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Hey guys,

Looking at moving (back) into sport-touring bikes. As always this time of year brings out some good deals.

I’ve found locally a new (never registered – full warranty) 2013 VFR1200F from the local dealer and a demo 2013 BMW K1600GT with 8K Km on it warranty until June 2016. Both are $8K below their respective list price. The BMW would require a trade-in, the Triumph Rocket, the Honda wouldn’t.

Any thoughts on either model would be appreciated.
 

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Touring

BMW is Touring only, to big and to heavy to be considered anything else. I have the BMW K1300S and it is more oriented towards the sport end. This is its last year though.
 

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Everybody that has one of those Beemers raves about them...
 

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The BMW is far smoother than the Honda and less tiring on long hauls. For a six cylinder engine with all that power it's also surprisingly fuel efficient.
I test rode one extensively and was very impressed with it but, in the end, I prefer the RT riding position.
For the weight both bikes handle surprisingly well, but hat tip goes to the BMW for having a better front end, as planted and stable as no other bike I've ever ridden.

Now the bad news. BMW has been struggling since the bike launch with water pumps. They have had big problems keeping them from leaking and dealers aren't always very keen on warranty. Most owners carry a bottle of premix coolant on long trips and check level every morning before starting for the day.

Both bikes are so tightly packed as to be maintenance nightmares, but the BMW is actually worse. The Honda has the benefit of two cylinder heads and Unicam design, making valve adjustments somewhat easier.
Oh, and good luck changing the K1600 front shock absorber. :wink2:
 

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I also would not consider the BMW to be a sports-tourer, though I'm sure it is faster in real-world riding than its weight would suggest. It's simply too big, too heavy to be considered in any way "sporty", in my opinion.

The Honda is probably a decent bike, but not spectacular. It's slower and less sporty and certainly less versatile than something like a Multistrada.

But I'd be looking at something like the R1200RT or even the R1200GS as a fantastic sport tourer. Lighter, more economical, sportier than either of those two, and, for, me, the low-frequency thrum of a twin makes for a much more relaxed feel for any ride over about 300 kms.

For example, I rode a friend's BMW S1000XR quite extensively in South Africa last week, and when compared to his new BMW R1200GSA, I found the GSA to be a much nicer sport-tourer - the XR is certainly faster, but the high-revving four always sounded like it was trying too hard, too frenetic, too busy....for a long ride. I am sure one gets used to it, but the GSA simply felt less strained, more relaxed and I found that long days were easier to achieve with less effort.

If it has to be between the two you mention, then I'd go for the 1600GT, because it's a BMW and they are beautifully engineered, IMO.
 
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