Adam Child is today riding the brand new Kawasaki GTR1400 in Germany and France, here’s what he’s discovered so far:
“Kawasaki are billing its new GTR1400 as a grand tourer, but it was also keen to retain a good level of sporting ability and performance and, from my experience so far, they’ve achieved just that.
“The engine is loosely based on the ZZ-R1400, which incidentally, I’ve been riding for the last 16 months and have clocked up over 21,000 – so I’ve plenty of experience of it. The GTR lump, though, is massively different. First it’s got a novel variable valve timing system which works really smoothly – with nothing like the pronounced step of the V-Tec system on Honda’s oft-criticised VFR800. Second, it’s got a very slick and barely noticeable shaft drive. And, third, though the GTR is quick and should easily be capable of the wrong side of 150mph, it’s also so slick, with such a linear delivery, that it doesn’t feel as fast as expected. The extremely tall 6th gear, which is actually billed as an overdrive, exacerbates this. On motorways it makes sustained high speed cruising great, but if you want to do a quick overtake you need to notch down to fifth in search of go.
It’s a big bike, too. The seat is quite tall, the bars high and further back than the ZZRs and you notice the weight. The electric screen is OK but not as good as, the Yamaha FJR1300’s and the console, save the lack of a key slot and the addition of a tyre pressure readout, is virtually identical to my ZZR14’s.
Overall? It’s a good, impressively comfortable (for two), smooth and slick mile-muncher with decent handling (it makes the FJR seem crude and old-fashioned, by comparison), as to whether it’s better than BMW’s very similar K1200GT, we’ll have to wait for a side-by side test.
Read more on the GTR1400 test in Motor Cycle News, out Wednesday, July 4, 2007.