Yesterday was an interesting day. My girlfriend Kate has taken to riding pillion and we are planning a couple of trips for next year, including a two-week jaunt to Spain. As some of you may know, I currently have two bikes in my garage - a 2005 Fazer 1000 and a '98 VFR800. The VFR is the bike I usually use for touring as I am less precious with it. However, with more two up touring planned I have decided to look at getting a tourer.
Today we test-rode two of the market leaders - The Honda Pan European and a BMW R1200RT. Now I would usually consider myself as a typical Honda buyer (Previous bikes include a CBR900 and a Blackbird) and although this would be the first time I had actually ridden the Pan I expected to prefer it to the RT. But the opposite was true! I was really disappointed with the Pan. I could really feel the weight a slow speeds and the shaft-drive had sufficient slack as to make smooth riding difficult. The BMW on the other hand - even with an engine design dating back to the 1920's and surely reaching the end of it's development potential - was the better bike. It felt more modern, was better equipped (Cruise control was very amusing) and it just generally worked better as bike.
I had intended to keep the VFR either way but with a tourer taking up so much space in the garage that probably won't be possible so it look s like the VFR will be sold to make way for a BMW RT.