Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Rider Review, back to back on S, R & GT
Where to post this?
Yesterday, a couple of mates and I rode to Port Macquarie (mid north coast of NSW, Australia) to take the new K1300S. K1300R and K1300GT for a test ride. Our route took in the Oxley Highway, which anybody on the east coast of Australia knows is one of the great riders roads. Long fast stretches and twisty mountain sections.
Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my impressions of the 3 bikes. Note that I don't currently ride a BM - I have an '07 Triumph Sprint ST - but did have a K1200RS and am seriously considering one of the K13 models.
I started off on the S and the first thing I noticed was how smooth and comfortable it was. The riding position seemed more aggressive than my Sprint but once on and under way, it's not and despite BM claims to the contrary, it is really Sports/Touring in orientation in my opinion. The seat is especially nice. By the way, I'm 179cm tall (5'11") and 90kgs (198lbs)
The model I rode had Shift Assist which is fine provided you have some positive throttle on but is jerky on nil or little throttle. It also doesn't work on the downshift, which is OK I guess as I'm used to changing down with clutch and throttle blip to match revs.
The suspension is much better than the Sprint - the weak link of the Triumph in my opinion - and I found it very confidence inspiring. Very sure footed. The power is awesome but not sudden and unpredictable with a very linear delivery. The sound from the exhaust is nice and not too intrusive. For my height, the screen worked well and I wasn't buffeted by wind at all at speeds up to 180kph, although I was obviously getting more of a blast than on the Sprint as the wind noise was louder.
Despite the obviously long wheelbase of the S, the bike felt small to me and very nimble. It was easy to throw around in the tight stuff and my preconception that it would need some "muscling" was unfounded.
Overall, I loved it.
I rode the GT next but let me come back to it whilst I give my impressions of the 'R'. To me, the seating position is typically naked bike attitude and it was an absolute joy in the tight stuff. It felt like a much smaller bike to me. The exhaust note was very different to the S - more "bad boy" sound and image. Certainly a lot of fun but I'm not sure it would suit me as an all rounder.
When I got out into the open country, it seemed relatively harder work than the S, no doubt as a result of less fairing and maybe different gearing. Some of you may know and I forgot to look at speeds versus revs but it seems to be lower geared than the S, working a little harder at the same speeds. One of my mates really loved it though as his playground is short trips and tight mountain roads. It seems ideal for that.
In contrast, the GT seemed to me to be absolutely effortless at speed and was quite deceptively fast. Not only did it handle the tight stuff with aplomb, it was easily the most relaxed, cruising at very high speeds. It was the real surprise of the K bike trio.
I was riding a little quicker than the others on the R and after coming out of the mountains, where I thought I'd left them well behind, I was starting to get a move along on the open plains when I noticed the Xenon headlight of the GT in my mirrors. Not only was he having a much easier time of it on the open roads, he'd held his ground through the mountains. Amazing.
At the end of the day, we were all very impressed with the GT. Me, I think I'd still prefer the S, as I don't really want that much bike around me as you have with the GT and the R, as much fun as it was, is not as suited to the longer hauls.
One of my mates looks like ordering the R, with all the options including a comfort seat (we didn't rate the R seat as highly as the others) and my other friend is tossing up between the S and the GT.
I think I could easily live with either of those two.
Coffs Harbour, Australia
2007 Triumph Sprint ST (I still like BM's)
[previous: 2003 K1200RS
Alpine White/Orient Blue]