Long trip ride report on K1300GT
Well I have had the bike a few weeks now and have put about 4,500 miles on it, mainly with a long tour from Surrey (UK) to the Italian and Swiss Alps. We got back yesterday. The bike has been worked extremely hard as we were with a fast, experienced group.
I have seen quite a few forum posts on K1300GT faults that tend to suggest that a lot of these bikes are faulty, so I though I would relate my experiences as I expect the reality is that faults are endlessly discussed whereas the vast majority of satisfied owners mainly keep quiet. I am in the satisfied camp.
Switchgear. No issues at all. Temperatures ranged from 30 deg C to below zero in the mountains. Hot Mediterranean sun and sharp rainfall once or twice at high altitude.
Stalling. Not once. Engine has never missed a beat.
Vibration. Well, I have a ducati and also had a boxer twin. They vibrate. This murmurs a bit. I know some owners complain of vibration at around 5,000 rpm, but to me this is very, very slight. Pillion had no issues either.
Mountain hairpins require a lot of 1st and 2nd gear work and the gearbox can be clunky between the two, and sometimes a 1st to 2nd change delivers neutral. When that happens the clunk back into gear is quite hefty. However, it is not all the time and I think it only happens with very fast changes when perhaps due to an overtake off an uphill hairpin for instance, I am not super smooth on the clutch. I will mention it to the dealer though. Otherwise the gearbox is great.
Performance is exceptional - fully loaded and two-up, we could easily outpace a number of sports bikes, and (solo) GS's were quickly dropped off except in very twisty bits. Overtaking ability is remarkable.
The bike feels very stable even at extreme lean angles (pegs grinding on the road). It feels very secure for the pillion and my partner was far more comfortable with fast bend work on this bike than I expected.
She finds the heated pillion seat very good. I am not super impressed with my seat. I can stand it, but my thighs hurt after a few hours. This needs a solution.
The Swiss roads can be a bit slippery at times as the high granite content can become polished. This led to a couple of alarming rear wheel slides, that all of us - on various bikes - experienced. I had to dab a foot down at one point to push us back up when the back stepped well out as a bend tightened up. The bike is on Metzler tyres and although I can't fault them as they gripped at speed and with plenty of lean, I suspect I will feel more secure on slightly softer rubber. This may be in my head - bikers are funny about tyres ;-) I am happy to trade off a bit of wear resistance for a more grip so will probably go for Michelin Pilot Road 2's next as I have them on another bike and like them.
Originally I thought the electric tall screen was too low (I am 6' 2") but I find that although it is a bit noisy it is very effective at keeping the bugs off my vizor.
I remain of the view that the ESAII suspension is best at its hardest (sport) setting 95% of the time. Comfort is useful on cobbled roads, normal is irrelevant for me. Traction control works well.
Fuel economy. Very good indeed. We didn't do much on motorways, but when we did, cruising at about 80 mph, I was getting 68 mpg or more. Push the pace up to 110 mph and the economy drops to mid 40's. Most of the trip was on fast bendy roads and we got around 48 mpg on average, which considering I very rarely used 5th or 6th gear is excellent in my view.
Speed. We had the opportunity to push the bike up safely into the higher speed ranges. It cruises quite happily at 130 mph and is still accelerating quite hard at 140 mph. I very rarely do this kind of speed, but it was interesting to see how it behaved. The absence of wind blast makes it easier than on a sports bike.
Slow riding. The bike is fine for doing tight u-turns etc, but at times it can give me heart failure when parking or reversing, especially if the pillion shifts a bit or the road surface is a bit loose. Parking in a dark garage one night after a long day of riding, I was extremely lucky to stop it going down. It is a heavy machine and I was at the limit of my strength when it just edged past the tipping point (pillion on board). Close!
Finish quality is very good. The bike cleaned up like brand new when I wiped it down at home. Engine, wheels etc are immaculate as the full fairing keeps everything pristine.
Xenon headlights are really excellent. Mine need adjusting for more right bias so I see less of the hedge by the road and more of the actual road, but when that is done they will be superb.
The locks on the glove box and cases are a tiny bit temperamental. The glove box jammed open at one point which was a bizarre fault. Entirely trivial and was fixed with the application of brute force. Panniers and top box are excellent, easy to remove, waterproof and ....weigh a ton!
Cross winds. Two up with full luggage, it presents a barn door shape to side winds. Coming back through France we picked a very windy day and although lateral movement was not enormous, I did have to pay close attention at times when we passed lorries or there was big gap in the roadside vegetation. Inevitable with a big fully faired bike I suppose. Pillion buffeting is much worse in cross winds for some reason. Odd.
I am really very impressed with this bike. It's looks have grown on me and I think it is a very safe and easy to ride machine that flatters its rider. It is deceptively fast and agile.
£15k for a fully loaded bike is quite a lot I suppose, compared with a typical car, but contrasted with say an exotic Italian or KTM sports bike at a similar price, I would say the K1300GT is good value for money.