Over the past year we have been testing bikes for our work. We’ve been noting our riding habits, preferences and desires. First off, what we thought our riding would be like was not what actually was. Then again, it never is. We do cinema work and like to have fun while doing it. Our off-road bikes are the BMW 850gs. We’ve found nothing better in that area. It’s our on-road bikes that offered the greatest surprise. We have 5 V1k’s - 1 2019SE. We have tested the BMW 1200/1250 GS, Honda Goldwing, K1600, Super Tenere, and KTM 1290 this year. All nice bikes with their strengths and weaknesses.
I received my crew’s notes and votes this morning. 11 of the 14 voted for the V1k. That’s a pretty resounding vote for Kawasaki. These people are picky. While certainly not the most advanced bikes out there, the V1k’s were seen overwhelmingly as rock-solid, dependable, easy to fix and maintain on the road. There were niggles like other bikes, but no deal breakers.
The new SE is universally loved despite the usual horrid colors available. All agreed a paint job is the first step! Most would take the base model, but the options on the SE made the price seem worth while. The lean indicator was a huge hit but no one knew why. Just cool.
Here are some notes on other models.
Gold Wing - too little luggage space and uninspired performance. Concerns about new front end design.
K1600GTL - Lots of goodies and love for it, but too complex to rely on. Monstrous!
1250 (1200) GS - Capable with lots of goodies, but heavy and complicated. Fun to ride. Getting service in a timely manner weighed in here. The 850 is simpler.
Super Tenere - good at most things, great at nothing. Quality bike but not preferred. No “beak” was a comment too.
KTM1290 - Beast that had 2 breakdowns for stupid reasons like a broken metal bracket no one would think of bringing along. Insane power. No go.
In our case, the V1k ticks off lots of boxes that meet our purposes. Perhaps the most important is dependability. What we do requires no surprises. We also need to do very limited off-road work when the 850’s aren’t around - farm roads, etc.
In terms of an all around bike, the V1k is underrated but gaining respect. Just need some color!
Oh yes, my crews just like them better.