Monday, September 26, 2005

Bikes: You'd think I would learn by now...

It's taken me a fair amount of time to really "get back on the horse" after my disastrous wreck of the summer of '00. However, trading the TL1000S (aka "BrutalScaryDeathBike") for the 250 Ninja (aka "HappyHappyFunBike") has seen a serious resurgence in the amount of time I spend in the saddle, and a commensurate increase in using a motorcycle for my daily commuting and errand running. A motorcycle really is The Perfect Vehicle, the motorized equivalent of Seven League Boots, ideal for conveying just the rider to her destination, without enough room on board for her worries or cares. It's a wonderful method for commuting: The ride to work lets you bounce into the office smiling and adrenalized to start the day, and the ride home leaves the concerns of the workplace fluttering in the slipstream someplace along the way, like so many dead leaves.

So now I'm looking for a bike to use for more serious commuting duty, leaving the Ninjette free to be the backroad playtoy it excels at being. I'd like something that'll maintain freeway speeds without having to scream along at 10,000 RPM, and which won't bounce around on expansion strips or be blown hither and yon in crosswinds like the Ninjette, which feels like a ten-speed with a chainsaw motor on the superslab. It needs to have a comfortable riding position; the so-called "sit up and beg" posture encouraged by UJM's and early sportbikes. Full bodywork is a must; my RF600R would keep everything but your helmet, toes, knuckles, and shoulders dry in anything short of a real Texas toad-strangler of a downpour.

It looks like I'll be surfing eBay motors and snooping around the dimly-lit back corners of bike shops for those machines condemned as too obsolete or too plush by today's sportbike cognoscenti. I'll be looking for such also-rans as the 750 Katana, RF900R, or CB1000F Hurricane. Cheaper is gooder. Keep your eyes peeled...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you will like the new 650 Bandit. Good protection, not expensive and a comfortable riding position, good lookin too!

Used 600 Bandits are even cheaper.

Mfree said...

Have you considered a thumper single like what I keep looking at, one of the Suzukis?

Tam said...

The Savage falls down on the "motor" and "fairing" counts; that, plus I prefer sportbikes to cruisers.

Among thumpers, a Yamaha SRX-6 would be interesting as a backroad funster, though, being much like the Ninjette, only moreso...

LawDog said...

You might eyeball a Yamaha YZF600R, also known in European markets as the Yamaha Thundercat.

Homer said...

I'm prejudiced because I own one, but the Honda ST1100 has a good track record. Produced from 1990 to 2002, and obsoleted in 2003 by the ST1300 (which is good as well) good used 1100s can be had in the $5K-$7K range (try www.st1100.org). Add about $1-1.5K for an ABS model. Watercooled V4, shaft drive, 7.3 gallon tank, wide saddle, comes with saddlebags. It's neither small nor light (Honda claims 639 lbs), and while some consider the amount of Tupperware excessive, the fairing and windshield make it easier to put lots of miles on it.

My last bike (25 years ago) was a BMW R90/6 with Krauser bags and a Vetter. When I got back into bikes in 2000 I looked at Beemers, but picked the Honda because it was $6K cheaper, had more service locations, and every mechanic I talked to said they saw ST1100s rarely, and then just for tires and brake pads.

Jay G said...

Have you given any thought to the Buell line-up? They've got bikes based on the 883 Sportster motor (Firebolt) as well as the 1200 motor (Thunderbolt). Starting MSRP isn't too high, and used are even lower. A quick glance on eBay shows them selling for $5-$7K...

(Sorry, just had to put in my plug for the ol' bar & shield...)