Need some new bike advice

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Buellrunner, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    Here's my story. I've been riding a Harley-Davidson soft tail for the last 10 years or so. I'm not a large guy maybe 5 foot four on a tall day with short arms and legs and I'm sitting at about 140 pounds.

    I'd like to pick up the sport tourer to run with my buddies. They're running very large BMW 1300s as well as Honda ST's.

    I don't know what to purchase. Those bikes are all very large the main issue that I have with them is the far reached to the bars. Even a Ducati monster feels like a race bike to me when I reach out to the bars. I've sat on a few bikes but the ones that fit me well I find too expensive. The Honda cbf1000 has the perfect reach to the bars but the dealers are asking way too much money and the stuff in the used market is still over my budget for a second bike.

    Is it possible to modify a vfr or a CBR F4 to have the bars set up exactly the same way the cbf's are?

    I would like to spend around $3-$4000 on this motorcycle. I need a motorcycle that's going to have no issues keeping up with my friends on their large displacement sport tourers on the highways.

    I'm open to anything. Cbx hayabusa cbrs anything really as long as I can get a neutral "almost standard" seating position going and a good set of bags :)

    Thanks in advance for any help and recommendations.
    #1
  2. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    FZ6 (not FZ6R) :1drink

    You do NOT need 1000+cc's to keep up. :deal
    #2
  3. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    Any modern 650 twin or 600cc I-4 can get to 80mph in a hurry and run around at 100mph. That said, the larger fairings on the big tourers make sustaining high speeds a lot more tolerable. How fast do your buddies normally ride?

    I'm not one to recommend my bike on a whim, but the '04-'09 Yamaha FZ6 is probably the highest-output middleweight you'll find comfortable. Mine feels really good at 90mph... a little too good. It is a little high strung, not a great city bike, but at just shy of 100hp it isn't lacking for top end.

    Bags aren't an issue either, pictured are the Givi V35 cases.

    [​IMG]


    Check cycle-ergo.com to get an idea what some bikes will feel like. You can put in your height, inseam, preferred elbow bend, then add rise or pullback to the bars to simulate a bar swap.
    #3
  4. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Well... There you have it. :lol3
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  5. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    What year and model softail you riding?

    Any Twin Cam should be able to maintain 80+ with no problem and hitting 100 is no big deal. Probably not recommend to maintain 100 for any length of time but with speed limits topping out at 75 you'd be taking your chances with the law if consistenly running much above 85.

    Being a smaller guy myself, have you considerd swapping the softail for a newer -09-later touring HD like a road king or e-glide?

    I moved up from an FXST to a Street Glide in 06 and will never go back from a touring HD. Just got a '12 Road Glide and it is no nice. Sure the sport tourers may be able to get through the corners a little quicker but with a good rider the touring HDs are far more capable than most give them credit.

    For a short period of time I fell into the HDs are crap mentality and rode a Triumph Tiger 1050 for about a year. It was a great bike but if riding more than a few hours I always found myself wishing I was back in the HD saddle. Sold the Triumph and traded the Street Glide.
    #5
  6. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

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    It is possible to change bars to what ever ya want, just not easy/cheap in some cases. I would look at 2000 up sport bikes. The 600s are OK but but ya need to keep them on the pipe to make time and they are kinda buzzy on the interstate. I really like liter bikes as all-rounders (zx9r is my fav) but ya may find a blackbird/zx14/fjr in your range.
    #6
  7. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the replies guys. My buddy jay rides a BMW k1300. My softail suffers in the twisties. I just can't keep up. It's fine on the highway....

    I like the fz6 it looks like it might fit me the bars look close.

    Honda hornet 600?
    Kawi zx9 - can the bars be setup like the fz6?
    Blackbird?
    F4i?

    As long as the bars can be set up like that fz in that pic in the previous post I'm good.

    Thanks!
    #7
  8. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    You can get riser kits for a lot of older sportbikes. So say you buy one for 3k, by the time you spend the money on risers and bars (and perhaps cables & brake lines, depending on clearance) as well as sidecases and perhaps a taller screen (with risers you're well above any stock fairing)... it all adds up pretty quickly.

    In your price range, it would just be easier to buy one that came that way stock, IMO. Plenty of options that will be newer, fuel injected and plenty quick. The F4i is perhaps the one exception, you'd probably fit on it pretty well stock.
    #8
  9. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    I like the f4i and the vfr a lot. When I sat on a vfr the reach out to the bars was a stretch for me. Is the f4 that much smaller in regards to the relationship between the tank and the bars?
    #9
  10. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    I haven't sat on one in ages, I just remember it being pretty reasonable. I'm 5'10" though. You'd have to go sit on one.
    #10
  11. kfoster

    kfoster Been here awhile

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    The Kawasaki Ninja 650 might be a good choice in your price range. They share the same motor and other basics with the Verses. I think the flywheel is lighter on the Ninja. The bike comes with a standard bar rather than clip-ons. Because it is a twin, it has a bit more low end grunt than the 600cc inline fours.

    Pictured below is Carol, the wife of one of my ZRX buddies. She has no trouble keeping up with most hooligans on her 650. I think she is around your height. I am five foot 6 and find the bike to be easily manageable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    She keeps pretty fast company!
    #11
  12. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    One thing we've glossed over here is fuel range. If your fuel light is coming on at 150 miles and you're buddies have another 100 miles of range, it doesn't matter how fast you ride, you're never making that time up. So you all stop. On a 600 mile day it is one or two more stops, sounds like not much, but out west it can be a pain in the ass.

    Ask your friends what kind of fuel range they have and keep that in mind when you're shopping. To wit - FZ6 has a 5.1 gal tank and I've never seen less than 200 miles to a tank. Probably average 220. F4i has 4.8gal tank, VFR800 almost 6. Ninja 650R is a great bike, I had one for several years. 4 gallon tank though, and no way to fit a centerstand.
    #12
  13. AlecMyrddyn

    AlecMyrddyn Been here awhile

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    Buellrunner,

    I'm only 5'6" myself, so I really understand the reach to bars issue.

    Look for a Suzuki Bandit in your price range perhaps?

    I have a Monster 900, you can swap the bars out for something different, might require new brake & clutch lines to do so. Decent bags for it might be hard to find though.

    -Alec
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  14. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    So I've narrowed it down to the following bikes I'm finding in my price range. Which of the following can easily have the bars brought back enough to make it quite neutral for a short armed guy like me. Also - which machine in your opinion is the best blend of motor quality and suspension/chassis quality with longevity/reliability?

    98-02 vfr 800
    Bandit 1200
    Ninja 650r
    2004 Honda 599
    Honda 919
    Cbr 600 f4
    Zx9r
    Sv650 standard model
    Ninja 500


    Am I missing anything that might fit me well and still be a strong (effortless) highway hauler but still be great in the twisties (great suspension)

    Thanks in advance for any help
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  15. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Yes.
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  16. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    Thanks :)

    This isnt going to be an easy choice i see...
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  17. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    Get the VFR. :1drink
    #17
  18. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    What area are you in? (fill out your profile) Who knows...? There may be an inmate in your backyard with a perfect bike.
    #18
  19. Buellrunner

    Buellrunner Been here awhile

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    Toronto Ontario ! Where it's always warm and sunny! :)

    I'll get my profile filled out....

    Thanks
    #19
  20. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

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    The honda 599/919, Sv650 and bandit are nakeds which rules them out as tourers in my book. The ninja 500 has been out classed performance wise for at least 20 years. The Ninja 650r is really a versy with plastic. Not really a bad thing, but nothing special in any way. The cbr600f4 was the last of the run of "real world" supersports. Nice but ya may have to flog it some to keep up? The vfr is really a nice sport tourer but "long in the tooth". The 98+ ZX9r was the first modern liter supersport. Light & fast but it doesn't have the "rack" riding position of the newer liter bikes. I rode many 400+ days on mine.
    #20