frencholive

90 months ago

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The Agony of Having to Choose Just One Bike, PART 1

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Yamaha XSR900

Yamaha XSR900

The Agony of Having to Choose Just One Bike, PART 1

I spend my days surrounded by temptation - sifting through images of sexy Sport Bikes, classy Cafe Racers, bling-y Bobbers, devilish Dirt Bikes, ADVs, Cruisers, Brats, Trackers, Scramblers, Tourers - bikes of every style in every colour and size. And then there was that Ducati Monster 1200 I rode last summer. In short, as much as I feel allegiance to my first ride, the time has come.

Suzuki SV650 Scrambler

Suzuki SV650 Scrambler

I Need A New Bike.

Thing is, I want my bike to do almost everything. I want the speed and handling of a sport bike, but a stance and power base that's more suited to longer rides. If the roads turn to dirt, I don't want a bike that gets fussy, and if I decide to take on some twisties, I want to be able to lean into the corners without hitting a peg. Am I'm asking for too much?

Yamaha XSR900 in the company's classic race livery

Yamaha XSR900 in the company's classic race livery

Dreaming Big

In deference to my eyes, my riding style and my objectives I've picked a few contenders. They aren't in any particular order, and the Kawasaki is because I want to honour the brand that has been good to me.

Feel free to comment. That's why I'm doing this out in the open, after all.

Ducati Monster 696

Ducati Monster 696

The Contenders, so far:

  • The Vulcan is the only Cruiser I've considered but I think I should. I like the way it looks and I read some great reviews from both women and men. It also has adjustable pegs so I can decide on my most comfortable stance.
  • It's difficult to resist the Scrambler craze. This Suzuki looks great and the SV650 has a long history of being a dependable bike.  Too bad it's not available in North America.  
  • The 700 XSR seems like a more reasonable choice than the 900 although this bike might still have too much power for my skill level.
  • The 797 is in honour of my thrilling 1200 Monster test ride but I'm bringing it down a couple notches in hopes that it will be less of a scorcher in traffic, where Toronto forces me to spend some time.
The Kawasaki Vulcan

The Kawasaki Vulcan

Stay tuned for PART 2 - "What do you MEAN you don't insure that bike?"

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frencholive

83 months ago

Great news all.  I've had the chance to check out a few bikes, including the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 http://esr.cc/2fZwps7 and the Kawasaki Z650 (review coming really soon.)  I also spent a weekend on a friend's SV650 which has qualified for some documenting.  

I feel a comparative article coming on....

schmik

88 months ago

There can be only one winner https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=spAq8JuXVUY

frencholive

88 months ago

@BikerKev I hadn't considered getting anything over 700cc's more for insurance reasons than anything else, but also because of cost.  I did enjoy driving the 1200 Monster but I never iused it to its potential.  

@MotorcycleJones  That sounds like a wonderful long-time goal and I'll be happy to be able to build a collection...one-at-a-time. th

H-D100

88 months ago

@MrCandydine Your bias is appreciated, and understandable, even forgiving it for having an overly small tank.

MotorcycleJones

88 months ago

all great bikes! can't go wrong with any of them! but why limit yourself to just one?! just keep adding to your collection, eventually you'll have a bike perfectly suited for whatever weather, whatever roads (or lack of), and whatever mood suits you on any particular day.

BikerKev

88 months ago

I am going on near 2 years on my naked Honda CB1000R.  They don't sell a lot of them which was actually good as in 2015 I found a newly uncrated 2011 with 0 miles at a Honda dealer at the price of a 600cc bike plus i negotiated in all maintenance up through 30k miles.  I was comparing to Indian Scout, BMW rnineT, Triumph speed Triple, Victory Gunner....and I really decided after riding the BMW I LOVED a great handling bike...however the price tag of the BMW was about $8k more than I wanted to spend (fantastic bike btw...handles like a dream and smooth engine).       Then I tried the Honda CB1000R and it checked every box and is rock solid engine wise as a detuned FireBlade engine so lower stress levels but still 125 hp to more than satisfy my wants.  The engine is bulletproof and maintenance cycles are far longer than the others I compared to and cost is really quite cheap for the checkups (even though i'm not paying anything I get to see the figures).  For a liter bike it handles a lot lighter....Honda in Italy designed and manufactured these and it shows....worth looking at a used one if your budget can handle it...superb machine and my upgrade from a Bonneville (now my wife's ride).

MrCandydine

89 months ago

GO XSR700! I have only had one just over a year but man is it awesome. Once i had broken her in i took her straight on a mini euro tour through Belgium, France and Germany (around the utterly perfect Black Forest). She hasn't missed a beat. Was fine on the motorways, amazing on the twisty stuff, even took her up a few dirt tracks in France and she didn't moan. Perfect fun useable power. Only slight niggle i have is the small tank but then just stop more for a coffee and a fill up. Then again i have not rode any of the other bikes you mentioned so i am biased.

frencholive

89 months ago

I've taken a Kawi off, and put a different one on - the Vulcan has been bumped by the 2017 Z650.  It felt good and solid (more so than the SV650), was the perfect height, had a more upright stance and the "naked" look that I like.  Now to find a windscreen....

frencholive

89 months ago

@XSRyan I still think the XSR is one of the fiercest-looking sport bikes on the market but I sat on one and no go.  It's too tall for me and I'd rather try the 700. Until that happens, I'll have to be satisfied with looking at pictures of you on yours. 🙂

 @Raintown @3rdgeargrndrr Thanks for the feedback.  I love seeing what others do on an ADV but they just look too big, for now.  Perhaps I'll graduate to that one day, depending on how my riding evolves.

3rdgeargrndrr

89 months ago

Edit: my wife said i could only have one bike. I needed dirt capability as well as touring and handling. I went with the KTM1190 adventure. What a beast

3rdgeargrndrr

89 months ago

Adventure bikes fulfill many categories with compromises. The big 1200's are great tourers to boot

XSRyan

89 months ago

Hey @frencholive! As you know I just recently bought an xsr900 - I kept hearing all these reviews about how it's not for beginners and it has too much power - I'm totally a novice myself but the bike has been super chill and easy - sure it has power if you starting really meat fisting the throttle but if you are practical it's completely controllable and enjoyable - just my two cents.

SimonHolmes232

89 months ago

I've owned two VFR 800s and would love another go. I've owned two Tiger 800s; a roadie and currently an XC. I'm stuck in a roulette wheel trying to stop on one. But you know, I keep looking in the direction of the Triumph Scrambler. Not the new Street Scrambler but the previous model. With a few mods and accessories, it'll be a cracker of a bike. Maybe, just maybe...

Raintown

89 months ago

Well. IF money were not an option, here's a great review on Duc Multistrada. Sexy as all of humanity, IMHO, but sadly, I'd have to have the right Powerball numbers... http://lanesplitter.jalopnik.com/2016-ducati-multistrada-1200-enduro-amazing-but-i-can-1769376178

frencholive

89 months ago

@stelt Thanks.  Yes.  If I get a modern bike (always open to a good vintage find), I will look to getting the latest in safety.

Thanks @Teramuto  That's great.  I did sit on a Tiger at the Toronto Triumph tour stop and it felt good.  Will definitely be updating this story soon, although Part 2 is a quick word about insurance companies!  😞 Not such great news.

Teramuto

89 months ago

Hey @frencholive, I am in the same boat. I sold my Harley Road King a couple of weeks ago because I wanted a change.  I want to be able to hit a bigger variety of roads (i.e. if I see a dirt or gravel road that looks interesting I would like to explore it).  I also want to be able to tour on my next bike.  That being said I am looking at the Triumph Tiger 800 http://www.triumphmotorcycles.com/newtiger800. Also, new for this year, Ducati came out with a 950cc version of their Multistrada which looks interesting http://multistrada950.ducati.com/en_ca/?_ga=1.162108796.1999648078.1484761951.  And, don't discount Moto Guzzi.  They are making some interesting bikes.  I particularly like the Stelvio  http://www.motoguzzi-canada.ca/motorcycles/stelvio-1200-ntx.html.

Good luck on your search...keep us posted

stelt

90 months ago

Make sure it has ABS..it will save you at least once...don't ask how I know this...

frencholive

90 months ago

@lazyb8s Please, hijack away. The more information, the merrier.  I'm going to make an appointment to go sit on a bunch next week.

@fbitan A Tiger.  No.  I hadn't looked at that, although I did sit on one about a week ago and remember liking the stance. hmmmm

@Sublevel01 Any Ducati is a suggestion worth considering, but no, I hadn't thought of that one in particular.  I'll check it out.

frencholive

90 months ago

@joelkim I'm definitely going to give Honda a chance since that's been my car of choice, and I learned to ride on the back of a CBR.

lazyb8s

90 months ago

I'm looking forward to more of your saga. I don't want hijack you're story, but I bought a Harley Last year because I wanted one, now that I find myself commuting more, I'm thinking something else might be more appropriate.