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Old 02-25-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
Halky OP
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Thumb Help with new bike

Hey there, I've been lurking around here for months and I decided to pick your brains a bit. I'm getting my licence soon, I already know how to ride and have been riding for some time with a couple of different bikes but I don't really consider myself an experienced rider. I haven't ridden for years now so for all intents and purposes lets just say I'm a noob.

So, I'm looking for a bike that'll work as a commuter but one that will be able to handle A LOT of two up riding both in the city as well as in long travels/touring. Considering this will be my only means of transportation I would prefer something reliable. Budget is an issue since I can't afford to spend much. 2000eur. will be pushing it, since the rest of the budget will be spent on serious gear both for me and my fiancee. Also, mpg is also an issue, along with safety, considering my daily commute will be about 45-50 miles to and from work.

Now, the main bike I'm considering within my budget is an early 90's transalp 600. Seems steady enough, I can handle the weight and height and it's not really scary fast (pretty tame, actually), quite an evenly rounded motorcycle. I'm also looking at some 1999-2003/4 aprilia pegasos but the thumper thing isn't really ideal for long travels/commutes, plus the air protection left me wanting more after 60-70mph. Which is probably its safest riding limit. Same goes for the 650 beemers. I'd really prefer a v-strom 650 to be honest but they go way over my budget. I considered a caponord 1000 or an earlier v-strom 1000 that I can find within my budget but I dismissed those quickly since I don't think a liter bike is a wise choice with my experience (or lack thereof). Let me also say that speed and acceleration doesn't really concern me, I just feel I need the power for the two up and the highways.

I'm 5'10, about 180pounds but it seems I'm not that inseam challenged at 33.4 inches barefoot and I could flatfoot the transalp and handling that kind of weight at a stop seemed effortless, couldn't understand why some people considered them heavy/tippy. I've ridden standards that felt (and were) much heavier. Still, I'd prefer something that I can flatfoot, although I'm kinda set on a DS (albeit a more road oriented one) to standars, cruisers (extremely uncomfortable) and god forbid sportbikes. Please, do not suggest a ninja 250! Also, the KLRs are too tall for me and I don't feel comfortable riding a bike I can't flatfoot, let alone handle a passenger's added weight on tippy toes.

Any input will be immensely appreciated, and sorry for the long post, just wanted to provide all the necessary info.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:33 AM   #2
fastdadio
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^^^^^ Too long, didn't read it.^^^^^ Get a Kawasaki KLR 650.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fastdadio View Post
^^^^^ Too long, didn't read it.^^^^^ Get a Kawasaki KLR 650.
Oh come on, it's not that big, try it!

Thanks but KLRs are too tall for me, that was somewhere in the tldr post.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #4
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Pending on availability find a good used Concours or Triumph Trophy. Good commuters, can do two up with your stuff and and friendly enough for a rider returning to two wheels. Prices can be real reasonable. Concours reliability is excellent.... Trophy too if you find a well cared for example.

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Old 02-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Scott in Shoreview View Post
Pending on availability find a good used Concours or Triumph Trophy. Good commuters, can do two up with your stuff and and friendly enough for a rider returning to two wheels. Prices can be real reasonable. Concours reliability is excellent.... Trophy too if you find a well cared for example.

Scott in Shoreview
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Thanks for the answer! Sadly, over here I can't find either of those bikes. Concourses are extremely rare and as for the trophy I don't think it was ever imported here. Only viable (budget and availability wise) triumphs are older tigers and I think they might be a tad too tall. Even if that's not the case I can't say that I'm really impressed with the ones I found...
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:56 AM   #6
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BMW r1200r? Reliable and strong enough for two up touring. Upright position as well. Gas mileage is pretty good and prices for used models are doable (a little more premium price than other light tourers of the same year). I like this bike as well and would consider bringing one home if the right one becomes available later this year. My Suzuki is showing its age...

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Old 02-25-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Scott in Shoreview View Post
BMW r1200r? Reliable and strong enough for two up touring. Upright position as well. Gas mileage is pretty good and prices for used models are doable (a little more premium price than other light tourers of the same year). I like this bike as well and would consider bringing one home if the right one becomes available later this year. My Suzuki is showing its age...

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'79 Suzuki GS550
It just so happens that the BMW is one of the bikes I regularly drool over but apart from them being quite expensive (close to 5000 euros used) (scratch that, I meant the GS1200. The R I simply dislike!) I must admit I'm still kinda scared of them, just as I am of similar liter and beyond bikes. I don't wanna get in trouble and most importantly I don't want my fiancee to get hurt because of my skills not being quite up there for such a big engined bike. That's why I dismissed other literbikes that would surely be a lot more comfortable than a 650 as well. Plus, another con to the BMW is the fees, insurance, maintenance etc. I gotta pay. Might as well go with a car, eh? What can I say, I'm a poor s.o.b.!

Halky screwed with this post 02-25-2013 at 12:15 PM
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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Another bike I like the looks and theory of is the Honda NT700V or the Deauville in Europe. Problem here was it as an 11K 650 motorcycle with small luggage. Performance is adequate but may be challenged if you really load it down with two people and all your stuff. As a daily commuter it would be great. Not a rocket by any means. I've sat on them and they fit my 5"8" frame perfectly. We no longer can get them as we are now offered the NC700X which I like as well.


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Old 02-25-2013, 01:47 PM   #9
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I think you are on the right track with the Transalp. They are very rare here in the USA, so I don't have personal experience with one. I do currently own a Honda XL600R, and have owned a bunch of Honda thumpers from 185 to 250cc. Reliability=Honda.

You might think about a bigger Transalp too. From what I hear, they aren't horsepower monsters, so even a 1000 will be manageable. My XL600 has around 40 horsepower, and isn't quite enough power for 2-up riding over high mountain passes of 3000 meters. It struggles and wallows around with my wife and I as we outweigh the bike (we are both a bit larger than you). The two cylinder 600 will probably be a bit better, but something to think about anyway.

Good luck shopping!
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Scott in Shoreview View Post
Another bike I like the looks and theory of is the Honda NT700V or the Deauville in Europe. Problem here was it as an 11K 650 motorcycle with small luggage. Performance is adequate but may be challenged if you really load it down with two people and all your stuff. As a daily commuter it would be great. Not a rocket by any means. I've sat on them and they fit my 5"8" frame perfectly. We no longer can get them as we are now offered the NC700X which I like as well.


Scott in Shoreview
'79 Suzuki GS550
Well once again such a nice (although a little bulky judging from the pictures) motorcycle that we don't seem to have here... Seems all I can find are the transalps and the lovely but uncomfortably (for me) taller africa twins. Sorry if I'm coming off a bit eclectic but considering my limited budget and the limited number of bike models we get down here there's not much of a choice really...


Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
I think you are on the right track with the Transalp. They are very rare here in the USA, so I don't have personal experience with one. I do currently own a Honda XL600R, and have owned a bunch of Honda thumpers from 185 to 250cc. Reliability=Honda.

You might think about a bigger Transalp too. From what I hear, they aren't horsepower monsters, so even a 1000 will be manageable. My XL600 has around 40 horsepower, and isn't quite enough power for 2-up riding over high mountain passes of 3000 meters. It struggles and wallows around with my wife and I as we outweigh the bike (we are both a bit larger than you). The two cylinder 600 will probably be a bit better, but something to think about anyway.

Good luck shopping!
Well over here there's an overabundance of transalps (a dime a dozen would be a understatement, actually!) and reliability is indeed what they're famed for. Unfortunately there's only the 600 model that I can afford and then a more recent 650 which admittedly didn't seem much more powerful to me. Perhaps I'm mistaken... I know of no other 1000cc hondas apart from the quite affordable varaderos, which I have considered (despite their kinda bland looks) but then we come to the argument that perhaps a 1000 might be too much bike...

Do you think it would be wiser for me, in the long run, to try and bump up my budget and get something more powerful and recent and more... well, "competent" if you will, or will I be fine on an older but still proven reliable workhorse like the TA? It might be harder obtaining it at first but if it'll serve me better in the long run I could probably manage with some payments or something.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to help, much appreciated. :)
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Halky View Post
Well over here there's an overabundance of transalps (a dime a dozen would be a understatement, actually!) and reliability is indeed what they're famed for. Unfortunately there's only the 600 model that I can afford and then a more recent 650 which admittedly didn't seem much more powerful to me. Perhaps I'm mistaken... I know of no other 1000cc hondas apart from the quite affordable varaderos, which I have considered (despite their kinda bland looks) but then we come to the argument that perhaps a 1000 might be too much bike...

Do you think it would be wiser for me, in the long run, to try and bump up my budget and get something more powerful and recent and more... well, "competent" if you will, or will I be fine on an older but still proven reliable workhorse like the TA? It might be harder obtaining it at first but if it'll serve me better in the long run I could probably manage with some payments or something.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to help, much appreciated. :)
I never advocate going into debt if you don't have to. That money would be better spent on good rider protection, especially for your lady.

I didn't realize the larger Transalps were made so recently. Scratch that idea. The 1000 Varadero does have about the same horsepower as my Aprilia Dorsoduro, but weighs about 1/3 more. That should tame the power to a nice level for you, as well as being a great 2-up bike. That may give poor fuel efficiency, though. You should at least research them before dismissing it.

Comparing the weight vs. power numbers to my XL600R, in combination with your lighter weight, the 600 Transalp will do better than mine 2-up. It is also meant for two, where my bike is meant for desert enduro racing 1-up.The mountain passes I was describing are very steep and high altitude. I think the 600 would be fine too.
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
I never advocate going into debt if you don't have to. That money would be better spent on good rider protection, especially for your lady.

I didn't realize the larger Transalps were made so recently. Scratch that idea. The 1000 Varadero does have about the same horsepower as my Aprilia Dorsoduro, but weighs about 1/3 more. That should tame the power to a nice level for you, as well as being a great 2-up bike. That may give poor fuel efficiency, though. You should at least research them before dismissing it.

Comparing the weight vs. power numbers to my XL600R, in combination with your lighter weight, the 600 Transalp will do better than mine 2-up. It is also meant for two, where my bike is meant for desert enduro racing 1-up.The mountain passes I was describing are very steep and high altitude. I think the 600 would be fine too.
Well either way gear for both of us would be different money set aside, I'm definitely not overlooking that aspect! As for the 650 TA's, the change happened in 2000-2001 I believe, but still some 650's go a little over my budget and I don't really see the point considering they're not THAT advanced. If I'm not mistaken they still use carbs and don't have ABS or other gadgetry. Just a more recent model with a slightly more powerful engine due the 50cc bump in displacement.

I had a chance to just sit on a varadero before and I must admit, despite it being quite a comfortable bike (well, just sitting, didn't get to ride it) it seemed a little hard to handle. Much harder than the TA, for sure. Plus mileage, taxes, insurance etc. get bumped too, and factoring in the fact that I doubt I really need a literbike... I don't know...

Still, I'll get the GS someday!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:53 AM   #13
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Gen I Concours

Edit: just saw they are rare across the pond.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:00 AM   #14
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I had a new Gen 1 Concours many years ago. I hated a few things about it. The riding position was very uncomfortable with your upper body weight on your wrists. The engine had enough vibes to put your hands to sleep in short order. Plus it was a very top heavy beast. I would not recommend one to a new rider. I traded mine after one year of ownership. Some of its shortcomings could have probably been reduced with modifications but this was before the internet was popular so I didn't have access to a lot of information.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:02 AM   #15
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Thanks guys, but either way I can't find a single one over here. Literally not one. Only relatively similar kawasaki's I can find are KLXs and they're way over budget. Other than that, we're drowning in Z's over here!
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