Author Topic: Test Riding the '09 Concours  (Read 1872 times)

Offline patl

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Test Riding the '09 Concours
« on: June 02, 2011, 11:54:54 am »
I wrote this on the old forum.  I'm still "this close" to being financially recovered from a long unemployment stretch and able to buy a bike, and the Concours 14 is one of the top few on the list.

Today's a beautiful* day so I dropped back in to my local Kawasaki dealership for a test ride.  They asked me to take around 15 min, suggested a course (I took 20-25, took another route), and here's my reaction:
HOLY KAW, that's a fun bike.  WAY better than I expected.  GREAT platform for what I am doing (commuting, touring, and especially ldriding/endurance rallying, building up my Iron Butt resume again).

Y'all know the strengths of the bike, but here's what I thought after a brief ride on tight twisties and freeway time, and compared to the BMW K1300GT, R1200RT, and FJR1300.

The engine's the clear winner over the above.  It doesn't have to be wound up to pull, but when it is higher in the powerband, hold on.  Seriously, hold on.  Engine feel is awesome; you can ride it smooth or aggressively and not think much about either scenario.

Seating position is better than the FJR and K-GT to my body, but not as good as the R12RT (nothing but a Goldwing is).  however, it's close enough to what I need that bar risers will make it nearly perfect; perhaps not even footpeg lowers are needed, but I'll learn that in time.

The brakes are very good, though not as aggressive as the BMWs'.  i *thought* my bike was an ABS, but wasn't certain, so I didn't test that out; in any case they kick daylights out of my previous bike, a Harley softail which braked as well as a Model A.

Wind / weather protection is excellent from mid-chest down through lower legs. 

I didn't like the windscreen (the stock '09) - too short, too narrow, and a bit of turbulence in the upper half of the adjustment range.  However, in the lower half it's fine.  I'll have to fiddle with screens.  I'm also quite curious about the adjustment range and how it compares to the other bikes I was looking at, it doesn't feel like nearly as lengthy a range as the K-GT, and the R-RT is well beyond that.  However, I think with the right screen, this is fine.  I did my test ride with no earplugs, though I *always* wear them, and it was noisy and a bit buffety, whereas the K-Gt had some much better smooth spots.

Mirrors were fine; however I didnt have bags on the demo bike.  The R12RT's mirrors are worse than a Ducati's; the KGT's are great; the FJR's are fine also.  Probably with bar risers where I would need them, i'd see bar ends in my mirrors.  The '10's higher mirrors would be bonus for me.

Stock suspension was very nice, if a bit soft; I didn't adjust either end in my demo ride.  But the whoop in the freeway that used to collapse my spine on my softail was handled fine on the Concours, just like I expected.

Low speed handling was FJR-ish, way better than the K1300GT, almost as good as the R12RT.

Dealer quoted $500 for 2 more years of extended service plan; $570 for 3 more years; discounts available if I buy it when I buy a bike.  FJR's are in the $360 for 3 years range; BMW is above $1k.  With the BMW, you REALLY need one of these; reliability on engine/tranny/driveshaft is iffy enough that I wouldn't want to risk not haivng one.  Also, the Kaw's 3yr/unlimited mi warranty trumps BMW's 3yr/36k.  I don't know if Yamaha's warranty is unlimited or not.

I'm definitely convinced that this is the bike for me.  Enough that I've got an aux fuel tank on the way, and a ZX-14 seat pan that I'll send off to Russell to build up, even if I don't have a bike to put it on yet :-)

It's now a matter of getting a job again (laid off 2 months ago, still looking), and then deciding between leftover '09's, used '08/'09s, or holding out for a lightly used '10.  While I love the new features of the '10, I'm not going to pay $15k for a new one when I can find used bikes in the $10k range all day long.

 *for Seattle; dry, 55 degrees, beware the leaves on the road and yesterday's rain

Offline DarkKnight

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Re: Test Riding the '09 Concours
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 03:14:57 pm »
Great to read a review on this bike.