Bike for longer tours Yamaha FJR1300 vs BMW K1200s

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Jazzman89, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Should I trade my FJR for a K1200s for touring around Europe (and sometimes getting around the city)?

    I currently own an 02' FJR1300 that I got for a bargain in August. I went to pick it up from Manchester and drove it back here to Prague with a layover in Cologne and London. So right off the bat I put 1000 miles in 3 days on it, with the last day being a 450 mile day.

    A guy locally wants to trade his k1200s and one of his options is an FJR. I plan to use my bikes as occasional commuters, but more for longer tours around Europe.

    I modified an 07 triumph speed triple and toured it around Canada and the US before flying it here to Europe with me once I moved. It was promptly stolen.

    I liked touring the speedy, I got used to the wind/elements, although I enjoyed the FJR's protection. The gas tank was a bit small on the s3, but a stopping every couple of hours was fine.

    I'm 30, 6/184cm and weigh about 175lbs/79kg. I find the FJR a bit bulky and I find myself never feeling fully in control due to the more upright seating position.

    I suppose I could get used to it, but I'm wondering what people's experience is.

    I thought about getting a sprint, but I got tired of dealing with chains.

    A straight swap seems appealing, but I would like to know how comfy the k12s is vs an FJR and the speedy i was used to, particularly posture. I will be sacrificing a lot of luggage capacity, but that's ok by me. Riding solo too.

    Cheers.



    Pics of the bikes in question:

    FJR.jpg k12s.jpg speedy.jpg
    #1
  2. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Have you ever ridden a K bike?

    The K1300S was a bike that I wanted to love but I couldn't get over the front end, suffice it to say that I am not a telelever fan.
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  3. florabama rider

    florabama rider Been here awhile

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    I owned a BMW KGT 1200 for 3 years. It was top heavy but other than that, best bike I have ever owned
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  4. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the response, I have not ridden a k bike, no.
    I just know that the suspension on the fjr feels squishy compared to the S3.

    Are you saying that if you were in my position you'd hold onto the yammy?
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  5. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    The riding ergos are supposedly different from the S, but good to know you liked it! Do you have any input on whether I should try and trade the fjr?
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  6. Daboo

    Daboo Been here awhile

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    How is the BMW's final drive?

    Chris
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  7. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Not sure, I haven't inspected it, we're still at the courting stage.
    His bike has 18k miles on it, mine has 62k.

    He is the sole owner, fwtw.
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  8. florabama rider

    florabama rider Been here awhile

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    Pull the drain plug on the final drive. If you see any metal flakes its trouble, later maybe sooner. Big bucks to replace
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  9. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Good tip, thank you. Any other items should look out for? Which things are red flags/deal breakers, which are tolerable and fixable?

    All in all, is that a trade you'd go for?
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  10. Crocodile Tears

    Crocodile Tears Legion of Snark Supporter

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    IIRC the non flying brick 1200 has a fatal timing chain issue that is fixed when you step up to the 1300s. Don't know if the K bikes are affected by the explodey final drives or not - seems to always be boxers you hear about.

    Flying brick K1200 is lower power but a ton of fun in RS and GT guise. And those motors are incredibly reliable.

    I'm a fan of telelever, as I like the stability it provides and the lowered dive under braking. Seems to help mask weight transfer when you come in too hot and need to cut speed in a hurry. I understand why some don't like it, as it does feel a bit vague at first. Once you learn to trust it and you accept the fact that its a sport tourer moreso than a pure sportbike, you can appreciate it a bit more.

    The K is pretty heavy compared to the boxers.

    FJR is a top heavy bike, but they're easy on the maintenance front and dead reliable. I'd go for the FJR if you are dead set on the 1200. If you found a K1300, I'd lean that direction, unless you want a pure tourer.

    Or maybe step backwards to the flying brick K1200. Again, I don't know for sure about the final drives, but the motors are rock solid.
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  11. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Great response. I currently own the FJR so the question is whether or not switching/trading for a K bike makes any sort of sense.
    #11
  12. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    I've come to believe that 'light is right'. :nod
    No need for a 700-800 lbs. elephant as a touring bike. For 7 years I Stored a bike in Heidelberg Germany and spent 8-10 weeks each summer touring Europe. I shipped a BMW K1100RS. After two summers I sold the bike and sent a BMW F800 GT over. For me it was the perfect tool for the task. Almost 100% of my riding was on back road exploring the small towns, meeting locals, eating their food, drinking their beer, and exploring local POI's. Each summer I spent about 50% of my time in the Alpine regions of France, Switzerland, Austria, and N. Italy. The F800GT with a few mods was light weigh compared to big tourers, handled great in the very tight hairpin curves that run up and down the high mountain passes, it sipped fuel, was comfy for me, and would cruise all day long on the Autohahn at 100+ mph.

    I've been touring the US extensively for many years on many different bike H-D's, BMW's, a Guzzi 1200 Sport, Yamahas(S10 &'06FJR), and others including a Vespa 300(Vegas to Ca, to my home in Florida, 5k miles in 28 days). The Vespa trip is the most memorable trip of all those I've done in N.A.

    Paul
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  13. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    I’ve ridden both bikes albeit not for more than an hour or two. I think it’s an interesting question you’ve asked.

    On one dimension, the FJR is familiar and as a reliable and durable long distance mount it is very well thought of. The BMW 1200 is the first iteration of that slant four and there were some design issues corrected with the 1300 successor. It may well need more attention than the FJR.

    So a question for you might be how happy you would be to seek out and pay for competent mechanical support and parts on the BMW if they were needed. Worth doing some research. But an owner might come on here and talk of long miles on a 1200S with no issues at all.

    That is a nice looking 1200S btw.

    From the test rides I did on the two models - a couple of hours on the BM, and about an hour on two FJRs - I came away thinking that the FJR was pretty slow in the steering department and would be hard work in tight turns. But nice and stable and smooth on the straighter bits. The BMW was also a slow steerer but felt well balanced at lean. Much sportier riding position. I’d likely have bought one if it had electronic cruise.

    A recent story I’ll share that opened my eyes to how capable those slant K-bikes are on a good road. BTW the front end is not Telelever but a more sophisticated design based on a concept pioneered by former McLaren F1 engineer Norman Hossack.

    I was on a fairly low-speed bit of local twistery and had swapped rides with a friend, who had a Ducati Monster 1100 - very light, lots of grunt, about as good a ride for that sort of road as exists. I found myself leaving a stoppage for roadworks immediately behind a couple riding a K1300S - same chassis and bodywork, essentially, as that 1200. I assumed I would soon need to overtake them, since I have ridden for a long time, like turns, and know that road well.

    I was shocked to find that I could barely keep up. And where I was losing ground was mid-corner. The BMW rider had great lines, but also, very obviously, tremendous confidence in that front end, sometimes double-apexing and letting the bike drift way out near the edge of the road, at big lean, between apexes.

    It was pretty clear that the funny front end worked just fine.
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  14. Berchunis

    Berchunis Been here awhile

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    Since gasoline prices are steep in Europe, and the FJR takes RUG and the BMW needs Premium fuel, this would be a consideration in my purchase plan. The overall fuel price difference could be considerable.

    As always, YMMV.
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  15. Roadscum

    Roadscum Long timer

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    I prefer the BMW Boxer motor over the 6 or 4 cylinder parallels motors. lighter weight and broad flat torque curve. Maintenance tasks can be done with one eye and one arm, it's that easy. Same for valve adjustment but ya may need two eyes to get a more acquire valve measurement. :lol3 The LC boxers can be sneaky fast because of the flat torque and no high frequency vibrations. The 1st generation LC R1200 bikes were a total new design, motor, frame, suspension, brakes, etc... and very reliable. I prefer the GS or GSA(owned a'15 for 4 years) or the R1200R( just sold my '15). I suspect you would prefer the R1200GT, the sport tourer.

    I've also owned a '06 K1200GT with the same unusual suspension you mentioned. I agree it worked well but it's heavy, and lot of weight up high and forward, much of it un-sprung weight.

    Paul
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  16. Crocodile Tears

    Crocodile Tears Legion of Snark Supporter

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    Also just realized I'm an idiot. The boxers roll telelever suspension, the Ks run hosaack style duolever suspension. The new gold wing runs this setup. The componentry is quite a bit different between the two with a similar core concept.

    Lots of linkage up under the fairing doing the suspension and steering. The duolever is regarded as superior to changes in rake / trail and weight transfer in corners, but weighs alot and is a bit more numb than the telelever due to lacking traditional fork components
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  17. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    I didn't say it didn't work, I said I hated it.
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  18. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the responses lads, I am a poor grad student, so while the responses came pouring in I did some more research and it seems that the FJR platform sees a lot fewer issues than the K12/13 platform. Seeing as my disposable income is flirting with 0 these days, I figure I suck it up for a few more years until I grow up and have enough money to afford the maintenance of a beemer.
    It also seems that the K bikes I'm looking at aren't light but any stretch, so might be more of a lateral move rather than a full on change.
    This forum is the best, thanks again for the prompt replies, and of course I'm open to having my mind changed, but for now I'll take the Feejer on a few tours and see what it's got. Cheers.
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  19. wellcraft

    wellcraft Been here awhile

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    I had a 2006 K12S and there were many issues with the bike that BMW never resolved. The K12S had a stalling issue at highway speeds, rough idle, and a transmission issue that required the tranny to be replaced. My K12S suffered all of these issues and while it was a fun bike to ride when it worked properly I was glad to get rid of it. I would recommend taking the K12S on a long test ride before making a decision or better yet look for a K13S which did iron out a lot of the issues that plagued the K12S.

    With that said the K12S was a pretty comfy bike to ride and I used it to commute back and forth to work and day trips up to 200 miles. The riding ergos are not as aggressive as a true sport bike but not as relaxed as the Yamaha. The factory panniers don't hold much even though they expand, not worth the cost in my opinion and they only come in one color, gray, that doesn't match the paint scheme of every bike. Between the two I'd pick the Yamaha over the K12S without thinking twice mainly because of the fueling issues I mentioned earlier. You might be better off keeping the Yamaha for a season, getting more miles in the saddle and then making a decision. If the FJR suspension feels soft perhaps new shocks would be a good investment especially if they are the original shocks that came with the bike when it was first purchased. Good luck with whatever you decide and ride safe
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  20. Jazzman89

    Jazzman89 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the advice, from my research on the K forum it seems that the fueling issues carried over into the k13, with people reporting stalling etc. But, all that might be anecdotal since issues are more often reported than not, but there's a good number of threads about (financially) fatal flaws.

    That is great advice about the suspension, I've seen that changing out the rear shock transforms the bike, I'll give that a shot too.
    #20