Need Advice for two-up trip through California

Discussion in 'Americas' started by joshsvoss, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Hey guys, I'm new to ADVrider and not the most experinced rider. Right now I'm looking for a bike to take me and my girlfriend down on a one-month trip through California. We need generous luggage to carry month of stuff for the two of us, but also looking for something in the sporty direction of VFR as opposed to the comfort end of the spectrum like a Goldwing or Concourse. What advice could you give me in terms of what to pack? How to plan the trip? And of course what bike to buy? On Craigslist in Seattle I end up circulating around these models for around $3500 to $4500

    1. Honda VFR800i
    2. BMW F650gs
    3. Aprilia Futura
    4. Suzuki Bandit
    5. Yamaha fz1/6 (I wish, too expensive)
    6. BMW R1100s
    I need a bike that comes with luggage, i know I might need to put in some work to install luggage on the Fazers

    Resale value is also important to me because I'm likely to sell it after the trip.

    Another thing, is it ok to ride 2-up on a bike like the vfr where I can't adjust the suspension for the increased weight?
    #1
  2. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,996
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Buy yourself a nice used Suzuki Vstrom 650.
    You will like it, your girlfriend will love it.
    Cheap, simple, economical, good luggage ability and comfortable
    #2
  3. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,627
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    I toured some southern and western parts of the US for 6 weeks with a DL650, and my GF as a pillion four years ago. Actually we made another trip about half-way around the planet (Finland to Australia, 6 months) with basically the same setup one year earlier. These two trips were over 30 thousand miles combined. Yeah, I´d say it really works surprisingly well for 2-up. And the DL1000 of course has even more power for that use.

    But the V-Strom just isn´t everyone´s cup of tea. A Bandit 1200/1250 would also be a very capable choice, as would probably be an Aprilia Futura 1000. I liked the BMW R1100S a lot, but only ever rode it one-up. (Note that the F650GS can refer to a single cylinder bike, or a newer parallel twin, that is actually 800cc).
    #3
  4. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,691
    Location:
    north florida
    i've owned both the bandit 1200 and the 1250 and a 2012 goldwing. the bandit seating is cramped for the passenger. the goldwing has huge bags but don't hold anytahing compared to my we strom. to buy and use for a month and resell, the 650 bandit will be your best choice. it will be the most reliable, cheapest to buy and cheapest to operate. and it will also be the easiet to resell. if you can find one with a good after market seat like a russell or corbin, that is the way to go if planning several 400 miles days.
    #4
  5. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,180
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    My SO and I have ridden two-up on an F650GS. We had a Givi topcase and Jesse side cases, plus a tank bag. As pillion, I was totally comfortable.

    I have also seen and heard good things about the VStrom 650 for two-up travels. Of course, much depends on the size of the passenger.

    No matter what bike you end up with, be sure to have a back rest for your passenger. It will increase her comfort and security greatly!

    Also, have your girlfriend check out this thread for "what to take and how to pack on the trip" ideas: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=264996
    #5
  6. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    727
    Location:
    norcal
    +1

    perfect for the trip you're planning.... with top case / trunk, and both saddlebags you're good to go
    #6
  7. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Thanks for the quick responses and advice! :clap:clap
    I hear the Vstrom's amazing. Unfortunately the Vstrom deals in my area haven't been so good. I have found a '98 VFR 800i (that's with the gear valvetrain which riders say is much better) for 3500. That's with full givi Monokey luggage, a huge modular magnetic tankbag, as well as a jacket and pants in my size. The only caveat is a scraped left fairing that happened during a 30 mph spill. the damage is minor enough I don't mind it except I'm worried about it hurting resale value. Besides that I rode it today and the acceleration was addictive, was pretty comfortable to: http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/mcy/3756309677.html:deal

    It's such a complete package with all the luggage, armored clothes, a good value, and I read rave reviews about the older VFR's. What do you think?

    I'm not used to bikes this size, so it felt really heavy to me, hard to get it on and off the centerstand, a little difficult in slow manouvering. But am I right to assume that really all bikes in this class are that heavy, and anything besides a Panigale at under 400lbs. won't fell any different? I'd like to think the bike feels lighter the more I'll ride it, but I can't imagine having a girl up on back plust 100lbs worth of luggage. Any advice?:cry
    #7
  8. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Oh and two more things: Mileage, I think it gets between 35-45. I know that f650gs get's like 65, does it pay for that in power? Or is it just because it's a '98 bike so it's fuel injection isn't as perfected as modern bikes?

    Also it seems the sidestand is bent. Is that possible? Like it's curved forward and the flat foot seems to be at an angle to the ground. How much would that cost to fix?

    Your answers are much appreciated by this novice rider.:d
    #8
  9. Flyinace1

    Flyinace1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    588
    Location:
    So Cal
    I've heard some great things about the VFR and I personally like the V4
    You should be able to get about 190-200 miles depending on how you ride (4.8gallons*40mpg=192miles). No its not the best out there but its got better fuel economy than any car short of a prius. As for power vs. the f650gs, you'll have to decide what you want. In your first post you said you wanted something more sporty so how much of a priority is that?
    Most likely if you and your girl like the bike resale probably won't be an issue
    I can tell you from experience that the more you use the bike the easier it'll be to handle it. When I first got my FZ6 I didn't even know how to put it on the center stand, now I do it without thinking. The VFR isn't the lightest in the class but it's not terribly heavy either. If you do get it, I would suggest get used to it first then load it up and once you feel comfortable then put the girl on. I ride with my girl very often and, from experience, once the kinks are worked out you'll probably hardly notice the difference
    #9
  10. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Thanks Flyinace1. I've heard that I'm supposed to increase preload and Compression damping to ride 2-up. So what should I do in cases like the VFR where it's non-adjustable? The suspension is already preset for it?
    #10
  11. Flyinace1

    Flyinace1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    588
    Location:
    So Cal
    I am pretty sure that the VFR has adjustable suspension front and back. It may not be very sophisticated but all you'll probably need is the basics. Both of my bikes have only had adjustable preload in the rear and that has been enough for me. If you really need something better there is aftermarket suspension for the VFR. Before you go and buy some expensive suspension tho, play around with the settings a bit and see what's comfy
    #11
  12. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,627
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    I repeat, "F650GS" is at least two very different machines, older 650 1-cylinder and newer 800 twin (that is lately changed to "F700GS", though it's an 800, go figure!!) But older and newer don't have much in common, so specify which model it is.
    #12
  13. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10,454
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    The VFR sounds like a really good deal to me. The full Givi set and gear would cost $1000 by itself, and could be sold separately if needed. Don't the VFRs normally sell in the $5000 range? It sounds like it is already marked down for the damage, so you should have no problem getting your money back out. The side stand shouldn't be too expensive; maybe $30 to $50? You may even be able to use another model you find on ebay.

    Kitesurfer said the passenger space is crowded on the Bandit? Too bad, because that would have been my second choice. Passenger space is crowded on my Dorsoduro, and I can tell you from experience that sitting with your nuts on the tank gets old pretty quick. I told my wife I would lose an inch of waistline if she would. The doctor said the swelling should go down by the end of the week...
    #13
  14. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,974
    Location:
    West Texas
    The Aprilia Futura will massage your girlfriend's buns and that will make her a happy pillion. Rotax motor is bulletproof, ground clearance low though. YMMV. Saludos, Jim
    #14
  15. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10,454
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    I love Aprilia bikes, and own one that has been very reliable. That said, dealers are few and far between in California. On top of that, parts can be weeks away or on backorder. I am willing to take a chance for that wonderful v-twin sound, and it hasn't bitten me yet, but some people aren't willing to risk it. I'm not saying don't get the Aprilia by any means, however.
    #15
  16. Flyinace1

    Flyinace1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    588
    Location:
    So Cal
    Have you looked at the FZ1? Both the FZ bikes make great sport tourers but some people prefer the FZ1 to its smaller brother for 2-up. I know you said they were too expensive but I saw one in your price range that may be what you're looking for and it doesn't need repairs. You may want to buy some bags, but if you're ok with soft ones, itll only cost you an extra $100-ish and they are just throw over so no install needed.
    http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/mcy/3760778903.html
    A FZ1 is about the same weight as the VFR (if I remember correctly) but it has more power & I don't know if thats a good thing for you or not. It also gets about the same mpg.
    #16
  17. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    ...Unless I drop it. I fear I'll inevitably drop it as a small light novice rider, and that will total it since I can only find aftermarket fairings for it (http://www.motorcyclefairings.net/HONDA-VFR800-1998-2001-Fairings/) And they may not even be painted in the same color. Otherwise the bike seems like a good deal, I'm just dreading the moment I lean it past the moment of no return, especialy with bags and a girl, and BOOM in a second my $3500 investment won't sell for anything. :cry

    Is that a realistic fear? Maybe I'm just stressing over my first motorcycle purchase.
    #17
  18. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Also I looked into the R&G Frame slider for the '98, but I'd have to drill through the fairing, something I'm not confident or skilled enough to do. Could give it to a shop I guess maybe that's worth it.
    #18
  19. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,996
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Your should really consider taking a better look at a weestrom.
    #19
  20. joshsvoss

    joshsvoss Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    15
    Thanks for the tip Flyinace1. I'll take a look though that bike is about an hour and a half away from me.

    What big soft bags are that cheap and just "thrown on?"

    The VFR deal looks like we're gonna go through with it. Been studying the Clymer's service manual on it and been getting more excited about having one and maintaning it. Seems modern bikes are so good and exciting nearly everyone loves theirs and will tell you it's the best.:norton
    #20