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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I hope the topic makes sense. I've got the time so I'll make this LONG and detailed. :) I'd love some expert input - I try to help people on the 4.6 Mustang boards all day - now I need some help from you experts. I have a 13 second 96 Mustang but why spend 8 grand more on this car when a $3000 bike would whoop it? I've been away from the motorcycle world for about 13 years now.

I'm not 'rich' right now and NEED a sport bike for under $5k. I'm 5'9" and 185 pounds (mostly muscle, not fat :), 32 years old and already have a multiple car insurance policy - cheaper insurance?? I owned a VFR 700 back in the early 90's and loved it - it was my first and only motorcyle - but had to get rid of it since it was my only way to get around. I've found that some guys on the internet know just as much, if not more, than the magazine guys do. I guess I'll list what I'm looking for, in order of priorities then throw in some guesses as to what to buy.

1. Has to be comfortable enough to ride for long (120 plus miles) road trips.
2. Has to have a full fairing - look like a sport bike. I can't stand the look of something like the Honda 919. Maybe a Superhawk with the optional bottom fairing would suffice.
3. I'd prefer a large cc bike. See below about the VFR-800 but I'm looking for one liter and above - forget this now, I didn't realize how fast CBR 600's were.
4. It's got to handle 'pretty well'.
5. I'd love a fuel injected bike knowing what I know now about tuning EEC-V fuel-injected Mustangs (put a wide-band O2 sensor in the exhaust pipe and tweak the computer). I REALLY want a fuel-injected bike but know that for the most part that it's out of my budget.
6. I'd love for it to look 'modern'. The late 80's Gixers 1000's don't look modern to me anymore, for example. I love the modern look of the cleaned up rear end with a small license plate and huge/wide back tire, unlike my old VFR 700.
7. I want a 'clean', never-laid-down bike... I know I'm asking for a bit here.
8. Not a big issue, but I can swap a set of heads and cams on a car so can do a lot of my own work on the bike. My point is that I have the tools and can do some work if needed.

I've been looking at, in some order:

Honda: VFR800, VTR1000, CBR1x00 (any year), CBR 600 (only if that's the only clean bike I can get for my budget). I used to be a 'Honda' guy.

Yamaha: I LOVE the FZR 1000's, like the early to middle nineties bikes: I assume that the reach to the bars is not TOO bad - see number one above. This is pretty much the bike I want if it's comfortable enough to carry me and the ol' ball and chain for many miles.

Kawasaki: I fell in love with them back in the ZX10(?) days. I think I could even settle for a clean ZX11, though I think it's not going to handle as well as I want. It's obviously seriously fast, but will it be a pig in the twisties like up in Sedona, Arizona?

Suzuki: I know little about the non Gixers. As far as I know, the gixers are too raked for long rides. The RF900F (?) might make sense for me - now I think this is too slow.

Sorry for the NOVEL, but I don't have much money to piss away, there are SO MANY GREAT bikes out there, and I have awhile to do this right and want to get the 'right' bike. I'm also hoping that someone can mention specific years/good years of some of these bikes that I can get for less than 5k. EX: 1995 FZR 1000, 1998 VFR 800...

I really appreciate your guys' help. I'm hoping for a good thread here and any good input would be greatly appreciated.

PS: Edited for idiotic statements.
 

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First off you'll find that the real world, all around streetbikes are generally heavier than the supersport/liter bikes. Nothing wrong with that...you are, after all, riding on the street. I don't have much practical experience owning supersports (I have tho) because I see them as pointless mounts for street riding. Kind of like using a jackhammer to pound nails.

VFR800i: Awesome all around bike...fuel injected V4 starting with the 5th generation (98+). Probably THE best all around streetbike/sportbike ever made. Bullet proof engine easily capable of 100,000 miles with normal maintenance. Comfortable, single sided swingarm for easy wheel removal and chain adjust (no wheel alignment required). Plenty of power for the street. Sounds incredible with an aftermarket exhaust. Pre 6th gen VFRs have gear driven cams...now worries about ever fragging a top end due to cam chain/tensioner failure. There have been 6 generations of VFRs dating back 20 years. Few other bikes can claim such. Only known problem is some of them eat regulator/rectifiers.

CBR1100XX: Legendary (already) for it's combination of speed, comfort, and smoothness. Considered slow now compared to the new GTs...if you consider 175ish top speed slow. Later model have fuel injection, but basically unchanged since inception. Reach to the bars can be longish for some people. You can swap VFR clipon to fix this...direct swap. King of Speed until the Hayabusa came out.

VTR: Nice bike...tiny fuel tank, lousy fuel range. Okay ergos.

ZX11: Another legend that serves as a great all around sportbike. King of Speed until the XX came out.

Buell XB series: Paint shakers with small gas tanks and wheel bases. Plenty of fun, very flickable...almost zero wind protection. Reliability is the big question here. finding a late model XB for less than $5000 might be tough.

FZR: Not a lot of experience with them.

Other options are: FZ1, Futura, Sprint ST, ST2/3/4.

Hope this helps.
 

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I don't have comments about all of the other bikes mentioned, but the long reach of the XX was very comfortable for me, being a taller rider. I felt much less cramped up than I did on the 600's (I'm 6'2"). At 5'9" though, you would probably be able to go either way (stock or clip-ons) and be comfortable. I can say that the XX had power everywhere. It almost didn't matter what gear you were in this thing pulled HARD!! It was a hell of a rush, but a lot of power to be respected too. Great for long miles, decent mileage, and it was quite fun to lean that big bastard over in turns. :D

That being said, the CBR600's are very comfy (can ride for hours), get great mileage, smaller ergo's (may help at you height), handle leagues better than the XX (not that it was bad though, just turned slower and didn't lean as well), and will in general be cheaper than any of the bigger bikes you are looking at.

I haven't ridden the VFR's, but from reading up on them and hearing testimonials, I would agree that they are probably the best all around bike out there today. Enough performance to keep you learning as long as you want to push it, but enough comfort to ride from ocean to ocean if you so choose. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. It's looking to me like all of the bikes I'm looking at would work. I had a VFR and wouldn't be suprised if I bought another. But something deep down inside me yearns for the sheer power of a ZX 11 or CBR 1x00 (whatever year). I think the FZR is a great combo of both but I'll have to find one to see if it's comfortable enough. I'm even suprised to find out how fast a CBR 600 is. Plus those VTR's are sure going cheap now.

So the the ZX or CBR 1x00's aren't too bad in the twisties?

So many good choices!!!
 

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V-EngineMan said:
So the the ZX or CBR 1x00's aren't too bad in the twisties?
Given equal riders these bikes will do just fine at an 80% street pace in the twisties. Now, if you get in a group of guys on supersports riding at crazy paces on the street, you'll be in last place...given equal riders again.

On the street rider skill counts more than bike capability. So, a good rider on a ZX/VFR/XX/Futura (ie real world sportbike) can play all day long in the twisties with an average rider on a supersport.
 

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V-EngineMan said:
[Kawasaki: I fell in love with them back in the ZX10(?) days. I think I could even settle for a clean ZX11, though I think it's not going to handle as well as I want. It's obviously seriously fast, but will it be a pig in the twisties like up in Sedona, Arizona?

Funny, I fell in love with them in the ZX-10R days. J/K, I've owned Kaws off and on since 1984.

The 11 is not really a twistie bike, but is a fine streetbike; many you've listed are in that category.

No, you can't ride my 10R, but I'd be happy to look at used bikes with you at some point if you're ready to buy.

Just remember you need about $800 more for helmet, gloves, and jacket at a bare minimum. Don't skimp on your gear, and even in Arizona summers I wear mine.


cdma2k
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Man, that 10 R is a monster. I just looked at one a few minutes ago. Do you have full coverage? How much do you pay for insurance? I can't believe how much these insurance companies want.
 

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Yes I have full coverage - I have more liability than I need by a long shot (due to having cars with the same company), I live in AZ (higher rates due to the uninsured guests from southern latitudes and also said guest's habit of returning with our cars), and I have a $5000 medical rider (meaning they pay $5000 of my medical bills if I get in an accident), which helps immensely, and makes my health insurer a lot more likely to pay the remaining bills...

I pay $562/six months. For the 10R.


If I lived in, say, Colorado, I'd pay about $350/six months.


cdma2k
 

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It looks to me like you're looking in the sport touring category. In this category, I've got experience with 00 VFR800, 98 VTR1000, and IF you want to classify the ZX-12R in there, then I've got that too.

The VFR800 is a very comfy bike to ride. It handles well, but for me, personaly, I didn't care for the linked brake system. Otherwise, it's a nice choice.

The 98 VTR1000 is also a very confy bike. Suprisingly, it feels very much like my 98 ZX-9R with less power and didn't handle QUITE as well, but similar. It's SOMEWHAT easy to work on which is a plus for the do-it-yourselfer. The rough buzzing of the v-twins would probably kill ya, especially on those long trips (if you could go on long trips, due to the forementioned small 4.2 gallon gas tank). probably the most positive aspect of the VTR1000 is that they are cheap and getting cheaper.

I classify the 02 ZX-12R here only because it's large, heavy, and very smooth. It definately won't fit in your price range but I'm just throwing it out there. It has power everywhere, very smooth, super stable even in rough sidewinds. Although, at launches, it's not so stable without a steering damper and always wants to go nose up (without you trying or wanting to try). This is something that will definately carry your on those LONG rides. It's a friggin jet engine mounted to a sofa. As far as handling goes, it's a Kawasaki. I've owned Kawi's since day-one. They are on the heavier side, but that's ok. They are top-heavy which gives them their stability, yet makes it more difficult to lay into a corner, but it's that weight that allows you to pull it out of a corner much easier than other bikes. And yes, I have taken a ZX-12R out into the twisties with all them other 929's and the likes. All I can tell you is, it can hang.

That's my spew on sport touring bikes.
 

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Some other bikes you could check out

You could get a nearly new Suzuki SV 650, pretty comfy from what I hear. They do or did have a larger version too, maybe an 1100 or something. V-twin.
ANother suziki, TLR (L/S). These guys are liter bikes, V-twins, big and heavy, lots of tourque, I'm not sure about ergos though.

You can get a great FZR 1000 for $4k, then buy some great gear. They are relatively heavy, but have the power and are ok on ergos. Check out fzrarchives.com for more FZR (though mostly 600) info.

Yamaha FZ1/FZ6. The FZ6 is new to 04 and out of your price range by about $2k, but you could possibly get an older FZ1, has a tuned down R1 engine, great ergos, though isn't fully faired, I think you could get a kit.

Cheers

Jon
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm really not into the naked look though, or the standard seating position. I'm looking for a seating position like the VFR, CBR 600, or ZX11 or so. Good God now that I've given up on the idea of financing the bike, having to have full-coverage and paying over $100/month for insurance, I'm seriously looking at the big 1 liter and up bikes again. With liability only I can ride whatever I damn well please. I can't wait!!!
 

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Obviously then the Suzy GSXR-1000 is the bike for you as it is still the "mean bike on the street".

Still make sure you have a good health insurance plan & if you have any loved ones then hike up your life insurance for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, I won't be getting this bike until I'm on the fire department so I'll have great health insurance. Plus, I've always known that my girlfriend doesn't like motorcycles (is afraid to be on them and thinks I'll die for sure) so when I mentioned that I was looking around I told as that I'd promise not to get the bike until I had at least a $500,000 life insurance policy. That made her feel better. But she also knows that there's no way in hell that she's going to keep me from getting one. I think I'll probably make sure that I get the bike BEFORE we get married. I'm not stupid. :)

Hrmm, maybe she's planning on getting me drunk before I ride my bike already....:eek: Hehe
 

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ZX-11

Granted, the ZX-11 is a pretty heavy-ass bike, but based on my own experience, once you get the bike muscled into the turn, it's stable as a train. Of course, handling prowess is mostly dictated by rider skill more than anything else. I have no problem keeping up with well-ridden R1's and ZX-9R's though. I really love my ZX-11, based on what you said you wanted to use it for, it should fill your requirements nicely. A good commuter, great for longer distance rides/light-duty touring, comfortable (even with a passenger), reliable, easy to find parts for, decent handling, and hell-for-fast on the straights.

Given your $5K budget, you should easily be able to find a nice ZX-11. The CBR 1100XX is another excellent choice, but the prices I've seen on those are typically $6000+.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Re: ZX-11

zxrider said:
Granted, the ZX-11 is a pretty heavy-ass bike, but based on my own experience, once you get the bike muscled into the turn, it's stable as a train. Of course, handling prowess is mostly dictated by rider skill more than anything else. I have no problem keeping up with well-ridden R1's and ZX-9R's though. I really love my ZX-11, based on what you said you wanted to use it for, it should fill your requirements nicely. A good commuter, great for longer distance rides/light-duty touring, comfortable (even with a passenger), reliable, easy to find parts for, decent handling, and hell-for-fast on the straights.

Given your $5K budget, you should easily be able to find a nice ZX-11. The CBR 1100XX is another excellent choice, but the prices I've seen on those are typically $6000+.
Muscled into the turn? I'm sure it's heavier on the bars than a 600, but that's what counter-steer is for, right? Just let gravity lean it over. Not trying to tell you that as I know you know that already. ;)

More and more I'm thinking that ZX-11 would be great for me. I don't need a corner carver, just something that won't drag stuff when I get going a little in the corners. I'm too old to be racing anyone through the mountains too. It's comfortable and for me still has the OMG factor. It looks great and still hauls butt. I've always liked Honda's but for some reason the CBR 1100 doesn't get my blood flowing like the ZX-11. Maybe it's because I always see anything that Honda makes as so well-rounded that it's boring.

Hrmm.... Btw, the color of yours is not only my favorite color on ANY car or bike but on ZX11's like your that color blow me away. It's SO gorgeous. I saw one on ebay the other day and my jaw hit the floor. :drool:
 

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Burgundy ZX-11's

Yeah, I've always liked burgundy colored vehicles too. (in addition to the ZX, I've also got a burgundy SUV and a boat with burgundy trim).

Anyway, if that's the color you like, you're in luck because it's one of the most common ZX-11 color offerings. It was offered in that color in 93, 96, 99, 00, and 01.
 
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