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Old 06-29-2012, 11:44 PM   #31
Husky Varmit
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Originally Posted by Rider View Post
I've come to the rather inescapable conclusion that sport touring motorcycles are among the rarest forms of transportation on Earth.

No matter where I go - unless it's to a bike rally - they are invisible. Nowhere to be found. On a motorcycle trip recently on my FRJ1300 covering about 1,400 miles I spotted ...
  • Probably 3 BMW R1200RTs
  • 1 BMW K1200S
  • 1 BMW R1100RT
  • 1 BMW R1150RT
  • 1 Triumph Sprint
  • 2 Honda ST1300s
  • 1 Honda ST1100
  • 1 Kawasaki Concours14
  • A couple of "I can't quite make that one out"s
In all those miles. In great motorcycle country.
The rest were old beat standards, dirt bikes, Gold Wings and, of course, Harleys.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of Harleys.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But it really brought home to me once again, after riding for so many years, that the sport tourer is an odd bird that defies convention and appears not to appeal to very many people, which I find puzzling. To me, they're bikes that do so many things well (as long as it's on pavement).
What's your theory as to why sport tourers don't sell very well?
I find a couple of things interesting in your 'research'.

One clue to the 'sports touring' market is shown in the bikes you listed - 5 RTs and 6 something else. There just aren't many riders who are willing to accept the total annual cost of riding one of these unless you amortize it out over many years. However, it is one of the best choices for planting your butt on and getting to the fun places - then undressing it and enjoying the fun place. (and, yes, I ride one)

But it is what I don't see on that list that is most curious. Where are the GS bikes. Heck, I can't go anywhere without running to those things. And most of the riders use them as sport tourers.

Sport tourers or even out right tourers never has been and probably never will be anything more than a small segment of the market. But for those weirdos like me, they will also be the bike closest to the door of the garage. And I will wave back if I see you.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:45 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
They also are not sold to lifestyle types - a squid wants a sportbike and a pirate wants a chopper, bobber, or bagger. Nobody really wants a sport-tourer - they buy them because they work. In a land where bikes are toys, that is a pretty small group.
...and an astronaut rides a sport tourer, and invents words like "farkle."

Riding my Concours is better than not riding at all. After I get done with my trip to KC I'm dumping it though.

Speeds under 100? Boring.
Commuting every day under 150 miles? Boring.

Dirt roads? Interesting, but not in a good way since I am well acquainted with how fragile my ZG1000 is.

I like the bike a lot more now that it's wearing a Gustaffson short shield though. Hated the big Cee Baileys that was on it.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:06 AM   #33
Contevita
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I'm set up for sport-touring and I don't see that many other sport-tour guys around here on the coast. Last week I saw a new Connie and we chatted at a few lights and went our separate ways. I guess it's the heat keeping the locals in cages for the last few weeks; it's hot and humid, I just don't give a shit, I'm riding unless we get a tropical storm or worse.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:16 AM   #34
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Heading out next Saturday for another six state 4,000 miler from the Pacific over Donner, to Yellowstone, Beartooth, Glacier, Bonners Ferry, Lolo Pass, all the way across Idaho, then across Oregon thru Crater Lake and Grants Pass into NorCal and down 101 to 1 at Leggett and then down the coast back home. My son is coming this year on his 02 Triumph Sprint RS 955i Triple and I'm taking my Hayabusa which has already been thru eleven states. Only use a large seat bag and tank bag. Not the usual touring bikes but certainly Sport Tourers. With a V1 and a Throttlemeister my Hayabusa is a great touring mount. Fits me just right (long arms) I think is the key. No need for risers or Helibars. No lack of power either...crossing Nevada for example, at pretty much any speed I want.
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:35 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Sport View Post
Heading out next Saturday for another six state 4,000 miler from the Pacific over Donner, to Yellowstone, Beartooth, Glacier, Bonners Ferry, Lolo Pass, all the way across Idaho, then across Oregon thru Crater Lake and Grants Pass into NorCal and down 101 to 1 at Leggett and then down the coast back home. My son is coming this year on his 02 Triumph Sprint RS 955i Triple and I'm taking my Hayabusa which has already been thru eleven states. Only use a large seat bag and tank bag. Not the usual touring bikes but certainly Sport Tourers. With a V1 and a Throttlemeister my Hayabusa is a great touring mount. Fits me just right (long arms) I think is the key. No need for risers or Helibars. No lack of power either...crossing Nevada for example, at pretty much any speed I want.
In 2010 I did almost 3000 miles on a tour of France and Spain; I was on an 1150GS, but two of the others were on a Haybusa and a Bandit 1250. One brave soul was on a Honda SP1.

All of the bikes performed well, but the Hayabusa was particularly impressive. I rode it for a while and couldn't believe how good 100ftlb of torque felt
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:17 AM   #36
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I guess I consider the RT a sport tourer because it has removable hard bags, isn't as large as the LT or a Wing and handles very well with a decent motor.
I can't even see how it's debatable whether the RT is a sport-touring bike. What else could it be called?
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:18 AM   #37
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[QUOTE=Bueller: The latest adventure offerings are really quite close in design to standards, albeit a lot larger than they used to be. Upright, comfortable seating positions, modest weather protection, engines tuned for usable power delivery in the low and mid ranges - to me it's all reminiscent of motorcycling from 35 years ago, just modernized quite a bit. I also think at least in this country the future of the sport tourer is going to be even more challenged as a result of the growing popularity of adventure bikes..[/QUOTE]


Most of the "adventure" bikes I see are being used as new-wave standards or alt-touring rigs, that I believe is really why they are growing, that and the whole Long Way Aound thing. On Sport Touring bikes, I think simple demographics enters into it. If you accept the premise that they tend to be bought by more experienced riders, at some point the tighter ergo's start to be a bit much. Where I think there will be some growth down the line is in touring rigs. Glides and Wings weigh a ton and carry a lot of lifestyle baggage as well. A bored out, stretched out Bonnie with bags would be fine by me. Given the variations and sustaining sales of that line, I'm kind of surprised that they haven't gotten there yet.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:24 AM   #38
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As a 47 year old guy who enjoys the "SPORT" aspect of riding. My Futura is my ideal bike. It's plenty fast and handles well, But for about $1,000 I am doing an Ohlins kit in the forks and a Wilbers custom made rear shock. These mods are suppose to really improve what I consider good handling. I can ride 2 up easily, Commute to work carrying my lunch and all my crap in the bags, I can put 1,000 miles on easily in a weekend, I can ride the twisties with my younger sport bike hooligan buddies and cruise with my H-D friends too. For me it's the perfect bike. If it were to get totalled the only other bike that really has me looking is a Triumph Sprint GT
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:29 AM   #39
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I have wondered the same thing, and I think last weekend I got a little bit of my answer.

Went on a 'sport' ride through WV. 3 days, 700ish miles, 4 bikes. I was on my FJR, Gary was on his VFR, Cheese on a R-6, and Aaron on a CBR600F4i. Gary knew what the FJR was all about, he has soft luggage for his VFR and rides it the way it's intended. Cheese (known the guy for years, still don't know his real name) and Aaron are basically squids that ride more than most.

Day one I was getting ribbed about riding the 'land yacht', mostly by cheese. At one point he passed me coming out of a turn on one wheel. Next turn I got him back, and he saw what the big FJR can do when you need it. No wheelie though, I don't trust myself enough to even try one on the street. By the end of the day they were impressed by what the bike was capable of. Granted they were running a faster pace than me, and keeping up with 600's on an FJR is difficult when the roads get tight. There were a few times I just dropped back and let them have at it, and caught back up when they hit traffic or something.

Camping that night, they were roughing it. I was riding solo with all of my luggage on, so I pulled out my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooler, chair, and hot dog stick. Changed my shoes, took a shower, then rode the bike to the store for groceries and beverages.

Second day we stopped at a scenic point off of a gravel road, and decided we were going to take an hour or so break. Gary said something like 'I need a beer to wash that gravel down' or something like that. I pulled an ice cold beer out of the cooler and handed it to him, and had a cold mountain dew myself.

By the end of the third day they were convinced. Gary likes the VFR, but Cheese is looking at ways to make his R6 into a sport tourer. He doesn't have money for a newer bike, so he's planning on bar risers, tank bag, seat options, and luggage. He has a pretty good idea I think for luggage, he's planning on buying a spare rear seat on e-bay or somewhere and bolting a top case of some sort to it. Knowing his budget it'll be something normally seen on a KLR, but it's better than what he had. Aaron was pretty comfortable on the F4I, he said he's getting a tank bag though. Him and cheese both were skeptical about them until I put mine on their bikes and they realized that the bag didn't affect riding at all, but gave something to lean on when you wanted it.

Point being, I think the reason there aren't many ST bikes is because a lot of people haven't ridden them or been around them much. I had no desire to ever get an FJR until I did a yamaha demo ride at a rally. I honestly wasn't even that interested in the demo ride, I did it just out of curiosity. I had planned on buying one of the new Bandit 1250's to use as a ST bike. In retrospect I think I made a good choice, but I would have been perfectly happy with the Bandit. My biggest issue with the FJR is weight. I'm only 5'9" and 150 lbs, the bike is a bit heavy for me.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:51 AM   #40
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I would say that you are forgetting to count a bunch of bikes:
fz6r, ninja650, gsx650f, cbf600, and especially vstroms, etc.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:43 AM   #41
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K1300R / K1200R. Seem to me designed for that moniker. Love mine.

And BTW "Wherefore art thou" means WHY are you.... not WHERE are you. ("for what reason are you", for example, a Montague?)
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:46 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by scrannel View Post
K1300R / K1200R. Seem to me designed for that moniker. Love mine.

And BTW "Wherefore art thou" means WHY are you.... not WHERE are you. ("for what reason are you", for example, a Montague?)
There they were having a nice discussion on sport tourers and you had to go and get all ye olde Shakespeare English on them.

Also for the person who upthread pondered the R1200GS as a sport tourer this may be of interest.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:04 AM   #43
Jay S.
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I would say that you are forgetting to count a bunch of bikes:
fz6r, ninja650, gsx650f, cbf600, and especially vstroms, etc.
Totally agree. It might not be the most popular bike, but my FZ6R is a perfect solo sport touring bike. I did a 7 day, 3K mile trip last month and it performed beautifully.

I keep considering getting Givi hard luggage but I like that I can take the soft bags off and ride her naked.

:)

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Old 06-30-2012, 08:28 AM   #44
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There they were having a nice discussion on sport tourers and you had to go and get all ye olde Shakespeare English on them.

Also for the person who upthread pondered the R1200GS as a sport tourer this may be of interest.
It's English, English. (wherefore (hwrfr, -fr, wr-) adv. 1. For what purpose or reason; why.) American Heritage Dictionary. AT&T ran an ad using the same mistake that cost them millions. English majors and liberal arts grads are fast becoming the new "must-haves" for corporate America.

However, the question, using English, is actually even more provocative: "Why do they need to be?" And, for me: Heavy enough to slam over bad roads for hours and hours; fast enough to eat those same roads at touring + speeds; minimal wind protection for those who actually like the elements; nimble enough to play semi-boy racer touring twisties; able to take serious luggage. That's fore where!
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:29 AM   #45
Rinty
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Does anyone have recent percentage numbers of motorcycle sales in North America, for each category?

I did some searching and couldn't come up with anything.
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