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doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/3/17 9:37 a.m.

So we got our first big fall snow storm last night...so hypothetically this is planning for next spring.

I ride dirt.  Always have, since I was a wee lad.  I'm 42 now. 

A couple of years ago, I built a Yamaha Warrior quad with an old school oil cooled GSXR 750 engine for the dunes.  Since then, I've had a bit of a "thing" for those old oil cooled Zooks. That thing fekkin ripped!

Every spring I get an itch to get my license and get a road bike, but then it fades.  This year, for whatever reason, it didn't. 

I want something I can ride every day to clients, some of whom are up to 120km from my home office, but something sporty with a bit of edge to it.  Also something I can strap some bags on and go on a trip maybe once a year through the mountains.  Call me crazy and I know people think they are squid bikes or chick bikes, but I've always sort of liked the post 1998 Katanas.  They're cool in a weird way to me.  I think particularly the silver ones look pretty classy.  But I've sat on a few and they seem pretty comfy for a sporty bike, plus they have that great motor that I love.  I think they sound so awesome with a good header and slip on.

There seems to be several close by for sale at any given time, and even in very nice condition they go cheap. 

Is there anything terrible about these that should scare me away?

Willis
Willis New Reader
10/3/17 9:42 a.m.

This isn't going to be much help.

Your wants in a bike were very similar to mine and the katana made my short list because they can be had for cheap and are pretty reliable.  Then I found a VFR.  It's perfect for what you described and the sound of the open exhaust V4.....oh that glorious sound!

doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/3/17 9:46 a.m.

Well, that's interesting to hear.  A VFR is also on my list...not as easy to find around here but there are a few pop up.  A nicer bike with better fit and finish I'm sure. 

Willis
Willis New Reader
10/3/17 9:53 a.m.

Yes.  Fit and finish is better, and you won't find a more reliable steed to eat up the miles on .  It's my opinion that the 5th gens (98-2001) were the best years.  Honda seems to agree, the current generation (2014-present) are pretty much the same bike as the 5th gens.

 They are hard to find now though - people are hanging on to them.  I've ridden the 4th gens and wouldn't hesitate to own one.

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/3/17 10:06 a.m.

What you want is called a sport tourer for shopping purposes.  The VFR is an excellent motorcycle - but the really good ones are getting harder to come by with lower miles like Willis said. They were keepers.   There are plenty of excellent sport touring bikes in the market though - from the very sporty end to the mostly touring end priced all across the spectrum. Spend a little time with google to narrow down some choices and then post your new list here :)

doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/3/17 10:32 a.m.

Well, budget is certainly a main concern.  Not that I can't spend more, but I don't WANT to spend more.  I would say my top preferences right now are as follows (in no particular order).

Bandit 1200

Katana 750

VFR 800

Vstrom 650 or 1000 (a bit of an odd ball in the list, but I like them and they are apparently VERY reliable and versatile).  But my search parameters are pretty loose.  My current Kijiji search is <$4500, =>650cc.  That turns up a pretty decent list of bikes.

For the right price, and the right specimen, I would even look at  80's GS 750/1000/1100 etc.  In Canada we got the GS750ES until 1986 at least, but it seems like these finished in '83 in USA?  I have an open mind, and as it will be my first street bike, I know I won't keep it forever.  So many bikes, so little time lol.

However I do have a somewhat irrational attraction to the oil cooled Suzukis. 

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
10/3/17 11:08 a.m.

On the list you have - the VFR is the sporty winner IMO. The early 2000s Bandit 1200 can be had in nice shape for less than half your budget and are pretty hard to argue with from a bang for the buck answer here. If the Strom 1000 floats your boat also check out the Kawi Versys. Both are often derided as boring but they are also super capable, reliable do-all bikes that go pretty reasonably used.

If I were looking to the 80s for old cool - I'd be on an FJ 1200, GPz or Interceptor. Maybe a ZX-10. BUT - in the 80s and 90s all brakes sucked for some reason. Carbs need to be jetted and balanced and futzed with. Plastics are hard to find if they are smashed. Unless it's extremely cheap - for a DD and commuting I'd say newer is always going to be less hassle, safer and more reliable too. 

FWIW, I see bandit 1200s as new as '09 going for 2-3k with all kinds of goodies included.

If you are bored - check out some of the other ADV type bikes that compete with the Strom. Triumph Tigers and Yamaha Teneres can be had in your budget sometimes.

doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/3/17 11:54 a.m.
Huckleberry said:

FWIW, I see bandit 1200s as new as '09 going for 2-3k with all kinds of goodies included.

Yeah, up here the price is all over the place on those.  But the Bandits and Stroms are common finds with significant Farkeling already done.

 

NEALSMO
NEALSMO UberDork
10/3/17 12:04 p.m.

As someone who has been shopping Vstroms for the last month, you can get a great one for under $4500.  I've found a lot under $3K, especially DL1000s.  Lots of available accessories (bags, crash bars, skid plate, windshields,etc) and most likely in your price range they'll already have them.

I'm interested in the DL650 since it's 40lbs lighter, more nimble, and cheaper insurance.

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
10/3/17 12:12 p.m.

I put about 55,000 miles on a 2004 VFR that I purchased as a brand new but left over bike in 2007.  .3 miles on the odo when I got it.  My bike hasn't run properly in a couple years due to issues with the electrical system.  They're complex.  Paying to have valve clearances set at a dealership is closer to $1000 than you'd want to think about, where the cams are supposed to come out twice, and there's four of them.  I never had mine done.  Mine ate two stators, one at about 25k miles and then again around 50k.  The Internet says that it's a design change having to do with the oil feed to the VTEC system used on the 6th (and 8th...) gen bikes blocking oil splash onto the stator.  Lot of cooling hoses and the thermostat is set inside the engine V which is kind of sub-great.  It's not the end of the world, but...

Get a 5th gen, that's my advice, or look for something else.  5th gen doesn't have VTEC (honestly the VTEC setup on these bikes is a stupid gimmick), still has gear driven cams, etc etc.  They still have the stupid side mounted rads with the single cooling fan that tries to blow against ram air effects of moving forward.  

Katana seems like a great solution although they're maybe a bit more of a couch vs. the VFR.  Triumph Sprint might be worth consideration.  I don't see myself owning another V4 bike simply due to how much anti-fun it is to service my VFR.  Yamaha FJ-09 is really what I'm interested in but they're pretty new and outside the budget I think you're considering.

octavious
octavious Dork
10/3/17 12:46 p.m.

I own and daily ride a 05 Vstrom 1000 50+ miles a day and have taken it on 3 multiple day trips in my short time of ownership.  I'll have to look back when I got it, but I already have 9k miles on it in just a few months.  Mine is like NEALSMO described, it has several accessories, Givi side and topcases, outlets for accessory charging and heated gear, heated grips, aftermarket Sargent seat, crash bars, skid plate, taller windshiedl etc.  Thankfully all added by the POs and not me, but I really like having all that stuff.   Reliable is an understatement, gas, oil, and tires so far.  Get on and go.  And like everything these days there is a good V-strom forum called stromtroopers.com

As others described the Vee is pretty good at doing a lot of things, good commuter, good backroad cruiser, good gravel/dirt road rider, and good long distance tourer.  But let's be honest, it will never carve corners like a sportbike, and it will never handle dirt like a dirtbike, and it will never be the mile muncher that an FJR or BMW RT is.  But it does a little bit of everything.  Mine has stock chain and sprockets (I know because I just did them at 50k miles) and is running the Shinko dual sport tires.  I average 41 MPG and I ride it pretty hard with a lot of interstate cruising at 75-80mph.  I like the riding position on the Vee more than I like a bike like the Katana/Ninja.  I had a Ninja 650r so even more upright than a regular Ninja, but the weight on my neck was uncomfortable on long rides. 

Now with all that said, and as much as I like the bike, I don't lust after it.  It has zero "wow factor" and for most people that own them or see them that is the case.  Granted it has a reported 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and will get up and go even loaded, but sitting still it is not oogling worthy.  I like the looks 100 times more than the vast hoards of cruiser riders around here, but I don't find myself looking back over my shoulder at the bike as I walk away.  I looked back often when I had a Ducati Monster.  

So I would recommend the Vee as being very capable of what you want it to do, but it's not going to "make it move" if you know what I mean...

I also agree with whoever mentioned the VFR, the sound of a VFR would have sold it for me and I'd like to own one someday.  Even if I never ride it and I just sit in the garage and listen to it run.  For me I'm keeping the Vee as my kinda do-all bike, and looking for a specific tool of a bike to compliment it in the garage.  

Hope that helps

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
10/3/17 1:52 p.m.

I like the Bandits because they are about as close as you can get to the old style Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM).  Nothing wrong with the Katanas either, there's a lot of them out there so getting one for a good price shouldn't be hard.  With any of them, I'd try to avoid modified examples since in many/most cases the previous owner didn't know what they were doing.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
10/3/17 5:40 p.m.

I met a very die hard katana guy a long time ago. I helped him repaint his. He absolutely loved that bike. He adored it the way Ducati guys adore their bikes. I have to say that it looked killer in that eye melting red he painted it. I'm so used to a more upright riding position that I don't think I would find one very comfortable.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
10/3/17 9:08 p.m.

I  have a 2003 Katt 750, it's been a great bike, fun to ride and very reliable. They are relatively cheap to buy, so get the best one you can. Bandits are sort of naked Kats and are another good choice. Vstroms are another bike I have an interest in. Of course I have interest in quite a few bikes, good thing I am too poor to buy more.

doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/4/17 11:04 a.m.
81cpcamaro said:

I  have a 2003 Katt 750, it's been a great bike, fun to ride and very reliable. They are relatively cheap to buy, so get the best one you can. Bandits are sort of naked Kats and are another good choice. Vstroms are another bike I have an interest in. Of course I have interest in quite a few bikes, good thing I am too poor to buy more.

Can you comment on the "buzziness" and vibes I hear about re the Katt?  What RPM range is the most offensive?  What speed does this translate to in top gear?  Is it mainly in the pegs, seat, grips, or all of the above?  Most of my hwy riding would be 100-120 kph.  So like 60-75 mph.  If that is a bad spot for vibration, would gearing up a bit (or down?) on the sprockets improve that?

 

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
10/4/17 11:52 a.m.

I'm just going to toss out a couple other bike ideas, because I think about this stuff now and then.  Thinking off bikes that are hitting a real sweet spot in the depreciation curve and aren't supersports bikes but can get out of their own way and take a passenger.

Honda 919

Kawasaki ZRX 1100/1200

Honda Nighthawk 750

Longshot: BMW R1100

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
10/4/17 12:36 p.m.
doc_speeder said:
81cpcamaro said:

I  have a 2003 Katt 750, it's been a great bike, fun to ride and very reliable. They are relatively cheap to buy, so get the best one you can. Bandits are sort of naked Kats and are another good choice. Vstroms are another bike I have an interest in. Of course I have interest in quite a few bikes, good thing I am too poor to buy more.

Can you comment on the "buzziness" and vibes I hear about re the Katt?  What RPM range is the most offensive?  What speed does this translate to in top gear?  Is it mainly in the pegs, seat, grips, or all of the above?  Most of my hwy riding would be 100-120 kph.  So like 60-75 mph.  If that is a bad spot for vibration, would gearing up a bit (or down?) on the sprockets improve that?

 

It occurs at 55-60 mph, which is 4-4500 rpms in 6th gear if I remember right. What I feel is a bit in the grips and footpegs, but it isn't very much, just enough that you know it is there. As soon as you get above 60, it goes away. If I don't think about it, I don't notice it happening, so it is a minor vibration.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
10/5/17 12:48 p.m.

I bought my 01 GS1150 for $1800 and love it.  It is both a blast and very comfortable to ride - it isn't super powerful nor light, but is way quicker than any car I've ever had.

It's my first bike and it's been an awesome experiance so far - except I can't ride it right now because I broke my ankle playing basketball.  I'm suffering withdrawl symptoms.

octavious
octavious Dork
10/5/17 1:18 p.m.

Honda 919 is a great bike, but the exhaust under the seat means you and anything/anyone on the tail will smell like exhaust.  I put 2k miles on my buddy's 919 when I borrowed it for a month.  Loved it except my gear, me, and my garage smelt like exhaust long after the bike was gone. 

Nighthawk 750 is a heavy one and just so-so.  My BIL had one and I rode it, bike is ok, but I'd say its gonna feel real heavy and slow compared to some of the others mentioned. 

jstand
jstand Dork
10/5/17 1:33 p.m.

This thread needs some pictures:

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
10/5/17 1:56 p.m.

In reply to octavious :

Undertail exhaust in itself is not the fault with the 919.  6th gen VFR's do not do that to owners or their gear.  I had a dry bag strapped to the back of my bike for multi-thousand mile rides and they returned to the basement scent-free when the trip was done.  I read a bit about that on the 919 and it seems like different exhaust cans and setups can help.  I also think that a PowerCommander and a tune can help.   I mean, exhaust config itself wouldn't leave a garage smelling bad...

Nighthawk is like a cruiser that doesn't look like one, I think, like a Shadow 750 in a different suit.  It'll get you around reliably but it won't blow minds.  Probably really easy to keep on the road.

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan Dork
10/9/17 1:32 a.m.

First I had to look at the date of the post and then where you hail from.  Snow?  Bloomin' heck it's still close to the 80s in the mid Atl. smiley Now back to all the posts above.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
10/9/17 1:39 p.m.

In reply to nutherjrfan :

For real, it'll be 96 here today.

doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/10/17 1:55 p.m.

Yeah, that snow was early, and it's gone now.  But it's chilly.  Under 10C today.  So, hand warmers would be a must.

doc_speeder
doc_speeder HalfDork
10/18/17 10:29 a.m.

So another bike that I've re-discovered (I remember them, but they are scarce and I stumbled across one for sale) is the Suzuki RF900.

Reviews were all very positive.  Styling is a bit weird, but it's a Zuk so I can overlook that...  They never seemed to really catch on  though.

They have a liquid cooled engine based on the later GSXR 1100 unit. Around 120 hp and quite torquey.

I kind of like these.  Kind of like an "up-scale" Katana.

Any opinions on these?  Any idea on what spare mechanical parts would be like to try and find?  I'm assuming there would be significant crossover between GSXR/Katana/RF900, hopefully at least.

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