Good handling, economical sports tourer? Help me out here!

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Blue&Yellow, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    754
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well - my KTM990Adv is getting on a bit and as much as I love the bike I usually don't buy the same bike twice. I like to switch it up a bit.

    So I'm thinking of maybe trying out a more road-oriented bike for a time while I do some touring in Europe over the summer. I'm looking at some alternatives but it's not that easy!

    Criterias:

    * Must have ABS
    * Must be reliable (my 990adv has been bulletproof so don't scoff! :lol3)
    * Must have at least average or above fuel economy and good range
    * Must have riding area that is turbulence free
    * Rather more upright seating position than sports bike like

    Bikes I've been thinking about (all second hand):

    * Honda CBF1000A (looks like a solid allrounder - if a bit bland)
    * Yamaha TDM900 (nice engine! But what about the chassi? Is it up to the task? Is it still a valid choice or are there better options?)
    * Yamaha FJR1300 (looks like a very nice bike but heavy! Does it feel heavy or does the weight disappear?)
    * Suzuki Wee (would be a more economical road-oriented version of my 990 basically but I wouldn't mind seeing what all the fuss is about!)

    Bikes I've ruled out:

    * BMW GS - too expensive to service, questionable reliability, don't like the boxer engine
    * Honda VFR - the 800 is too sport oriented and the 1200 is too fuel hungry and expensive in general
    * Suzuki 1250 Bandit - too expensive to insure for me I'm afraid
    * Multistradas - the new one is too expensive and the old one doesn't have ABS

    Suggestions, comments, experiences - All Welcome! :clap
    #1
  2. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,381
    Location:
    Barrie Ont
    From the bikes you've ridden and the bikes you're thinking of, some could easily get taken off the list with your info.

    For reasons you ruled out the bandit and Vfr, both will take you away from the FJR.

    No experience with a Tdm, but I've put 100,000 kms on a Wee and currently own a CBF1000. Similar riding position, replaced windshields on both and had madstads, super quiet on both. Obviously the power is different but the wee with get 150 more kms on a tank with just the rider. Loaded down and the bike working, the fuel mileage will get much closer. The CBF doesn't work as hard with camping gear and daughter. Insurance was similar.

    In your position I would opt for the wee since never owning one. Even after selling and wanting something different I still went looking at them thinking I'm doing something wrong buying a different bike.

    Good luck.......
    #2
  3. faded_Glory

    faded_Glory Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    UK, wet and windy
    The Wee fits your critera perfectly, if you do something about the screen. I heard the new model is better than the old one in this respect but can't testify to that. I use the Madstad bracket on my K9 and it makes for a very quiet ride.

    I always get over 200 miles from a tank, might be quite a bit more more if you ride to the last drop. I'm too chicken to do that. It is thrifty on fuel.

    I find the brakes very good, the ABS has kicked in once or twice without fuss.

    I replaced the stock saddle with a Sargent one and ever since my butt sends me love and kisses after a long ride. My Wee came with a lot of extras such as full luggage, heated grips and wind deflectors, centre stand. I farkled it a bit more with a fork brace, engine bars and then the Madstad and saddle. It is good. I still love to ride it although I am starting to consider a change - just for the sake of change, really.

    I have done some European tours on it and it was fine for that purpose. You might find it a bit lacking in power after the KTM though. But then, Wees are not expensive and in demand, and I imagine you could trade up without a big loss if after one tour you decide you don't like it.
    #3
  4. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,381
    Location:
    Barrie Ont
    270 miles on my Wee, countless 285 and a few 300 miles, but babying it. If loaded down, that dropped to 230 real fast.

    Couple other options that are Wee competition are the Versys, GSX650F, and FZ6, but I think only the GSX has ABS.
    #4
  5. goodburbon

    goodburbon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    Kalirado
    You ruled out the BMW GS with boxers, but what about the parallel twins?
    #5
  6. 2T2_Ryder

    2T2_Ryder Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Central NJ
    What about the Triumph Sprint ST/GT? I have an 06 ABS, great power, very reliable, excellent fuel range and the wind protection is great especially with a taller screen. I get 52-54 MPG if I'm taking it easy, 45 or so if I'm ringing her out, roughly 210-220 miles on a tank. Ergo's are great, I have gen mar risers on mine. The 08+ models have higher clip ons than the 05-07 models so they are a bit more upright. Hope this helps, good luck with your search!
    #6
  7. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    754
    Location:
    Sweden
    Well - I snuck by the dealer today and I think I can rule out the FRJ1300, nice bike but too heavy and overkill for what I want to do. I like nimble bikes rather than ultra stable ones.

    Had a testride on a second hand TDM900 and I like the engine a lot, very relaxed and high geared but still lots of character. Nice bike but it's a bit of an oddball next to the wee. If I went for the TDM I also think I'd have to replace the stock tyres and upgrade the suspension to get it where I want it. Also very poor ground clearance with the exhausts underneath, and poor aftermarket support. Hmmm... not sure.

    The CBF1000A seems like a really nice regular bike, I think I could live with this one if I gave up all offroad ambitions. But the wee should be good on the road and still be able to tackle light offroad if I'm careful.

    But they also had the new wee on the floor and I have to say that the 2012-13 models look a lot better in person than in the pictures. On pictures the old model looks better but in reality I think the new one is a lot better looking, and it feel like an incremental improvement in quality. I also spoke to the dealer and he said that it's not just a facelift but a pretty massive upgrade. Upgraded suspension, same smooth motor that is in the gladius, better seat etc. Sadly they didn't have a wee demo handy (nice string of words eh? :lol3)

    Yes.... I'm starting to lean that way. :lol3

    And to be honest about the power - I rarely use it all on the 990. I give it full throttle quite often but it's very rare that I'm giving it full throttle in the upper rev range where it develops all the hp. I think I'd be more than fine with what the wee has to offer, I'd have to ride it a bit harder but then that's half the fun!

    Compared to my 990 Adv that's an endless ocean of miles, almost like if you never have to refuel it. :lol3

    Versys - hate the looks, sorry. Test rode the GSX650F a couple of years ago, didn't really do anything for me. The FZ6 is a nice bike though but it feels like half a size too small for me. It feels very small and the bars are very narrow.

    They are definitely very nice bikes - both the 800GS and 800ST. Not sure why really - I'm just not the biggest BMW fan lately.
    #7
  8. davevv

    davevv One more old rider

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,409
    Location:
    Just north of Dallas
    Check out the Moto Guzzi Norge.
    #8
  9. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta?

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,238
    Location:
    Heart of the Chattahoochee
    Bandit 1250 is head and shoulders above the rest of the bikes you listed, per your criteria. Can't imagine why it would be expensive to insure...
    #9
  10. dman

    dman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    665
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Too bad we're half a world apart, as I have been thinking of trading up my Wee for a 990ADV. I have ridden several 950's and 990's (on pavement only) and in some ways they are very different, and in some ways similar. I would say if you like the power, suspension and fit/finish of the KTM you won't be happy with the Suzuki. if you like the upright riding position and VTwin feel, the Wee is a slower but much more economical (and arguably more reliable) KTM (again, taling about pavement use only). The Wee doesn't feel any smaller or lighter however ... the tank is wide and the fairing (at least on the 1st generation version) is obtrusive and makes the bike feel big. My '04 Wee has over 40000 trouble-free miles (65000 kilometers) and can reliably go 250 miles on a tank, sometimes 300 (400-480 km). Runs fine on the lowest octane gasoline also.

    -dman
    #10
  11. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    754
    Location:
    Sweden
    :lol3 - You would have been welcome to test ride if you were closer!

    But don't short sell the wee too much. I wouldn't expect it to come close to the 990 Adv in rough stuff. But the 990 Adv can be a bit tricky.... it's great but it's a "strong flavor".... it's a bit hard to explain.

    Let me put it like this: the 990 Adv is amazingly capable and you can take huge liberties with it and it will normally just soak it up. It's a bike that feels more together the harder you ride it and the more obstacles you put in front of it - and that's something very rare.

    I've gone up hills, stopped and wondered "how did I get up here????". I've charged through mud where I was sure I was going to get stuck but didn't because it gave me the confidence to keep the throttle pinned and charge. I've gone over crests and thought for sure that this was going to hurt but then found that the ground was made out of pillows! It can be a very flattering bike when you get it right.

    But.... if you get stuck or something goes wrong it's still a 200kg bike. And I think I've gotten to the point where I'm not really looking for kicks like that anymore. I don't really have anything to prove to anyone. I'm no longer 20 something and immortal - now I'm more looking for the ability to travel, explore, go down a gravel road and maybe do some light well planned off-road.

    For that a wee should be fine me thinks!
    #11
  12. AzItLies

    AzItLies Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    347
    I'd suggest what I traded in an FJR for last year: Kawasaki Versys.

    650cc Parallel twin, pretty sure the version you guys get has ABS.

    One minor farkle I'd highly recommend is change the rear sprocket from the oem 46 tooth to a 44. Really makes the bike more relaxed, more of a road bike. The engine can easily handle the change, have taken off in 2nd a couple of times, not intentional, no problems, plenty of torque to handle it.

    This is a very nimble and light bike, inverted front forks, wet is about 450 lbs.

    Picture of my set up:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
    #12
  13. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    929
    OK, you win. Your trunk is higher than virtually anything I've ever seen. :rofl

    Seriously though, how much do you feel it when you put stuff in there?
    #13
  14. AzItLies

    AzItLies Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    347
    hehe u know, everyone says that and I gotta agree, it looks huge but when yer on the bike it's not.

    Don't feel the weight of it at all actually. These have a pretty short wheelbase, about 56 iirc. Whereas the Wee is about a half foot longer.

    One thing it is great for... helmet storage. I hate taking the chance it'll still be there hanging on the peg when I come out of the store...

    Cheers
    #14
  15. objectuser

    objectuser Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    244
    Completely agree. My 2009 is sold, but that bike was a lot of fun. Great community around it as well. And so many things you can do with it. I had mine setup for touring with side luggage and a Russell seat. Oh and a screen. And fat bars. And other stuff. :rofl But my wrists couldn't handle the vibes from the twin during a long day. I'm a software developer and my wrists have become sensitive over the years.

    It's a great bike though. I understand that the looks aren't stellar. But ride one.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    556
    Location:
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia/ Bangalore, INDIA
    What about the Versys 1000. I sat on one recently and its almost identical to my GS. Its got a smooth tried & tested I-4 engine from Kawasaki. It comes with Traction control, ABS, separate ride modes, nice saddle etc. If required add a Puig Touring screen, Givi luggage and its a nice sport tourer at a bargain. And being a Kawasaki it will be a simple & reliable bike.
    #16
  17. bdb1513

    bdb1513 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    89
    Location:
    Boonton, NJ
    Could check out a Tiger 1050. I picked one up last year and love it. Plus with all the new Tiger 800's out now there are a lot of used 1050's on the market.
    #17
  18. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    27,205
    Location:
    Minnyhappiness
    Ninja 1000 - over there it is the Z1000SX.

    Adjustable windscreen, ABS, bags, great suspension, midrange pull is ridiculous. My favourite test ride of the last few years. As upright as my Yamaha FZ6 Fazer S2
    #18
  19. AzItLies

    AzItLies Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Oddometer:
    347
    That's an awesome color, always liked the Kawa Blue...

    many people mention the vibes, saw that doing research before buying. That led me to try the "moto man" break in technique (basically ride it like u stole it, especially for the first 20 mi).

    Did that because I think the vibes are basically from 'engine harmonics', and break in effects that. I'm no engineer, this was just my reasoning / theory.

    It worked for me though. My V is virtually vibe free. Never vibes on the hwy, and every once in awhile around town at 5k. But it's not consistent, and seems to be when the weather changes dramatically... go figure.

    Also, never uses a drop of oil, always at the exact same level from change to change.

    Did see a post on the kawa V forum someone loaded the handlebars with BB's. No, really. Said it worked very well too. Never heard of doing that, but hey if it works!

    Cheers
    #19
  20. cls

    cls Long timer

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,424
    Location:
    N GA
    Yep, Versys. Like most here, I've had a bunch of bikes but the Versys is the best public road, versatile, economical, do-it-all, fun bike I've had, by far. Not the coolest by any stretch. Just use-it-up good.
    #20