Yes, the FJR gets good write-ups here as well, and I expected to see lots of them about, but I have not - not even on the ferry when crossing to France or Spain. And yes, the Pan has been replaced here too by the VFR1200. I have read that very few have been sold here, and have yet to see one on the road. The Multistradas look good, but the general perception of the people I usually tour with, some of whom have Ducatis, say they would not risk touring on them because of reliability issues. They get moody in the wet apparently, and sometimes don’t start. I have seen a few KTMs on the tours, and they seem to do quite well.
I take your point about touring (one-up of course) on fireblades, R1s etc., and I am surprised by the number of people that do it. They do not walk too upright after 3 or 4 days though.
Most of the tours I do are also based around the Alps, or Pyrenees. I have now done most of the passes in good weather, which was great fun. I have spent more time in the Pyrenees, not as dramatic as the Alps, but great riding, and not many people about. I have two bikes, and the most difficult decision is which one to take, the R1200rt or the K1200RS (2004 model). The RT usually wins because it has all the extras, ESA, heated seat, and that magic screen. Both are fitted with autocom and gps. I find the K marginally more comfortable and ‘natural’ to ride, although it is a bit heavy round town, and picking it up out of hairpins. The RT is much lighter (229kg) and more agile, despite it’s looks. There are normally loads of GSs on these tours, and their riders, mostly newish to biking, get on with varying results.
Thanks for the tip about Japan, but I doubt that I will get around to doing that as I do not know the country at all, and getting in or out of Tokyo must be nightmarish.