Sunday, July 7, 2013

Contemplating a new bike

I have had my current bike a 2000 model Yamaha YZF R1 for 13 years now, which is an eternity from a biking technology point of view. From new it's pretty much ticked all the boxes for me. It's got plenty of power although I always seem to want more. Is that just a guy thing? It has great handling for a bike of its age and it has held up remarkably well in the styling stakes. It was built with an aggressive look which it still has in this day and age of ultra sleek styled bikes. It just goes to show how far ahead of it's time it was when it was released.

I have been contemplating updating my bike for some time now. There have been several reasons that I haven't actually gone out and bought something newer, lack of funds has been the major factor in that. Throw in the fact that we have had our second daughter in the last 5 years and that really tends to put a dent in anything motorcycling related as well as sucking the bank account dry, faster than an R1 goes 0-60.

Well anyway I've been wondering what sort of bike I should get when the time does finally come that I have enough funds to make the upgrade. Should I get another sports bike or should I go down the sports tourer path for a bit more comfort as I'm not getting any younger, or do I take a bit of a different angle and get a hooligan bike like a naked 1000cc. Mmmm decisions decisions. All of the bikes these days are so good there doesn't seem to be much real difference in performance in the real world. The following list of bikes are on my wish list at the moment for when I finally make the upgrade hopefully soon...

Naked Bikes
The first naked bike that grabbed my attention is the Triumph Speed Triple 1050. I was spying one of these out last time I was at the bike shop. Nice looking bike. I reckon I could have a lot of fun on this thing.....

Pro's: ABS, Single sided swing arm, light weight
Con's: Lack of weather protection

The second naked bike that I like is Kawasaki's Z1000. Now this bike doesn't look as good as the Speed triple but there is still something about this bike I can't put my finger on, maybe its the Kawasaki build quality or the fact kwaka engines have a charismatic growl.


Pro's: Cheaper than the Striple, ABS, light weight
Con's: Bit on the fugly side

The next naked bike I like is a brutal looking bit of gear. Its MV Augusta 1090 Brutale. I like the look of these but I'm not sure whether or not I would actually get one or not being a cash strapped dad and all..
Pro's: Traction Control, Single sided swing arm, light weight
Con's: Lack of weather protection, No ABS, price(its around 8k dear than the Z1000)

Sports Tourer
The next bike is in the sports tourers category. I could quite easily see myself slipping into a sports tourer, just for the fact that I could ride longer distances and not be as tired at the end of the day.

It's no secret that I don't mind Kawasaki's, having previously owned 2. The next one is the biggest mother of them all. The Kawasaki's ZX-14. I have had a look at them close up in the bike shop and they look very good, I could do some 2 up touring with the missus with one of these bad boys. Although that's probably not that likely to happen with the little ones for the next couple of years.

Pro's: ABS, Comfortable, as a certain Sith lord once said "Unlimited Power", 2 up touring ability
Con's: 268kg porker, those hideous cans

Sports Bikes
The next bike on my wish list would have to be the ultimate sports bike in its class. With leading edge technology dripping from this thing is it any wonder it has won about every award there is except most comfortable tourer. The BMW S1000RR.

Pro's: Everything, ABS, traction control, quick shifter, power & handling
Con's: Price, touring could be very uncomfortable

The next bike on the wish list is another Kawasaki, gee there certainly seems to be a few in my list. The ZX-10 is kwaka's litre sized weapon. This could be fun.

Pro's: ABS, traction control, power & handling, steering damper
Con's: Cheaper than BMW, LED tacho looks like a cheap gimmick

The last bike on my wish list would have to be Yamaha's new YZF R1. I mean why wouldn't I look at updating to a newer one. I have loved my old R1, I love the sound of the new cross plane crank. The only draw back I see is that it doesn't have any ABS which most of the competitors do. Also the rear taillight area is pretty hideous as well. Whoever at Yamaha designed that needs to be taken out the back and flogged.

Pro's: Traction control, Cross plane crank, slipper clutch
Con's: No ABS, Bike is a porker at 218kg wet, my old R1 is 201kg wet.

I have taken quite a while to piece this blog post together for one reason or another, but after putting some thought into it I was thinking "Do I even need any of this new technology". I mean my current bike doesn't have any of this it still has carburetters for gods sake. Really what is all this stuff for?

The only conclusion that I can come up with is that all of this stuff is for rider safety. The big one here for me would have to be ABS. My next bike I'd like to have ABS on it just in case. I mean I'm only human and all it takes is one little mistake under brakes and everything can come unstuck. At least ABS may stop that from happening.

I noticed that 3 of the bikes here were in the seven days seven bikes blog challenge from 2 years ago. Once I have the funds available I'll be test riding these beauties to see which one I like to make my final decision. Till then I'm still just dreaming.....


  1. You've got a great problem on your hands - you'll just have to ride all of 'em.

    I loved the Z1000 when I had a quick sample of one. I've also ridden a ZX-14 and would have one in a heartbeat if I had unlimited funds...

    Other than that I've only ridden an older 955 Speed Triple and it was a nice bike but I like a fairing.

    Having ridden a GSX-R1000 - I'd love one but the litre-class sports bike are probably too much bike for me...

    1. Yep its going to be fun when I actually get the chance to test all these bikes. I'm hearing you on the unfaired thing. Not much wind/weather protection during touring.

  2. Best of luck to you in making a choice. That's a fine list of bikes. I think I know which one I'd choose as #1, the big Ninja... #2 would probably be the z1000. Add the luggage and you're all set.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions...

    1. It's a lot harder than you think to pick one bike. They are all so good these days.

  3. Decisions decisions......

    I think it will be hard to decide on one but at the same time, hopefully once you ride them you'll just know which is the right fit.

    Think of the type of riding you will do most often. You might not want a touring bike if 90% of the time you aren't touring.

    I am partial to naked bikes for some reason - the fully faired bikes just look top heavy and are begging to nap. Maybe it is my upper body strength that is lacking.

    I look forward to hearing of your test rides to see which ones you are leaning towards.

  4. There in lies the problem, you can only choose 1 bike. I don't have the funds to stretch it out to 2 bikes. I be luck at all to even get an update in with those 2 money hoovering kids about.

    Brandy you just need ride those top heavy bikes fast so that they don't fall over, cause everybody knows that bikes fall over if they don't go fast.

  5. Decisions, decisions indeed! I was in the same position switching from a faired Blackbird to a Street Triple but I didn't want anything that was too similar. Getting used to the wind blast was surprisingly quick and a small screen was quite effective. On the 1600 km in 24 hours rides I do, the naked Triple was actually less fatiguing than the 'bird or the K100RS before it so they're not that bad for distance riding.

    However, the ultimate test is to get a decent ride on each of your short-listed bikes for both "feel" and that elusive emotional appeal. The right bike for you will probably pick itself. Before the test rides, I thought the choice would be between the Thruxton Bonneville and Ducati Monster but after riding the Triple, it was no contest.

    Exciting times ahead - good luck!

    1. Thanks for that geoff. I think your right about the bike picking itself for me. There does seem to be emotional attachment to bikes for some reason. Wonder why that is?

  6. I can't see you on anything other than an R1 or ZX10.......but maybe you are growing some common sense now(courtesey of those money sucking kids) and you might consider something that is more comfortable for the longer days. Maybe more comfortable to put said kids on the back of in a few years?
    Or just get a ball-tearer and only ride in a 2 hour radius of home! :-)

    1. Who? me? Common sense? If it was that common everyone would have it. Sssh don't tell anyone they might try and steal it.

      Part B sounds good, most rides are pretty short, may as well get a ball tearer eh?

  7. Test Ride! What a great phrase. I read somewhere recently, if you really think you could be happy with any or all, flip a coin. As the coin lands you might realize you were hoping for on over another. And there is your answer. :)

    Have fun dreaming and drooling, and looking forward to test rides.

    1. Yeah I can't wait to try them out either, should be fun.

  8. I think you once told me there's nothing wrong with dreaming. You are going to have so much fun working out which bike is the right one for you I'm sure .. they all look great to me but then I dont know much about that type of bike .. I like the fugly green one :D

    As someone else said . .might even have been you .. you'll know the right one when you get on it ... til then have a ball testing them all out!

    1. That fugly green one grows on you. Yep should be good trying some of these on for fit. It'll have to wait until next year to start looking though after the NZ trip.

  9. Ah, the thrill of the hunt! You're right, there really isn't a bad bike as such - it's all about getting one that best fits you needs. But therein lies the needs are always changing, kinda like what music you feel like listening to depends on your mood at the time. In an ideal world we'd all have a stable of motorcycles!

    I've got a few years age on you Steve, however, I'm firmly of the view that technology can go some way to plugging the gap as reflexes etc decline with age. Like you, my next bike will have ABS - I decided that last year when I locked the back wheel panic braking on a wet road when a 'roo jumped out in front of me. Similarly, a slipper clutch and traction control only has to work once to be worth it!

    Cheers Jules.

    1. Best fit most likely won't be a sportsbike, rather something like a Vstrom would be a better choice. Although the Vstrom doesn't seem to stir the soul when looking at it and when I've riden Geoffs.

      I guess anytime the technology stops you from going down the road, it is well worth the money to save your bacon.Any time a Roo jumps out in front of you it's pants shitting time, let alone being on a wet road when it happens. Good job you kept it together.