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Old 08-13-2012, 02:08 AM   #76
Scott_F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittty View Post
That's why I like the Iron 883 though, it doesn't scream Harley. It's a classic, but without that blinged out chrome "biker" image, which is not me.
"Image" is what you make of it. You don't have to confine yourself to a pigeonhole unless you want to. The whole "Harley thing is much overblown, anyway. We all get the same bugs in our teeth.

I don't own a Harley and don't expect to. I have ridden a few, curious about that very question, why do they have such a following? They build good bikes, but so do Yamaha and Honda and Kawasaki, for half the price. I was happy to get back on my V-Star, every time. It is less buzzy and doesn't distract me with the obvious "rattle, whir, click, click" of the mechanical noise from the pushrods, which are outside the crankcase. When I ask about it, I'm told that "Harley guys" like that, and expect it. Whatever. Other than that, its a very nice bike, just not for me.

My Yamaha V-Star 1100 Silverado is a "classic" bike, rather than "retro". It is sorta both, actually. It's 615 lbs before any of the chrome, modified with new pipes and air and rejetted to produce about 66hp at the back wheel. It's a very nice bike on the highway, although the front is somewhat mushy compared to my Vulcan. The Burgman goes through the twisties better than either.

My wife rides a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT, also dressed and chromed out and with a Stage 3 kit, 58 hp driving a smaller pulley to shift the torque band. It is 540 lbs and produces 58 hp after mods, again less than 10 lbs/hp. The smaller that number, the quicker the bike goes, and this is a very quick and very fast Vulcan, as Vulcans go. The Vulcan 900 and the Honda 750 Shadow are touted as the best cruiser-style bike for a woman, in newspeak "a smaller, lighter rider". My wife handles it easily, whereas the Burgman is sometimes still a big bike for her. She is 5'9, 130 lbs.

The Burgmans are 650 Executives, "twist-and-go" bikes more like the Jetsons than Easy Rider. They are immensely comfortable on the highway, practical and surprisingly capable. But they are not "retro" at all. It is also big --- as long and about as heavy as my V-Star. We tour on them, sometimes two days and sometimes two weeks, ranging as far as 3500 miles quite comfortably.

It's whatever your style is.

The Harley has a style as well, reminiscent of a street legal rat rod. In cruiser terms it is a "custom" rather than a "classic" and all the Japanese makers sell them that way. The latter comes with a full set of hardware including a windshield and light bar, passenger seat and sissy bar, luggage rack, saddlebags, and generally lots of chrome. The former is stripped down to the minimum, usually flat black, normally with short pipes and fenders, custom wheels, etc.

The first thing to know about cruisers, whatever style, is that they are never finished. Most people start off by replacing the seat, as a matter of fact. A nice one is $700 and it goes on from there, adding stuff and improving stuff and spending money on style. This is not as much of a problem with sports bikes or scooters. Quadrophenia.is out of style, except in Manila.

Quote:
And I love my Stella to death! She's not going anywhere, and will remain my around town bike for sure. I don't know if I'll ever do a long trip on a bike, I live just outside of NYC and the highways can get pretty messy when you get near the city. I foresee highway riding being limited to visiting friends a half hour away, that sort of riding.
Keep your Stella. We started out with a pair of 125 Vinos. We still have one that we use in town. You can't beat a small scooter in the city unless you're confronted with urban speedways, er, freeways. Whatever you choose, make sure it's really the bike you want before you get too invested in it.

Ride several bikes, different bikes, including a "custom" V-Star 650, Honda 750 Shadow and 900 Vulcan. Compare what you get with what they cost. One will fit you better than the others. Get the wheels you want and then make whatever other changes you want to make the bike your own.

A guy told me once about how great it was, he spent $23,000 on this wonderful Harley and then the dealer gave him a coupon for $2000 in Harley-branded gear and apparel. Marketing genius --- charge more for the bike than other makers, than get him to advertise for free and make him feel good about it. Go figger.

Riding a bike is not about riding in traffic. Riding a bike is about riding on the open road. Once you have a bike that will go on the highway, your needs may change. The suggestion to rent a bike is a good one. You might want to prowl craigslist and other online classifieds. Buy a used bike and ride it for a year, then sell it when you are ready to go upscale.

Happy shopping
Scott Fraser
Calgary
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:12 PM   #77
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Well, I see it like this... You can get a Honda Accord loaded up with the bells and whistles for a lot less than you'd pay for a BMW with the same features. The Honda will probably require nearly nothing and any parts and work will be cheap, however the BMW will be way more satisfying to drive and not feel like an appliance. It's not the image or even the badge, it's the soul, it's intangible.

I can't own something I don't love. I don't have a desire to own a Japanese bike (unless vintage, which isn't in the cards) and I don't feel like buying something to try it out, knowing I won't love it. I test drive things as a technicality, I know what I want before the test drive, if I fall in love, the test drive doesn't mean anything, it's a done deal.

I'm not saying other people don't love them, I know they do. I know people who love Toyotas and Nissans too. But for me, I just can't, it's not me.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:16 PM   #78
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" Me, I like quiet; I like smooth. I like fast, too; but the other two are as important" You hit the nail right on the head. When it comes to vehicles, cars as well as bikes, smooth and quiet are the last things I'm looking for. I like rough and loud. To me it is part of the experience of operating a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Fast is good too, but not usable on the road if you want to keep your license. I want to hear and feel that engine, not be insulated from it. I also like to feel the tires on the road, so I am not into mushy suspension. In short, I want a MACHINE.

I started working on cars and bikes, and even tractors, at a very young age. I learned to love mechanical things, especially the sounds, feelings, and smells associated with them. I grew up on a farm, and started riding and driving around age 8. The guy that owned the farm had an old '40s model John Deere Model B, also known as a "poppin johnny". It was a 2 cylinder gas engine with a huge external flywheel. No electric starter on that thing, you started it by going through a very precise drill of setting everything just right, then grabbing a hold of that huge flywheel and spinning it by hand. If and only if you got everything right, it would start up on the second or third try. If not, you could spin that flywheel all day and it wouldn't even fire. I quickly developed an affection for the thing, and learned how to start it. The foreman said I was the youngest kid he had ever seen that could start one. They didn't use it much, it was an antique even back then. If I paid for the gas, they let me drive it all over, hours at the time. It sounded a lot like a Harley, but with a steadier idle. And when you opened the throttle, it would go POP POP POP POP and take off. Even in the highest gear, it was slow, but you could pull trees out of the ground with it. It had a spring seat that bounced up and down, and I just loved the feel and the sound of that engine. If I still lived on a farm, I'd own one today, just to play with.



But a Harley comes pretty close to the sound and feel, and you can ride it on the road. Even a new Harley is a bit too refined for me, I would prefer a kickstarter and a carb, but they are the closest thing available to what I want. They did rubber mount the engine in the Sportster in '04, which makes the bike shake a little less, but at idle the engine is still jumping around all over the place.


I definitely recommend trying a Harley before making a decision. There is just nothing out there that has the sound and feel of a Harley. With louder pipes, even the little 883 sounds just like a big twin. The key to that sound and vibration is the long stroke 45 degree single crankpin engine. The 883 has the same stroke as the 1200. When the Japanese started copying the Harley look, their engineers resorted to offset crankpins to smooth out the idle, and make them a lot smoother. Sometimes they even added counterbalancers. And they didn't sell. Finally the Japanese learned what people who bought v-twin cruisers wanted, dumped the balancers, and went with single crankpins, just like Harley. Now their bikes started selling. And they sold well for a long time, up until just a few years ago, when the price of Harleys, especially used ones, started coming down, and the price of new Japanese bikes went through the roof. Now people could have the real thing for the same or less than an Asian copy, and Harley sales picked up, both new and used. The only place the Japanese can hold their own anymore is with sportbikes and ATVs.


Another aspect of Harleys that I like, is that they can be easily and cheaply rebuilt, and ridden forever, just like the Stella. It is almost impossible to find parts for a Japanese bike much more than 10 years old. They were designed to be disposable, to be used up and scrapped, and replaced with the latest greatest thing, which never seems to be as good as what came before it.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:22 AM   #79
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my w650 with lower bars:



Yes it has lots of chrome which, like you, I don't like. Currently the fenders are off being powder coated then I'll paint them the same metallic silver as the gas tank. I might wrap the headers...trying to tone it down to my liking/taste. I redid the seat and got rid of the chrome signals with some smaller brushed aluminum ones. The only thing that I want to pop on this bike is the motor.

Stock it rides/handles kinda wierd with the cruiser style bars but once lower bars are put on it becomes a whole another bike. At first I was not happy with the ride/feel/looks of the stock bars but once I put lower bars on man what a difference!

As far as how it rides and feels. It rides/feels just like an old bike. Little smoother then the old Triumphs because of the counter balancer in the motor. What you get is the reliability of a japanese bike with the ride/feel and looks of a vintage British bike. The w650 rides/feels/looks more like an old Triumph then the new Triumphs.

And remember it ain't a real bike unless it has a kick start! I normally use the electric but when around other "bikers" I'll always kickstart to rub it in their faces.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:53 AM   #80
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That W650 is Beautiful.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:11 AM   #81
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We had one of those John Deere tractors. It was a 30 something model. It started on gas and ran on kerosene.

What gives a Harley its distinctive sound is the rods being together on a single crank pin. They both go up and down at the same time. As the crank rotates 360 degrees the cylinders are separated by 45 degrees so one cylender fires 45 degrees before the other one. That gives the Harley its loping idle and sound.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:35 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBinChe View Post
my w650 with lower bars:



Yes it has lots of chrome which, like you, I don't like. Currently the fenders are off being powder coated then I'll paint them the same metallic silver as the gas tank. I might wrap the headers...trying to tone it down to my liking/taste. I redid the seat and got rid of the chrome signals with some smaller brushed aluminum ones. The only thing that I want to pop on this bike is the motor.

Stock it rides/handles kinda wierd with the cruiser style bars but once lower bars are put on it becomes a whole another bike. At first I was not happy with the ride/feel/looks of the stock bars but once I put lower bars on man what a difference!

As far as how it rides and feels. It rides/feels just like an old bike. Little smoother then the old Triumphs because of the counter balancer in the motor. What you get is the reliability of a japanese bike with the ride/feel and looks of a vintage British bike. The w650 rides/feels/looks more like an old Triumph then the new Triumphs.

And remember it ain't a real bike unless it has a kick start! I normally use the electric but when around other "bikers" I'll always kickstart to rub it in their faces.
That sounds like it's going to be pretty.

Please post some photos here on the W650 thread when it's done. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=514600
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:13 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
" Me, I like quiet; I like smooth. I like fast, too; but the other two are as important" You hit the nail right on the head. When it comes to vehicles, cars as well as bikes, smooth and quiet are the last things I'm looking for. I like rough and loud. To me it is part of the experience of operating a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Fast is good too, but not usable on the road if you want to keep your license. I want to hear and feel that engine, not be insulated from it. I also like to feel the tires on the road, so I am not into mushy suspension. In short, I want a MACHINE.

I started working on cars and bikes, and even tractors, at a very young age. I learned to love mechanical things, especially the sounds, feelings, and smells associated with them. I grew up on a farm, and started riding and driving around age 8. The guy that owned the farm had an old '40s model John Deere Model B, also known as a "poppin johnny". It was a 2 cylinder gas engine with a huge external flywheel. No electric starter on that thing, you started it by going through a very precise drill of setting everything just right, then grabbing a hold of that huge flywheel and spinning it by hand. If and only if you got everything right, it would start up on the second or third try. If not, you could spin that flywheel all day and it wouldn't even fire. I quickly developed an affection for the thing, and learned how to start it. The foreman said I was the youngest kid he had ever seen that could start one. They didn't use it much, it was an antique even back then. If I paid for the gas, they let me drive it all over, hours at the time. It sounded a lot like a Harley, but with a steadier idle. And when you opened the throttle, it would go POP POP POP POP and take off. Even in the highest gear, it was slow, but you could pull trees out of the ground with it. It had a spring seat that bounced up and down, and I just loved the feel and the sound of that engine. If I still lived on a farm, I'd own one today, just to play with.



But a Harley comes pretty close to the sound and feel, and you can ride it on the road. Even a new Harley is a bit too refined for me, I would prefer a kickstarter and a carb, but they are the closest thing available to what I want. They did rubber mount the engine in the Sportster in '04, which makes the bike shake a little less, but at idle the engine is still jumping around all over the place.


I definitely recommend trying a Harley before making a decision. There is just nothing out there that has the sound and feel of a Harley. With louder pipes, even the little 883 sounds just like a big twin. The key to that sound and vibration is the long stroke 45 degree single crankpin engine. The 883 has the same stroke as the 1200. When the Japanese started copying the Harley look, their engineers resorted to offset crankpins to smooth out the idle, and make them a lot smoother. Sometimes they even added counterbalancers. And they didn't sell. Finally the Japanese learned what people who bought v-twin cruisers wanted, dumped the balancers, and went with single crankpins, just like Harley. Now their bikes started selling. And they sold well for a long time, up until just a few years ago, when the price of Harleys, especially used ones, started coming down, and the price of new Japanese bikes went through the roof. Now people could have the real thing for the same or less than an Asian copy, and Harley sales picked up, both new and used. The only place the Japanese can hold their own anymore is with sportbikes and ATVs.


Another aspect of Harleys that I like, is that they can be easily and cheaply rebuilt, and ridden forever, just like the Stella. It is almost impossible to find parts for a Japanese bike much more than 10 years old. They were designed to be disposable, to be used up and scrapped, and replaced with the latest greatest thing, which never seems to be as good as what came before it.
Well, we're gonna have to disagree on these things.

Like you; like probably all kids, I liked crude and loud when I was a kid. I had glasspacks on my VW Beetle, fer chrissakes! But I turned on noise and shake earlier; don't know why.

Certainly my SR500 helped. A great bike in many ways, it was a classic-design big thumper; and I found it tiresome with the vibration and all. It probably helped sway me that at the same time I was learning downhill skiiing. Silent...smooth...fast...exhilarating!

I no longer find engine noise, anything but...noise. Probably part of THAT is that for twenty years now I've worked swing-shift, having to sleep out of a normal cycle and often in daytime. A pack of Harleys disturbing the peace while I'm in a struggling half-sleep is not my favorite thing.

And I think a lot of Harley riders and riders in general would admit the same but for their pride. Like I said, I used to ride with two co-workers with their open-pipe Harleys; I had a BMW. I could have beaten them in any speed or twisty test; but where I REALLY beat them was in endurance. They had to gas up more (the computer on one of them helpfully displayed fuel mileage, which was around 38) and get the blood circulating in their backsides MUCH more. And they'd be shaking their arms. And ALWAYS ready to stop for a soda or snack. Gee...do they really LIKE riding?

Anyway...I got old early for my age; and I'm older even by the calendar now. And I was away from riding for many years, having got back into it four years ago. And I no longer have any need - or hope - to impress young women. So a ride with a good muffler and balanced engine, hidden under shrouding, works fine for me.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:07 AM   #84
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I have put 66,000 totally trouble free miles on my modern sewing machine Bonneville. It's heavier than the old Bonnevilles which I never owned because when they were new they kept breaking down. It's as easy to ride as a scooter, I find it comfortable I have ridden 35 hours non stop for an iron butt ride and I have ridden in rain and wind and cool Florida winters. I don't see a Harley sportster as being so versatile though I wish I had $17,000 for a Dyna Switchback in glorious red. I am not a Harley hater.

I owned a Stella and the oil pump broke after 2800 miles and the engine seized. Genuine blamed me! I sold it back to the embarrassed dealer for $1000. It was a mess, bolts nuts and screws came loose, including the rear wheel locknut. How I don't know. Switch boxes lost connections and I spent more time fixing it than riding it. With a top speed of 53 painful miles an hour it was outgunned by anything except a rental scooter in Key West.

I got a Vespa 250 GTS bound and determined to relive my glorious Vespa youth. I am equally a lover of motorcycles and scooters. My first ride 42 years ago was a Vespa 50R. The modern GTS was comfortable fast and totally complex and unreliable. It blew relays for breakfast lunch and dinner. The exhaust joint bearing broke. The rear wheel was impossible to remove, the engine computer kept malfunctioning. The dealer blamed me. I sold it.

Enter the Bonneville, perfect reliability, easy ride which some people deride as a bad thing. Have all the loud pipes you want. I like my neighbors, my hearing and my ability to zip by unnoticed. I'm writing this from the Blue Ridge Mountains where I am spending a week and 2500 miles riding the twisties. I pass Harleys wobbling round corners like plastic breakfast cereal toys. On my heaving overweight pig. It's the inexperienced riders not their super expensive rides.

Now I am crazy enough to be in the market for a P200 Vespa and I might have found a restored model I can afford. I believe like the OP, the best of both worlds is possible. It just takes time money and crappy experiences to find the combo that works for YOU.
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Old 08-15-2012, 08:42 AM   #85
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Conchscooter-

Great write-up. Glad the Triumph is good to you. Always had a soft spot for the brand after my '69 Daytona. Loved that bike. Wish I had it back...

Anyhow, question for you- after your miserable Stella experience and your less than stellar (pun intended) Vespa experience why are you going to get a P200? This isn't meant to be a trick question, as I've got a P200E myself.

I was just curious what you believe will be different/mo' better with a 30 year old P than a more recently built Stella had to offer. (and yes, I do like my P, but have been very open here about it's shortcomings).

Incidently, I can gladly offer up a bit of advice on some hotspot items to be aware of with your new old P if you go that route- just PM me.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:26 AM   #86
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I'm still stuck in the old days, and love it. Back then it took a really special person to ride a motorcycle. Hell, it took a really special person just to start one. and you had to work on them to keep them going. It was said that anyone on a British bike was either a mechanic, or about to become one, possibly in the next few minutes. And that was at least partially true. You had to be really committed to ride a motorcycle. Motorcycles were noisy, oily machines that vibrated like paint shakers. I like the sound and vibration of a Harley, including the mechanical noises. It is after all, a machine.

A Burgman is about as far removed from a motorcycle as it is possible to get. It is basically a modern car on 2 wheels. It sounds and feels like it has an electric motor. It's mostly made out of plastic. And for the price of a Burgman 650, you can almost get a Smart Car, which is a bit more practical, and probably even gets better gas mileage, has A/C, and protection from the weather. I see both as strictly transportation devices, not for fun. Those old vehicles were fun, todays modern ones are mostly drop dead boring, I see nothing wrong with having a newer vehicle for reliable transportation, but for me anyway, they are worthless as toys.

I have owned 3 VW bugs, one was a drag race car, the other 2 were souped up street cars. I never did actually figure out what held the VW engine together, but they sure were fun to work on and drive. They were noisy, vibrated, had quirky handling, very stiff suspension (mine were lowered) barely enough brakes, no A/C, no heater, no creature comforts at all. But what a blast they were to drive. Again, they were real machines, not plastic computers on wheels. Like I said to begin with, it takes a special person to love and enjoy something like that. I'm one of those.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:00 AM   #87
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I have ridden just about every type of bike including bikes made in Japan, USA, Tiawan, Germany, and Italy. Standards, full dress tourers, cruisers, sport bikes, sport touring bikes, Dual sports, Adventure bikes, enduros, MX bikes, and scooters. They all had one thing in common, two wheels and an engine. Some where more fun and exciting to ride than others but they were ALL fun to ride. As far as I am concerned, there are no completely boring bikes, only boring riders.

Having said that, for the OP. Get the bike you really want. The only way to find out if it really is what you want is to ride it for a while. Many years ago I wanted to get the one of the fastest and most exciting bikes available. So I did. I enjoyed it but after a couple of years I realized it wasn't what I really wanted. BUT, I had to get that bike. If I hadn't I would still be wishing I did to this day.

So, get the bike you really want. If it is not the perfect bike, SO WHAT. You will almost certainly enjoy it and eventually you will move on to another bike anyway. The only person who can determine the best bike for you, is YOU.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:26 AM   #88
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All I can say is I played with a Royal Enfield once,
As they say Royal Enfield makes mechanics, not riders.....meaning if you can't wrench, you'll be walking. Even with the new ones.
As for the 883 Iron by HD, I bought one, and after the warranty is up, then that's when the fun will start with the bigger engine, gear changes, maybe even new pipes.

For the money, unless you want to wait for critical parts, go for American made bikes. If you have all the time to wait (2 to 3 months at times) then go foreign.

Besides, the 883 goes for $7999, versus the $5000 to $6000 for the RE.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:34 AM   #89
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You want attention and like scooters? Get an MP3.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:38 AM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyJones View Post
I've had a few big bikes. They're a PITA to hop on for short distances.
One of them is not like the others!



One is fuel injected the others are carburated...

One is a Suzuki, the others are Yamaha...

One is liquid cooled, the others are air cooled...

Two of them are blue... Wait, all three are blue!

That's part of my stable, the scooter and the two bikes I love the most. CBR and SV1000 are missing on that picture...

I actually got the scooter because commuting on them, or riding short distances, is not really practical. They don't fully warm up, batteries do not charge up completely, but most importantly, you don't get to enjoy them while slipping the clutch in stop and go traffic or wrestling the heavy girls in low speed maneuvers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittty View Post
I do really like it, but I don't know if I'm ready for Harley culture lol. I feel like it might be the outcast though. I love old cars, give me a 1946 DeSoto and I'm in heaven. So I'm naturally drawn to older bikes too. Luckily, retro bikes are often essentially new old bikes, not like retro cars which just nod to the original (I drive a New Beetle though and long for a Mini or Fiat)
I loathe cruiser and Harley Davidson culture, I refuse to do the whole gay pirate costume thing...

When I owned a cruiser I avoided other cruisers at all costs! I sold it because I ended up hating the cruiser, too heavy, underpowered, slow, couldn't corner worth a damn, scraped hard parts all over the place, the riding position made me feel like a sail, feet forward means you can't use your legs to raise your butt of the seat when pavement gets rough, etc.

The Cruiser scene was irrelevant to me, I was out there riding, doing my own ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittty View Post
As much as I'd love a more powerful scooter, a twist and go just does NOTHING for me. I can't bring myself to do it.
Your New Beetle or the desired Mini and Fiats are nothing like the originals. The originals were utilitarian cars to get from A to B, comfort was not part of the design considerations. The new retro cars are boutique cars. New Vespa 150/300 is the same to a vintage Vespa than a new Mini is to a real Mini.

I love rowing gears on my other bikes, the 600RR and XT660R require you to shift all the time (for completely different reasons), but riding a twist and go can also be a lot of fun! The beauty of the CVT is always being on the powerband! Other riders on small displacement bikes are surprised by how fast the lowly twist and go Suzuki can be.

Honestly, I think you're in love with an idea of what riding should be like.
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