Used Bike

Grandad Turismo - Pan European, FJR1300A, K1200GT used test

Want to cover massive miles without spending mega pounds? Someone else has very kindly taken the depreciation hit on these secondhand tourers so you don’t have to. We try these three recent big bore bargains for size

While scouring Visordown’s classified section locating the three big tourers for this test I was genuinely shocked. My first thought was that dealers all over the country had made terrible mistakes when entering the value of their bikes. There was simply no way the prices could be right, it wasn’t possible, they were just too low. So, to double check, I called a few and they confirmed the prices were correct. How is this?

“The arse falls right out of new big tourers as soon as you buy one,” one dealer told me. “They suffer really badly from depreciation and their price drops like a stone, especially if they have big miles on them.”

That’s the odd thing about bikes, mileage really counts against them, even on tourers designed to rack up distances. If you were buying a secondhand car that was three years old, would you bat an eyelid if it showed 27,000 miles? Of course not, the chances are you’d probably consider it a bargain with such a low mileage. Bikes are different. The average UK biker rides about 4,000 miles a year, the average car driver does closer to 12,000 miles. Is a bike engine any more stressed than a car’s? Not really, especially in these big tourers, but for some reason high mileages make potential secondhand owners very nervous and prices reflect this.

But it’s not all bad news, according to dealers it’s only the first two or three years when values plummet. After that they hit a steady point and float there at a fairly constant level for several years, almost irrespective of the miles. What this means to the canny secondhand buyer is he can snap up a bargain priced big tourer that’s done a few miles, hang onto it for a year or two and sell it again for virtually what he paid. Depreciation is negligible and the only real cost is servicing and tyres. But is it really a bargain? Do miles equal reliability and value, or constant attention and misery. With this in mind we gathered together three of the best big tourers on the market for a gentle cruise around the Peak District.

First up is Honda’s legendary Pan European, a bike that when it was updated in 2002 caused a mini-war among the old 1100’s fiercely loyal fan base. It also generated a few worrying headlines about handling problems. Then there’s Yamaha’s FJR1300A, a big capacity inline four that tends more towards performance than outright rider comfort. And finally BMW’s K1200GT, another inline four, but if there is one thing BMW does well it’s touring. And touring on a BMW involves more bells and whistles than Rio’s Mardi Gras, and considerably less nudity…

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