Last Monday myself and my friend who just got a new BMW K1200GT rode the twisties all day and swapped off bikes several times so we could both compare both bikes. Here is what I found out about the new GT verses the 06FJR.
1. I think the FJR looks much better. I do not like the big flat side panels on the GT. I think the cockpit view from the FJR is better looking than the GT, but both are nice. However, after 17 new bikes in the past 7 years, I no longer care what a bike looks like or what color it is as long as it will perform the way I want it to.
2. Engine Performance of the GT is fanastic as well as the FJR. I do not notice any loss of "get-up and go" due to the higher gearing of the 06 FJR as opposed to my 03 or 05 FJR's. The FJR seems to have a slight edge twisting the throttle at lower rpm than the GT since the FJR makes it's hp and torque at a lower rpm than the GT. If you keep rpm's up on the GT, I can't tell much difference in the engine performance. The GT has a higher redline and is turning out more rpm's in cruise mode at speed, although the GT does it very quietly and smoothly. Both bikes are very responsive from any rpm range all the way to redline.
3. The GT with the close ratio 6 speed transmission is nice. It is nice in the twisties for finding the right gear without so much rpm variation, but again I have never had a problem with the FJR's 5 speed running twisties either. The GT 6 speed has such a close ratio in the gears sometimes when you shift the rpm varies so little that you could easily skip a gear and never miss it if you were not going full bore.
4. The new seat on the FJR was much more comfortable than the GT. Matter of fact the seat on the GT was the only fault I could find with the bike. The leg and feet position on the FJR is slightly more comfortable also. I found my knee much more forward than my feet on the GT than the FJR. The GT is still very comfortable, just a little more sporty position for legs than the FJR and I could ride the GT all day long in comfort. Keep in mind though that I am 5'6" with 26" inseams. However, with the knee to footpeg position, I never drug any hardparts on the GT. On the FJR, you will regularly drag the footpegs pretty quick. The GT had the BMW tall windscreen and it provided better and smoother airflow than the FJR stock w/s. I didn't feel the back pressure like I do on the FJR when screen is all the way up. However, the stock 06 w/s is much improvement over my 05 stock screen and I'm not sure that my 06 will need an aftermarket screen since I never run with the screen all the way up anyway.
5. Suspension - The GT had the electronic change on the fly suspension. Pretty nice but for $800 I'm not sure, but would probably get it if I was going to buy a GT. You can select a nice comfty mode that just floats along or select the sport mode for the twisties which is where I ran it most of the time. As like all BMW's the GT's suspension handled great in the curves. Once I got the FJR leaned over and planted in the curve it is just as good as the GT. However, the FJR takes much more effort to get the bike leaned over and planted in the curve. The GT, like my R12GS just lays over effortless. If I am riding my FJR on long trip for several days, I get use to the heavy steering and think nothing about it. But after riding my BMW's and then get on the FJR, it seems like I'm trying to turn a Mack truck out of the drive way. I think that one reason for this is that the handlebar span of the FJR is so narrow, especially as compared to my R12GS. On good pavement both bikes corner excellent, but the big difference I noticed, was when you are briskly taking the curves and all of a sudden, you start hitting bumpy surfaces in the curve, the BMW stays noticeably more stable and planted in the curve.
6. The GT and the FJR both have adjustable handlebars. The GT bars adjust up and back. The FJR's only adjust back with less than an inch of adjustment. The GT lets you go from a sporty handlebar position to an upright very comfortable position. On the FJR with my short height and arms, I am still leaned over and after awhile my wrists and hands start to hurt. (I am 58 yrs old, so keep that in mind) I am currently working on handlebars risers for the 06 FJR and hopefully will have a working model this week. It is much more complicated with the 06 adjustment mechanism that Yamaha installed on the 06. Frankly, for no more adjustment than they have I wished Yamaha had left the handlebars alone. If you are interested in handlebar risers for the 06 or older models, email me at [email protected]
and I will notify you as soon as I get the new risers available.
7. The GT had electronic cruise. Very nice and spot on. I wish Yamaha would offer this option. I wish BMW would offer it for my R12GS also.
8. Luggage bags - I did not look at any specs but detachable luggage seems to be about the same for the GT and the FJR. Both from the outside look like they will hold much more than they actually do.
9. The throttle control on the GT is like my R12GS - very light and effortless. The throttle on the FJR to me is very heavy. I really noticed this after riding the GT for an hour and then getting back on my FJR. I know I need to undo one of the throttle springs to relief some of the tension.
10. Brakes - Both bikes have excellent brakes. Even though BMW is known for their great brakes, I have always thought the FJR is just as good and a lot cheaper and hassle free without all the servos and shi*.
11. Maintenance - This is not from riding but from experience of ownership. BMW's are maintenance hogs and if you can't do your own wrenching you better have plenty of cash to own a BMW, especally a K bike when you put as many miles on bikes as I do. I use to spend around $950 for a 12,000 mile inspection on a BMW K1200LT. With putting on over 70k miles per year sometimes, it didn't take me long to figure out how to do my own maintenance. The R-bikes do not require as much maintenance except for the 6k mile valve adjustments which I can do in about 35 minutes or so. The think what I have always enjoyed about my FJR's is that I just ride them, change oil&filter, which the FJR is the easiest I've ever own to do, and every 30k have valves adjusted.
In summary, they are both great bikes. After owning 3 FJR's and 7 BMW's, I always said that if BMW would put the K engine in a bike that was as comforable as the RT in a sport/touring bike, I would own one. They have finally done so and even added gobs of power to the K engine, but I think for right now I will keep the 06 FJR. This is mainly due to the fact that I paid $11,800 for the FJR and my friend paid $20,500 for the GT. Even my friend after riding the FJR off and on all day, said "You know, there is not that much difference in the bikes, except for the price." He also stated that the FJR seat and feet position fit him better than his GT. He is also about 5'6" but is about 60 lbs heavier than I am. I think a person could buy either bike and be very happy. Money has never been a handicap for me when buying a bike, I just always got what ever I wanted. However, folks when your talking rougly $8,700 more for the GT, that's a 73.7% increase in cost, I just can't see it at this time. Keep in mind though, that I got a good buy on my FJR and he paid pretty close to MSRP. At MSRP, I think the GT is about $7k more but you are getting - a) tall windscreen electronic cruise control, c) adjustable suspension and probably a few more things.
If any of you were fence straddlers like I was on getting the new FJR or the GT, I hope this will help somewhat. Doesn't matter what you ride - "Just Ride It"
Below is my summary
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