Concours 14 vs ST1300 for a bargain sport tourer?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by TwoWheeledCrawfish, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. TwoWheeledCrawfish

    TwoWheeledCrawfish n00b

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    I have been riding my Kawasaki Vulcan S since I took the MSF and started riding a year ago, and had a blast touring all over my state during quarantine last spring and summer. Now that it's warming up I'm getting back out for the season and I'm wanting to upgrade to a more substantial machine that has more long-distance comfort and weight and stability for passing semis on the freeway, along with some creature comforts like wind protection and cases for storing my helmet and gear when I reach my destination and park the bike. I also want something that is well suited for two-up riding so I can take the girlfriend out with me, and I want it to be comfortable enough for her that she wants to ride with me again. I should be able to sell my Vulcan for about $4000, so I'd like to find a bike in that price range. I've been looking at late 2000s Kawasaki Concours 14s and Honda ST1300s and have found some great deals in my price range within a few hours drive. I was also interested in the Yamaha FJR1300, but when I went to a nearby dealer to sit on all 3 bikes, the FJR was easily the most uncomfortable and ill-fitting bike I've ever sat on and I could tell within 15 seconds that I'd never be able to ride one. The Connie and ST were comfy, with the ST slightly more comfortable. Does anyone have experience with these two bikes?
    #1
  2. orforester

    orforester Been here awhile

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    Both great bikes, good reliability and lots of used ones for sale. The c-14 is better than the older version. The Honda is a bit outta date but still a great machine. Pick the one you like the most can’t go wrong either way. By the way I too did not care for ergonomics of the FJ. Bought a BMW R1200RTW instead. I like the fit better than C-14, but that’s me.
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  3. Stasher1

    Stasher1 Long timer

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    They both fall into the same class, but at different ends of the spectrum. The Connie is more sport-orienred while the ST1300 is definitely more of a touring bike.
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  4. Drop_Center

    Drop_Center Long timer

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    Depends on what gen C14 too.
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  5. GeoAggie

    GeoAggie Adventurer Supporter

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    I have truly loved my ST1300's over the years. I have the full Race-Tech suspension mods front and rear, Helibar risers and an aftermarket seat. To me, the suspension transforms the bike and the ergonomics are the best of the sport-tourers due to the greatest amount of legroom. Good luck.
    #5
  6. CopaMundial

    CopaMundial Wow, that broke easy

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    It’s worth mentioning that both bikes may be a handful for someone still early in their riding career, particularly two-up.
    My random-internet-person advice would be to go for something lighter, and with ABS.
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  7. Jimo368

    Jimo368 Quantum Mechanic

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    I too sat on the FJ and found it very uncomfortable and bought a new ST1300 in 2010. The ST has a huge advantage in tank range and handles like a sport bike but the incredible heat off the engine of mine forced me to sell it after a few years. I’m a happy V Strom rider now. Much lighter and I can travel gravel roads a lot better. I’ve never ridden the C14 but do like those bikes.
    #7
  8. TwoWheeledCrawfish

    TwoWheeledCrawfish n00b

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    What would you recommend? I'm thinking another 650 is going to be a bit wimpy for what I'm wanting to do, but I haven't seen many intermediate sport touring options from the Big 4 in my price range. It's also important to me to buy Japanese.
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  9. Stasher1

    Stasher1 Long timer

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    I just got rid of my '03 ST1300 at the end of February. To me, it was a nearly perfect commuter bike once the driving lights, Givi trunk, and dash-mounted USB charger port were added. Fast, smooth, and handled really well for a "big girl".
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  10. HuntWhenever

    HuntWhenever Motorcicle Commuter

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    A V-Strom 650 or Versys 650 would make a good next step IMHO.
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  11. wellcraft

    wellcraft Long timer

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    I think you ought to test ride all of them including the Yamaha, sitting on a bike and actually riding a bike can be two totally separate experiences. With that said all of them are competent bikes it just boils down to which bike fits you best in your price range. Check maintenance records to make sure the bike has been well taken care of and I'd look for the newest bike you can afford with the lowest miles.
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  12. TwoWheeledCrawfish

    TwoWheeledCrawfish n00b

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    The Versys 650 is literally the same motor from my Vulcan S put into an ADV platform. It's adequate when riding solo, but I can tell it would feel underpowered with a pillion and gear. It's already cruising at 5500 RPM on the freeway, and I'm not sure it will have the oomph to run 6th gear with a pillion.
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  13. HuntWhenever

    HuntWhenever Motorcicle Commuter

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    I was thinking the Versys was cam'd differently, but I could be mistaken. I've ridden my wife's Vulcan S and the 650 seemed different than the Versys...maybe its gearing?

    I had a V-Strom 650 for a couple of years and it did well with two up...400Lbs between the two of us geared up.
    #13
  14. TwoWheeledCrawfish

    TwoWheeledCrawfish n00b

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    I've ridden a versys 650 and while it may be a slightly different tune or gearing than my Vulcan, it felt nearly identical.

    That's impressive to hear that the v-strom 650 carried the weight that well. I'm still leaning towards the big bikes though because I'm sick of oiling a chain and shaft drive sounds awesome.
    #14
  15. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    The very last bike I bought w/o a test ride was an 04 ST13 b/c it ticked all the boxes. Sold it in 6 months, hated it. Wide between the knees, threw off ungodly amounts of heat, heavy and felt it, boring as hell.

    Taught me a good lesson.
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  16. TwoWheeledCrawfish

    TwoWheeledCrawfish n00b

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    I learned that lesson this week with that hideously uncomfortable FJR. I fully expected it to be my next bike based on research, but within 15 seconds of sitting on it, I could tell it was a no go. I'm currently setting up an appointment to go check out and hopefully test ride a C-14 later this week. It's a 2008 with 27k miles and some nice farkles included for $3500. Seems like a great deal if it's in good condition.
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  17. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Sitting on it is fine, but I won't buy anything w/o a test ride; the "character" of the bike makes a huge difference to me. Good luck with whatever you decide.
    #17
  18. hyena

    hyena Long timer

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    When I test rode an FJR maybe 7 years ago I knew in the first mile I didn't like it. Test rode a C14 and did like it but decided to go a different route. On the C14 I got it up to 140, which is the fastest I've gone on two wheels. Very impressive bike.
    #18
  19. CopaMundial

    CopaMundial Wow, that broke easy

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    There are a lot of bikes in between a 650cc and the C14 or ST1300.

    Versys 1000LT
    Ninja 1000
    Sprint ST (or GT even)
    VFR
    FJ09
    R1200R (with touring mods)

    You get the picture. My point was not so much about power, you know well enough whether you trust your self restraint, but more a question of weight.
    #19
  20. Stasher1

    Stasher1 Long timer

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    There are a multitude of Japanese bikes that would easily carry a passenger in relative comfort, especially if you throw the liter+ v-twin cruisers in the mix.
    #20