Concours 14, part 2

schnowz schnowz at
Mon Jul 23 16:50:39 PDT 2007

Another review from a dude on the COG list...

> 06 Yamaha FJR / 08 C14 Kawasaki Concours
> Immensely better power delivery/throttle control on C14. FJR lurches and
> is jerky where C14 power is delivered smooth as glass and very
> predictable, very linear (which is the exact opposite of FJR). This is
> probably the one of the biggest problems with the FJR, and the C14 is just
> so much easier to ride at all speeds compared to the FJR due to its smooth
> power delivery.
> Throttle springs on FJR are very stiff, C14 hs much lighter throttle
> action
> Clutch feel is vastly different on two bikes. FJR clutch has shorter
> engagement range, and engages and disengages closer to the
> bar. C14 clutch has a wider engagement zone, and engagement occurs further
> out in the release. Clutch pull on FJR is markedly stiffer than C14 as
> well.
> Engine/transmission on C14 MUCH smoother. Zero vibration on C14 from
> engine. FJR engine has some minor buzz around 4Krpm (even
> after throttle body sync and foam grips).
> Less heat on FJR, engine appears to run cooler in traffic as well. C14
> heats up easily at slow speeds. Heat wafts off sides of bike into cockpit,
> side panels and tank get warm. I wouldn't say the C14 gets hot, but it
> does give off more heat than the 06 FJR.
> C14 handles better in all aspects, more crisp and eager to carve corners,
> more confident inspiring. FJR feels sluggish by
> comparison. C14 turn in better, and less top heavy feel at speed.
> C14 much more nimble, light feeling, easier to get turned in, better
> overall handling. FJR turn in feels slow by comparison
> C14 suspension is better sprung (stiffer spring rates)
> FJR feels more top heavy, even when moving. This really impacts handling
> in a negative way on FJR. Battery is mounted up high on FJR as is the gas
> tank. Battery is in center of bike on C14 (where is should be) and half
> the gas is under the seat. This results in a lower center of gravity and
> better mass centralization, and greatly improves overall handling. C14
> feels less top heavy at parking lot speed as a result too, especially when
> the gas tank is full on both bikes.
> Balance - This is what I think makes this bike handle like it does. The
> lower center of gravity really seems to pay off. This is most evident out
> on the road and when you want to flick the bike from full left lean to
> full right lean. The FJR by comparison seems slow and hard to get turned
> in and top heavy.
> C14 feels more planted at speed and seems to track better, yet feels more
> willing to lean over and nimble in corners
> C14 does not suffer from coast down headshake wobble with hands off bars.
> FJR can have a pretty severe wobble during coast down, (45-38mph) which is
> better/worse depending on tires used. Need to test C14 with different tire
> brands to see if any wobble appears, but with the OEM Bridgestones, it is
> solid as a rock with not even a hint of wobble.
> Upside down forks on C14 seem to result in less fork flex and more precise
> steering control and contribute to overall better
> handling of c14
> ABS and brakes on both bikes are superb and work well. FJR has linked
> front and rear brakes (which I actually like), C14 does not.
> C14 brakes feel just a bit stronger on initial bite. Both bikes use
> seperate brake pads for each piston on front brakes.
> FJR has twin rear spring design with two positions, hard and soft, that
> lock one of the springs in or out. C14 has single spring with nearly
> infinite adjustable pre-load settings. Both FJR and C14 have rebound
> damper adjustments on rear shock. Overall, springs on C14 feel like they
> are stiffer than on the FJR, both front and rear.
> 6 speed transmission on C14 is a nice plus, and at 4K rpm in 6th bike is
> about 81-82 mph (85 indicated on speedo) on C14. 6th gear truly is an
> overdrive gear on this bike.
> Lack of fairing tip over protection on both bikes, they need to take
> notice of the ST1300 built in protection
> FJR is narrower in both seat and overall bike width
> FJR is about a half in less reach to the ground than C14
> Stock seat on C14 is immensely better than FJR. It has a better shape
> (slightly cupped) as well as better foam density. FJR seat
> is narrow, flat and very hard.
> C14 riding position slightly more leaned forward with knees bent just a
> bit more. FJR has adjustable seat and bars, C14 does not.
> Stock wind protection (shield) slightly better on FJR, but both bikes need
> upgraded Cee Baileys shields on them for any serious
> long distance touring riding.
> Electric windshield on both works nice. FJR screen/mechanism seems to
> vibrate a bit more at speed though where the C14 mechanism
> doesn't
> Range on FJR is about 25-30 miles more, due to larger gas tank by .8
> gallons (6.6 on FJR vs 5.8 on C14)
> Glove box on FJR is where it belongs and locks automatically when bike
> shut off (nice touch Yamaha). C14 glove box blocks tank bag
> use, and can't lock, and sort of spoils the look of the bike somewhat
> Saddlebag latches and bag operation smoother on C14 and easier to use.
> Saddlebag lids close easier, and latches catch and operate
> better.
> C14 has a more exposed radiator that looks like it could easily get
> damaged, needs better front fender. FJR radiator is also pretty exposed,
> though not as bad in the lower area as the C14.
> No compression damping adjustments for forks on C14 that I have found, FJR
> has them
> No perceptible drive line lash on C14 at all, FJR has significant amount
> of drive line lash that can upset balance in turns from
> throttle transitions.
> Tetra lever rear drive on C14 eliminates all drive induced suspension
> problems, and makes bike feel like it has a chain drive
> Bags feel just a bit more roomy on C14 but they stick out a bit further
> making the bike wider. Back of bags on C14 are angled
> inward some, so from the rear of the bike, you can actually see part of
> the sides of the bags. FJR bags are in tighter to the frame making the
> bike narrower overall.
> Rake/Trail on C14 is 26.1 degrees/4.4 inches
> Rake/Trail on FJR is 26 degrees/4.3 inches
> Mirrors partially blocked on C14 by saddlebags. FJR mirrors give better
> view. Both have some buzz in them at speed.
> No helmet locks provide on either bike
> No outside air temp indicator on C14, FJR has one. This is one feature I
> really do miss
> Stock BT021 tire on C14 stick very well, with nice feel
> Paint on C14 less susceptible to swirl and scratch marks, FJR paint very
> soft and easy to scratch
> Headlights on both bikes are very good. My initial feeling is they are
> about equal.
> Tail lights on C14 are LED and mounted at less of a downward angle than
> the FJR's, but FJR tail light has more surface area, and
> seems to be a bit brighter
> turn signal indicators on dash on C14 are much brighter and easier to see
> than FJR
> Horns on both bikes is way too wimpy and needs to be replaced right away.
> This is a safety concern in my opinion on both.
> Tire pressure system on C14 already saved me once, not offered on FJR
> Gear indicators on both bikes, nice touch
> LCD display on FJR offers same info but is better laid out, C14 requires
> scrolling through several screens and I miss the outside
> temp display
> Speedo error on both bikes is about the same, reads 4-5mph high at 70mph
> C14 speedo has larger numbers on it, and is easier to read
> C14 goes up on centerstand much easier, but no grab bar is provided like
> on the FJR. A girl could put the C14 up on it's
> centerstand. FJR require much more effort.
> For me, the FJR seems to have a better overall look to the bike, but that
> is highly subjective. The C14 looks more like a sport
> bike, which can attract unwanted attention from LEO.
> Both bikes are relatively quiet. Huge muffler on C14 may be controversial
> in looks, but it seems to work well, and its size no
> longer bothers me any.
> Controls on both bikes nearly identical right down to the flasher and
> windshield switch. C14 has a high beam flash to pass switch
> on the front side of left grip that FJR does not.
> Oil/filter change easy to do on both bikes, no plastic to remove
> Engine on C14 is much harder to access and will make maintenance harder on
> this bike.
> First valve check on c14 is 24K miles. Not sure yet how much work it
> entails, but I suspect it will be harder than on the FJR.
> C14 comes with NGK Iridium plugs stock (that will last longer), FJR comes
> with standard copper core NGK's
> Both bikes have their fuel pressure regulator mounted in the tank with the
> fuel pump, which means there is not fuel return line, making tank removal
> easier

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