Comparo – Honda ST1300, Yamaha FJR 1300, Kawasaki ZZR 1200 Part 2


Editor ‘arris, Seymour and Ed (and a large gentleman in the background) compare notes. Okay, they’re menus, but we gotta eat!

In the first part we looked at how each bike performed on our long weekend trip, without much of a judgement being made between them. But if you’ve read all three write-ups and got close to $20,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you’ll want to know the dirt that will help decide where that hard earned cash is going to go.

As is often told to a bunch of pre-teenagers waiting to hear whether they’ve been picked for the school team, “There’s no losers here. You’ve all won by taking part. But …” The ensuing tears suggest a different story, but when it comes to a weekend’s comparison of three of the hottest sport-tourers, I can say (with hand on heart, and Kleenex at the ready) that there are truly no losers here.

After the three days of fun and madness, we all sat down over a beer and discussed the pros and cons of each bike. Numbers were allotted to each category and then comments of the group summarized into bite sized chunks of knowledge.

The result of this highly scientific process can be found in the handy Model Rating chart below.

P.S. Missed Part 1??? Click here.

MODEL RATING (Graded from 1 to 3, 1 being the best)

ST 1300
FJR 1300
ZZR 1200





The Honda brakes had a whole load of bite and needed the least amount of effort to stop hard and well. Yamaha brakes are lifted from the R1 and work well but require a tad more effort to haul the hunk to a stop. The ZZR’s brakes aren’t crap either, but needed the most squeeze of the lot.

Fit & Finish




Honda have a bit of a reputation for good build quality and do a great job on the new ST. Yamaha and Kawasaki are perfectly acceptable, but they just don’t quite come together like the ST.

Handling (twisties)




The ZZR is the most sport-bike like of the lot. Less weight, stiffer suspension and a screaming engine made it the bike to grab when the curves sprang up. The ST did remarkably well considering its weight, but inevitably lost on the flickability The FJR was the bike most likely to feel that it was tying itself in knots. It didn’t, it just felt like it might.





The ST was the smoothest of the lot. ZZR not far behind, but needed a bit more of a punt. The FJR was positive but definitely notchy, and required a more thoughtful push to click into the next gear.

Comfort (seat)




ST = Arse masseur. Say no more. FJR was close but would cause some pain eventually. ZZR was , well, sportbike-like and broke my arse clean in two on the way down to Penns. Less noticeable in the twisties when sliding around, but not pleasant on the highway.

(position – twisties)




Again, the ZZR benefits well from it’s sportier bias, which a more lean-over position for greater control. The ST is upright but you still feel somewhat plugged in. FJR lost out thanks to its weird bars that come too far back making you feel that your on a cruiser, not a sports-tourer.

(position – highway)




ST. Perfect position, super seat and a screen that comes up high enough to clip low bridges, leaving the rider in a sea of calmness. FJR comes a close second, though the screen doesn’t completely isolate the rider. ZZR locks you into one position so that it can focus on breaking down yer arse.

Engine (performance)




The ZZR loves and begs to be revved. Although it lacks power below 3,500 rpm, it keeps on hopping up from there. FJR is fierce, with massive stump pulling torque and unlike the ZZR, is accessible from any point. Party stops early at 8,500 rpm when power drops off. Honda motor is perfectly usable, but a bit too much on the sensible side for the sporty edge.

Engine (alroundability)




The ST nudges out the FJR thanks to its silky smoothness and flat feeling torque output. Massive spread of power from FJR is a wondrous thing but it’s just not quite as sophisticated as the ST. ZZR is a bit too sport orientated for this category.



Overall the Honda gets the best marks, only falling a tad short when it came to putting it through the twisties and in general sporty mode. Of all the bikes, the ST was seen as the one that would do it all – gobble up the highway miles and then flip-flop through the twisties with sufficient ease. However, even though it did so well, there was a certain lack of love/lust for the bike. Tester Ed summed it up nicely with “It’s a mile killer. It does everything you want it to do, but at the end of the ride, you weren’t infatuated”.

The Yamaha came in just behind the Honda in its touring abilities, but seemed to come out worst when it was asked to get sporty.

Finally, the Kawasaki seemed to excel at the sporty stuff, but when asked to gobble up the highway miles responded by getting medieval on yer arse.



Honda ST 1300 Yamaha FJR 1300 Kawasaki ZZR 1200 Comments


125 bhp @ 8,000 rpm (claimed) 145 bhp @ 8500 rpm (claimed)
(approx. 123 bhp at rear)
140 bhp @ 9,750 rpm (claimed)
(approx. 136 bhp at rear)
Yamaha has the gruntiest, but the Kawasaki gains at the wheel thanks to a more efficient (chain) drive.

Torque (claimed)

85 ftlb @ 6,000 rpm 93 ftlb @ 6,000 rpm 80 ftlb @ 8,250 rpm All pretty healthy, but pure strength is with the FJR once more.

Fuel Capacity

29 litres 25 litres 23 litres Thankfully the ST carries most of that gas under the seat!

Fuel Economy

16.2 km/l
6.2 L/100 km
14.6 km/l
6.8 L/100 km
19.1 km/l
5.2 L/100 km
FJR proves to be the thirstiest, and could drop ‘orribly if pushed really hard.


470 km 365 km 440 km Reasonable fuel consumption and large capacity mean the Honda can go forever.

Engine Redline

8,400 rpm 9,000 rpm 11,000 rpm The most tourable bike has the lowest, the sportiest the highest.

Screen Adjustment

13 degrees, 189 mm 20 degrees, 118 mm Non adjustable C’mon ZZR, let’s get an adjustable sail up there.

Bag Capacity

35 litres each (standard) 30 litres each (standard for first year) 40 litres each (optional @ $1,122 – includes required brackets) Since we didn’t have the ZZR bags fitted, no comment. Honda bags have the edge but when removed leave an ‘orrible gap. FJR bags leave the bike looking good whether on or off.

Top Box

Optional Optional n/a Get one and earn your money back making pizza deliveries.


Deluxe model only n/a n/a Honda system works well but is available on the deluxe model only.

Suspension – Front

Preload only Preload, compression and rebound Preload only FJR gives most options that you probably will never use anyway.
Suspension – Rear
Preload and rebound Preload and rebound Preload and rebound As long as it comes with a big knob.


And finally, the usual (and very handy) CMG technical data comparison. And free of commentary too!



Honda ST 1300 Yamaha FJR 1300 Kawasaki ZZR 1200


$18,999.00 for deluxe model (comes with ABS).
$17,599.00 for the standard model.
$17,499.00 $14,299.00


1,261 cc 1,298 cc 1,164 cc

Engine type

V-four, dohc liquid cooled Inline dohc four, liquid cooled Inline dohc four, liquid cooled


Fuel injection Fuel injection 40mm Carburettors

Final drive

Five speed, shaft drive Five speed, shaft drive Six speed, chain drive

Tires, front

120/70 ZR17 120/70 ZR17 120/70 ZR17

Tires, rear

180/60 ZR17 180/55 ZR17 180/55 ZR17

Brakes, front

Dual 310 mm discs with LBS 3 piston calipers Dual 298 mm discs with 4 piston calipers Dual 320mm discs with 4 piston calipers

Brakes, rear

Single 316 mm disc with LBS 3 piston caliper Single 282 mm disc with single piston caliper Single 250 mm disc with 2 piston opposed caliper

Seat height

775/790/805 mm (30.5/31.1/31.7″) 805 mm (31.7″) 800 mm (31.5″)


1,500 mm (59.1″) 1,515 mm (59.6″) 1,505 mm (59″)

Dry weight

276 Kg (612 lbs) (claimed) 237 Kg (523 lbs) (claimed – sans bags) 236 Kg (520 lbs) (claimed)

Canadian colours

Metallic Dark Silver Liquid Silver Galaxy Silver, Pearl Mystic Black

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