Home > Motorcycles/Road Tests > Type > Adventure & Dual-Sport Motorcycle Reviews > Rider Comparo – 2016 Honda VFR1200X vs. 2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer XRt vs. 2016 Yamaha Super Ténéré

Rider Comparo – 2016 Honda VFR1200X vs. 2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer XRt vs. 2016 Yamaha Super Ténéré

Greg DrevenstedtOctober 03, 2016
This trio of 1,200cc, shaft-driven, 600-plus-pound adventure bikes can take you almost anywhere you want to go, within reason. (Photos: Kevin Wing)

This trio of 1,200cc, shaft-driven, 600-plus-pound adventure bikes can take you almost anywhere you want to go, within reason. (Photos: Kevin Wing)

Over the past decade, adventure tourers have matured into a diverse segment of the motorcycle market. These days you can buy one or more models from nearly every major manufacturer, with the American OEMs being notable exceptions.

Calling them “adventure” tourers suggests they’re ready for the backcountry, like two-wheeled Jeeps. But, except for dedicated dual-sports, only a select few are suitable for serious boonie bashing—those with 21-inch front wheels, spoked rims, extra-tall suspension and chain final drive, such as BMW’s F 800 GS and Honda’s CRF1000L Africa Twin. On the other end of the spectrum are adventure/sport “crossovers,” with the look and seating position of an adventure bike but the 17-inch cast wheels, street-biased tires and suspension travel of a sport tourer, such as Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 and Yamaha’s FJ-09.

We strapped on tail bags to carry some of our camping gear. From left: Chase Harper duffel on the Honda, Nelson-Rigg tail bag on the Yamaha and Wolfman duffel on the Triumph.

We strapped on tail bags to carry some of our camping gear. From left: Chase Harper duffel on the Honda, Nelson-Rigg tail bag on the Yamaha and Wolfman duffel on the Triumph.

Most adventure tourers fall somewhere in between. Like the 90/10 on-/off-road tires they’re typically shod with, they’re a compromise—best suited for the street but with enough toughness to handle light to moderate off-road riding. They usually have 19-inch front/17-inch rear wheels and middle-ground suspension travel, ranging from affordable and basic, such as Suzuki’s venerable V-Strom 650, to spendy and state-of-the-art, such as KTM’s electronics-laden 1290 Super Adventure.

lead-insetwing2456For this comparison test, we gathered three 1,200cc-class, shaft-driven, street-biased adventure tourers: the new-for-2016 Honda VFR1200X, powered by a 1,237cc V-4; the new-for-2016 Triumph Tiger Explorer XRt, one of five Explorer variants powered by a 1,215cc in-line triple; and the 2016 Yamaha Super Ténéré, last updated for 2014 and powered by an 1,199cc parallel twin. To ride these rides, you must be tall enough to deal with seat heights starting at 33 inches and strong enough to deal with as-tested curb weights of 613 pounds or more. That’s a lot of mass to push around the garage, lift off the sidestand (especially when fully loaded) and—gulp—pick up if it topples over. Think of them as 600-pound gorillas lumbering through the asphalt jungle: powerful, heavy and solidly built, yet surprisingly agile when they need to be.

At 9,200 feet, Sherman Pass is one of the highest passes in the southern Sierra Nevada. It provides a stunning vista of the Kern Plateau with views of the Domeland Wilderness and Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48 states. (Photo by Mark Tuttle)

At 9,200 feet, Sherman Pass is one of the highest passes in the southern Sierra Nevada. It provides a stunning vista of the Kern Plateau with views of the Domeland Wilderness and Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48 states. (Photo by Mark Tuttle)

Base prices are comparable at $15,090 to $15,900, but as-tested prices range from $16,773 on the Yamaha to $20,400 on the Triumph. Our test included a multi-day tour, so we requested factory accessory saddlebags, adding $900 to $1,440 to the bottom line. Despite our best efforts to obtain base models for an apples-to-apples comparison, the Honda had nearly the entire factory accessories catalog thrown at it (adding another $874), the Triumph is a top-of-the-line model (adding $3,600) and the Yamaha has special 60th Anniversary Yellow livery ($500).

One of the greatest attributes of adventure bikes is their spacious ergonomics, with wide, upright handlebars and generous legroom. Photos on the right clearly show how the Triumph and Yamaha have footpegs that are higher and farther back. They also have adjustable seat heights, but the Honda does not.

One of the greatest attributes of adventure bikes is their spacious ergonomics, with wide, upright handlebars and generous legroom.

With such a versatile trio of adventure tourers, we took them on a properly adventurous tour. We loaded up their saddlebags, strapped on tail bags full of gear and spent a few days riding freeways, back roads and dirt roads, camping along the way and logging more than 1,000 miles. Despite their similarities on paper, we were surprised at how differently they performed on- and off-road, and the final outcome was a split decision. You’ll find details about each bike in the sidebars and spec charts; read on to see how they stack up against each other.

With temperatures topping 100 degrees in the valleys, we found relief at campgrounds above 8,000 feet. The air was cooler but also thinner, making us light-headed when self-inflating our air mattresses!

With temperatures topping 100 degrees in the valleys, we found relief at campgrounds above 8,000 feet. The air was cooler but also thinner, making us light-headed when self-inflating our air mattresses!

This comparison campout was a staff junket, with Editor-In-Chief Mark Tuttle (5 feet, 10 inches; 29-inch inseam), Managing Editor Jenny Smith (5 feet, 9 inches; 34-inch inseam) and yours truly (6 feet, 1 inch; 34-inch inseam) along for the ride. We’re all experienced on- and off-road riders, but our body sizes affected our comfort level on each bike. Despite having the shortest inseam, Tuttle felt most comfortable on the Honda, which has the tallest seat height but carries its weight low. Though she has a long inseam, Smith weighs 60-70 pounds less than Tuttle and me; she preferred the Yamaha because it’s the lightest and never felt totally at ease on the Honda or Triumph. I preferred the Triumph, especially with the seat in the high position, because it best accommodated my long limbs. We all agreed, however, that the Triumph feels massive and top-heavy.

On Rancheria Road, which follows a ridge above the Kern River canyon and includes 35 miles of rutted hard pack, gravel and shallow sand, and has several thousand feet of elevation change, the off-road capabilities of each bike became readily apparent.

On Rancheria Road, which follows a ridge above the Kern River canyon and includes 35 miles of rutted hard pack, gravel and shallow sand, and has several thousand feet of elevation change, the off-road capabilities of each bike became readily apparent.

All three are ready for the long haul with generous legroom and comfortable seats, though the Yamaha’s firm saddle has sharp edges that can dig into the rider’s thighs. The Honda’s footpegs are set more forward than the others’, putting only moderate bend in the knees—a boon when sitting down but awkward when standing up off-road. Wind-blocking hand guards and adjustable windscreens provide good wind protection across the board. The Yamaha’s windscreen causes some buffeting and adjusting its height is a hassle, whereas the Honda’s one-handed adjustment lever is brilliant and the Triumph’s electric adjustment is indulgent (as is the larger touring screen included in the top-spec XRt package).

As SUVs have done in the four-wheeled world, adventure bikes have surged in popularity due to their ruggedness, versatility and carrying capacity.

As SUVs have done in the four-wheeled world, adventure bikes have surged in popularity due to their ruggedness, versatility and carrying capacity.

Only 38cc of displacement separates the smallest engine from the largest, but different configurations and tuning affect performance and character. With the smallest displacement and fewest cylinders, the Yamaha’s 1,199cc parallel twin makes the least horsepower (98), and even though its peak torque of 76 lb-ft is comparable to the others, there is a significant dip between 3,000 and 5,000 rpm, as measured on Jett Tuning’s dyno. It also feels coarse and vibrates the most, though it’s smooth at highway speeds and throttle response feels better than on our 2015 long-term test bike. The Honda’s 1,237cc V-4, which makes 108 horsepower and 80 lb-ft of torque, tops the other two between 3,300 and 7,600 rpm. Low-end grunt is impressive, and the V-4 revs up smoothly with a soulful wail, but we don’t like its driveline lash at low speeds. With its odd number of cylinders, the Triumph’s 1,215cc in-line triple has a distinctive sound and feel, and it cranks out 118 horsepower and 74 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel, with a mesa-flat torque curve. But the downside is excessive engine heat that bakes the rider’s lower half. All three bikes have traction control and throttle-by-wire, but the Honda lacks the cruise control and riding modes found on the Triumph and Yamaha.

Dyno run: Horsepower.

Dyno run: Horsepower.

Tall and heavy the Triumph may be, but it has the sportiest steering geometry and shortest wheelbase, helping it feel surprisingly nimble in tight corners. Factor in the always-available torque, primo Brembo Monobloc radial front calipers, optional cornering ABS and semi-active suspension, and the result is a very confidence-inspiring ride. In terms of handling, suspension compliance and braking performance, the Honda is not far behind the Triumph, though Smith complained of handlebar shake on technical roads, perhaps due to its unusually tall bar risers. Though lighter than the others and well balanced, the Yamaha’s soft suspension damping and vague brake feel relegated it to third place in the handling department. But when we ventured off-pavement, on a ridge road that’s a mix of rutted hard-pack, gravel and shallow sand, the Yamaha was everyone’s top choice thanks to its low center of gravity and generous suspension travel. With dedicated Off-Road riding and ABS modes and semi-active suspension, electronics give the Triumph more sure-footedness in the dirt than you’d expect. Off-road, however, is where the Honda feels most out of its element, especially when the surface is loose. Go slowly and tread carefully.

Dyno run: Torque.

Dyno run: Torque.

All three of these open-class, shaft-driven adventure tourers are big bikes that demand respect, restraint and skill to ride confidently and safely. The Honda VFR1200X proved to be Tuttle’s favorite thanks to its smooth/torquey V-4, good handling, wind protection and comfort, but he feels it’s unnecessarily heavy and too ill-suited to off-road riding. Smith ranked the Honda last because of its too-far-forward footpegs, its occasional handlebar shake and its lack of cruise control (a deal breaker for her). If I never planned to ride off-road, I’d choose the Honda for its comfort and sweet V-4, though I miss the VFR-F’s ferocious sound and power. The Triumph Tiger Explorer XRt was Tuttle’s least favorite because it’s too tall and top heavy, and for him the excessive engine heat is a deal breaker. If size/weight were not an issue, the Triumph would be Smith’s top choice because she loves the engine, but it’s also too big for her and she dislikes the complicated menu system. Though its engine heat is a major drawback, the Explorer is my favorite. I’m a sucker for its powerful, distinctive engine and the added control, comfort and safety provided by the optional cornering ABS/traction control and semi-active suspension—features that aren’t available on either the Honda or Yamaha. The Yamaha Super Ténéré was everyone’s top choice for off-road riding, but none of us warmed up to its buzzy engine. It got high marks for being the lightest and most well balanced, but its suspension is too soft for the street. Each has its merits, but the choice really depends on your size and experience, as well as the type of riding you plan to do.

Pavement Prowler – Honda VFR1200X

The VFR1200X has integrated saddlebag hangers that provide a clean look when the bags are removed. The saddlebags (with matching lock cylinders) cost $1,440, hold 75 liters total and measure 36.5 inches across.

The VFR1200X has integrated saddlebag hangers that provide a clean look when the bags are removed. The saddlebags (with matching lock cylinders) cost $1,440, hold 75 liters total and measure 36.5 inches across.

Based on the bygone VFR1200F sport tourer, the VFR1200X puts the liquid-cooled, 1,237cc, 76-degree V-4 with shaft-driven single-sided swingarm into an adventure-touring package. Our test bike has a 6-speed manual transmission, but the X is available with an optional, semi-automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which adds only $400 to the base price vs. the $1,500 upcharge on the F. As EIC Tuttle states in his VFR1200X road test (August 2016), the much-improved DCT is worthy of consideration, though it adds 23 pounds. Retuned for adventure touring duty, the VFR1200X makes less peak horsepower (108 at 7,900 rpm vs. 151 at 10,200 rpm) and less peak torque (80 lb-ft at 5,400 rpm vs. 84 at 8,800 rpm) than the VFR1200F, but the X makes more of both below 6,000 rpm, where adventure touring riders spend most of their time.

The Honda’s traction control can be turned off but its ABS cannot. Its all-digital instrumentation is the most basic of the bunch.

The Honda’s traction control can be turned off but its ABS cannot. Its all-digital instrumentation is the most basic of the bunch.

Given its $15,599 base price, two features notably lacking on the VFR are cruise control and a centerstand, though the latter is available as an accessory ($170). Other accessories added to our test bike include saddlebags ($1,440), a light bar ($300), heated grips ($200), a fairing wind deflector ($60), a tank pad ($30) and a second 12V socket ($114), raising the as-tested price by $2,314, to $17,913.

Spoked wheels with tubeless tires and combined ABS are standard equipment.

Spoked wheels with tubeless tires and combined ABS are standard equipment.

Despite being only a few pounds lighter than the scale-topping Triumph, the Honda comes up short in terms of load capacity—just 390 pounds compared to 423 pounds on the Yamaha and 480 pounds on the Triumph. We averaged 43 mpg on the VFR1200X, and with 5.7 gallons of fuel capacity, range was 245 miles.

The drive shaft is housed within an aluminum single-sided swingarm.

The drive shaft is housed within an aluminum single-sided swingarm.

Base Price: $15,599

Price as Tested: $17,913 (saddlebags,
accessories—see sidebar)

Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles

Website: powersports.honda.com

 

Engine

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse
76-degree V-4

Displacement: 1,237cc

Bore x Stroke: 81.0 x 60.0mm

Compression Ratio: 12:1

Valve Train: Unicam SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.

Valve Insp. Interval: 16,000 miles

Fuel Delivery: PGM-FI w/ throttle-by-wire, 44mm throttle bodies x 4

Lubrication System: Wet sump, 3.5-qt. cap.

Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch

Final Drive: Shaft, 2.545:1

 

Electrical

Ignition: Electronic

Charging Output: 570 watts max.

Battery: 12V 11.2AH

 

Chassis

Frame: Aluminum diamond twin-spar & seat subframe w/ aluminum single-sided swingarm

Wheelbase: 62.8 in.

Rake/Trail: 28 degrees/4.2 in.

Seat Height: 33.5 in.

Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 5.7-in. travel

Rear: Pro-Link single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 5.7-in. travel

Brakes, Front: Dual 310mm discs w/ floating 3-piston calipers & C-ABS

Rear: Single 276mm disc w/ floating 2-piston caliper & C-ABS

Wheels, Front: Spoked tubeless, 2.50 x 19 in.

Rear: Spoked tubeless, 4.00 x 17 in.

Tires, Front: 110/80-R19

Rear: 150/70-R17

Wet Weight: 637 lbs. (as tested)

Load Capacity: 390 lbs. (as tested)

GVWR: 1,027 lbs.

 

Performance

Fuel Capacity: 5.7 gals., last 1.5 gals. warning light on

MPG: 86 PON min., 91 recommended (low/avg/high) 38.2/42.9/48.8

Estimated Range: 245 miles

Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,600

 

British Behemoth – Triumph Tiger Explorer XRt

The top-spec Explorer XRt comes standard with pannier racks; on other models they cost $350. The durable, top-loading, aluminum Expedition Panniers cost $900, hold 74 liters total and measure 39 inches across.

The top-spec Explorer XRt comes standard with pannier racks; on other models they cost $350. The durable, top-loading, aluminum Expedition Panniers cost $900, hold 74 liters total and measure 39 inches across.

When the Tiger Explorer debuted for 2012, we were impressed by its powerful 1,215cc in-line triple, plentiful standard features, value and maneuverability, despite weighing a hefty 585 pounds fully fueled. An off-road-focused XC model was added for 2013, and for 2016 a major platform update gave birth to quintuplets—three XR models for the street with cast wheels and two XC models for off-road with spoked wheels. The basic platform is the same, but the level of specification ratchets up from base (XR) to mid-level (XRx and XCx) to top-level (XRt and XCa). Also, Low variants for the XRx and XCx models drop the dual-height seat from 33.0/33.7 inches to 30.9/31.7 inches.

Analog tach is flanked by digital displays. Menus are used to select modes for throttle response, traction control, ABS and semi-active suspension. TC and ABS can be turned off.

Analog tach is flanked by digital displays. Menus are used to select modes for throttle response, traction control, ABS and semi-active suspension. TC and ABS can be turned off.

The base XR ($15,900) includes switchable ABS and traction control, Road and Rain riding modes, WP manually adjustable suspension, a centerstand, onboard computer, 12V and USB sockets, and an electrically adjustable windscreen. The mid-level XRx ($17,700) adds cruise control, “cornering optimized” switchable ABS and traction control, Triumph Semi-Active Suspension, an Off-Road riding mode, self-cancelling turn signals, hand guards, an advanced onboard computer and a 12V socket for the passenger. The top-of-the-line XRt ($19,500) goes all-in, adding Sport and Rider (customizable) riding modes, engine guards, a touring windscreen, a tire-pressure monitoring system, heated rider and passenger seats, pannier racks and Hill Hold Control.

Brembo Monobloc radial-mount calipers are serious stoppers, and cornering ABS is standard on the XRt.

Brembo Monobloc radial-mount calipers are serious stoppers, and cornering ABS is standard on the XRt.

The Triumph has the highest curb weight (640 pounds) and load capacity (480 pounds). We averaged nearly 42 mpg, yielding 222 miles of range from the 5.3-gallon tank.

Like the Honda, the drive shaft is inside an aluminum single-sided swingarm.

Like the Honda, the drive shaft is inside an aluminum single-sided swingarm.

Base Price: $15,900 (XR model)

Price as Tested: $20,400 (XRt model, saddlebags)

Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles

Website: triumphmotorcycles.com

 

Engine

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line triple

Displacement: 1,215cc

Bore x Stroke: 85.0 x 71.4mm

Compression Ratio: 11:1

Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.

Valve Insp. Interval: 10,000 miles

Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection w/ throttle-by-wire, 46mm throttle bodies x 3

Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.1-qt. cap.

Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch

Final Drive: Shaft, 2.557:1

 

Electrical

Ignition: Digital inductive

Charging Output: 950 watts max.

Battery: 12V 18AH

 

Chassis

Frame: Tubular-steel trellis
w/ engine as a stressed member; cast aluminum single-sided swingarm

Wheelbase: 59.8 in.

Rake/Trail: 23.1 degrees/3.9 in.

Seat Height: 33.0/33.7 in.

Suspension, Front: 48mm USD fork, Triumph Semi-Active Suspension (as tested) w/ 7.5-in. travel

Rear: Single shock, Triumph Semi-
Active Suspension (as tested)
w/ 7.6-in. travel

Brakes, Front: Dual 305mm floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston radial Monobloc calipers & ABS (linked to rear)

Rear: Single 282mm disc w/ 2-piston pin-slider caliper & ABS

Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.00 x 19 in.

Rear: Cast, 4.50 x 17 in.

Tires, Front: 120/70-R19

Rear: 170/60-R17

Wet Weight: 640 lbs. (as tested)

Load Capacity: 480 lbs. (as tested)

GVWR: 1,120 lbs.

 

Performance

Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals., last 1.1 gals. warning light on

MPG: 91 PON min. (low/avg/high) 37.1/41.9/44.8

Estimated Range: 222 miles

Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,400

 

Dirty Deeds – Yamaha Super Ténéré

The Super Ténéré requires a mounting kit ($204.95) for the accessory top-loading saddlebags ($488.95 each), which hold just 61 liters total and measure 35 inches across.

The Super Ténéré requires a mounting kit ($204.95) for the accessory top-loading saddlebags ($488.95 each), which hold just 61 liters total and measure 35 inches across.

Ténéré (pronounced tey-ney-rey), which means “desert” in the Tuareg language, is the name of a dune-filled region of the Sahara. In 1991, Yamaha swept the Paris-Dakar Rally podium with its YZE750T Super Ténéré, based on the XTZ750 Super Ténéré production model sold overseas. When the Super Ténéré finally debuted in the U.S. for 2012, it was a much larger machine, powered by a 1,199cc parallel twin and weighing in at 579 pounds fully fueled.

The two-screen digital display includes all the pertinent info and several trip computer functions.

The two-screen digital display includes all the pertinent info and several trip computer functions.

Updates for 2014 included better engine response, reduced vibration, cruise control, improved wind protection, more comfortable ergonomics and new instrumentation. Yamaha also introduced an ES model, adding electronically adjustable suspension and heated grips. Both models include non-switchable ABS, linked brakes, switchable traction control, engine guards, a skid plate, hand guards and a 12V socket. (We’ve logged more than 12,000 miles on the ES version in our long-term fleet.) For 2016, the base model costs $15,090; our test bike includes the 60th Anniversary Yellow paint job ($500) and saddlebags ($978) with mount kit ($205), for an as-tested price to $16,773.

Like the Honda, spoked wheels with tubeless tires, linked brakes and ABS are standard equipment.

Like the Honda, spoked wheels with tubeless tires, linked brakes and ABS are standard equipment.

In this comparison, the Yamaha has the lowest curb weight (613 pounds), second highest load capacity (423 pounds) and largest fuel tank (6.1 gallons). Since Jenny Smith, the lightest test rider and the one with the most throttle restraint, rode the Super T most often, it had the best fuel economy (46 mpg) and range (282 miles).

The Yamaha’s drive shaft is housed in a conventional, two-sided aluminum swingarm.

The Yamaha’s drive shaft is housed in a conventional, two-sided aluminum swingarm.

Base Price: $15,090

Price as Tested: $16,773 (60th Anniversary Yellow, saddlebags)

Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles

Website: yamahamotorsports.com

 

Engine

Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin

Displacement: 1,199cc

Bore x Stroke: 98.0 x 79.5mm

Compression Ratio: 11:1

Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.

Valve Insp. Interval: 24,000 miles

Fuel Delivery: Mikuni fuel injection w/ Y-CCT, 46mm throttle bodies x 2

Lubrication System: Dry sump, 3.6-qt. cap.

Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet clutch

Final Drive: Shaft, 2.99:1

 

Electrical

Ignition: Electronic

Charging Output: 600 watts max.

Battery: 12V 11AH

 

Chassis

Frame: Tubular-steel space frame w/ engine as stressed member & aluminum subframe; cast aluminum swingarm

Wheelbase: 60.6 in.

Rake/Trail: 28 degrees/5.0 in.

Seat Height: 33.3/34.3 in.

Suspension, Front: 43mm USD fork, fully adj. w/ 7.5-in. travel

Rear: Single shock, adj. for spring preload & rebound damping w/ 7.5-in. travel

Brakes, Front: Dual 310mm discs w/ opposed 4-piston calipers & ABS (linked to rear)

Rear: Single 282mm disc w/ floating 1-piston caliper & ABS

Wheels, Front: Spoked tubeless, 2.50 x 19 in.

Rear: Spoked tubeless, 4.00 x 17 in.

Tires, Front: 110/80-R19

Rear: 150/70-R17

Wet Weight: 613 lbs. (as tested)

Load Capacity: 423 lbs. (as tested)

GVWR: 1,036 lbs.

 

Performance

Fuel Capacity: 6.1 gals., last 1.0 gal. warning light on

MPG: 91 PON min. (low/avg/high) 39.7/46.3/53.8

Estimated Range: 282 miles

Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,250

2 comments

  1. Great review, balanced. While I can neither wrap my head nor my wallet around the cost of buying and using these Hummercycles, I suppose those who have the funds, the skills and the time to use them now have access to their tool of choice. But wow, they are “surprisingly agile when they need to be”? I’ve been riding on and off pavement for over 40 years and I kinda like my bikes to be agile all the time in case I need it to be agile now because now always comes before I expect it. And Hummer-like fuel consumption aside, the 91 PON minimum is another concern. I’ve ridden through many a third world country (where these bikes ought to go) and felt lucky to spill stuff into my tank that smelled as though it might ignite – 91 PON – ha! Anyway, great article – because I never want to own one, I love to read about these bikes – thanks!

    • W, I’ve got about 31K on my Yamaha now. I also own a couple FJR’s with many miles on them. I’ve done two long trips (Alaska – 2012 (12K miles) and Maine this summer( just shy of 5000 miles) on the ST and I can now summarize easily why I choose the ST over the FJR:
      1) “Standability” – on long days, the ability to stretch legs and get off the butt often, and
      2) when the GPS is on shortest route, rather than fastest, and you find yourself cautiously making your way down a lonely, gravel, rarely maintained road (obviously, tire choice makes a huge difference)

      For me, the adventure tourer beats the sport tourer for long days in the saddle.

      Oh, yeah, I never really noticed an issue in Alaska when I couldn’t find 91 octane – it’s more of an issue finding ANY fuel at times. 🙂

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