This is my second motorcycle, purchased from North Coast V-Twins at Coffs Harbour in April 2016 with 34,500 kilometres on the odometer.
The 2007 model 1400GTR (known in the US as the Concours 14) superseded the previous GTR1000 which had been produced between 1986-2006. It is more-or-less the shaft-driven, sport-touring version of Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-14 super-sport.
Rider position is about halfway between upright and sports styles. It has a centre stand and hard panniers that can easily fit a helmet as standard. I particularly liked that the panniers were standard with the bike; I'd also seriously considered Honda's VFR800F and VFR1200F and manufacturer luggage added about AU$2,300 to their price.
The 1,352 cc engine is tuned for mid-range torque rather than high-end power. It has variable valve timing and a ram air intake. Like most large-displacement motorcycle engines it is very tolerant of accelerating from low in the rev range. Overtaking is a chore no more for me, coming from a throttle and ECU-restricted 600 cc bike. When overtaking on the highway I typically click down from overdrive to fifth gear and gives plenty of acceleration, with or without a pillion, to quickly pass.
The gearbox is very smooth and engages each gear extremely well although first does engage with a typical 'clunk'. There are five gears and one overdrive. At 110 km/h and in overdrive the engine ticks over at just 3,250 RPM. I think it was probably designed with long cruises along the high-speed autobahns and interstates of Europe and the US in mind.
It is a shaft-driven motorcycle. The shaft-drive works in conjunction to Tetra-Lever suspension which eliminates shaft-jacking, where the swing-arm would otherwise rise under acceleration. It is the Kawasaki equivalent to the BMW Paralever system. Other than getting used to the shaft-drive engagement, I haven't noticed a difference from a chain-drive other than no chain-cleaning or lubrication every thousand kilometres or so. I don't know that I want to go back to chain maintenance again!
One of the outstanding components of this motorcycle is the ABS-equipped, Nissin caliper brakes. I haven't had reason to engage the ABS yet but the feel and responsiveness is better than any motorcycle I've ridden. They give a clear impression of how much more braking can be applied safely. It makes bringing a larger bike like this to a hard stop feel, if not effortless, no big deal. After having good experiences with Michelin Pilot Road 4 tyres on my XJ6, GT-spec PR4s have been fitted to this bike now.
Talking about weight, the GTR is considered both top-heavy and just plain heavy for it's class. Honda's VFR1200F is ~270 kilograms, Yamaha's FJR1300 at ~290 kilograms and the GTR's kerb weight is 305 kilograms. Every review I've seen or read says, "The weight disappears as soon as you're moving" and that is true. While actually on the bike, stopped or at any speed, I haven't noticed a huge difference moving from a 205-kilogram XJ6. Where the weight shows itself is when moving the bike around in the garage or in a parking lot. I have been told that the majority of insurance claims for this model result from driveway drops.
A GTR is most at home on the highway but with definite and measured input in the bends it carries a line as though it were on rails. I wouldn't call it 'flick-able' but then I haven't owned it more than three months with limited opportunity to ride twisties with it. I have carried a pillion two or three times and do not notice much difference in handling while doing so - all motorcycle responses are a little slower, acceleration, braking, steering etc. but not as much as I'd expected. The pillion seat is generous in size and cushioning as it is for the rider.
Another outstanding feature of the GTR is the mirrors. They are almost the same size as car mirrors and offer a similar view. I have ridden a couple of other motorcycles since owning the GTR and the mirrors of those bikes were immediately restrictive by comparison, displaying my elbow when positioned to see directly rearward. The GTR mirrors show just the tips of the bar-ends.
There are only a couple of downsides of the bike that I've encountered thus far. One is hot air from around the engine being blown out the back of the fairing over the rider's legs. This is known issue of the 2008-09 models. It can be resolved by purchasing pre-cut foam shields from an eBay seller that sit at the back of the lower and mid fairings and around the engine case.
The other downside is the complexity of fairing removal. To remove fairings on both sides, front and lower there are about thirty hex bolts to undo and requires a top-down approach every time which adds about twenty minutes to any job once the process has been worked out.
To date, I've ridden this bike about 1,000 kilometres per month and mostly highway commuting and thoroughly enjoy it. Given the choice, I'd buy it again. I plan some longer rides in future, more in-line with the intended purpose of the GTR.
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine's short review of a later year model 1400GTR: