Just wanted to share with you the personal experience of moving from Yamaha FJR1300 (2009) to a (2013) K1600GT.
Background: the FJR (bought new) served me flawlessly for 72.000miles; last summer I felt the need of change&additional power and evaluated the fulfilling of an older dream - the K1300GT. Tested one from a friend for a few hundred miles though didn't find the extra $$$ were worth it. Ok, new plan - I'll keep the FJR for another 2-3 years but a few weeks ago another friend decided to sell at a very good price his 2013 GT1600, I couldn't resist the temptation and here I am
. Although I have only 1000miles with the K1600GT, I'll post below some thoughts and impressions:
Saddle / riding position:
- 1300GT - worst saddle from the trio, too soft on the sides causing pain on longer trips
- FJR - quite ok, in comparison with both GTs; it has a external material ribbed for additional grip (a plus)
- 1600GT - works fine for me also, quite similar at confort with the FJR's one
Both GTs seemed to have slightly bigger saddle height. Knees position seemed similar on 13000GT and FJR, the 1600GT has slightly more comfortable knees angles and more vertical position. On 1300GT and FJR the rider seems a little more bent forward
towards the handlebars, with a sportier position but also on the 1600GT I quickly got used to that position on curvy roads, so overall position on GT16 is perhaps the best compromise.
FJR and 1300GT seemed to have similar gearbox in terms of gear-change smoothness - the 1600GT apparently changes gears a little better (less noise and back-hit in the lever). Can't say I suffer too much from the famous 'long throw' of the Gt16 gearbox.
Manouvering from standing is unexpectedly easy for the GT1600 - indeed the low gravity center makes the trick. For my FJR I increased the height by 1inch (changing suspension dog-bones) in order not to scrap parts anymore during sport riding on curves
and due to this going backwards in the parking became a pain (especially if I was in a parking area with grass or gravel stones); the 1300GT is in the middle at this chapter, quite similar to the standard height FJR.
Now for smoothness we should create a topic on its own
- GT1300 - during normal riding is fine, perhaps a little too abrupt in low gears due to very short ratios. Though while 'needle-pins' riding, with lots of on-off throttle in second gear the lugs become annoying. You might get used to it in time or try to address
it (higher diameter grips, O2 sensor trick for enriching fuel/air mix at low RPMs etc)
- FJR1300 - the first miles on curvy roads were disappointing at this chapter, especially that I was coming from a carburreted bike with zero on-off lug. But thanks to the guys on the dedicated forum, I released the throttle spring one turn, adjusted throttle
free play to zero and also filed the plastic cam from the throttle grip, improving things visible. The lug can be completely eliminated with the power commander
- GT1600 - well, the first time I rode this model it was a new 2013 bike (200miles) which I initially suspected of excessive free play in the drive train causing the famous clonk at on-off throttle low speed riding. Later I found out it's a K1600GT 'known issue'
and now I actually realised how annoying it can be. I developed a fear of getting in overrun for avoiding the clunk in the whole transmission and bike (it already has the green N update - is there another one for smoothness?!); it sounds like a distructive
metallic clonk, let alone the discomfort in such moments. Sometimes I'm wondering how did the bike/model pass the qualitative checks or homologation process based on BMW standards - did Herr BMW really consider this normal?!?!?! It's a pitty for such
a refined and otherwise beautifully designed bike... In any case last year I test-rode a brand new 2016 KT16 (it had 0.1miles on the dash) and the famous transmission clonk was almost gone - so definetly they improved something on the newer model.
In terms of handling while riding (especially on curvy roads) I would say the FJR1300 is a little behind the 1300GT. Both behave well for their size but the 13GT seems a little more planted on the chosen trajectory. But when it comes to 16GT - I would say it's
the winner. To me - while on move it hides perfectly the weight due to the low gravity center, it even reminded me of previous years on the CBR
)) . In my opinion the 16GT clearly wins here.
- FJR: the OEM winshield is crap, at least for me (6ft) it was way to small; in total I tried 3 various windshields on the FJR but the best I got along with was the short OEM one on which I installed the Laminar-Lip (best compromise both for me and for the wife).
Downsides: affects the visibility in the first meters in front of the bike (got easily used with this) and where the lip overlaps with the windshield it gets full of flies etc that you cannot reach for cleaning
. Otherwise good overall wind protection for both
(wife complained sometimes on very cold weather about currents from elbow to palms area)
- GT13 - I was able to test only with the OEM standard windshield. Protection both for me and the wife less than the FJR with Laminar-Lip. Overall sensation of less wind protection except for my feet which seemed less 'ventilated' than on the FJR
- GT16 - perfect protection for the passenger; good overall protection for the rider (OEM shield) but less protection than FJR in shoulders to elbows area for rider. Also very annoying backpressure and backneck currents with shield max up position. Also
related to windshield - I found very disturbing the V-shape while agressive riding on curvy roads especially when you frequently change lean angle left/right and the head doesn't follow exactly the leaning of the bike - sometimes you look above the shield
through the middle area, at next quick lean you look through one arm of the 'V', again through the middle etc, causing sometimes unclear image for what's in front. At least to me this is disturbing, I would prefer a shield with flat upper border - the easiest
would be to try also the Laminar-Lip - I'll see in time...
For brakes the FJR loses the battle in front of both BMWs. Something annoying for GT16 - the rear ABS is 'over-motivated' - likes to jump in even during medium brake?!
Mirrors and visibility seemed fine to me on all 3 bikes, perhaps a little vibrating on the GT13. Clutch operation is best/lightest on GT16, then GT13 and FJR very close to GT13.
When it comes to sportness - no doubt the winner is the GT13. The high RPM range engine coupled with a short ratios gearbox gives incredible topgear roll-ons, no need to mention acceleration in lower gears. Still - in my case for short rides on curvy
roads the short gears/high RPMs/roaring engine were fun but for long trips the high RPMs while cruising might be disturbing. Also disturbing I found the specific (slightly) agressive exhaust sound of the GT16 - fun for short sport rides but disturbing
during longer ones. So in terms of sound I preferred the FJR. But going back to performance - yes, the GT13 is the winner by far; GT16, even if coupled with a 'tall' transmission, compensates with the 'torque over all range' engine but cannot keep up with
the GT13. The FJR engine also behaves well along the whole RPM range (very good behaviour also at low RPMs) and, even if it's behind both BMs, still gives impressive figures for such a big/heavy bike.
I won't post numbers for MPG since these highly depend on riding style etc but I obtained very close consumptions for FJR and GT13 for approx same road/load/style. GT16 surprised me with a little lower consumption (3-5%).
In terms of reliability - based on lots of stories from forums/articles etc the 13GT seems to be worst tourer built by BMW but also the sportiest ever. The GT16 has its flaws but seems overall a reliable bike though the FJR wins this point easily. The same for maintenance - compared to BMs, the FJR can be maintained even by the beginner mechanic. The 13GT is again in the middle and when it comes to GT16 it's a paradox: either BMW was very smart and tried to secure an additional income from maintenance by discouraging the amateur mechanics from self-servicing the bike or (I hope I'm wrong) they simply didn't care about these aspects?! The famous second plug for the oil change - there were so many ways to build the plug (including the famous 'super-plug' design) for avoiding **** to happen during a basic oil change. Not to mention the stupid final drive filling-hole very 'cleverly' hidden under the wheel while it would have been so easy to drill it on top of the FD. But that's the price of having an otherwise great bike
I won't comment too much on the accessories list (where the GT16 is the ultimate winner) since I'm the type of rider appreciating rather the performance/handling/reliability of the bike than the list of optionals. And the basic accessories of the FJR satisfied me quite well during the 72.000 plus miles
Hope the above lines will help potentially undecided buyers in easier taking a decision