Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Richlands NC 28574
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.