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Old 02-05-2014, 10:50 AM   #61
hscrugby
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Originally Posted by SloMo228 View Post
I'm willing to concede that a bigger, heavier bike can have braking and maximum lateral grip similar to a smaller, lighter bike. But all else being equal (mainly frame geometry - trail, rake, wheelbase, etc.), the lighter bike is almost certainly going to be quicker changing directions, as well as being easier for the rider to make it change directions. If you like riding on tight, twisting roads, the light bike has a clear advantage. Blasting down the freeway and burning up large-radius sweepers, sure, the heavier bike will probably be faster.

It's not as if having more power automatically makes you faster on anything but straight or gently curving roads.
One thing to remember that everyone seems to forget, race bikes are friggin light... They weigh less than a lot of the dual sports mentioned here, and not much more than that pig of a tw200 you mention.. the busa's etc yea, they are heavy.
But a modern 600 or liter bike is VERY flick able with unlimited acceleration and braking. I have ridden 450 sumo's, (and I have a 450 ktm) and there are very very few places that you can be as fast on one as on a modern RR..
that said, for adventure purposes, light enough to pick up, heavy enough to not break with the luggage you need...
My 450 with more oil, and a sub frame...
I don't ever want to try and deal with a bike even as heavy as my dr650 was in the dirt again. My CBR954 was lighter than my dr650...

That said, the KTM 640s, husky te 610 all seem to get it right to me..
I think for any type of slab, 50-60hp is the absolute minimum. And any "long trip" I can think of is going to end up with some stretches where you'd want to be able to go faster than 70 mph... And they don't weigh TOO much...
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:13 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloMo228 View Post
I'm willing to concede that a bigger, heavier bike can have braking and maximum lateral grip similar to a smaller, lighter bike. But all else being equal (mainly frame geometry - trail, rake, wheelbase, etc.), the lighter bike is almost certainly going to be quicker changing directions, as well as being easier for the rider to make it change directions. If you like riding on tight, twisting roads, the light bike has a clear advantage.
No. The bigger bike needs more force to be controlled. That's all. In everything else it's equal. (If both bikes follow the same concept and are equally well made of course.)

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Originally Posted by SloMo228 View Post
It's not as if having more power automatically makes you faster on anything but straight or gently curving roads.
I certainly am faster on a more powerful bike than I would be on a less powerful one. Coming out of every corner I am.
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:34 PM   #63
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Back in the 70's I had a 125 Kawasaki that topped out at a little over 70mph and I rode at 60mph commuting on 2-lane roads. Later I had a 250 Yamaha twin that would hit 90mph and could cruise all day at 70-75. These bikes made roughly 12hp and 30hp respectively. The idea that you NEED big power to ride on the road is bogus IMO.

Now granted, a big powerful bike is a ball to ride under the right conditions. A nice hilly road with wide gentle sweepers is like being on a roller coaster that's under your control. Also, having power in reserve is a very good thing when the traffic gets heavy and fast.

But to me "adventure" involves dirt and tight, rough trails and that's where heavy and too much power will just give you grief. It's all about the happy medium for me.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:36 PM   #64
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big bikes

having ridden for 50 years on every kind of bike and every kind of surface I have to say I love big bikes. I live in the desert, no tight 2 track, lots of back country roads, and mountains. I bought a Triumph explorer 1200 and am having a ball. It is a pig off road but I am learning. Do not like sand, can do it but it is tiring.
My sundays start early, 50 miles of twisty blacktop at speeds that would make a 650 puke, breakfast with my craazy friends, saddle up pick destination and leave. Normally a 20 to 30 mile ride at speed to our offroad start. 40 to 60 miles of interesting desert riding, slow, Then lunch. After lunch another 60 miles or so of offroad, then catch super slab home at 90plus on cruise control.
Have a kdx220 for serious work but hardly ride it any more.
Heavy is a relative term, rode Goldwings and Harleys for 30 years places they should have been, Triumph is ok.
No excuses, I have ridden every single track trail within 300 miles of my house and was bored. Doing them with a big adventure bike makes them interesting again. Did have to start going to the gym so I can pick it up:)

Also going to Dust to Dawson and Cabo this year. Nedd to be able to do 500 miles days for days at a time.

Small bikes are fun but am riding different roads now.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:00 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by SloMo228 View Post
For anyone who's ever been to Glacier National Park in Montana, there is a Forest Service road called North Fork Road, which is where my dad and I happened to end up on two rather unsuitable bikes. Last summer, my dad and I visited Glacier, me on my ZRX1100 and him on his GL1500. We arrived at the park a little late and all of the front-end, easily accessible campsites were full. We pulled out the map of the park and located a campsite at Bowman Lake, and headed for it, not knowing what the roads there and back would be like. Now, that road is probably not terribly challenging on a smaller DS bike, and probably not even that bad on a bigger ADV bike with some ground clearance, but it was quite an experience for us - me on a 120hp street bike with slick tires and next to no ground clearance, and him on his 900+lb behemoth. It was one of those experiences that was fun in retrospect but at the time we were both constantly worrying about being able to make it up a gravelly hill, or bottoming out and cracking an oil pan, leaving us stranded miles from help.

I would have much preferred to have been on a ~300lb DS bike and would have had a lot more fun, too. We did pass a group of riders (going the other way, we'd never have been able to overtake anyone) on KLRs and DR650s and such who were clearly having more fun than us.

The smaller bike is almost always going to be better suited to rougher conditions, and that's what I'd take in a heartbeat. The biggest bike I'd want to be riding on anything rougher than a graded gravel road is a 650.
but the z rex and gold wing make for a better story
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:34 PM   #66
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Bikes are fun period. There are advantages to both sorts of bikes too. Finally, in almost every case the rider is the limiting factor for performance.

Light bikes require a lot less work to flick over in a turn, handle rough and loose surfaces better, and are much less tiring to ride aggressively. They also get blown around by the wind and are less comfortable for extended straight line riding.

Big bikes are fun to pull out of a corner on the gas, can be ridden in a "point and shoot" style, and flat out amaze with their acceleration. However they really punish poor riding and can be incredibly tiring when ridden hard.

After taking my big bike to the track, I realized that I just wasn't going to have the same sort of fun on the street on that bike. So, I have plenty of fun on and off-road on my little bike. I can push the bike hard at legal speeds, which is what entertains me.

In short, figure out your priorities and how much you are willing to compromise them (or buy more than one bike).
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:27 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by BDMJ View Post
Bikes are fun period. There are advantages to both sorts of bikes too. Finally, in almost every case the rider is the limiting factor for performance.

Light bikes require a lot less work to flick over in a turn, handle rough and loose surfaces better, and are much less tiring to ride aggressively. They also get blown around by the wind and are less comfortable for extended straight line riding.

Big bikes are fun to pull out of a corner on the gas, can be ridden in a "point and shoot" style, and flat out amaze with their acceleration. However they really punish poor riding and can be incredibly tiring when ridden hard.

After taking my big bike to the track, I realized that I just wasn't going to have the same sort of fun on the street on that bike. So, I have plenty of fun on and off-road on my little bike. I can push the bike hard at legal speeds, which is what entertains me.

In short, figure out your priorities and how much you are willing to compromise them (or buy more than one bike).
About 25 years ago I was reading an article in a motorcycle magazine. The writer mentioned an old man in Italy who was riding by on an ancient Vespa in a beautiful Italian city, making the assumption they had grown old together. Now I am 60, and maybe in ten years I will still be riding an ancient scooter. My younger brother offered me the use of his 1500cc HD tourer to keep it in use while he recovered from an injury. I tried it on a short run up a gravel town road, managed to turn it around in a wide place and almost lost it on a wet spot. The pressure on my leg was intense. I have missed the boat on large motorcycles, it seems.
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:51 PM   #68
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I have missed the boat on large motorcycles, it seems.
I caught the boat, got back off. Always wanted a bigger bike, until I got a few. Big Beemers, big Suzukis, several others. Great at two up on long high speed highways, not much fun anywhere else. I still have an 1100, but I don't ride it much. Don't ride two up on high speed highways all that much. The F800GS I ride a little more, as my wife is more comfortable on the back, especially on rocky dirt roads and such. If it were lower and lighter I'd like it better. Most of my street riding is on my old GS550, or DR 350, or for just running down to the store usually my wife's DR 200.

I have a 450EXC for serious fun in the dirt, I wish it was smaller, lighter. 250 - 400ish maybe.

The smaller bikes are just so much easier, quicker through the crooked roads, cheaper to operate, and just overall a lot more fun to ride.

But then again I could give a rat's ass about impressing anyone with what I ride.

Harley guy as I got off my wife's DR 200, "That's a girl's bike!"

"Why yes it is, it is my wife's bike. What gay pirate did you borrow that one from?"
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:52 PM   #69
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Had a GL1800, it was a comfy rocket ship. Rattled on dirt roads. Heavy
Got a KTM690, go anywhere, seat not comfy. Light
Got a GSA1200, powerful and comfy, pack everything, go almost everywhere, heavy.
KTM350-500 are all within about 10 lbs of each other.
Long rides I take the Bimmer
Short technical rides, take the Katoom.
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:12 PM   #70
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but the z rex and gold wing make for a better story
Of course! It was fun, too - just sloooooow to avoid breaking off that ridiculous oil sump on the Rex (or getting trapped under a half-ton GL)

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Old 02-07-2014, 04:28 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by scootrboi View Post
1500cc HD tourer
[...]
I have missed the boat on large motorcycles, it seems.
There are large motorcycles and there are large motorcycles. A Panigale is considered a large motorcycle as well and it's something completely different than a HD tourer.
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Old 02-07-2014, 10:49 AM   #72
Bud Tugly
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So much of this depends on where you ride, and that's why we'll never all agree. If you live where there's a lot of high speed multi-lane roads and your off-roading consists of mostly gravel roads or wide open spaces then big is good. OTOH folks whose riding involves things like boulder-strewn single track, twisty trails through thick woods, deep mud, soft sand, etc. and rarely go on roads other than quiet secondary highways are going to favor small and light unless they are so talented that they can horse a big bike through that stuff.

Dual sports in the 350-650cc range come close to being the perfect compromise but the drawback for many folks is that they are only mediocre at doing things like single track or long freeway trips. That's why we each may need at least 3 bikes: a big long-range powerhouse, a nice light woods-weapon, and then a compromise bike for the times you just want to meander.
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Old 02-07-2014, 12:36 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Bud Tugly View Post
So much of this depends on where you ride, and that's why we'll never all agree. If you live where there's a lot of high speed multi-lane roads and your off-roading consists of mostly gravel roads or wide open spaces then big is good. OTOH folks whose riding involves things like boulder-strewn single track, twisty trails through thick woods, deep mud, soft sand, etc. and rarely go on roads other than quiet secondary highways are going to favor small and light unless they are so talented that they can horse a big bike through that stuff.

Dual sports in the 350-650cc range come close to being the perfect compromise but the drawback for many folks is that they are only mediocre at doing things like single track or long freeway trips. That's why we each may need at least 3 bikes: a big long-range powerhouse, a nice light woods-weapon, and then a compromise bike for the times you just want to meander.
Yeah, this is a lot of what it comes down to. Everyone wants something different, and has different preferences. that's why there are so many bikes on the market, and why we all ride different ones.

I have a small bike and a big bike, and I've done trips and singletrack on both. I'm the kind of person who gets a huge kick out of taking vehicles to inappropriate places, so even though it's heavy and can be a struggle, I love taking the 950 trail riding. And I'm not really that great of a rider, either. Other people hate taking big bikes off road, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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Old 02-07-2014, 01:35 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Wraith Rider View Post
No. The bigger bike needs more force to be controlled. That's all. In everything else it's equal. (If both bikes follow the same concept and are equally well made of course.)
No. If bigger means heavier, then the heavier bike΄s tyres will need to have more grip than a lighter bike, to be able to go around a turn as fast. And if bigger means bigger engine displacement, then forces created by engine rotation are bigger, means the bike won΄t change direction as easily. So, a heavy bike with a very large engine, won΄t go around the bends very quickly regardless of who΄s piloting it.
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Old 02-07-2014, 02:17 PM   #75
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No. If bigger means heavier, then the heavier bike΄s tyres will need to have more grip than a lighter bike, to be able to go around a turn as fast. And if bigger means bigger engine displacement, then forces created by engine rotation are bigger, means the bike won΄t change direction as easily. So, a heavy bike with a very large engine, won΄t go around the bends very quickly regardless of who΄s piloting it.
Even with no weight difference, no power difference, no other differences at all, the shorter wheelbase bike will out corner the longer wheelbase one. It will turn sharper, faster with less lean angle, and will change from left to right or right to left much quicker. It's just physics.
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