One Bike to Rule Them All?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by FishrCutB8, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. FishrCutB8

    FishrCutB8 Can Divide by Zero.

    Oct 16, 2012
    The Green Between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
    I started riding this Summer and got a 2003 Suzuki SV 1000, which has been a fantastic bike. Zippy through the twisties, fantastic acceleration, great as a commuter to work. It looks great, sounds great (Twin Brothers exhaust) and runs great.

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut.....Here's the thing. Or rather, the things.

    While I was riding, I started noticing these other roads. They're dirt. And, I'm curious about what might be up there. I live in Central PA and there are a lot of dirt trails and fire roads and the like. The thing about the SV is that it's really not up to the task.


    I gave my 14 year-old daughter a ride on the back. And she loved it. And then I gave my wife a ride on the back and she loved it. Except for the bent-over riding position. Even with risers, they are leaning over onto me, which is uncomfortable for them and also puts a lot of pressure on the wrists, especially downhill and when stopping.


    I've started lurking on this forum and reading a lot, which has led me to wonder, as I think about my next bike, is there one bike that would meet all of my needs? Here is what I am thinking:
    - reliable: I am a newbie and I don't want to spend time/money in the shop. I like the SV because the engine is largely bulletproof.
    - offroad capable: I'm not going over rock gardens, but it really would be nice to explore those trails, rather than driving past them
    - two-up power: the wife and I combined are about 360 pounds and she is 5' 10 (I am 6'). I don't think I will be two-up more than a day or two at a time (though Mrs. Fish continues to surprise me) and more B&b/hotel than camping...
    - affordable: I am loving the new Tiger 800 XC but the price is way out of my league. I am thinking $7-8k at the top end
    - soul: I'm not sure how you measure it, but if you've been on a bike that has one...

    I have put the Buell Ulysses on my list. I was thinking the V/Wee-strom as well, though its soul doesn't speak to me. What other bikes should I have on my list? Recommendations? Thoughts? Ideas?
  2. vicvegas

    vicvegas eager beaver

    Jun 8, 2010
    Have you looked at Kawasaki KLR's? Brand new they run around 6 grand.
  3. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Sep 25, 2011
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    R80 G/S does it all .. but you'd need a bit extra ump for two up. although several couples have ridden a G/S RTW. Horizons Unlimited founders Susan and Grant Johnson rode their R80G/S several times RTW.

    R100GS is better suited to two up, but gains another 50lb. but compared to other choices listed looks light.

    G/S was the first of the dual sports so claims the title most soul ... and most desired!
  4. xlcc

    xlcc Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2011
    it seems one bike will never do,so I have two.Actually I have four.But my sportster that I converted rates high in my books but I also have a DR650 which is light and good all around that I would suggest you take out for a test blast if you want something simple fun and pretty cheap with almost endless possibilities to modify or hop up to your personal prefference.
  5. Buzzbomber

    Buzzbomber Not Dr. Who...

    Oct 30, 2008
    Betwixt Heaven and Hell, Skylands of NJ
    Try an easy dirt road on the SV before you do anything else. You may be surprised. I have a WR250R and an SV650, and I have done a fair amount of potholed gravel/dirt roads two-up on both(my wife is a good sport). Honestly, the SV does fine on anything you'd drive a car on, the only advantage the WR has on smooth-ish dirt is that it gets smoother the faster you go (to a point). Once it gets rocky, the SV gets tedious and I turn around, while on the WR, I crack the throttle harder and let the suspension work.

    However, I understand the new bike bug, so have fun choosing!
    BTDT - I have found that one streety and one dirty bike works for me right now.
  6. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

    Jul 26, 2008
    over yonder on the north coast of ca
    7-8g: you can get very nice ducati 1100 multistrada, even the s with ohlins, for that price used with low miles. bulletproof aircooled mill with plaenty of power and comfort for 2. plenty of soul in the Ltwin.

    super tenere is a bit pricey but fits everything youve said, is a bit heavy. however the weight isnt as noticable as youd think.

    wee stroms are bulletproof. not for me, but others love them.

    would not recomend the ulysses. poorly designed bike.

    dr/klr not good two up.

    if you ride dirt roads any bike with decent travel and clearance will do. anything more than that get a street legal dirtbike and have some real fun with the proper tool.

    the 1100s for 7-8g would be the best bike for the money for what you describe. valves every 7500 i believe and theyre not that tough. very good motor
  7. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

    Aug 12, 2005
    Turning expensive metal into scrap
    KTM 950 would be a solid choice. Mine was very reliable, but did require attention. It has soul aplenty. If you like the sound of the SV with cans you'll also love the 950.

    Most of the problems have been sorted by now.

    I get nervous when people say they want bulletproof. I understand the sentiment, who wants to work on their bike all the time? Well, I do actually, but that's another story:lol3 But here's the deal. If you want no maintenance, that makes me feel like you won't look after the bike and those are the people I find have the most problems when they least want them, ie on trips.

    bikes like the 950, that require attention, force you to get on your knees every so often and have a look. Which makes you a more aware bike owner in terms of maintenance so you won't have problems on the road.

    Other than that, I have a couple friends with the DL1000, one with cans and it sounds nice, but certainly not soul.

    Having soul and low maintenance is like meeting a supermodel out a dive bar, probably not happening, and if it does, please let us all know how it turns out. And the name of the bar thank you:deal
  8. dino246

    dino246 Adventurer

    Apr 18, 2011
    I recomend the Tiger 955i, they are very reasonable in price, have plenty of power and two up is no problem. They wond jump rocks but fire roads and trails are no problem.
  9. Wasp

    Wasp Supa10 pilot

    May 29, 2010
    Western Australia
    Bloody good call on the Ducati MS... Has my vole too.


  10. nickgindy

    nickgindy KLR Basher

    Jun 30, 2011
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Youll end up with multiple bikes. It happens to us all.
  11. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

    Dec 16, 2007
    CA HWY 2
    One of the greatest riding motorcycles Ducati ever produced. It's only real negative is when it comes time to remove the seat. :lol3

    Fabulous choice given the op's needs/wants. :deal
  12. Rich B

    Rich B Long timer

    Apr 10, 2010
    Stone Creek, OH
    FishrCutB8 sez::

    "I am loving the new Tiger 800 XC but the price is way out of my league."

    With your list of requirements.....think again about the Tiger is a simply brilliant motorcycle and will do exactly what you wish to do. I tried different bikes and rate the 800XC as simply the best all arounder out there.
  13. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

    Aug 12, 2005
    Turning expensive metal into scrap
    :deal Reality
  14. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

    Nov 2, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Vstrom 1000 really seems to be what you want and in your price range, used.

    Reliable, big motor, dirt capable.
  15. Innocent Criminal

    Innocent Criminal Adventurer

    Mar 7, 2009
    Multiple bikes is the way to go.

    My two bikes cover all of my needs and can be done in your budget.

    Buell Uly for the long distance, two up, and dirt road exploring. Can be had for around 4-5k.

    Suzuki DR650 for the dirtier road exploring., Can be found for 2-3k.

    I think this also happens to be what Peter Egans stable is right now.
  16. 2tallnwide

    2tallnwide Long timer

    Sep 24, 2005
    Nature Coast, Florida
    If I were you I'd find an old beater XT/KLR/DR/XL/etc, the smaller and lighter the better. Then ride it off road as much as possible to learn the differences, without tearing up a newer more powerful bike, and/or hurting yourself. :deal
  17. amk

    amk Been here awhile

    Jun 27, 2007
    Everybody would rode it if it had existed. But it does not. You have to give up something.
    Airheads are not reliable and rather are projects than rides.
    KTMs are great but if they can be had cheap they will compensate in ownership and riding cost.
    Thumpers are not for two up riding, let alone 2 up exploration, and HWY use.
    Stroms are great, but rather have limited exploration ability, same goes for old triumphs.
    New generation beemers, triumphs, yamahas are great performance wise but you have to pay for performance double price.

    You have to take one criteria out of equation.
  18. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Long timer

    Jan 5, 2010
  19. Murf2

    Murf2 Long timer

    Feb 11, 2007
    Well, I've got some input for you. :D First, I believe wizz is wrong about the Uly. I now have an 06 Uly & an 05 DR650 I just bought. I got it because I was looking for some easy to load in the truck bikes to take camping. My wife and I usually take the Buells and ride to Colorado or New Mexico and camp and explore.
    I decided that if we loaded up bikes and drove out we would have more time to enjoy once there. I'm rambling.

    Anyway, I spent yesterday riding the DR & Uly back to back on gravel and two track pasture roads trying to compare them. Right now I am about as undecided as you are. I'm not really seeing a big difference on roads that would be about equal to Forestry Service roads or easy Jeep trails in Colorado. I thought the DR would be a big improvement on these roads but it isn't much different. Now, I will be the first to admit I am a far from serious rider. I just like to explore and see new places.
    I'm sure the DR would really come into it's own on single track or very rough Jeep trails but that's not what I ride. I am sure the Uly kicks it's butt in comfort, especially passenger comfort, power and highway travel. Gas mileage seems to be oddly the same.

    I hope you find what your after! I have 5 bikes in the garage and still haven't found what I'm looking for but the Uly seems damn close and it is a real bargain. Lately, I have seen several for 4k or less. I don't care what anybody says, it's an awful good bike for the money. I'm sorry for the long winded post

    Good Luck.
  20. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Oct 18, 2005
    If you like the 800XC, I would say stick with it. If it is too expensive today, wait a few months more, save the money, and get it when you are ready. KLRs, DRs and all of those smaller bikes will be too small for decent two-up riding. It is worth the wait for you to have the right bike instead of adjusting for compromises that will never give what you want in the first place.