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Slaying the Dragon - Ape vs. Deere

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    Slaying the Dragon - Ape vs. Deere

    So I picked up a Tuono to go along with my GSA and K12S in the garage. Three completely different bikes yet they do "their things" extremely well. While I was out and about yesterday, I started thinking about the differences in the bikes and thought I'd post up some thoughts. This also comes about from some questions that I was asked from a couple of members here. So here it goes, a comparison of these bikes slaying the dragon.

    Many people know that I love the ugly (but not the ugliest bike made...cough cough KTM) GSA aka John Deere. It does pretty much everything and does it pretty well. It is a great touring bike and I am extremely comfortable riding hours on end with it. Having a huge fuel capacity goes well with eating up the miles. But what surprised me most was the handling it exhibited in the twisties. I never felt as fast on the K bikes in tight corners (sweepers and such are a toss-up between the K and GSA). And we are talking about the Dragon here so tight, technical corners are in abundance. I would take the GSA over the K on the Dragon any day of the week.

    The GSA handles road anomalies very well. Nothing really upsets the chassis of the GSA because the suspension soaks up all the bumps and humps, giving the rider a planted feeling. Being planted brings confidence and confidence brings speed. Someone told me that smooth is fast and fast is smooth. The GSA gives me this feeling of smooth while riding tight twisty stuff over broken surfaces such as the dragon.

    Once I found the sweet gear/rpm range then it becomes a simple task of throwing the beast into the corners. But the GSA, as big as it is, is nimble. I found that on many days I would hunt down sportbikes like many hunts down HD's. While in the sweet spot, the GSA pulls hard with a bunch of torque and combine that with the bike's software means this thing can accelerate out of those tight corners very well. I will say that I have had minimal slides with it, and I have pushed that bike very hard. But...

    GSA on the Dragon
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    K1300S on the Dragon
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    The Ape

    I was asked if I would tour on the Ape and the quick answer is no. Yesterday I was thinking about that question in depth and I came to these conclusions. I could travel on this bike. For some strange reason, this bike is more comfortable than the K12 or K13 for me. I haven't put back to back long days on it, and right now I only have about 400 miles total on the bike so this might change but it is surprisingly comfortable. The relatively upright posture is nice and I like being in the air. But there are certain things that will hold me back from taking long trips on it, and this is beside the fact that I live in motorcycling nirvana but strictly for the bike.

    First and foremost is the fact that I have a phenomenal bike that I love to ride which suits this duty better. The GSA is a great touring bike. Next though is lack of space for carrying stuff and although there are options to add bags and such, that just doesn't appeal to the aesthetics of the bike. Add the limited fuel range (I got the warning light at 100 miles) and the cost of super sticky tires and this doesn't sound appealing. I would imagine on long trip eating TWO sets of expensive sticky tires. So while I could travel on it, I highly doubt that I will. Instead, I will throw it in the back of my truck and take it with me wherever I want a beast.

    Onto the motorcycle. While the GSA is planted and smooths out any bumps or abnormalities in the road surface, the Ape lets you feel everything. There was not one bump that I didn't feel on my trip to the Dragon yesterday. Once there, and once I started my run, that feedback was welcomed. But not on the trip there. And while it has cruise control it is still a twitchy bike. I am sure that some of this will go away when I get the suspension tuned for me and when I get better accustomed to the bike, but it is a high strung mofo!

    I will admit that I am very new to this bike and very unfamiliar with sportbikes in general, but I was having a hard time finding the sweet spot in throttle control. I found that 2nd gear was too high with little engine braking at the speeds I was traveling (it is the Dragon and 2nd gear is probably 100 mph) and 1st gear had great engine braking but the throttle was ON! RIGHT FUCKING NOW! I am sure this is all me as I recall it taking a few thousand miles to really get comfortable with the GSA after moving from the K1300S. But right now, it takes more effort when running the dragon. One thing for certain, the bike loves to be throttled!

    What about running the Dragon? Well, I had to work as it wasn't what I was used to. I know the GSA and how it handles. I found that I was hunting around at speeds. I found that I wasn't really smooth and was fumbling at trying to make corners quickly. I will give this analogy. I was like a teenage boy getting to second base and not knowing how to "handle" things properly. There was a lot of embarrassing moments and a few "premature" turn ins. But overall I think this bike will be a blast and one of the things I was missing the most on the GSA, ungodly acceleration, is had in spades on the Tuono.

    I want to quickly mention acceleration. While you feel the acceleration on the GSA and most assuredly on the K-S, the Ape is just...different. It's like a switch, on when you hit the button. Grab a handful of throttle and you are going, fast, RIGHT NOW! I have a lot of the nanny software still turned on but started to experiment with it. While I knew that I was accelerating quickly, I didn't really get it until I turned the Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC) down a notch and then all of a sudden the bike is doing these perfect little wheelies every time I whack the throttle open. Without the software, I wouldn't have guessed it was accelerating that quickly. It just doesn't ring how fast this thing really is or the amount of power that it is laying down. I bet that once I move through all the ride modes and play with all the settings that I will truly start to appreciate all of the power that is at my fingertips. I think for right now, the software is making a bad motherfucker ridable for me.

    Ape on the Dragon




    So that is it for now. Just some thoughts about the bike. I am so thrilled having it and being able to get acquainted prior to the track day coming up at VIR during the weeklong DGR event that is planned.
    Last edited by justjoe; 07-11-2019, 02:30 PM.

    #2
    Bootiful!
    Damn Joe, you have shed some serious weight and I for one am glad for you. You look good on it.
    Chattanooga, TN
    Certified Hooligan.
    2018 S1000XR, 2014 R1200GSAw, 2015 Husqvarna FE501S

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      #3
      Nice Joe! Apples to oranges but Ducati Mts and superbikes are geared so high that .6th is a waste so most gear them down. Maybe same for you but an old guy once told me not to make any changes for a couple of months till you learn the bike. Somehow it’ll feel better!👍😉

      Food for thought...

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        #4
        I think the Tuono is the bomb!

        Comment


          #5
          Great report!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Loggiebone View Post
            Nice Joe! Apples to oranges but Ducati Mts and superbikes are geared so high that .6th is a waste so most gear them down. Maybe same for you but an old guy once told me not to make any changes for a couple of months till you learn the bike. Somehow it’ll feel better!👍😉

            Food for thought...
            I've been researching mods for the bike and this one is one of the top. Down one in the front. But I agree with old guys, I think I'll wait a while to make any big modifications.

            Comment


              #7
              High strung mofo.....puked through my nose on that one! Drop the psi while running your fav roads! I’m talking track psi....then report back


              so nice nice to have company

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Flyboy View Post
                High strung mofo.....puked through my nose on that one! Drop the psi while running your fav roads! I’m talking track psi....then report back


                so nice nice to have company
                Great idea! Never thought of that. Actually, I don't know what track PSI would be. I guess a little more reading is in order.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Nice report, enjoy the new bike.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Nice read.. ..taking the Lee Park’s ‘Total Control’ ARC level 1 course the first thing we had to do was to lower our tire pressures down 4 psi from normal specs before we got onto the range... I’m sure “track psi” is even greater..

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Good unvarnished report Joe. Give us an addendum in the fall when you've had more time to get used to the bike.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by justjoe View Post

                        I've been researching mods for the bike and this one is one of the top. Down one in the front. But I agree with old guys, I think I'll wait a while to make any big modifications.
                        Rule of thumb- down 1 in front = up 3 in rear. Old guys didn’t get old by being dumb!😁

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Loggiebone View Post

                          Rule of thumb- down 1 in front = up 3 in rear. Old guys didn’t get old by being dumb!😁
                          Or as that great philosopher Richard Pryor said, " Ain't no such thing as an old fool. You don't get to be old by being a fool". I cleaned that up a bit.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Flyboy View Post
                            High strung mofo.....puked through my nose on that one! Drop the psi while running your fav roads! I’m talking track psi....then report back


                            so nice nice to have company
                            At the track I run my Dunlop Q3s at about 29/31 psi. On the street (like at the BRPR) maybe only a couple of psi higher and never as high as the manufacturer recommendation. But I don't have any problem thinking of tires as disposable and happily trade tire life for grip. They seem to wear pretty evenly and handle well at those pressures.

                            Joe, the thing that really convinced me to not replace my S1000RR with another was the couple of days I spent down in your neck of the woods. I thought the bike was made for the Cherohala but was miserable on roads like Deals Gap - at least for me and my creaky stiff body. A more upright naked bike solved that problem for me and is just as fun on roads like the Skyway, Richard Russell, etc. I'm looking forward to getting back down your way and doing some riding this fall.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks for sharing the comparo Joe. A Riding Bud has a 1000 Tuono and yes it's pure Hooligan! OTOH, my K1300S (w/Riser Plates) has no problem keeping up with him on our pitiful blacktops around here. When I do a suspension upgrade in the future it'll do even better.

                              About the grip advantages of reduced Tire Pressures...it's a total mystery to me. Whenever the tire pressure drops below normal (I run 38F/42R) my K1300S doesn't want to lean, it almost tries to stand up in corners. I run Pirelli Angel GTs.
                              Last edited by R111S; 07-12-2019, 08:58 AM.
                              '11 BMW K1300S - Cobra SP2 Slip-On Muffler, OEM Centerstand, Grip Puppies, OEM Rear Rack, OEM Bags, Three Vent Holes in Filler Neck, Kuykendahl Riser Plates, Kickstand Foot, Ilmburger Rear Hugger, Throttle Meister, Stebel Horn, ABM Synto EVO Brake/Clutch Levers, Corbin Seat, Z-Technik Smoke Windscreen, R&G Frame Sliders

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