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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A brand new sport touring shootout published by Motorcycle.com and including the Concours 14. Of course, because the competitors are new or improved since 2012, the Connie finishes last. People who know, though, realize that the shortcomings that are mentioned are mitigated by farkles, which is the way it should be done according to COG, and the review mentions several simple mods that make it a better bike. This was a well-written and fair review and I pulled one sentence describing the Triumph that's probably the best motorcycle metaphor I've ever seen:

"Mama spoonfeeds tasty road while you sit there in the comfy highchair, steering and drooling."

2014 Sport-Touring Shootout

It would seem that the BMW 1600 is the greatest motorcycling weapon ever to be devised. Setting aside my own negative demo experience, I would say that reviewers HAVE to say that it is the best, not because they are on the take, but because it is new, big, expensive, and BMW. I submit that the 1600 is competing in the wrong class- it needs to be compared to the Goldwing, not just because of price, but because it is a completely different experience. Go ride one; it's not a "motorcycle". The Connie and FJR are still motorcycles. Speaking of price, your OTD on the 1600 will be double the OTD+farkles on the C14, so it BETTER be better, but it's not.

My wife wanted me to get a bike that required no mods- "buy it and ride it" was the goal. Not even at this level can it be done. I was showing her the Cee Bailey's website and one of the shields I would put on the C14 and her response was, "can't you get a bike with a big enough shield?" You can't. The 1600 beat the crap out of me no matter the setting and I didn't like looking through it. Then I found this in the Cycle World long-term test:

"Finally, we had to do something about the 24-inch-tall stock windscreen because there were virtually no positive comments in the logbook. Problems? With screen fully lowered on its electric adjuster, the top edge cuts the rider’s natural line of sight, regardless of his height, and buffeting was also a common complaint. Raised three-quarters of max was the sweetest spot for airflow, but most testers didn’t like looking through the screen on winding roads. To remedy this, we ordered a Cee Bailey’s Aircraft Plastics 22-inch-tall replacement ($210) that features a different top-edge shape and overall contour. Results were great for rider and passenger: no line-of-sight issues when lowered and less buffeting all around, but still plenty of protection when fully raised."

BMW K1600GTL- Long-Term Wrap-Up

For all the power, size, and technical wizardry on the newer bikes, they still have problems that are at the core of motorcycling. That's what I found I liked about my 7 after riding the BMWs: the simplicity of actually being able to SEE the road! You still get some of that with the C14 and FJR. Anyway, I'm shopping and looking to ride the "real" STs this week.
 

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My take from reading multiple reviews of the above mentioned bikes, as well as sitting on them in the showroom, is that the Concours is the Sportiest of the full on Sport Tourers, then the FJR, with the BMW and Trophy on the touring end of the spectrum.

I have seen the Concours compared to the Honda 1200 sport bike with hard luggage, and the Sprint ST, but both of those bikes are chain drive and better suited for short rides like weekends in the mountains.
 

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Went over 23k miles this week and still love riding my C14. It will be around with me for a long time.
 

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The bike touring bikes are all very good. The concours does not finish well due to no cruise control? Really? A 12.00 dollar throttle lock.....anyway..

But if you get a test ride, the BMW is in another league from the rest. It feels small, handles like a sport bike. To expensive, but then again, you'd be hard pressed to find a Mazda 6 car with a smaller sticker price.

One odd thing, with the Concours, is its as choked down as out Ninja 1000..maybe even more so. Some simple mods will add 20 hp, down low, and it becomes a great deal of fun. Also, handling...dont confuse "heavy" with wont do it. As far as handling, the concours 14 will do it. Its high effort, but a very good handling machine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
That's what they said, isn't it? No cruise. Even if you put on the MC Cruise for a grand, switched to a 55 profile tire (no cost, really) and a few other minor tweaks and you can smoke the 1600. BTW, I did ride the 1600- I didn't like it. I don't know if it's a good bike or not; I don't have enough experience to say. I know it's not for me. This is my post describing.

http://www.riderforums.com/sale-trade/82477-30th-anniversary-limited-edition-zx14r-2.html#post919972

I plan to add further test ride impressions here instead of continuing to pile on the 30th thread. Poor HbK- I totally jacked that thread. I might be interested in a ZX14 tourer and hope to get a ride.
 

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I have ridden all the others. Still have my Connie and I can afford any bike I want. I might have a K1600 if I could buy a good looking 20 yrear old gal to ride on the back but I understand that is illegal.
 

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I have ridden all the others. Still have my Connie and I can afford any bike I want. I might have a K1600 if I could buy a good looking 20 yrear old gal to ride on the back but I understand that is illegal.
Not if you buy her from overseas. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You would HAVE to buy her, even if for a few hours. No self respecting or decent 20 year old would be caught on that thing. When I found out I couldn't buy the 1200, I was ready to buy the 1600, until I rode it. No thanks.
 

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I have ridden all the others. Still have my Connie and I can afford any bike I want. I might have a K1600 if I could buy a good looking 20 yrear old gal to ride on the back but I understand that is illegal.
Yeah...you can only rent them by the hour. Something to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights or whatever...
 

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Specific issues with the Concours 14...some fixable, others not...

FOB key thing is silly.
Electronics too basic.
Engine tuned to run like a 900 in stock form
odd handling with stock 190-50 tire...more top heavy feel with 190-55
variable valve timing, HUH??? Did anyone ask for that?
seat is garbage
suspension a little off
front brakes warp

The cool part, and bad part is its using the zx14 motor. That motor, was never especially meant for low end, tourign type power and you have to spin it to make massive power...they notice it when every other bike on test is not that way.

Still, its an incredible buy on the used market. They dont hold their value at all and are owned by mostly older guys who dont beat them.


That BMW is awesome. Its in a class well and above what the Concours is and was. I say "was" as it was designed back in 2006, or earlier, to be sold in 2008.
 

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That BMW is awesome. Its in a class well and above what the Concours is and was. I say "was" as it was designed back in 2006, or earlier, to be sold in 2008. I like mine just fine, but its not the BMW. Engine, electronics, suspension and handling fall short of what BMW has. So does price. Maybe soem reliability issues, but you cant ignore a bike for 7 years and stay on top.

It would be really sad if BMW spent millions, designed a new engine, and fell short. In this case, they did not.
As you know with a few mods the C14 acts like she should have when new. I have no problems leaving my BMW riding friends behind in the twisties or an all out 0-150+. If I were in a spot between the C14 and a Goldwing, I would own a K1600GT. Just not their yet
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I guess it depends on what type of buyer (not necessarily rider) you are. The 1600GTL with Nav I was looking at was $27944+TTL and fees. We're talking $30k OTD and I still have to fix the seat and windshield at least. Guess what? There's no dealing on that price- take it or leave it.

The dealer I like to visit has a new 2011 C14 for $11k+TTL and a new 2012 C14 for $11.3k+TTL… and there may still be room to wiggle. I can fix the seat and shield, add cruise, nav, risers, top box, and exhaust and still be less than half what the 1600 costs.

If you read the COG forums, you will find those guys like the C14 shortcomings and long product cycle because it has kept the bike relatively inexpensive. They also don't want Kawi adding/updating the electronics so the cost stays down for those who don't want it or want to upgrade it to their specs. Of course, you know what kind of curmudgeons dwell in motorcycle forums! All of that is just more stuff to break or fail. I've never read a forum post or review (and I've read them all) with a single complaint about C14 reliability. Not so with BMW.

Please, somebody tell me why the BMW is awesome and maybe I will go ride it again or somewhere else. It IS in a different class, which was one of my original points. Kawi and Yamaha might do better NOT to chase the European bikes down a rabbit trail of electronic gadgetry and increasing price.

I can ride the C14, FJR, and Trophy back to back to back at my dealer. HA- the Trophy would be twice what the NOS C14/FJR would be! I like the seating and bar positions and the style better than the BMW. Seriously, the BMW is for the old man who doesn't quite want to go to a Buick- I mean a Goldwing. What I don't like on my motorcycle is built-in stereos with speakers in the fairing. A waste of space and cost IMO. Makes the fairings bigger than they need to be also.
 

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If you want simple, good, and cheap, try the old Concours 1000. You can get nice ones for 2 grand. Its plenty for a logn distance touring bike, and has a 7.5 gallon tank. Smooth, very fast, durable.

A step up on that woudl be the new Concours @ 12,000. More speed. Maybe a little better handling...For sure, not 10,000 better.

Step up from that is BMW. Its offers Gold Wing comfort and handles mor eliek a sport bike. Add another 10 for those features, though.

Lots of peopel buy new Toyota Camry's instead of going across the street to Lexus dealer. The Toyota IS just as good...
 

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Specific issues with the Concours 14...some fixable, others not...

FOB key thing is silly.
Electronics too basic.
Engine tuned to run like a 900 in stock form
odd handling with stock 190-50 tire...more top heavy feel with 190-55
variable valve timing, HUH??? Did anyone ask for that?
seat is garbage
suspension a little off
front brakes warp

The cool part, and bad part is its using the zx14 motor. That motor, was never especially meant for low end, tourign type power and you have to spin it to make massive power...they notice it when every other bike on test is not that way.

Still, its an incredible buy on the used market. They dont hold their value at all and are owned by mostly older guys who dont beat them.


That BMW is awesome. Its in a class well and above what the Concours is and was. I say "was" as it was designed back in 2006, or earlier, to be sold in 2008.
FOB key thing is silly.--Issue is fixed (without using a rock or hammer)
Electronics too basic.--Sometimes less is more
Engine tuned to run like a 900 in stock form--Yup
odd handling with stock 190-50 tire...more top heavy feel with 190-55--Yup
variable valve timing, HUH??? Did anyone ask for that?--I want my power band and I want it now!
seat is garbage--Yup--$800 fix
suspension a little off--Kinda sorta..It's a non-exact science to get it dialed in. Conventional theory gets you in the ballpark but its trial and error to get it right. Until you load it up with luggage or 2-up. Was at whits end and ready to upgrade but found the utpia while adjusting and riding the Snake this summer. Unbelievable that I run the same corners with higher speeds and much less lean. The Snake RT421 - YouTube
front brakes warp--Wonder if this is related to harsh riding. Have heard some complaints but not many
.

Big issue from the pre-2010 C14s was heat but that was handle with new plastics.
Im able to get 190-250 miles out of a tank. Im ready for a stretch at that point
Cruise--Major issue. Was a time Kawasaki listened to rider feedback. That conduit apparently has been turned to the off position because it's still not on the release for the 2015's.
 

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Cruise--Major issue. Was a time Kawasaki listened to rider feedback. That conduit apparently has been turned to the off position because it's still not on the release for the 2015's.[/B]
Let's see. Kawasaki was on a roll in the mid 80s. Then they kept the lineup mostly the same for 20 plus years. Then they made some major moves and improvements. Did a little iterative development, and now we will have to wait another 15 years to see the next thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That's probably true. They were on a roll when the business of motorcycling was engineering motorcycles. It seems that Kawi and zuki are the least progressive when it comes to the new age of motorcycle engineering in the 21st century. The buying public is more interested in gimmicks rather than performance. Remember when the primary interest in cars was the engine? Now it's bluetooth, active cup holders, and early warning systems. Look at all the electronic systems on bikes now.

I heard while shopping that Kawi "owned" zuki and were working to shut them down. Can you imagine no Gixxers or busas?

Honda- now this is my personal opinion and observation- everything they have done this year is stupid. I used to be 100% Honda, but there's not a thing in their line that interests me. I can't even force myself to like any of their bikes. I guess they know what they're doing.

The Japanese are all in a strange place. It seems the Europeans are really at the forefront of positive motorcycle activity. At least they are trying to sell what they make; it's as if the Japanese don't care if they sell a bike or not.

I knew H-D was going to bring back the Road Glide this year, which is the only model that interested me. But I didn't wait for it.

I won't hammer Polaris anymore today.

I guess since I voted for Triumph with my pocketbook, I'll say that their product line is diverse and somewhat innovative. However, it is the enthusiasm of their dealer network and the good vibes I get from the company's customer service that is important to me.

The good news is there's still something out there for everybody, but just don't expect to maintain your brand loyalty and get what you want.
 

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I owned the original C14 (2007) for 7 years. Had the front brake warp problem TWICE.

First time was 1,500 miles away from home. Found a Kaw dealer that was able to fix it under warranty (still had to pay for the expedited shipping on the parts though).

Second time was about 2 years later, and had to fix this one on my dime.

I don't really do long tours anymore, so I traded for a 2014 Ninja 1000. Not sure I would have bought another Connie. As great a bike as it is, it's already starting to look a big long in the tooth. Motorcycle technology is moving screamingly fast right now, and this bike needs to keep up. At the very least, Kawasaki needs to put traction control and cruise control on this thing. Those are both no-brainers.
 

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That's probably true. They were on a roll when the business of motorcycling was engineering motorcycles. It seems that Kawi and zuki are the least progressive when it comes to the new age of motorcycle engineering in the 21st century. The buying public is more interested in gimmicks rather than performance. Remember when the primary interest in cars was the engine? Now it's bluetooth, active cup holders, and early warning systems. Look at all the electronic systems on bikes now.

I heard while shopping that Kawi "owned" zuki and were working to shut them down. Can you imagine no Gixxers or busas?

Honda- now this is my personal opinion and observation- everything they have done this year is stupid. I used to be 100% Honda, but there's not a thing in their line that interests me. I can't even force myself to like any of their bikes. I guess they know what they're doing.

The Japanese are all in a strange place. It seems the Europeans are really at the forefront of positive motorcycle activity. At least they are trying to sell what they make; it's as if the Japanese don't care if they sell a bike or not.

I knew H-D was going to bring back the Road Glide this year, which is the only model that interested me. But I didn't wait for it.

I won't hammer Polaris anymore today.

I guess since I voted for Triumph with my pocketbook, I'll say that their product line is diverse and somewhat innovative. However, it is the enthusiasm of their dealer network and the good vibes I get from the company's customer service that is important to me.

The good news is there's still something out there for everybody, but just don't expect to maintain your brand loyalty and get what you want.
What I have said on multiple occasions is what is up with Suzuki. When GM had a partnership with them on vehicles like their version of the Colorado pickup...GM left Suzuki with a huge amount of money owed that they never paid. As a result of this, Suzuki had to close down their R&D department, and compartmentalize just to stay in business. This has been confirmed by several employees, as well as a former local Suzuki dealer that suffered as a result of this debacle.

Meantime...GM gets a bailout and it's right back to business as usual...albeit with some better products...products that should have been produced without all this drama and government intervention.
 

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I owned the original C14 (2007) for 7 years. Had the front brake warp problem TWICE.

First time was 1,500 miles away from home. Found a Kaw dealer that was able to fix it under warranty (still had to pay for the expedited shipping on the parts though).

Second time was about 2 years later, and had to fix this one on my dime.

I don't really do long tours anymore, so I traded for a 2014 Ninja 1000. Not sure I would have bought another Connie. As great a bike as it is, it's already starting to look a big long in the tooth. Motorcycle technology is moving screamingly fast right now, and this bike needs to keep up. At the very least, Kawasaki needs to put traction control and cruise control on this thing. Those are both no-brainers.
Traction Control and ABS has been out on the C14 for a couple years. EVERYONE is still waiting on Cruise. Many have after market Cruise installed as do I and love it.
Most of us wont turn our nose up to a great performing bike for something we can mod ourselves just like any other model owner does.
 
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