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Thread: Motorcycles

  1. #1
    Member orionz06's Avatar
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    Motorcycles

    I'm looking at snagging a bike soon and I'm a little mixed as to which way to go. I know a few guys here ride. I'm looking at something somewhere around a naked bike or a super moto. I want something that I can ride to work and back on a highway for 10 minutes but also tear up some back roads, think tail of the dragon. I could easily just buy an R6 like everyone else and be miserable but I want a bike with "soul" of some sort. So far I've looked at Ducati monsters, a KTM Duke, and the Triumph Speed Triple. Anything else I am missing? Anything worth looking into? I don't want a couch with an engine but I also want something that won't beat the hell out of me if I ride on a surface other than a maintained track. The Kawasaki Z1000 seems to be an outlier that might fit the bill too.
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  2. #2
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    This question is kind of right in my wheelhouse.

    I have a Triumph Street Triple 675R (hence the username) and like it quite a bit. Downsides: it's a bit small for me (6' with long legs) and not comfortable to ride for long periods of time. For an around-town, short-commute, and errand hopping bike it's fine. It can also hang with street bikes on twisties - essentially it's a Daytona with a downtuned engine and different bars. I've had no problems since buying it in Jan. 2009 and haven't heard many bad things about them from others either. I don't have a lot of miles on it because it is a city bike.

    I would avoid testosterone poisoning when picking out your bike. The bigger and heavier the bike, the more trouble you can get into. Example: the Speed Triple is a larger version of the 675 and has, to my mind, some disadvantages. It's heavier with a higher center of gravity, more expensive, not as nimble in the corners, etc. The 675 is 350 lbs or so dry with greater than 100hp and 50 ft-lbs of torque pretty much straight across the power band - keep in mind that mine is an '09 version, the specs may have changed. This is more than enough juice for any on-road situation. On the 675 I've also been able to "dab" my foot to keep the bike up preventing a low-side without breaking my ankle. I don't know if I could have done the same on the Speed Triple.

    Monsters are great if you don't mind Ducati maintenance costs. Everyone I know who has one loves it. Again, I would prefer the smaller engines over the giant 1000+cc versions for city riding. You just don't need that much power - think the 9mm v. .45 - if 9 gets the job done and is cheaper and easier to use, why not get one of those? A lot of bike accidents are caused by folks with too much bike for their skill level.

    I would avoid KTM's.

    You might want to look at the BMW 800 series, R or GS. I've got more saddle time on the Bimmers than any other type of motorcycle - I've taken them through horrible, technical off-road conditions in Iceland and through mountain twisties in Guatemala. They don't have the most power or the slickest marketing but they are extremely competent, bullet-proof. surprisingly good in the corners and very, very tough - when I punched a hole in my radiator pump in the middle of nowhere in Iceland, we fixed it by hitting the pump with a rock until it quit leaking...I rode like that through sand, rivers, rocks, mud and city streets for three more days. Kind of the Glock 19 of bikes. If I had to do it over again I would probably purchase an 800GS and use it for everything. As a commuter bike they have some other advantages - primarily ABS and an engine fan, so they won't overheat sitting in traffic.
    Last edited by TR675; 04-17-2013 at 10:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Member Corlissimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    I'm looking at snagging a bike soon and I'm a little mixed as to which way to go. I know a few guys here ride. I'm looking at something somewhere around a naked bike or a super moto. I want something that I can ride to work and back on a highway for 10 minutes but also tear up some back roads, think tail of the dragon. I could easily just buy an R6 like everyone else and be miserable but I want a bike with "soul" of some sort. So far I've looked at Ducati monsters, a KTM Duke, and the Triumph Speed Triple. Anything else I am missing? Anything worth looking into? I don't want a couch with an engine but I also want something that won't beat the hell out of me if I ride on a surface other than a maintained track. The Kawasaki Z1000 seems to be an outlier that might fit the bill too.
    I don't ride anymore, but did for almost 20 years. All I've owned are liter class bikes, including GSX-R's, GS1100E's, Kawasaki ZRX1100's. I used to log 750 miles/week just commuting, add between 100-150 miles on weekends and you get an idea of where I was at.

    I was looking at picking up riding again a year or so ago so I set off in search of a new Hooligan Bike. That said, your needs & desires sound similar to what mine were/are. There are only two I'd consider: 1) the Big Monster; 2) Speed Triple.

    I narrowed it down to those for the following reasons: a) they are both as naked as can be; b) you can add a larger fly-screen if you feel like it; c) both have tractor-like torque curves; d) neither is a slouch on the top end; e) no matter where I've been, you just don't see a lot of folks riding either of them and I really like that, for the same reasons I always loved Mopars back in the day; f) to borrow a phrase... "Life's too short to ride an ugly bike." and I want something that lights my fire.

    My .02

    Good luck on your search!

    P.S. I'm looking again because I don't live far from the Dragon and I really want to ride it again!!!
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  4. #4
    Member orionz06's Avatar
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    Why avoid KTM? The supermotos seem great from reviews and the Duke seems close to my ideal bike, perhaps a little less power than ideal.

    As for power I'd prefer lighter and nimble over a larger bike that offers me nothing. I do want something that at the drop of a hat I can buzz down the road to avoid an aggressive driver though. A few bikes I have ridden on the interstate simply could not do that. My reasoning is as more bikes are out the more drivers are dicks. The ability to go out of sight would be nice.

    What would you buy today?
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  5. #5
    Site Supporter RoyGBiv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    I want a bike with "soul" of some sort.
    NOT a KLR.

    You're listing things that are all over the map....
    Ain't no way I'm taking a Z1000 off road. YMMV

    Looking for a do-it-all bike is sure to leave you disappointed in some way. Looking for a "here's what I plan to do MOST with it" bike might be a better way to narrow down the field, if your plan is to have only one bike.

    That said... For a primarily street, can go off road with some grace bike.

    Triumph Tiger variants.... I like the 800XC a lot... Might be my next bike.. (Currently a Kawi ZZR1200)
    BMW - F800, GS600 (Dakar)
    Kawasaki Versys
    Suzuki V-Strom (650 or 1000)

    If you're looking for something more off-road capable, but still street legal, I really enjoyed riding my Yamaha XT up the passes in CO a few years ago. It did 70 on the highway easily (better highway performance, albeit less comfort than the KLR) and got 70+ MPG. And of course there's street kits available for the Honda XR and CRF bikes... Some of them are already street legal out the door.

    Honestly... "Soul" is more about what speaks to YOU than what speaks to me.
    I find "soul" in matching a great adventure with the right equipment, not necessarily in the equipment itself.
    Some folks find harmony with the KLR's heartbeat, my KLR left me feeling flat.
    "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." - Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

  6. #6
    Member orionz06's Avatar
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    All road riding for sure, rules out the KLR. Ideal for shorter rides, half day or so but capable of longer but perhaps not with the comfort for longer. 95% of the rides would be to work or out to eat.
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  7. #7
    Member Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Use to ride a lot; my advice would be to buy a used, mid-sized bike at the end of the season cheap (idjits who injure/scare themselves on bikes will often sell 'em cheap), take a motorcycle safety class during said off season, take it slow and easy when you first start riding and then, with a year of experience under your belt, trade the used bike in on the one you really want.

    Don't know if the stats support it, but when I started riding the conventional wisdom was that if you make it through your first year unscathed, you'll make it through your entire riding career just fine. The big thing to sort out is the fact that a lot of 4 wheelers simply don't see you, or figure they've got the mass to encroach on your lane. Pretend they are all out to get you, assume they don't know you're there, and then expect that just about the time you catch the juicy june bug across the visor grandma will signal right and cut left right in front of you. You will, in short, get to work on your situational awareness and it won't be a drill.
    "I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Lets start with typewriters."

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    Why avoid KTM? The supermotos seem great from reviews and the Duke seems close to my ideal bike, perhaps a little less power than ideal.

    As for power I'd prefer lighter and nimble over a larger bike that offers me nothing. I do want something that at the drop of a hat I can buzz down the road to avoid an aggressive driver though. A few bikes I have ridden on the interstate simply could not do that. My reasoning is as more bikes are out the more drivers are dicks. The ability to go out of sight would be nice.

    What would you buy today?
    Just anecdotally I've heard bad things from a dealer. Completely unscientific. Also I don't like orange.

    If you want a lighter weight hooligan bike you might want to test the Street Triple. Put it in the right gear and you can leave people behind.

    Tigers are nice too, although for off-road stuff I don't trust them like I trust the BMW.

    If I were to buy one bike and one bike only it would be the 800GS. I'd rather do dirt than track, and it can handle dirt and street well. I'll end up getting one sooner or later. I've just been really impressed with it.

  9. #9
    Member Corlissimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    As for power I'd prefer lighter and nimble over a larger bike that offers me nothing. I do want something that at the drop of a hat I can buzz down the road to avoid an aggressive driver though. A few bikes I have ridden on the interstate simply could not do that. My reasoning is as more bikes are out the more drivers are dicks. The ability to go out of sight would be nice.

    What would you buy today?
    I would buy the Monster... or the Speed Triple, depending on what deal I could get on either.

    Quote Originally Posted by orionz06 View Post
    All road riding for sure, rules out the KLR. Ideal for shorter rides, half day or so but capable of longer but perhaps not with the comfort for longer. 95% of the rides would be to work or out to eat.
    The Monster is lighter, but doesn't have quite the same top end as the Triumph. Both have gobs of torque which makes any riding condition easier to deal with, especially tighter city type stop-n-go stuff.

    I've ridden the Triple several times and it's an amazing machine. Haven't ridden the Monster Duc yet, but have ridden others over the years.

    As far as maintenance goes, the most time consuming issue on any Duc is valve adjustment. But, if you've ever done any valve adjustment on any of the older, non-hydraulic lifter cars then you can handle it. You just need to adjust both the open AND closed valve clearances with a feeler gauge.

    HTH


    ETA: I've also ridden the newer Triumph Daytona... alot, as my brother-in-law has one and he stores it in my garage with the agreement that I get to ride whenever he's not riding it. It's a good engine that's the same as in the Street Triple (as TriumphRat mentioned) it's just got a different set of cams in it than the Street Triple does.

    The Street's cams make the power band a bit flatter so it's not very peak-y-ish. But the Daytona still makes excellent torque for a 675cc triple. It's drawback is (in my eyes) that it's a crotch rocket. I'm kinda done with those, especially when I want to take a long 500+ mile trip.
    Last edited by Corlissimo; 04-17-2013 at 12:01 PM.
    If you can't taste the sarcasm, try licking the screen.

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  10. #10
    Member orionz06's Avatar
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    I was initially ruling out the Triumph but I'll have to take a look. As for work I would do all that wasn't free, the valve work isn't scary.

    The KTM looks bad ass but the single cylinder is making me less excited. Availability is limited and used prices are quite high. Orange is fine, I can ride it during hunting season.

    With the Triumph I won't lose any credibility with my recliner driving dad.
    Think for yourself. Question authority.

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