Author Topic: The Quest for a new ride....  (Read 1970 times)

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Online Hartley

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The Quest for a new ride....
on: August 04, 2013, 10:06:35 AM
Ive test ridden a few bikes in the search for next one to occupy the garage so I thought id share my thoughts.

First up was the Explorer, ive liked this bike since it hit the market and if id have not been able to ride any before buying this would have been the one id have gone for.
The first thing that struck me was the throttle, it was so light, but the FJRs is quite heavy so I always knew it’d seem very different. Also the seats were very hard and I thought they would become uncomfortable very quickly though they didn’t and after 2 hrs were still ok for both of us.
 The engine pulls really well and has loads of “character” though I did think it sounded a little agricultural when stationary, wife said she thought it sounded like a diesel!  The triumph dealer is quite close to us so I got to ride it on familiar roads and it rides brilliantly and you can really throw it around. But that throttle is where the bike falls down for me. I lost count of how many times it caught me out. Rolling on the power coming out of a bend and it would really snap in, unsettling the bike, not great for me and certainly not good for a pillion with no topbox to help her feel secure. I also found it difficult to maintain a steady cruise, if the road was a little bumpy or it was a a bit blowy the very slightest movement would cause you co open or close the throttle, resulting in a constant on and off the power feeling. I really thought itd eventually dial into it but ive riden one again and i still couldnt get used to it. I was in Europe a few weeks ago chatting to a guy who  had one for 4 months and eventually chopped it in as he just couldnt get a feel for it. But then again I have a friend who has one an finds it ok.  I have heard they’ve done various changes to maps and such to help it out so it maybe the bike I rode (same one both times) was more sensitive. My mates bike has also been back to the dealer 3 times for various issues, one time for 3 weeks with him only being allowed a loan bike if he gave a huge deposit!

 Next I arranged to ride the new GS, picked it up and within 5 minutes I felt uncomfortable the seat was terrible , like sitting in a cut out, my wife was uncomfortable too, said seat was like sitting on a narrow beam with no support for her thighs, felt like she was going to fall off the side, I could tell she was tense having to support her weight on the pegs to feel stable. Buffeting and noise was quite severe and it felt like there wasnt much room either.  She didn’t like it at all. I had it booked for 3 hrs but was back at dealer in 1 1/2 hrs, I couldn't take anymore of the seat, most uncomfortable bike ive ever sat on. It really ruined the test ride as I couldn’t think of anything else. When we got back it turned out it was the low seat option, which I don’t need, think they must cut all the bloody foam out! Anyway, explained to the salesman and he said that they could fit a standard seat but that wouldn't fix the bike for the Mrs.  Then he mentioned the Adventure has a different type of seat so we had a look and took one for a spin. Wow, what a difference, the Adventure in my opinion is what I thought a GS would always be, the boss felt comfortable straight away, I could tell the was saddle was a lot better but as I was still sore from the instrument of torture fitted to the first one. Riding position brilliant, sit so high, great view of the road. The screens huge and has winglets, the wind protection was excellent. Again a bike you can really throw around and enjoy but though certainly not slow it didn’t pull quite has hard as the Triumph, which is no surprise. We were both impressed.

Then came the Honda, this bike was a real outsider when I started looking nearly didnt bother riding it., probably because I don’t think ive ever seen one on the road.  Had a good look round it in the shop, beautifully finished and a lot bigger than it looks in pictures. I also think it’s a lot better looking in the metal than on paper. As Paula puts it, it looks more "finished" than a lot of the other bikes, ie it doesn't have the frame work and engine showing. Took it out on my own first for five minutes to get familiar with it, its a very tall bike like the adventure, but very easy to ride, flyby wire throttle like the Triumph but IMO worlds better, tuned into it very quickly, not like on the Explorer. Picked up the wife and she liked it straight away. Loads of room, comfortable seat and pegs just right. I'm generally not a fan of digital instruments but it was very clear and easy to read. The screen is pretty small but though you get a fair amount of wind its not buffeting , feels more of a smooth flow, not like the new GS which seemed to just cause turbulence. Paula said she found the Crosstourer very quiet. Id say its probably not quite as easy to throw around as the Triumph,  i think maybe the suspension needed firming up a bit.  It actually felt very simlar to the Adventure as far as riding position went. The biggest thing about it though is the engine, it's fantastic, absolutely no vibration so smooth, loads of power everywhere, brilliant!!!  Makes everything else we've tried feel a little agricultural but i guess thats what some people like, call it character. Ill be honest, I thought the whole bike was brilliant, Paula's favourite without doubt. It was a very warm day and another thing I noticed was the difference in heat the rider felt from the engine, the FJR cooks your legs in warm weather,  didn’t feel anything like that on the Honda.
 I don't think the Crosstourer is really in the same class as the other bikes we've looked at. By this I mean, it's really too heavy and has too much plastic to be considered a serious on/off road bike. It's got the upright, commanding riding position of the adventure bikes, which I like, but with the refinement of a sports tourer. What I  have to ask is myself is do i really need proper off road capability, I don’t, and it’ll cope with any very mild stuff if I choose anyway.
 Proves you should try everything.




Next was the Tenere, I tried to stay open minded but its not a bike I really like the look of  but I thought id give it a go. Nice roomy riding position,  but neither one of us found the seat comfortable Quite liked the engine, very torquey, pulled hard lower down but ran out of puff a bit. Rides bumps and poor surfaces lovely and very flickable. One we rode was a used one, loads of extras some good, some notso including a yoshi can with no baffle , it was it so loud, pi$$ed me off in no time, Paula hated it, riding country roads and people looking at you and thinking "NOB! "  Not for us the Super Ten.

Obviously these are only our opinions, based on a hour or two on each bike and if anyone has any of the bikes we tested its certainly not my intention to dis anyones pride and joy. Different strokes for different folks.

Paul


Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 10:24:00 AM by Hartley


#1

Offline Barbancourt

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Re: The Quest for a new ride....
Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 11:27:32 AM
I had the same feeling with the Triumph. Sometimes I had the impression someone else was operating the throttle. Didn't feel very secure on it. So it was a No Go.
After that I owned a GS (2010) for 4 months, and sold it again. Could not get used to the mechanical noises the engine produces and the lack of power. Didn't feel safe when I had to overtake cars (2 up). My previous bike had 55HP more.
After having tested the CT (manual), I knew that would be the next bike in my garage.
Now 10 months and 14.000 km later, I'm still happy with my choice. It's maybe not the perfect bike, but name me one which is!
Despite of his weight, this bike is easy to ride, even in the narrow "tornantis" of the Dolomites, with pillion.
Suspension could be better, standard windprotection could be better,more fuelcapacity would be better etc... But who cares when you like the way the bike drives?

#2

Offline whitegloss

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Re: The Quest for a new ride....
Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 12:17:55 PM
The ct is very good two up. Like yourself the wife likes a bike holiday i like a bit of get up and go in a bike, so the ct fits the bill.

Some on the forum dont like the sensitive nature of the throttle, however its not something that bothers me. I would also suggest the givi airflow scree. It really is a revelation for the bike, i.e visor up at 85 mph easy, and very few flies on the visor.

Good luck paul with your final choice  :031:

#3

Offline thetrecker

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Re: The Quest for a new ride....
Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 02:33:24 PM
Thanks Hartley for your reviews, its interesting to hear from an unbiased point of view.
A few comments - the Explorer, you hit upon the throttle, lots of similar complaints about this, I think "mapping" alone will not cure this and it shows that all the development miles that Triumph said they put in is a bit of codswallop!Ditto the cruise control ( which you did not mention), not near enough development. What's a little worrying is these niggling/ ongoing stories about being back to the dealers with "issues". We can be quite smug in this area with the CT :164:
Ref the GS, You said you rode the new GS, I assume this is the watercooled version, what confuses me is when you said you returned it and got out an Adventure instead... can you confirm that this was the watercooled version also? I did not think they were out yet!
Ref the CT, "too much plastic" ? its quite bare of plastic panels up front, me thinks, although at the rear, around and under the grab handles I agree the silver painted plastics are a joke and scratch very easily with bungies or bags. Also anything over 220kg can not be considered a serious on / off road bike despite what any mag review says.
The S Ten, its a pity as I am a XT of old fan, Its just too expensive, too poorly finished ( too many electroplated bolts showing) and the motor is not up to it.
Cheers and keep us posted on your decisions
T
Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 02:35:06 PM by thetrecker
Thetrecker. Sometimes your the bug and sometimes your the windshield.

#4

Online Hartley

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Re: The Quest for a new ride....
Reply #4 on: August 04, 2013, 06:31:42 PM
Whitegloss,
My wife loves going away on the bike and fair play to her can often keep doing the miles when i feel ready for a break.
 I have an MRA Vario screen on the FJR which for us is far better than the standard one. Im considering the Highlander Ltd Edition model that comes with a touring screen so ill see how we go, as i know from experiance with screens, what one person finds perfect another may find dreadful, it can be a very expensive trial and error process.

T,
I rode the new water cooled GS first, the Adventure had the aircooled twin cam motor which is still available new. I dont think the watercooled Adventure is available yet.

As for it not really being a serious on/off road bike. What i mean is i think that a lot of very expensive plastics could be easily damaged in a low speed off or drop. In fairness this could probably be true of most of the bikes but i feel that the Honda would probably suffer the worst. The Crosstourer is also the heaviest of all the bikes i tested and though once on the move it falls away, i wouldnt want to try to pick it up on slippery ground.
 If off road capability were high on my list of requirements the Adventure or a smaller engined machine maybe the way to go.
Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 06:40:29 PM by Hartley


#5

Offline Telbert

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Re: The Quest for a new ride....
Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 10:51:23 AM
Hi Hartley, before i plumped for the Honda i test rode almost all it's competitors.

KTM 990 Adventure and SMT
BMW R1200GS and Adventure
Triumph Explorer
Yamaha Super Tenere
Ducati Multistrada
Moto Guzzi Stelvio

You can't rely on journalists reviews, you have to ride them for yourself as one mans meat is another mans poison.

If you think the Explorer has a sensitive throttle wait 'till you try a KTM  :005:
The Triumph is a cracking bike with an engine every bit as good as the CT but the "issues" many owners were having (and still are) stopped me from buying one, plus as Triumphs sales have increased over recent years the build quality has gone downhill. The good thing is that Triumph have admitted that there are problems and are tackling them rather than denying them but if you ride every day it's no point having a bike that's sat in the dealers workshop half the time. I got used to the sensitive throttle straight away and didn't find it a problem but many owners found that smearing damping grease under the throttle tube helped immensely. The map that Triumph developed to sort the throttle sensitivity issue seems to have created other issues with the fueling for some owners  :138:
Part of the problem at the moment is that manufacturers are trying to extend service intervals and in Triumphs case it has come back to bite them on the a**e. The 955 and 1050 Triumphs have a minor service at 6000 miles and a major one at 12000 miles but with the Explorer they tried to stretch it to 10000 mile intervals and because its a new motor its reliability was unknown. Almost as soon as the bike went on sale "issues" were found. As Trekker said in his post, Triumph claimed to have done thousands of development miles but it makes me wonder if any manufacturers actually test ride their bikes. Their test rider must have hands like an orangutan to think that the cruise control was easy to set. Honda have no reason to be smug either. The Crosstourer must have been developed by riding it round the car park a hundred times as if they had ridden the bike on any sort of bumpy road it would have highlighted the ride quality "issue".
I personally really liked the Super Tenere but the only thing that worried me was that it was slightly underpowered and if i fancied a bit of spirited riding i would soon get frustrated with it. All it needs is another 20-30 hp and a reduction in price and it would be a storming bike. Ditto the Stelvio, I was surprised how much i liked it and conversely i was surprised how much i disliked the Multistrada yet the journalists rave over it. As you so rightly said, different strokes for different folks.

#6

Offline thetrecker

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Re: The Quest for a new ride....
Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 12:48:14 PM
Thanks Hartley
for clearing up the question about the Adventure GS.
And all will agree here - you will not pick  a CT up off the ground.
Cheers T
Thetrecker. Sometimes your the bug and sometimes your the windshield.