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Old 09-14-2018, 12:57 PM   #1
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New bike opinions and input

So as some probably know I'm ready to move on to a new bike and right now leaning more towards a sporty sport tourer. I'm serious about the new Tracer 900 GT as it checks a lot of the boxes, stock hand warmers, cruise, hard bags (although they won't hold a helmet), light weight with that great triple motor, and 200+ mile range. The major draw back is whether or not the fueling is still sketchy with the on off throttle snatch. I called Ivan to see if his FJ09 map will work and at this point no definite answer. I have not yet ridden the bike, but will soon.

Having thought that my next bike was going to be the Tracer I found out yesterday that the dealer has a brand new 2017 KTM 1290 GT marked down to $13K well $13,200, so probably out the door at the same price or maybe lower than the Tracer. So I've been watching review videos and scouring the forums for info, known issues, and overall reliability. The last being my main concern. The one thing I'm mostly confident about with the Yamaha is the fact that when I leave home it's going to bring me back. From what I can find on line is the RC8 motor is pretty rock solid, but there are some electrical gremlins here and there and the hydraulic clutch sucks air with mountainous elevation changes. I also found a couple cases of premature valve wear, which seems fairly isolated.

I was also seriously considering the BMW1000XR since it kept popping up in comparison videos. The main issue I found with it is arm numbing vibes, which I had heard before, but I think they have found a fix to that. The other main issue is the price of entry. Holy Shiite BMW is proud of their bikes, but with all the glowing reviews maybe they have a right to be. The only way I would justify the XR is on the used market, but then is it worth dropping $13K-$15K on a used XR when I could buy a new Tracer or KTM for the same price?

One of the main reasons of moving away from the FZ10 is the power overkill and the 100-120 mile fuel range. So does it really make sense to be looking at 160hp replacements? I guess a lot of these questions will be answered tomorrow with a test ride of the KTM and Yamaha (can't find a BMW). I do like the idea of the top tier components Brembo and WP and braided lines stock. I know changing out brake lines and pads isn't really that big of a deal, but it's almost 2019 and rubber brake lines just piss me off, get with the program Japan. Also those hideous orange turn signals WTF?

So anyone with input, experience with any of the bikes or any other suggestions?
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:14 PM   #2
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I have a Concours. While I like it very much with its ample cargo space and range, I don't like that it is very heavy, braking's wonky, and for new models, KiPass can become a money pit. On the plus side, ECU flash is available from 2 well reviewed people (Ivan and Shoodabeen), it has leg room, and is torquey and powerful. I also find that it is very good at cornering, sticks like it's on rails. Has stock heated grips, electric up-down windshield and a couple other improvements. For 2010+ models, used prices are going waaay down lately. Got my 2011 with 30k miles for $5k (ECU flash, topcase, exhaust, Russell day-long, handlebars etc.). You can easily get one with less miles for a little more money.

If you're considering a BMW S1kxr, why not a R12GS?
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:02 PM   #3
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The cylinder heads on that boxer engine freak me out.
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Old 09-14-2018, 02:36 PM   #4
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I've talked KTM SD quite a bit here, with several ride reports and my thoughts about it. To summarize:

Issues:
1. I replaced the stock Magura clutch slave with an Oberon. The stock one was garbage.
2. Fuel pre-filter clogged and slowed me down to a low-throttle limp at around 31K miles. I cleaned it out and no issues since then.
3. Tail light mounting is crap and all of the mounting bolts break out of the plastic. Mine is zip-tied to the seat tray in front so it won't come off.
4. There is an ongoing master cylinder replacement recall. I replaced my own with a Brembo 15RCS I had. Symptom was occasional weak feel on the first pull. After replacement, no issue.
5. I've checked valves twice. First time one exhaust was tight, second time several intakes were tight. I hand-lapped the shims to open clearance up. No issues with power or performance before or after any of the adjustments.

With the 4.8 gallon tank I get 160ish miles per tank depending on conditions and riding style. A few times I could have pushed to 175 or so but don't depend on that.

I'm just shy of 33K miles now.

As you said, the motor is rock-solid and it's a blast to ride. Power is amazing and it's instant at almost any speed in any gear. There's no wind-up, no waiting for the powerband. Twist and go.

Handling is outstanding, and particularly shines in rough, technical areas where lesser chassis/suspension systems become weak. Prime example is the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia. Rough, varied surface. Lots of corners. Water, sand, dirt sections, and frost heaves abound. I ran a fun 80-100 mph pace there and the bike handled it easily. Never made me feel it was near its limits, never failed to soak up the rough stuff and keep its feel nice and tight.

I will say that if you are looking for a comfort machine that gives a plush ride and you don't intend to ride very fast or on very technical roads, it's probably not the bike for you. It likes to be ridden fast. Like any bike, suspension settings can be adjusted, but this bike's element is not a quiet cruise down a slow country lane.

With that said, it's a comfortable bike. Seating is very upright, there is more leg room than a gen 1 FZ1.

If I could go back and change the decision to buy, I would still do it.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:06 PM   #5
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Does the 1290 GT have the electronic suspension? AllanP had a LOT of problems with his, but I think his was a 2016. He finally bought another bike, but also think he's been unable to sell his KTM so far. Like you said, it's the electronic gremlins that are the problem. Pretty sure the regular 1290 Super Duke doesn't have the electronic suspension. Lately I've been thinking of buying a 2017 FJ-09 and adding bags as a one bike solution. FWIW, I'm pretty sure the FJR bags will fit the FZ/MT 09 mounts, and they're larger. Thinking maybe I don't want the longer swingarm on the MT-09 Tracer.
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Old 09-14-2018, 03:38 PM   #6
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SDR suspension is totally manual.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:10 PM   #7
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I just read about the Tracer premium in the new Rider magazine. Sounds like a winner.
If you're concerned about horsepower overkill, stop looking at that Beemer.

I would consider either one for a future purchase.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:47 AM   #8
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Tracer seems like a good option and even the budget option which is sickening to say at over $11k.

I went from the FZ10 to the '18 S1000XR and I am really happy with the move. Range is an easy 200+ miles. Power is actually very manageable under 7.5k and from 8k up is a rocket. The handlebar and footpeg vibes have never been an issue and only felt some numb bits on the first ride in jeans back from the dealer, but that was also with the low seat which is thinner than any of the others. At just over 2000 miles now and have zero issues with vibes. The gearing is a little low so it seems like it's spinning a little high at 5.5k on the highway, but it is smooth and requires no downshifting to pass. Not that it's an issue to downshift as the auto-blipper makes it a breeze and fun to do.
It's definitely the best bike I've ever ridden and the BMW Nav VI is worth it, IMO. The SDR/GT is also great and has more torque, especially out of the corners. It sounds like the gates of hell have opened when riding behind a buddies' with the full Austin racing exhaust set up. If you like the twin feel, you could be very happy on one of those as well.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:19 AM   #9
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Not sure if it matters to you, but I just saw that the BMW has a 350W alternator. That's a little weak. Less than a Gen 1 FZ1.

FYI KTM has a 450W alternator. I've run 200W of heated gear (jacket liner, gloves, pants, and insoles, all at 100%) and voltage never dropped below 13.7V. Normally with heated jacket and gloves at 75%, voltage is steady at 14.1V.

I did a little searching on the Tracer 900 and some (unverified sources on forums) say it's 415W.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:26 AM   #10
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Available juice. More oems moving to LED... do the manufacturers lower their cost or make that available to owners? That's rhetorical

Quote:
Originally Posted by grommet View Post
I did a little searching on the Tracer 900 and some (unverified sources on forums) say it's 415W.
415W max is what the service manual states for 2015-17.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:29 AM   #11
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I appreciate the feedback. I was able to ride the standard Tracer Saturday but not the KTM. I guess the KTM comes with some kind of unlock code from the factory and the dealership couldn't get it to work so they aren't able to start the bike. I liked the Tracer and even though they don't have the GT in yet the Yamaha rep has a demo GT with 70 miles on it that I can get for maybe $2K less and it has the top rack and touring windscreen already installed. Currently working on pricing. I forgot how good that triple motor is and the throttle response wasn't as bad as my 2014 FZ09. I'm not sure if they've been working on it or the added weight dampens it a bit, it's still there, but was smoother, or maybe riding the FZ10 for two years has trained me to be smoother and less ham fisted.

The KTM makes me a bit nervous, right or wrong, I just have it in my head that it's going to give me problems. The fact that the dealership can't start the bike kind of cemented that. Granted it's probably just an inept human error and not the bike, but I can be inept at times too and when I look at all the electronic gadgetry, I just see potential problems instead of benefits. The BMW is probably what I'd buy if price was no object,at least on paper without riding it, but unfortunately that's just not the case. Although the fact that I'm wanting something a little smaller displacement and lighter, maybe not.

Nothing is 100% yet so please offer any other opinions or if there is anything else you think I should be looking at let me know.
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:10 AM   #12
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I got to sit on a Tracer 900GT this past Saturday. Was pretty disappointed on the ADV-height ergos, and still had that "top heavy" balance to it. It was, up until then, something that I was interested in, but now that I've sat on it, the FZ1 is safe, lol.
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Old Yesterday, 06:02 AM   #13
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The dealer unlock thing is actually normal. It has a limited range until it is unlocked and set up for the new owner. It coincides with the beginning of your warranty. Don't give up yet and insist they get you a test ride.

The GT should come with side cases as well from what I understand.

For close to the same price, the SD is a different class of bike than the Tracer, suspension and brakes in addition to the crazy powerful engine.
That said in normal riding and in traffic and following all road laws, the Tracer or any bike could be just as enjoyable. I was very happy with my '08 FZ1 which I bought for $8k OTD leftover new.

I prefer that big SD engine and it's crazy sound. I think the seat height should be a bit lower on the SD as well. I know the FJ09 had some weird wobble issues as well, but I don't know if there were any chassis updates for the Tracer. I've tried to keep up with my buddy's SD and it looks pretty darn stable in and around corners as well as pretty quick blasts of speed.
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Old Yesterday, 07:41 AM   #14
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I still hop on my fathers fjr from time to time. I would be giving it and the connie a very good look
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Old Yesterday, 09:40 AM   #15
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That new FJR blue is beautiful. It's almost a flat blue, but not. Very attractive, but it's heavier than I really want. I had one before. I actually traded it in on the FZ1 as it was too touring and not enough sport. I should probably just buy an FZ1 and put bags, heated grips, and some kind of cruise control on it. Save a butt load of money, and I know where there's a beautiful retro specimen for sale.

I'd still have my FZ10 to do something with though.
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