Old Marine looking for that "perfect" bike. - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Richlands NC 28574
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Old Marine looking for that "perfect" bike.

I joined for this big question so I might as well get it out there as the post (used in another forum too) introduces me rather well. If the question rates this being moved please do so. I am looking forward to your replies!

I post this knowing there is no "perfect" bike. The replies will be varied, and I would like good input from people who have maybe been there-done that. I may not like the look of a bike, but that doesn't mean I won't listen.

So you know who you are advising, I am a rider of 5 years experience. I have completed Basic Rider's Course, Experienced Rider's Course, Advanced Rider's Course, Advanced Motorcycle Operator's School (USMC event put on by the California Superbike School), a few other sport bike oriented courses (usually on my Sporty), and several Advanced Rider Track Days (similar to the AMOS, but with more one on one coaching). I am the Motorcycle Mentorship Program Representative for my unit, and average 20k miles a year. I have wrecked my XS twice- once with the oldest on the back- before I realized safety courses are there for a reason (hard headed). I also lost my last commuter bike- Virago 250- to a stop sign runner. I have been told I am a quick study and fun to watch ride by coaches, but I doubt I am any pro level rider by any means. If I were not pending orders to Recruiting Duty, I would be getting trained as a coach by now.

I also joined the Corps with my license suspended (2001 mind you) for racing cars. A phase that ended when I got married, but a little still remains that sneaks out on quiet back roads I know well. Just keeping it honest.

I am looking for a certain type of bike. Problem is I don't know what it is. Here is my dilemma: I have in my garage a 2005 Harley Sportster 1200R, An old 1977 Yamaha XS 650 (not butchered), and a 2012 Honda CBR250. The XS is being restored for my oldest as she loves it. The Sporty is nice and cushy for those long rides and has enough grunt to keep me happy speed wise. Plus as an R it can corner relatively well. The CBR has been called a "scalpel" by my coaches on track days due to its cornering (despite a lack luster suspension), but lacks the serious punch and cornering needed for anything outside of its commuting role and the tight tracks of ARTD's.

I am looking for a bike that will have comfort, punch, and cornering. I want something I can cruise with the wife beside me for trips, yet suit my inner child when riding the Midland Trail or US250 on the way between NC and OH. Oh and under $10k (maybe $5k if you can). Allot to ask isn't it?

Plan is to drop the Sporty 2" for the wife. I have cornered it to its limit and beyond at the cost of two mufflers already. Every time my friends and I go out I am trying to stay with their CBR's, R1, GSXR's and this dang annoying (read slow) Bandit 600 in the twisties. If I take out the little CBR I hang them out to dry in the tight corners, but watch them disappear everywhere else. I also don't like the feeling of my backside after a tank of fuel on it (about two of their tanks). I have ridden their bikes and can only say no way in God's creation would I ride that for a long trip and survive. Even they admit the comfort sucks for them and they will be trucking their bikes (in my trailer) to the Tail this April.

After looking around I know that my dream 675R would leave my back in peril after 38 years of abuse. I also know no cruiser would suit my urge to lean. So a "Roadster" or "Sport Touring" bike is in order. I have started looking at bikes like the older FZ1, later Ninja 1000's, and those types.

I rode an FZ, and it was tip toe high for me (I'm 5'7"). However, the seat comfort and wind protection on my short (3 miles) test ride seemed fine. The bike seemed "heavy" requiring more effort on the bars to tip in than my Sporty as well. The punch was there for sure as was the lean angle I am looking for. It was smooth, but having to tip toe it kinda killed it for me. The preload was set center in the rear and the forks were flush to the tree.

I am assuming that the Kawi will be worse as the seat height is listed as taller. But man does a 2010 red one look good to me! But then being old so does an older (or new) Honda CB750F (1100). Is there any hope for me to find my "perfect" bike?

I'd rather die free than live in a cage.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-01-2014, 05:50 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Jacksonville, NC 28540
Posts: 704
Ooh rah!

In my mind, the key to making any motorcycle work comfortable and safely for anyone is to have the suspension set and the controls adjusted for best ergonomics. While a riding posture for almost any bike is pretty well set by the manufacturer, aftermarket clip ons, heli bars, rear sets and seats can all make subtle adjustments to the critical angles that would otherwise stress your back.

I'm kind of a Yamaha nut myself, so Id look hard at the FZ1. Between the FZ Forum and the R1 Forum you can find tons of information on how subtle part swaps have made the FZ a pretty venerable machine. I've even seen a few at track days giving sport bikes a good run for their money.

1991 FZR 1000 - built 1040 with race cams, Akrapovic full exhaust, and mild suspension work
2004 YZF R1 - Graves full exhaust, velocity stacks, BMC race filter, and Power Commander. Rear Ohlins. Forks rblt with Race Tech springs and Gold Valves.
2005 20th Anniversary V-Max (0098/2000) - T boost,
2005 YZF R6 track bike - Graves full exhaust, Race Tech suspension
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 06:39 PM
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Location: Curvy roads in N.Carolina Mountains
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For the price your wanting to spend.... I would suggest Honda SuperHawk.
My wife and I on US Hwy129 "Tail of the Dragon"........
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