt like the clutch/transmission was shunting back and forth in the frame. When I rested my left hand lightly on top of the clutch lever I could feel the lever move back and forth about half an inch ever time power was applied or reduced. What kind of problem would generate this kind of hydraulic feedback, loose slave piston maybe?
When decelerating in 3rd gear, the bike jolted like a hobby horse, or like my 1150RT when the Techlusion unit is out of adjustment. This might just be driver error, but it was odd enough to make me go to neutral and brake for lights instead of dropping through the gears (a normal practice for me anyway, but the option of using engine braking is not one I generally avoided due to poor ride comfort.)
I found the bike noisy, especially when the fan kicked into overdrive, and some of the heat I am so used to from my old K-bikes was still there hanging around my feet on the new bike. Surprisingly, I found the wind noise in my helmet higher that on my RT with its tall C-Bailey screen. I wonder if aftermarket screens will be a requirement for this class of bike now too?
Overall, I think the power and response was great, and the handling was superb. The seat was OK for this short ride, but I wish I had raised it up before the test. I had to squirm around to unlock my hips in the first few hundred yards because my legs were so scrunched up (6'3").
The fancy wheel selector and dash info was a interesting party piece, but not a big deal in my mind. I prefer the simple layout of my RT. One thing I did not like was the turn indicator switch. I am spoiled by the Kisan-mod on my RT which allows for left on/left cancel, right on/ right cancel, both on/both cancel. I've got a big hand, and was surprised I had to lift off to reach over to fiddle with this tiny switch. The auto-cancel was nice though. It's a small thing I know...but I thought it worth mentioning.
I look forward to another long ride some day, hopefully on a tuned up bike. I still have this bike on my lottery wish list, but after this ride I am more open to the 1200RT or a late model 1200LT if one comes up.
Thunderbird 1 - '93 K1100LT
Thunderbird 2 - '02 R1150RT
Thunderbird 3 - '85 K100RS
Thunderbird 4 - '77 R100/7
Thunderbird 5 - '86 K75C
Last edited by Sidmariner; Jul 30th, 2012 at 5:04 pm.