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Old 12-07-2012, 07:36 AM   #1
type918 OP
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Looking Ahead (Getting Older)

Maybe I should be posting in this on Dr. Phil's website but I don't think he'd get it.

Here's the deal. I spend a lot of time looking at this Airheads site (current ride is a less-than-pristine R90/6, 8,500 miles this year) and lately a lot of time with Thumpers. 65 years old and counting, reasonable condition for what I've seen. Been riding since 1965. Past rides in order: Harley (Aermacchi) Sprint, BSA 441 Victor, 883 Sportster, Yamaha DT-1, Velocette Thruxton, Yamaha YDS-3 and RD400, FrankenBSA 441 (slow learner, I guess), Suzuki SV650S (torturous even with modifications).

The people here seem to be a thoughtful lot so this is the question: When you look into the future, do you see yourself looking at lighter, easier-to-handle bikes? I'm currently obsessed with Suzuki's DR650SE, 100 lbs. lighter than my R90 and, from what I read, very capable. Also, about as simple as an airhead, which in my book is a definite plus. Seems like a lot of airheads get put away by owners who can no longer ride them and then they deteriorate (rider and machine). I hope to keep riding for many more years.

How do you see it?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:05 AM   #2
rudolf35
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Dr650

I had a DR650 and I am still longing for it.

With just about the same mix of bikes, ones I have owned, I can only state that the DR650 was one of the better ones. The reason I sold it was that I used it for my ADV ride (quite capable after some modifications) and that lead me to many situations where my willingness, the bikes willingness almost got me off motorbikes the rest of my life (a old hip injury reared it's ugly head). As long as you ride within your body's capabilities the DR650 will make a heck of a bike. With a change of counter gear sprocket it would make a nice road bike. The seat is one item that needs changing; at best a 30 mile seat. But after the counter gear and seat change I would not think twice of taking a DR cross country; mind you on back roads - although I had mine on the Interstate; no fun with trucks and rubbish like that.

Go to the thumper section of ADV and look up the very long post on DR's. They older ones had ones had one week spot, the neutral switch inside the clutch housing - a easy fix.


Ready for a Oark, AR trip

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Old 12-07-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
RaystheBMW
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I always thought a 650 size machine is just about ideal for everything except extensive 2 up riding. If I want a "bigger" open air experience, I'll buy a convertible. Like you, I hope to be riding well into the future and the best approach, as we get less brawny, is to go as light as you are comfortable with. Like the Europeans say about bathing suits: As little as possible, as much as necessary.

I no longer crawl under cars to work on them but I still like to wrench, and that makes a motorcycle the ideal thing to tinker with. Even if I can no longer ride, I can still enjoy working on them.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
type918 OP
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Good point about the wrenching. I no longer crawl under cars any more either (did WAY too much crawling under buildings before I retired) but I do like to fiddle with old machinery and such. Stuff that doesn't necessarily involve cyberspace and virtual reality if you know what I mean.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:54 AM   #5
Moonshiner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by type918 View Post
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The people here seem to be a thoughtful lot so this is the question: When you look into the future, do you see yourself looking at lighter, easier-to-handle bikes?
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How do you see it?
I most definitely see myself riding something lighter and simpler. Airheads are basic, but they do require some regular attention. Acquiring a modern, lighter motorcycle as I get older would definitely be in my plan.

I rode both of my BMW's the other night in breezy 34 degree Fahrenheit weather. I was riding them over to my daughter's garage for their long winter's nap. It was interesting riding an oilhead and an airhead back to back in less than perfect weather conditions. As much as I love my '77 RS, I can definitely see the advantages of a more "modern" motorcycle.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:03 AM   #6
Airhead Wrangler
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Being at the younger end of the spectrum (especially for airhead owners), I can't really comment from an aged perspective. I will say that DR650s are great bikes for what they are. They're good enough at everything and great at nothing. They're built to a price point and the difference in build quality between a DR and an airhead is immediately apparent. Airheads just feel more solid and refined. The DR is no-frills, built to go 80-100k miles and then be thrown out. If you want a good, cheap to maintain, do-it-all bike, then a DR650 is a good option. Airheads have a lot more character to them, something which DRs lack completely.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
100RT
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Interesting post. I will be 64 in march and am wondering the same situation. I have an 81 R100RT that has served me well and I really enjoy it. A year and a half ago I bought an 03 R1150RT just to experience a newer bike. It does everything so much better, more power etc.

BUT.... it's taller and a lot heavier and that is becoming a problem for me. I hope to attend the RA rally at the Biltmore and then probably sell the 03. It makes the 81 feel like a moped, weight wise. Also the newer fairing doesnt come close to having the protection of the 81.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:46 AM   #8
lake_harley
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Well, this seems to be the thread that's bringing out all of the "old farts", so let me in the circle too. I turned 60 in September, but my wife says I'm a sexy 60 year old, but that's probably more important to me than it is here.

My current stable is a '83 Gold Wing, '75 R75/6, '05 Yamaha FZ6....and I don't really count my old '73 XLCH Sportster (kick only), or the two GS450 project bikes I have. I hope to keep doing some touring on the 'Wing with my wife as long as possible, and I like to have a sporty bike around just to keep me feeling young. The /6 I really enjoy tinkering with (it was a project bike) and love to ride it because it has "soul" and "character".

When the day arrives that I am concerned about handling the bulk of any of my bikes, I wouldn't be against going down in size if I still want to ride. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for small CC bikes anyway. In fact, I did a +/- 2,000 mile trip on a 250 Kawasaki Super Sherpa a little over a year ago. A couple years ago I had a CB175, but would have liked a little bit more power. To me, as small as a 250 or up to 450 CC would be a good landing spot for an "old age" bike. See the GS450E I already have possibly coming back into play here?? It could still handle hours of 55-60MPH, or faster, riding but not be too tall or heavy. My preference has always leaned to UJM/somewhat sporty-ish type of bike(s).

Let's not worry about tomorrow though. It'll all work out and seem OK when it gets here

Lynn
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:57 AM   #9
crazydrummerdude
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My sidecar rig is my "getting old" plan. I hope to enjoy it before I get old, too.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:00 PM   #10
_cy_
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get a G/S, lighter is always better ... about same weight as that DR 650 and most importantly ... it's an Airhead!!!
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
Velocipede
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Well I'll be 71 come January,and its not the weight of any of my Airheads or my DR650 that bothers me its the seat height.I am a bit of a shortarse,30" inseam.10 years ago it didn't bother me but now the Arthritis in my knees and ankles makes it a little difficult at times especially coming to a stop on uneven ground.

I hate the thought of selling my GSPD or my K75s but the day is coming I suppose.Riding anything smaller than a 650 doesn't appeal to me and I have given some thought to making my DR 650 into a retro road bike.Maybe fit a front end with shorter forks and dual disks,aluminum fenders,Triumph gas tank and seat and maybe a shorter rear shock.who knows,its fun to play with mental images of the bikes we could build.

I met an 87 year old guy at a BMW rally once and he was riding a R90s so there is hope for us more mature dudes yet.

John
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocipede View Post
Well I'll be 71 come January,and its not the weight of any of my Airheads or my DR650 that bothers me its the seat height.I am a bit of a shortarse,30" inseam.10 years ago it didn't bother me but now the Arthritis in my knees and ankles makes it a little difficult at times especially coming to a stop on uneven ground.

I hate the thought of selling my GSPD or my K75s but the day is coming I suppose.Riding anything smaller than a 650 doesn't appeal to me and I have given some thought to making my DR 650 into a retro road bike.Maybe fit a front end with shorter forks and dual disks,aluminum fenders,Triumph gas tank and seat and maybe a shorter rear shock.who knows,its fun to play with mental images of the bikes we could build.

I met an 87 year old guy at a BMW rally once and he was riding a R90s so there is hope for us more mature dudes yet.

John
work with your seat profile. reducing width is as important as thickness. I've got 30in inseams and sit almost flat foot on G/S with suspension at stock height.

R90S sits much lower than G/S or GS.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:35 AM   #13
Velocipede
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[QUOTE=_cy_;20208394]work with your seat profile. reducing width is as important as thickness. I've got 30in inseams and sit almost flat foot on G/S with suspension at stock height.

Yup,been there done that,so often in fact that I get Xmas cards from the local upholsterer.My legs could be described as stocky which I'm sure is part of the problem.

I could buy a Harley and plant my feet firmly but but but.......

John
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Old 12-09-2012, 02:26 PM   #14
jackd
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Actually I'm starting to enjoy the complaints of my similarly aged fellow workers that own Harleys - they're finding them too unwieldly to handle anymore. I've always tormented them, that they were that way all along. They hate to admit that my GS is just the right size.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:24 PM   #15
Paul_Rochdale
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I am 66 and have been happily riding my ST1100 for the last eleven years but I have to face facts. She is now too heavy for me. My little legs don't quite reach the ground on both sides. No problems when on the move but around town on wet roads, slippery manhole covers and greasy roundabouts? That's why I shall be parting company with her in the Spring and enjoying my R100GS-Paris Dakar I've had stored for six years and am currently restoring, and 100 lbs lighter than the Pan. When that get's too heavy, I have an R100/7 in storage too, plus a Watsonian Monza sidecar if necessary.I have dropped the Pan nine times (I know, I know) during my ownership, always when manouvering her in and out of my workshop.
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