OUR BIKES 1400GTR is the ul­ti­mate do-it-all

Ver­sa­tile, ca­pa­ble and fast Ð but lack­ing in ex­cite­ment... Rogue pot­holes re­peat­edly press Pa­soõs self-de­struct but­ton

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - DU­CATI PASO 750, £400

Much like the 1400cc in­line four en­gine in the GTR, 2015 was a smooth, fairly un­event­ful year. There were no break­downs or ma­jor nig­gles with the bike, but there were also no un­for­get­table highs; the Kawasaki just got on and did what­ever was asked of it. It didn’t even bat an eye­lid when I ran well past its ser­vice in­ter­val (sorry about that, Kawasaki).

Ev­ery­thing was go­ing swimmingly with the big Kwak un­til our fi­nal week­end to­gether. A col­league had bor­rowed it for a cou­ple of days, and when it was re­turned the fuel light was on. Rather than head straight to a petrol sta­tion I fig­ured I’d be OK. Wrong. The GTR conked out on a dual car­riage­way and we wob­bled to a stop at the bot­tom of an exit slip road with only one op­tion; push the 305kg GTR up to the top. If you hadn’t guessed, push­ing such a heavy bike up­hill in full rid­ing gear is hard work – my kit was still damp with sweat the next day.

Weath­er­ing the storm

The GTR has spent its en­tire time with me liv­ing out­side, save for the odd night or two in a garage. And, de­spite my less-than-ocd ap­proach to clean­ing, it has held up ex­cep­tion­ally well. A cou­ple of bolts around the rider and pil­lion pegs were a lit­tle fluffy, and a small por­tion of paint had worn through from my boot on the rear sub­frame and started to rust, as I men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous re­port. Ev­ery morn­ing be­fore work the brake discs had a layer of rust on them, only made worse by a disc lock. But the eight-mile ride to work was enough to rid the disc face of the ma­jor­ity of it each day.

The GTR isn’t too awk­ward to clean, ei­ther. There are a few nooks and cran­nies around the shaft drive and rear of the bike, usu­ally hid­den by the pan­niers, but a bit of pa­tience and a good brush are all that are needed. The vast ma­jor­ity of the bike is the huge fair­ing, which does an ex­cel­lent job of keep­ing wind, snow, rain and hail off the rider, but in turn gets filthy in the win­ter.

Miss­ing you al­ready?

When the time comes for our longterm test bikes to be re­turned there is al­ways one big ques­tion: Will you miss it? On the face of it I thought the an­swer for the GTR would prob­a­bly be no. Not be­cause it’s a bad bike – it’s per­fectly ca­pa­ble at what it does, it just doesn’t in­spire me. But, think­ing about it a lit­tle longer the GTR has en­abled me to live my life with­out a car, thanks in no small part to the cav­ernous pan­niers. That lug­gage, plus a 35-litre ruck­sack, was more than enough for a week’s worth of shop­ping. It made long jour­neys to see friends in York­shire, Scot­land or Lon­don an ab­so­lute breeze. The fair­ing kept the worst of the weather off and made win­ter rid­ing bear­able. It’s a work­horse, but even be­fore the nights be­came no­tice­ably shorter, it had be­come noth­ing more than a form of trans­port.

I’ll miss the practicality and ease of use, but – and this might sound harsh – I’m not sure I’ll miss the bike it­self.

KAWASAKI 1400 GTR £13,699 Rust on the discs is cleared from the brak­ing sur­face but re­mains else­where In­di­ca­tor as­sem­bly hits the eject but­ton on bumpy roads

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