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Old 10-12-2014, 04:35 AM   #1
rat110 OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Australia
Oddometer: 535
The desire to downsize

I own a 99 VFR800. Great bike, lots of fun and very capable.
However I don't feel like I have a connection with the bike any more. Time to move on I think. However I was thinking of getting something silly like a zx2r or a cbr250rr.

Something I can ring it's neck and not end up in gaol, and cheap to run and insure.

I don't know if I am mad or not, however there is an appeal to owning a small capacity 4 banger and ringing its neck. For what its worth, I think the VFR is too big for me. Im 5'6" and am on tip toes with it.

THe smaller bikes would fit me well. I will need to be doing two, two hour trips on it a week and thats it for commuting. Otherwise it's just for fanging.

Has someone here done this and loved it or hated it? End of the day, if it sucks, I'll flip it and get something else. If I love it, I'll ride its little ass.
If ever there was a place where mother nature said to man fuck you go away, it'd be Australia. -PachmanP.
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:14 AM   #2
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Joined: Jul 2013
Location: E-town, PA
Oddometer: 125
My son has a Suzuki GS500, which although larger displacement than you are talking about, it probably has similar performance, and I have a lot of fun riding it. Unlike my larger bike (KTM 950 SM), when on the 500, I push it to it's limit without being (too) stupid on public roads. I have to be a better rider to get everything out of the bike, not rely on the horse power. I brake later in corners, I shift more often, I have to use correct body position...

I understand your thinking. Good luck with your decision, and let us know what you end up with.
'06 950 SM
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:18 AM   #3
Murphy Slaw
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: Southern Illinois
Oddometer: 1,523
I think many of us are leaning that way, hence the sudden re-emerging market, CB500X, 700 Yamaha, etc.

I'm surprised the G650GS isn't more popular.
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:21 AM   #4
Vertical C
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Sydney Australia
Oddometer: 2,497
The only problem with the zx2 or the old cbr250 is that the suspensions have a million kms on them.

Personally try to find a rgv250, i found a rgv when i had the r1 and ended up selling the r1 as i enjoyed the rgv more. Ended up selling it but i go through bikes as well.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: butler, ky/Franklin, tn
Oddometer: 737

Over the last few years I have gone through a 2001 VFR, 99 KLR650, 05 FZ-1, looking for a bike that would fit me more comfortably (I'm also 5-6), but also five me the performance I wanted....without be so FAST I couldn't enjoy it. (FZ1). During this time I have had an FZ6, and it just seems that a 600 fits me best of all. I just added a 99 Ninja 600 to my garage, and I think it and the FZ6 are going to be my long term bikes now. I can't see any reason to go back to anything bigger, and both are small and light enough for me. I had a Ninja 250 a few years ago, and while it was a blast around town and on day rides, I never could see myself taking it on a multi-day trip. I've done several trips on the FZ6 and plan to use the 600 Ninja the same need for anything else for me.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:31 AM   #6
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Joined: May 2009
Location: mississippi of the west.
Oddometer: 337
Same here I have a concours which is a great touring bike, but I keep looking at smaller lighter bikes. Right now a ninja 650 set up to tour is my lust.
If I grow up I'll be taller.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:43 AM   #7
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: N.H.
Oddometer: 220
I had a BMW K100RT that I used mostly commuting and short, say 200 mile, back road rides. I wanted to "downsize" financially and replaced it with a Suzuki GS650E as a temporary bike.
I found I love this bike! Light weight, at least compared to the BMW. Easy to work on. Cheep to run, 50 mpg, insure and maintain. Will run 3+ hours on the highway if I have to. Handles and stops good, my last name is not Marquez.
So now my dream bike has changed. FZ 07, CB500, SV650 or DR, KLR, or G650GS.
After a lifetime of riding "big" bikes, I am 54, I don't want a liter bike anymore.
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Old 10-12-2014, 09:05 AM   #8
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Hickory, North Carolina
Oddometer: 35
Smaller bike

I have a 98 Speed Triple with Traxxion AK 20's and Penske rear and a K1300 GT. My wife has an F800R a d she quit riding after our friend was paralyzed in an accident at Roebling Road.

I keep meaning to sell the F800R BUT the more I ride it - the more I want to keep it. Very light and torquey p-twin is fun. Throw in bags, heated grips, and ABS and nice looks and gas mileage and I can't pull the Sales trigger. With gold valves and a better rear shock - might be a keeper. Can ride 400-500 mile days w no problem.

my wife is 5'4" and she can flat foot it all day. I just turned 60 and lighter bikes that you can wring out are fun!

Good lick in your mission.

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Old 10-12-2014, 11:07 AM   #9
Joined: Dec 2013
Location: Flaw'da
Oddometer: 200
You fellows outside of the USA always got all the good small displacement bikes. I did have the pleasure of spending the day on a 250rr which belonged to a friend from Canada that came to visit.

Last year I picked up an early 250 Ninja on a whim. Once sorted to good stock condition, it is a very fun bike to ride. I also had a Buell XB-12s. The Buell was at that point the best handling motorcycle I had ever owned. I got myself in situations on that bike where I just KNEW I was going to die. It never let me down. But it took heavy input to get those snap steering changes compared to the 250.

Being one who has absolutely no desire to drone down the road for endless hours. I am attracted to the short trip with the "curves ahead" signs. In that light, the 250 is brilliant. Even with stock (well maintained) suspension, it turns and tracks with astonishing precision, and it does it almost as a thought, rather than the use of force.

I live in Florida, often joked about as having no curves. We in fact do have some good roads. They tend to have the curves close coupled. The effort to change direction between the small bike and the large bike is tremendous.

There are many small bikes that I would love to have, offered the opportunity. The problem is the few "grey market" bikes available are priced well beyond my idea of practicality, not to mention the cost of spares, and their availability.
The older I get, the faster I was.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:28 AM   #10
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If you can live with the actual shitty quality of them, the baby bikes are fine street bikes. I went thru a series of KTM 950s and Kawi 1200 ZZRs in the last decade to a Ninja 300. The power is fine, the supporting cast and suspension are pretty bad. Mods help to a point. Get thru the shock swap, fork emulators and the frame/fork tubes still flex at 7/10ths pace on the street.

KTM 390 might be the best we can get soon. I'm thinking the Ninja might still be better in a straight, dull highway ride. Very smooth engine at 8-9k RPM.
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Old 10-12-2014, 11:39 AM   #11
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Joined: Aug 2005
Oddometer: 3,696
Some people can handle going to a smaller lighter bike and others can't wrap their encumbered numbskull's around it.

Being in OZ you should have the pick of great small bikes. Personally, although I would love one of the 250 or 400cc RR I4's, getting something really tasty like this would be top priority:

Originally Posted by Skowinski View Post
Speaking of dumps, that coffee is working for sure, gotta scurry and perch on the thundermug...
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:05 PM   #12
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Joined: Oct 2003
Oddometer: 354
You might want to hang on a bit longer and check out the KTM 390's.

Ridin' and writin'
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:17 PM   #13
Joined: Jul 2011
Oddometer: 75
It's not "small" but it certainly isn't what I'd call a big bike either:

Moto guzzi V7.

There's only 48 hp, but it makes all its torque at 2800 rpm so it feels very eager at all speeds, yet it'll struggle to break 100 mph and can do freeway speeds all day if needed. The 750ccs mean you'll have to torque to ride 2 up without losing 50% of your performance.

You'll get 50 mpg all day and the transverse engine is extremely easy to work on, pretty much all your maintenance can be done by you. I don't know how much insurance cost would be in your area though, that is too variable to advise on.

Guzzis are made for shorter people, I'm only 5'7" and I can touch both feet to the ground easily. I can even touch both feet on their big 1200cc bikes so go figure :)
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:37 PM   #14
Joined: Oct 2014
Oddometer: 16
- Built in Japan by Honda
- Low seat height and light (29.7", 425lb wet)
- Available in Australia
- Modern technology (water cooled, newest models are EFI, VTEC, ABS, ...)
- More fun than a barrel of monkeys

Only negative is price (about the same as a 650).

notserious screwed with this post 10-13-2014 at 07:39 PM
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Old 10-12-2014, 06:01 PM   #15
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Joined: Sep 2009
Oddometer: 7,658
We had a Bandit 400 in the family for awhile. It wasn't much different than having a 600, no extra tossability IMO. All the negatives of a big bike, no advantage of being a small bore in use on the road.
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