K1300GT test ride impressions
I took a test ride today on the new K1300GT. I was perhaps "open" to being persuaded this was the next great thing, as my K1200GT was having emergency surgery due to a lack of engine braking, a problem last encountered in summer last year, and "fixed" after an updated airbox and ECU were fitted.
The ride was a little different as it was an open day at the dealers, and there was a group of some 8 or so riders, all on different machines, and being led by the dealers parts guy on an F800. I took third place in line behind the leader and someone on a GS. I had my wife with me so could see how the old and new compare.
The roads were all unknown to me and were tight, twisty, and ridden at quite some speed, as the parts guy clearly knew them like the back of his hand.
First impressions were of the extra torque, it fair catapults it's way from one bend to the next, and a couple of times I surprised myself how quickly I arrived at the next bend, so much so, I managed to get the ABS chiming in once!
Next came the switchgear. First positive point is the new indicator being in one place not three, I got used to it immediately, so much so, that going back to the 3 way system after felt alien again. The horn feels more natural to use, and the biggest positive is the placement of the BC function on the left side. Instead of awkwardly moving your hand off the throttle to reach it as on the current model. it's much easier on the new.
Poor, is the placement of the lighting control. The parts guy was complaining that the Zenon lights were too bright and asked me to dip them, but they weren't on main, and I couldn't find the control!! It wasn't until we stopped that I found it, hidden at the front of the left control. Even now I knew where it was, I'm not sure using it is instinctive or easy, and certainly it isn't better!
Handling was excellent, but difficult to decide if this was the new ESA2 working better, or the fact that it was on new Bridgestones compared to the Michelins I ride on.
Gearbox. Didn't notice any real change here. Still clunks into first and doesn't seem any smoother through the gears. Perhaps that would change with age and increased kms, after all the engine only had 275kms on it, but wasn't the imrpovement I had been expecting.
The engine is an improvement for sure, but I live in France, so although I benefit from a few more Nms of torque, the increased BHP isn't there. On this test I could only run the engine at 6000 or less due to the tight roads and new motor, enough to tell it would be a joy to ride in full power as everyone else gets, but not enough to convince me to part with such a large amount to change.
Looks are subjective too. The side vents are ok, and the wife liked the brown/beige colour.
So the big question is whether to buy or not. I figure the cost to change for me currently is between €8000-€10,000. Unless I win the lottery, there's no way I could justify changing, the difference between the two just isn't big enough, but if you have the money and fancy a change, I'm sure you woun't be disappointed. I "wanted" to be persuaded, but once the fuelling on my K1200GT was sorted later that afternoon, and I could ride the way I wanted again, I went back to being satisfied with what I've got, and just have to hope it doesn't throw any more wobblies or warning lights. I asked the wife for her opinion, and apart from saying it's a little quicker, she said there was nothing to tell them apart from her passenger point of view.
Parting words of wisdom. I've often found the thrill is in the chase, and once you've got what you lusted after, it's a big disappointment, and that's what I think buying a K1300GT would turn out to be for me!
Last edited by GTConvert; Mar 14th, 2009 at 5:04 pm.