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Old 10-13-2011, 06:15 AM   #31
BSUCardinalfan
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The standard tiger 800 would be my choice. I had almost the same requirements as you when I was shopping this summer, and was within two days of buying a white one when my lovely wife decided that instead of riding with me, she wanted to learn to ride her own bike.

So I got to start shopping again, and after looking at the various 'naked' bikes out there (monster, bmw, er-6n, etc) I ended up with a white street triple, which I freakin' LOOOOOVE. wife got her license in august and we are currently shopping for her 'first bike'....provided she can make up her mind what she wants. (I would have bought her a $2000 ninja 250 two months ago if it was up to me, but...women.)


back to the tiger. tame under 5k rpm, great above that. comfortable. accessories available. rides like a sport bike when you want it to.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:00 AM   #32
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Thanks for the great feedback everyone! There are quite a few bikes I hadn't thought of including (or had forgotten about), or hadn't known about at all. I'm actually putting together a spreadsheet of all the options so I can keep track of specs and my thoughts after I get a chance to see them in person (and hopefully test-ride!). (The fact that I'm putting together a spreadsheet on this might tell you a little too much about my rather anal-retentive personality though... )

On to some more specific responses:

Price & background: Price definitely matters, but I'm also trying to find a bike I can be happy with for a long time, and not sell because I don't like something about it in a few years. Had my financial circumstances in the past year been different, I might have kept the FJR as a two-up/long distance bike and gone for something sporty & solo (like one of the newer 1100 Monsters) to take out when I'm feeling "squidly". Since I'm buying a new bike that will be good for two up, and I do have a fun solo toy, If the bike leans a little more toward two up comfort than sport, I can live with that. I know there will have to be compromises! There's no such thing as a bike that has the weight and handling of a 600 supersport, with the torque of a large displacement engine and comfort of a tourer.

Motor Types: I've owned a parallel twin, a couple v-twins and a big torquey inline 4. I definitely like torque, and I'm more fond of v-twin type noises than I am of inline 4. The FJR was pretty fun though when you hammered on that big 1300. Sounded like a turbine winding up in 1st and 2nd gear, and boy did it go! So I'm not going to rule any engine out without trying it first. I love the idea of the boxer, especially with the ease of valve maintenance, but that might not pan out in reality once I ride one.

Height & Reaching the ground: My inseam is somewhere between 30 to 32, depends on the pants... I could pretty much flat-foot the FJR, and have enough miles under my belt that I should be okay with a bike that I can get only one foot down on, but would prefer to be able to at least tip toe both sides. So I'll have to sit on all these and see.

Horsepower: I'm definitely not limiting myself to less than 100 HP! Igor (my 99' Monster 900) only has the small valves, and has a custom 2 into 1 exhaust that robs a little of the top end HP, is probably only about 65 HP peak. More than enough HP for just me acting foolish on the road. I targeted "around" 100 HP because with a heavier bike, and when carrying a passenger and luggage, I still want to be able to pass with authority. Peak HP might even be less important than decent torque in that case. The FJR definitely had more than I needed, but not necessarily more than I would use from time to time.(Where's the smiley riding off on a wheelie when you need it?!)

KTM SMT - Interesting bike, biggest issue is I'm not sure there's a dealer that carries KTM streetbikes within a "reasonable" distance of me. I think all the dealers who might carry one are an hour+ away. How hard is the maintenance on these? Otherwise, definitely one I never would have thought of on my own, and I need to find one to look at. Anyone near Portland ME with one?

Kawasaki Ninja 1000 - I love love LOVE the looks of these, especially the nuclear green 2012. I worry the passenger seat will be too little, and my girlfriend has said that she will need some form of backrest to lean on (I'm planning top case) for trips of any length. I think the factory options are for side cases OR a top case... Still going to take a look, because it definitely calls to me.

Tiger 800 or 1050 - Both seem interesting... I'm sadly turned off by the factory boxy luggage options for the 800, but I suspect there might be some aftermarket alternatives that would look nice. I look forward to getting some test rides on both.

Multistrada 1000DS - I completely forgot about this one! When I was looking at bikes before getting the FJR, the older Multi was something I sat on and liked, but my ex-wife didn't like the wideness of the rear subframe, her lower legs were too far apart to be comfy. The girlfriend might not have the same complaint. Looks are somewhat odd, but it has decent weather protection without being too much.

"Bandit" GSX1250FA - Need to look harder at this one. 567# curb weight had me turned off, as it sounds a lot like the FJR, which was just a little too heavy. Maybe the more minimal bodywork and a lower COG will help though. The price is certainly nice! I'm surprised that it doesn't make 100 HP (rear wheel), but I like torquey motors, so it might be fun. Wish it came in a color other than black (to be overly nit-picky).

Keep 'em coming and I'll post my thoughts once I start looking. Don't see being able to pull the trigger until next year though, so it might be a while.

Thanks again all!
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:03 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlecMyrddyn View Post
//
"Bandit" GSX1250FA - Need to look harder at this one. 567# curb weight had me turned off, as it sounds a lot like the FJR, which was just a little too heavy. Maybe the more minimal bodywork and a lower COG will help though. The price is certainly nice! I'm surprised that it doesn't make 100 HP (rear wheel), but I like torquey motors, so it might be fun. Wish it came in a color other than black (to be overly nit-picky).//
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Quote:
As a sports bike the FA is hardly a GSX-R, weighing in at 257kg (567lb) with a full tank of fuel. Not VFR heavy then but in the same ballpark as the K1300S, which makes 70 per cent more power than the GSX’s modest 97bhp. In that light it looks hefty, but look at the torque: 81lb.ft (11.2kgm, 110Nm) at a subterranean 3,700rpm. That’s GSX-R1000 torque at a third of the revs, or more relevantly, more grunt than BMW or VFR at that level.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:31 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlecMyrddyn View Post
My inseam is somewhere between 30 to 32, depends on the pants...
IN that case, I'd recommend the pants that give you the extra 2 inches

It looks like you've assembled a pretty good list. Similar to Graemsay I'm partial to the R1200R. 6000 miles so far on my '11 and very happy with my purchase.

A few thoughts... you've mentioned the 'boxy' cases looking ugly on the GS and the Tiger. You could substitute Givi for a 'rounder' shape but if you can't get past it you'll always shudder a bit inside when you look in the driveway and see it.

Personally, I like the look and capacity of the BMW R cases, but in my opinion (and experiences) the side-load is a PITA - both at the campsite and road-side rummaging.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:24 AM   #35
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:39 AM   #36
AlecMyrddyn OP
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Quote:
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IN that case, I'd recommend the pants that give you the extra 2 inches

It looks like you've assembled a pretty good list. Similar to Graemsay I'm partial to the R1200R. 6000 miles so far on my '11 and very happy with my purchase.

A few thoughts... you've mentioned the 'boxy' cases looking ugly on the GS and the Tiger. You could substitute Givi for a 'rounder' shape but if you can't get past it you'll always shudder a bit inside when you look in the driveway and see it.

Personally, I like the look and capacity of the BMW R cases, but in my opinion (and experiences) the side-load is a PITA - both at the campsite and road-side rummaging.
Time to put on my big-boy pants so I can go riding!

I had side-load cases on the FJR, I'm used to them. Liner bags helped a lot in making them easier to deal with. I agree that the panniers on the R1200R are pretty nice looking.

I'm definitely going to keep Givi luggage in mind as I look at bikes. Might be a better/cheaper alternative to factory, might also appeal to hat I want for appearance better as well. Good tip to remember!

How the bike looks isn't top of my list, but you are right, I want to look out and be inspired by my ride, not be disappointed.

Thanks. I definitely have to get a test ride on an R as soon as I can.

-Alec
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:00 PM   #37
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If you can handle the 32" seat height the Moto Guzzi Stelvio(Dual sport) would be your perfect ride, second with a lower seat height would be the Moto Guzzi Norge(Sport tourer). Both have excellent passenger accommodations and you have some good dealers in NE.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:19 PM   #38
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R1200GS with low suspension and low seat option. Just traded in my F800ST and am really loving the '11 GS.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:02 PM   #39
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One more idea

Although you rules out a Triumph Sprint because of the low bars, they have the Sprint GT which has a more neutral position or you can put Helibars adjustable height risers on and set them for however you feel each time you ride. That bike is awesome for covering distance comfortably, but not quite as nimble at the 800 Tiger street version. You could add Givi aftermarket bags which don't have that "aluminum box" look to them.

Have fun shopping

Paul
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:19 PM   #40
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If I was looking for a pure street bike, I'd not miss test riding some version of the Suzuki SV650, to include the Gladius. I also would check out the versions of the fine Kawasaki Ninja/Versys/ER6N 650cc twin. As a solo only ride now, I could be quite happy with a lighter agile n650.

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Old 10-13-2011, 08:58 PM   #41
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Seriously, Ninja 10000! Just do it!
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:54 AM   #42
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So I tried to go see the Ninja 1000 this weekend, but the dealer didn't have any!

It wasn't a wasted trip though. I learned that the GF was actually fairly comfortable on the back of the Monster, and it does pretty well two up. She guessed she'd probably be able to go about an hour on the back before needing a break.

We did get a chance to sit on the Z1000, I loved the seating position, so I can only imagine that the Ninja 1000 will be great for me. The Z1000 passenger seat on the other hand is very small and hard, and she was not pleased with it.

We also sat on the new GSX1250FA. Definitely feels lighter than the FJR, seating position seemed good for me, but it was kinda uninspiring. The GF wasn't pleased with how far back the passenger seat was from me.

Surprisingly, when I asked about test riding the Ninja when they got more in, the dealer took my info and said they'd call me to set one up. Seems they might be softening their stance on no test rides. It probably won't be until the spring that a test ride will be possible, unless I can find another Kawi dealership nearby that has one to try out before it gets too cold. They did let me know that they won't be stocking the ABS version, so it would be a special order.

The GF picked up her very own jacket, which should help a lot with her comfort and safety. In looking for her own helmet (instead of using an older helmet of mine) we discovered that like me, she also has an Arai head. Nothing else fit securely without hotspots... Would be nice if a $200 helmet would fit either of us nicely, instead of having to go $450+.

So I think the Ninja has moved up to #1 on the list. (Huge thanks to all those who suggested it, I probably never would have known about it without your suggestions.)

Pros:
  1. It's very affordable.
  2. It's damn sexy.
  3. It looks to be amazingly fun to ride.
  4. Between Givi and SW-Motech there are options for running side & top cases with no issues (not the cleanest installs compared to some bikes, but not horrible either).
Concerns:
  1. Will the passenger seating actually be comfortable enough? Corbin makes a replacement for both rider and passenger seats if the stock seat isn't padded enough, Sargent & Baldwin only make rider seats, and new covers for the passenger seat. From pictures and the few two-up ride reports I've read, it sounds like it's comfier than it looks in the pictures, but only time will tell.
  2. The Alternator output is only 336 watts... I was hoping to have a bike that could run at least heated grips, a GPS and heated vests for both of us in cooler weather. Really surprised that they skimped here on a Sport Tourer. To be fair, I've never run heated gear so far, but was hoping to have the option on the next bike I picked up. Anyone know how many watts are actually available for powering extras on this bike?
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:45 AM   #43
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:43 PM   #44
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If you can only own one bike and want to do everything ... there is only one bike.
How to change oil and filter on KTM 990 Adventure - part 1 of 3.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:13 PM   #45
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You don't remove the oil from the bike, you remove the bike from the oil.




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